Roundup: Almost the end of July

I have a knack for original titles. By the way, if you didn’t tune in to the latest podcast (shame on you), then you missed the awkward,time consuming glorious return of Ron. It was good. Here’s a trailer for a movie I’d like to see, then off to the roundup!

 Patent troll claims to own GPS, sues foursquare.

These days, there are a lot of idiots non-practicing entities who snatch up patents just to use them in court to get easy paydays. One such company, Silver State Intellectual Technologies, claims ownership of GPS tenchologies that foursquare uses, and is suing. Of course, the two patents are silly, obvious improvements to things that already exist, so I hate them. I hate them more for trying to bring down a company that uses such obvious technologies. Hit up the source link (the title) to read the briefings.

Apple to purchase a security firm in cash deal.

AuthenTec, a Florida based security business specializing in mobile and network solutions, is being purchased by Apple for $8 per share. Prior to the announcement, it was trading at $5(ish) a share. Once Apple has snagged the 58% stake in the company, we all suppose that they are going to focus their technologies on two things: making iOS more secure and trolling Android makers in court, notably Samsung, who was said to be in talks with AuthenTec for future devices. It should be noted that AuthenTec is known for their fingerprint sensors that allow access to networks, so it’s possible that future iDevices will feature a biometric unlock – or a peripheral will.

In the UK, it’s ‘Copyright Infringement’ to follow links to a webpage.

No, I’m serious. Under current law in the UK, clicking a link and reading the resulting site is copyright infringement. Apparently, the law was set in place to limit news aggregators like Meltwater, but it wasn’t very specific. It seems that they won’t bother to re-write the law anytime soon, either. Their Supreme Court is set to look at the law, but not until the beginning of next year. That means that there will continue to be thousands of copyright infringements a day until this is rectified.

Company drops Facebook after discovering 80% of ad clicks are from bots. 

Limited Run, a company designed to help entertainers sell their wares, is no longer using Facebook to promote those products. In a recent post on Facebook (screenshot here), the company discussed the fact that they could not verify more than 20% of clicks on ads were reaching their page. They discovered that ~80% of the clicks didn’t have JavaScript, which was making it very hard for their analytics software to track the clicks, so they built their own software to log page loads and came to the conclusion that about 80% of Facebook ad clicks come from bots. These are clicks that they pay for, mind you. In a convenient twist, they were told they could not change the name on their Facebook page unless they agreed to spend $2000 a month in advertising. Yes, a Facebook rep told them this. Naturally, they’re deleting their Facebook presence and moving full-time to Twitter.

I’ll take one 13-ft, $1.35million robot, please.

Suidobashi Heavy Industries, a Japanese (did you expect anything else?) company has created the Kurata, a diesel-powered, thirteen foot tall robot monster, and it can be yours for only $1,350,000. The 4.4-ton machine has over 30 hydraulic joints that it can use to maneuver its arms, legs and torso, as well as a 6,000 round per minute BB Gatling gun that’s controlled by the operators smile. Yeah, ‘it’s not a death machine‘ my ass.  The robot seems to be tethered to wheeling around on four legs right now, but the company wants to implement movable legs so that it can walk over uneven terrain. Giant spider robot from Japan – this isn’t going to end well.

Netflix attacks its own network for test purposes.

As silly as that sounds, it’s not stupid. Netflix has designed software that tests its networks up to 1,000 times per week, ensuring that they’re aware of threats so that they don’t lose their big moneymaker – streaming. The software – aptly dubbed Chaos Monkey – is “a tool that randomly disables our production instances to make sure we can survive this common type of failure without any customer impact,” according to Netflix. Typically, no one outside of Netflix knows when it happens, but there are instances when even Netflix is surprised by what the script does to their network. This, of course, just means that they know how to protect against it.

Taiwanese University lays claim to the voice tech behind Siri.

Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University is suing Apple in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas over claims that the tech behind iOS’ Siri infringes on two of their US-held patents. They are also investigating whether Google’s Android mobile operating system infringes as well. The lawsuit asks for unmentioned damages, which the school claims will be based on US sales of the iPhone and iPad, as well as an injunction on the use of Siri in new Apple products. It appears they’re not screwing around, as noted by the fact that they chose this specific District Court because “it processes faster and its rulings are usually in favor of patent owners and the compensations are usually higher.”

Norwegian students are building a 96HP electric motorcycle.

In case you’re wondering, 96HP under a carbon fiber bike is ridiculously fast, allowing it to go from 0-60 in under 4 seconds. For comparison, the current Honda Insight has 98HP and weighs 2747lbs, or 32 times more than the bike. Current top speed on the bike is claimed to be 110 mph, and it contains 55lbs of body plus carbon fiber wheels, a swing arm and batteries. The two motors can drain the batteries in 62 miles if you’re using the regenerative rear brake, so it’s certainly a commuter vehicle. However, it’s a damn nifty contraption, and a really cool project for college kids.

In a few years, you might be able to print your own electronics.

Cell phones aren’t cheap – especially if you have to replace a phone before your contract is up. However, the technology to imprint electronics within a 3D printed model is being developed, allowing for a less lab0r-intensive manufacturing process. Imagine that in the future, after you drop your phone in the sink full of dishes, you might be able to order the plans for a new device, send them to your 3D printer, slap on a battery and screen and head out the door. Of course, you’d need the extras, but it’s still pretty cool. I just wonder what will happen to all those happy souls who currently build your phones.

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