GeekSpeak for 2016-02-13

Gaming the Laws on Cockroach Repair

Teaser medium

Repair your gear rights, cheap USB C’s can kill your gear, Apple is bricking repaired iPhones, getting tired will increase your Facebook usage, and much more news of the week.

VideoLAN Celebrates 15 Years of VLC

VideoLAN announced today that VLC has turned 15 years old. technically the project is almost 5 years older but this is the anniversary of VLC being licensed to the GPL license, which happened on the 1st of February 2001.

Cheap USB-C Cables Could Kill Your Phone or Laptop

Benson Leung, an engineer on Google’s Pixel team, was doing God’s work by risking his Chromebook Pixel, which charges via USB-C, to test every single USB-C to USB-A cord available to general consumers. One crappy cord, and his $1500 computer would be fried.

You know how this story ends right? On Monday, a cheap cord purchased from Amazon destroyed all his testing equipment, including his computer.

Unravel Review: Not a wasted stitch in sight

Unravel Creative Director Martin Sahlin described the game at its unveiling at last year’s E3 as a metaphor for what binds people together. Just minutes after starting the game, it’s obvious to see how that metaphor plays out, and it’s fairly easy to guess where the game is headed. As for the reality within the game, however, not everything happens exactly as expected.

That Dragon, Cancer and how the digital age talks about death

That Dragon, Cancer is not an easy game to experience. It’s a eulogy, an autobiography, a cry into the dark. It’s one family’s endeavour to make sense of a looming tragedy, to press pause on a life that is—was— running out of time. Joel, the tow-headed child at the heart of the whole endeavour, died in March last year. He would have turned seven on the game’s January 12 launch.

Stephen Hawking: 'Things can get out of a black hole' - BBC News

An illustrated version of Prof Stephen Hawking’s second Reith lecture, Black holes ain’t as black as they are painted. Prof Hawking examines scientific thinking about black holes and challenges the idea that all matter and information is destroyed irretrievably within them.

‘Error 53’ fury mounts as Apple software update threatens to kill your iPhone 6 | Money | The Guardian

If you have fixed your iPhone or someone other then Apple has fixed your iPhone, do not update, your phone could be bricked.

Make your own cyborg cockroach for under $30

Every few years, cockroaches find themselves conscripted into humanity’s ongoing endeavours to build proper cyborgs—and this example from Instructables may be the cheapest venture yet. A user calling themselves bravoechonovember1 recently released guidelines on how to control a roach with an Arduino for under £30 ($30), a figure that doesn’t appear to include the cost of acquiring said insects first.

A New Advocacy Group Is Lobbying for the Right to Repair Everything

Repair groups from across the industry announced that they have formed The Repair Coalition, a lobbying and advocacy group that will focus on reforming the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to preserve the “right to repair” anything from cell phones and computers to tractors, watches, refrigerators, and cars. It will also focus on passing state-level legislation that will require manufacturers to sell repair parts to independent repair shops and to consumers and will prevent them from artificially locking down their products to would-be repairers.

SpaceX sets launch date for later this month, sea landing likely

SpaceX will make its next launch attempt on February 24th when it attempts to put a SES-9 satellite into orbit 35,000km above the equator. The Luxembourg based-owner of the satellite announced the launch date on a Falcon 9 rocket Monday. It did not provide a launch window.

Because the rocket will expend nearly all of its fuel to reach this higher orbit, it will not have enough left to return to a landing site on the Florida coast as a similar launch did in December. Therefore SpaceX is expected to attempt a fourth sea-based landing on an autonomous drone ship.

India rules to block Facebook’s Free Basics

India’s leading telecom regulator, TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India), has today voted against differential pricing [PDF], ruling with immediate effect that all data prices must be equal, and that companies cannot offer cheaper rates than others for certain content.

The call is a significant blow to Facebook’s Free Basics (previously Internet.org) initiative and Airtel Zero – projects which work to make internet access more accessible by providing a free range of ‘basic’ services such as news, health information, communication and local government updates.

Study finds tired people overuse Facebook

The results showed a direct correlation between chronic fatigue and accumulated sleep debt, increased IT usage, bad moods, and more frequent changing from one app or task to another, which could indicate increased distractability.

Post Show Starts Here

Google now blocking websites that show fake download buttons

Google has now started blocking websites that use deceptive content or ads to make you do things that you wouldn’t normally do, such as fake download buttons that appear right next to the real download button, or pop-ups demanding you phone tech support to remove a million malware infections that were apparently found on your computer. It sounds like this will be a gradual rollout; it’ll take time for Google to work out which sites are consistent offenders.

Windows 10 passes 10% market share, overtakes Windows 8.1 and Windows XP

Six months after its release, Windows 10 has finally passed 10 percent market share. Not only that, but the latest and greatest version from Microsoft has also overtaken Windows 8.1 and Windows XP, according to the latest figures from Net Applications.

Windows 10 was installed on over 75 million PCs in its first four weeks and passed 110 million after 10 weeks. Last month, Windows 10 passed 200 million active devices — Microsoft is aiming for 1 billion devices running Windows 10 “in two to three years.”

Microsoft makes Windows 10 a 'recommended update' for Windows 7 and 8.1 users

Microsoft has been accused of pushing Windows 10 rather aggressively, and the company’s latest move is going to do nothing to silence these accusations. For Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users, Windows 10 just became a ‘recommended update’ in Windows Update.

This is a change from the previous categorization of the upgrade as an ‘optional update’ and it means that there is renewed potential for unwanted installations.

Microsoft's Cortana Won't Put Up With Sexual Harassment

A specific goal was to make sure Cortana wasn’t treated as a subservient. If she’s insulted, she doesn’t apologize or back down. She handles it with tact, so as to reduce the chance of further abuse. Interestingly, some AI assistants out there do cater to this sort of thing. CEO of Robin Labs, Ilya Eckstein claims there is a high demand for AI assistants that are “more intimate-slash-submissive with sexual undertones”.


Beard – fuzzy logic