GeekSpeak for 2014-03-22

Facebook Recognizes the Mosquito Reading Your Email

Bonnie, Ben, and Lindsey talk about geek news of the week including various reactions to security and the lack thereof. Facebook, Microsoft, FCC, Twitter, Turkey, and mosquitoes…. oh my

Facebook Face Recognition

Asked whether two unfamiliar photos of faces show the same person, a human being will get it right 97.53 percent of the time. New software developed by researchers at Facebook can score 97.25 percent on the same challenge, regardless of variations in lighting or whether the person in the picture is directly facing the camera.

Microsoft revises privacy policy in wake of Hotmail search case

Microsoft promised to toughen policies regarding the company’s potential reading of Hotmail users’ emails, after an outcry over Microsoft searching a user’s Hotmail account to discover the identity of someone now charged with stealing company secrets.

Software Engineer Starts Two-Factor Authentication Directory

Software engineer and Iowa State computer science student Josh Davis has created a website dedicated to comparing how online services employ (or don’t employ) two-factor authentication.

Wireless companies fight for their futures

A rare auction of valuable frequencies has sent the big four carriers on a lobbying spree that may determine who controls your cell phone.

Identifying Flying Insects Automatically

Identifying flying insects is hard, even for entomologists. So they’ve long hoped for a way to automate the process.

Now all that is set to change. Today, Yanping Chen at the University of California, Riverside and a few pals say they’ve developed a sensor capable of accurately recording insect wing beat frequency at distances of several metres.

GeekBit: Sticky tape selfies

People are wrapping scotch tape around their faces, resulting in Picasso-worthy images.

GeekBit: 12-track digital sequencer plays analog music boxes

Created by the folks at Quadrature, the ‘Twelve’ is a digital 12-track sequencer that controls 12 analog music boxes.

GeekBit: Lego robot solves Rubik's Cube puzzle in 3.253 seconds

The Cubestormer 3 took 18 months to build but only needed 3.253 seconds to solve the puzzle, breaking the existing record.

A Short Guide to the Internet’s Biggest Enemies

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released its annual “Enemies of the Internet” index this week—a ranking first launched in 2006 intended to track countries that repress online speech, intimidate and arrest bloggers, and conduct surveillance of their citizens. Some countries have been mainstays on the annual index, while others have been able to work their way off the list. Two countries particularly deserving of praise in this area are Tunisia and Myanmar (Burma), both of which have stopped censoring the Internet in recent years and are headed in the right direction toward Internet freedom.

Hackers may be targeting your router

PSA: Increase the security of your home network in a few easy(ish) steps.

Turkish citizens fight back against Twitter ban

The Turkish prime minister may have ordered the tap turned off, but citizens are still sneaking their tweets into the Twittersphere.

A Broken Patent System and Two Awesome Companies

“Yesterday, we wrote a fairly-lengthy post about an ongoing customs issue we were dealing with. Essentially, our $15 multimeter, which we source as a quality entry-level meter for DIY enthusiasts is in violation of a trademark held by Fluke Corporation.

The problem boils down to the fact that our $15 multimeter is yellow with a dark gray face, and Fluke’s trademark speaks to that effect. We’re still pretty upset that such a broad trademark can be enforced with little recourse for a company of SparkFun’s size.

But things are changing quickly. We are working with a law firm specializing in customs law to try to split up the shipment and redirect the multimeters to various groups that are friendly to SparkFun but in countries where we don’t violate Fluke’s marks.

Additionally, Wes Pringle, President of Fluke, graciously reached out to me and explained they would be posting a response on their Facebook page. While we still have issues with the way United States’ IP laws are designed and enforced, but Fluke’s response was gracious. Here is what they had to say:"

Why the White House Is Spending Millions to Promote Wood Skyscrapers

The Department of Agriculture doesn’t usually meddle in architecture, but this week at an event at the White House, it announced an unusual project: A $1 million competition for high-rise buildings built out of wood—and another million that will go to educating architects about it.

San Francisco Airport uses materials tech to meet runway safety standards

In order to meet a federal directive, the airport will close two runways this summer to install a special concrete material that will bring runaway aircraft quickly to a stop.

Calendar apps

Here are some links with tips for using Google Calendar for non-gmail users:
https://support.google.com/calendar/answer/41208?hl=en .
https://support.google.com/calendar/answer/53231?hl=en .
Best calendar app for Android on LifeHacker: http://lifehacker.com/5834328/the-best-calendar-app-for-android . Calendar apps for Apple devices: http://www.gottabemobile.com/2014/01/26/6-best-calendar-apps-for-iphone-and-ipad/ . This one claims to be x-platform integration: http://advocatesstudio.com/2014/01/21/foogi-a-cross-platform-calendar-scheduling-app/