Matt’s Favorites: Compuware At 10 Downtown, Heat Wave Stretches Infrastructure, Wet Spacesuit And More
So what’s up and what’s the coolest and newest in the ever-changing universe of tech stuff? Hey, check out these gems…
* It doesn’t seem possible, but Compuware Corp. has hit the 10-year mark in its downtown Detroit headquarters. So Michigan’s largest tech company has put together a little retrospective video capturing the sentiments of many Compuware workers and neighbors downtown. Watch at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zu1om0dzUng. (No buyout talk, of course.)
* The current heat wave is stretching America’s infrastructure to the limit. Con Ed is working around the clock to handle record-breaking demand for AC, and thousands will lose water in suburban D.C.
* And wouldn’t this be scary in zero gravity in a spacesuit full of electric gear? Astronauts Christopher Cassidy and Luca Parmitano returned to the International Space Station’s Quest airlock Tuesday, closed the hatch and repressurized the compartment to bring a planned 6.5-hour spacewalk to an early-but-safe conclusion, after an unusual and potentially dangerous buildup of water in Parmitano’s helmet.
* Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced on Monday that he will soon publish the design for high-speed train that can travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco in just 30 minutes.
* A federal judge has dismissed a class-action lawsuit against Instagram over controversial terms-of-service changes announced last year that many feared awarded ownership of users’ photos to the popular photo-sharing service.
* Global positioning systems can be hard enough to use on a clear, sunny day. But when it rains, or a storm hits, the satellite signals tend to go haywire. While it’s a huge inconvenience for drivers and pilots, NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are now using the GPS mayhem to better predict the ferocity of hurricane and tropical cyclone winds.
* The fearsome bite of a hungry Tyrannosaurus rex left behind new evidence that the famous beast hunted for food and wasn’t just a scavenger. Researchers found a part of a T. rex tooth wedged between two tailbones of a duckbill dinosaur unearthed in northwestern South Dakota. The tooth was partially enclosed by regrown bone, indicating the smaller duckbill had escaped from the T. rex and lived for months or years afterward.
* On Monday, benevolent hackers with a cyber-security company called iSEC partners demonstrated how they were able to capture cell phone calls and texts, along with any other data sent through a Verizon smartphone, using a device called a femtocell that can be purchased for less than $300.
* Using archival images from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, an astronomer discovered another small moon circling around Neptune. Mark Showalter, of the SETI Institute in California, plotted the movement of a white dot in more than 150 images taken by Hubble from 2004 to 2009.
* Yahoo has won a motion from a secretive court that allows it to publicly reveal its efforts to avoid becoming part of PRISM, the National Security Agency’s controversial data collection program. The U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled that the Justice Department must unseal documents from a classified 2008 case that Yahoo has said will demonstrate the Internet company “objected strenuously” to providing the government with customer data.
* Meanwhile, a strongly worded letter from Microsoft’s general counsel to Attorney General Eric Holder says secrecy about National Security Agency surveillance is harming fundamental “constitutional principles.”
* There’s new fuel for the fire that Apple’s working on technology for an updated TV set-top box or TV platform. Citing unnamed sources, former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin says Apple has been meeting with cable companies to pitch a service that would enable TV viewers to skip commercials.
* Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer gets a B for trying something different: a live video stream of Yahoo’s second quarter earnings. She still gets a gentlewoman’s C for what remained another uninspiring earnings report. After a year at the helm, Mayer still has a lot of work ahead before she can declare mission accomplished. In the meantime, she made the show interesting with a certain style, even when that style was at times, well, odd. Think Hans & Franz, but without the yuks.
* Like Napoleon, Google knows how to invade. Unlike Napoleon, it wouldn’t send its army of camera-wielding invaders into a Russian winter. However, it did send its people, clothed and fed, up the Eiffel Tower to record the very sensations that 7 million visitors experience every year. The results can be seen here. Just click on “museum view.”
* It’s Verizon Wireless’s turn to show off its next big smartphone. The nation’s largest carrier just sent out invitations to an event on July 23. Verizon promised to show off “the next generation of their most popular family of devices.”
* And here’s the latest — robot gymnasts.
* New York’s Christopher Street subway station sees the latest fatality to result from someone chasing a dropped cell phone on rail tracks.
* And how many of these 10 sci-fi stories that predicted the surveillance state have you read?
* In energy news, these thermocells make valuable electricity out of what is now ‘waste heat.’
* As it turns out, some people really are mosquito magnets.