GeekSpeak for 2014-07-12

Tesla is not Tesla, and your phone is not FM Radio

The Geeks debate government intervention in the name of emergency situations, highlight pretty pictures for your computer, look at efforts to go to the stars, and the usual cynical eyeballing of what Big Tech is up to. Join Bonnie, Lindsey, and Lyle as they discuss the Week in Geek.

Beautiful NASA Earth images for your computer wallpaper

“Welcome to our Beautiful Earth gallery, which showcases spectacular images of our home planet, available for download and use as wallpaper.”

SpaceX to make a Space Port in TX

“SpaceX just got approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to build a 56.5-acre spaceport along the Gulf of Mexico on the Texas-Mexico border—a huge step toward actually making the spaceport a reality.”

The Oatmeal convinces Elon Musk to donate pretty penny to Tesla Museum

“Cartoon appeal for more funds draws positive response from Tesla Motors founder.”

Syntonic Sponsored Content Store for eligible AT&T mobile subscribers

“AT&T’s Sponsored Data program—in which content providers pay AT&T not to count the use of their services against customers’ data limits—is about to get a lot easier to use.”

AT&T and Verizon accused of using data roaming fees to overcharge everyone

“AT&T and Verizon Wireless are extracting ‘monopoly rents’ from competitors who pay them for data roaming, forcing smaller carriers to charge higher prices to their own subscribers, four public interest groups wrote in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission yesterday.”

Fast Internet over normal Phone Lines

“Researchers at Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs have developed a way to send Internet traffic over phone lines at speeds reaching 10 Gbps — that’s 1,000 times faster than what the average American household currently gets.”

There’s “no congestion,” Verizon says, despite continued Netflix problems

“It’s been 10 weeks since Verizon and Netflix struck a deal in which Netflix will pay the ISP for a direct connection to its network.

“Yet customers are still complaining about bad performance. The reason is that Verizon and Netflix haven’t set up enough connections to make much of a difference, and Verizon has said work may not be completed until the end of 2014.”

Previously pointless “Yo” app now alerts Israelis to rocket attacks

“An app that became infamous for its astounding lack of utility has found a purpose: warning Israeli citizens about rocket strikes. As reported by the Times of Israel (via Valleywag), Israelis have been using the app Yo to subscribe to alerts from Red Alert: Israel about incoming attacks during the Hamas-Israel conflict.”

It takes more than videos on the Internet to get kids engaged in learning to code

“Turns out it’s not enough for earnest efforts like code.org to offer classes online — that winds up benefitting the relatively well-off who are already wired & online.”

What "open learning" looks like when it's for kids who need it most

“Another effort by the Connected Learning Alliance and Pursuitery, targets kids who don’t have that kind of access. The key appears to be partnering with libraries — which have computers that are open to the public, and real-live people to interact with — to keep learners motivated beyond their initial lessons. Mimi Ito wrote an article about this on Boingboing.”