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Submission + - What pranks have you pulled on scam callers? 1

flatulus writes: My wife has been getting calls repeatedly from "the Windows IT department" about our computer. She tells them she's not biting and hangs up.

This morning I had the pleasure of answering the call. It went like this:

"Hello?"
"Hi, this is the Windows IT department calling about your computer."
"A computer? what's that?"
"I'm calling about your computer."
"Computer? I've never heard of this. What is a computer?"
"What is a computer? OK, buddy — get lost" (hangup)

So, what fun stories do you have about pranking scammers?

Submission + - D Free: A device and an App that tracks bowel movements 2

Zanadou writes: The Australian ABC reports that a wearable device has been developed in Japan (where else?) named D Free, that uses ultrasound to monitor bowel movements and which then sends the user a text message when it is time to "go".

The device's inventor Mr Nakanishi said the idea first came to him two years ago when he had an "accident" while walking down the street carrying heavy luggage with no toilet in sight. The device uses ultrasonic waves to track the movements in the bowel, and when it is time to "go" the user receives an "almost Orwellian" text message that states: "We have detected activity in your intestines: you have approximately 10 minutes."

Related: possible prior art.

Submission + - BYU students create foosball table with artificial intelligence (ksl.com)

Mr.Intel writes: Concerns that artificial intelligence could overtake humans has spread to a new arena — the foosball table. For a school project, six computer engineering students at Brigham Young University worked together to make a foosball table that could bring heartbreak to humans who love to win tiny soccer games. By creating a software program that mimics human responses and reacts to foosball movements using robotic controls, the team successfully made a table that could best its masters.

Here is a video of it in action.

Submission + - Ad technology company claims ad blockers are "breaking the Internet" (telegraph.co.uk)

whoever57 writes: London, UK based ad technology company Oriel has published a claim that ad blockers break web applications in ways other than merely not displaying ads. They show examples such as airline sites that will not allow check-in because of the effects of an ad blocker. The original report is here. The CEO of Oriel is quoted saying that he discovered this accidentally when attempting to check into a flight, which raises the question: why would the CEO of an ad technology company use an ad blocker?

Submission + - A Spectre Is Haunting Uber: Jason Dalton's tale of smartphone possession (medium.com)

arctother writes: Kalamazoo Uber driver and shooting suspect Jason Dalton’s story of being possessed by the Uber app is only the latest in a long history of stories in which people attribute paranormal or spiritual powers to new technologies. Tales of otherworldly beings communicating through the telegraph, radio, television, or computer screen have long been motivated by the anxieties that arise with social and political changes driven by new forms of communication and action-at-a-distance. Today, while Uber’s PR department is scrambling to keep the phrase “going Uber” from becoming an updated version of “going postal,” it is worth looking more closely at Dalton’s delusions for some insight into the particular fears and dreams of our up-and-coming app-governed existence. Though exaggerated by his paranoia, each of Dalton’s crazy claims reflect the actual controls and suggestions made by the real Uber app.

Submission + - A Bot That Drives Robocallers Insane

Trailrunner7 writes: Robocalls are among the more annoying modern inventions, and consumers and businesses have tried just about every strategy for defeating them over the years, with little success. But one man has come up with a bot of his own that sends robocallers into a maddening hall of mirrors designed to frustrate them into surrender.

The bot is called the Jolly Roger Telephone Company, and it’s the work of Roger Anderson, a veteran of the phone industry himself who had grown tired of the repeated harassment from telemarketers and robocallers. Anderson started out by building a system that sat in front of his home landlines and would tell human callers to press a key to ring through to his actual phone line; robocallers were routed directly to an answering system. He would then white-list the numbers of humans who got through.

Sometimes the Jolly Roger bot will press buttons to be transferred to a human agent and other times it will just talk back if a human is on the other end of the line to begin with.

Submission + - Worst Tech Recruiter 'Pickup Lines'

snydeq writes: We've all received them: Trawling emails from tech recruiters looking to lure us away from our current employer, often with a cringe-worthy line or two that makes it seem as if we are being courted by an unwanted pickup artist. From the article: 'The men and women tasked with recruiting tech talent go to great lengths to attract the attention of their targets — (often unsuspecting) tech pros viewed as valuable "gets." While some recruiters prove to be invaluable in improving your career, finding exactly the right words to pique your interest in a new gig, far more seem to stammer, stumble, and elicit exasperated sighs.' What are the best doozies you've received?

Submission + - CSI:Cyber leaked early to torrent sites. 2

MouseTheLuckyDog writes: In a major piece of irony, the first episode of the new version of CSI:Cyber, a new CSI dealing with cybercrimes, has been leaked to torrent sites " before it has been shown by CBS.

PS: Ars is reporting it too.

Submission + - Expedition 42 ISS Crew Embrace Douglas Adams (space.com) 1

SchrodingerZ writes: In November of this year, the 42th Expedition to the International Space Station will launch, and the crew have decided to embrace their infamous number. NASA has released an image of the crew, mimicking the movie poster for The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, a film released in 2005, based on a book with the same name by Douglas Adams. Commander Butch Wilmore stands in the center as protagonist Arthur Dent, flight engineer Elena Serova as hitchhiker Ford Prefect, flight engineer Alexander Samokutyayev as antagonist Humma Kavula, astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti as Trillian, and flight engineers Terry Virts and Anton Shkaplerov as two-headed galactic president Zaphod Beeblebrox. The robotic "Robonaut 2" also stands in the picture as Marvin the depressed android. Cristoforetti, ecstatic to be part of this mission stated,"Enjoy, don't panic and always know where your towel is!" Wilmore, Serova and Samokutyayev blasted off September 25th for Expedition 41, the rest of Expedition 42 will launch November 23rd.

Submission + - Garage Owner Fakes Murder For Google Street View

mrspoonsi writes: A garage owner has apologised for staging a scene that looked like a murder in an Edinburgh street, which was caught on Google Street View. Dan Thompson, 56, who owns Tomson Motor in Giles Street, had to say sorry after receiving a visit from the police. The mechanic had lain on the road while his colleague stood over him with a pick axe handle after spotting the Google camera car from a distance. However, a web user saw the image and made a complaint.

Submission + - Iranian News Agency Says The U.S. Is Secretly Run By Nazi Space Aliens. Really. (washingtonpost.com) 1

cold fjord writes: The Washington Post reports, "On Sunday, the hard-line semi-official Fars News dropped one of its biggest bombshells yet: The United States government has been secretly run by a "shadow government" of space aliens since 1945. ... The alien government is based out of Nevada and had previously run Nazi Germany. ... the controversial NSA programs are actually a tool for the aliens to hide their presence on Earth and their secret agenda for global domination. ... President Obama is said to be a tool of the aliens, though anti-alien factions within the U.S. government are fighting to topple him. Their present aim is to install a global surveillance system that will ... allow them to finally impose a one-world government and enslave humanity. The best part ... is the sourcing. ... The progenitor of it all, of course, is ostensibly NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who has waited until now to reveal that the real reason for all those NSA programs is aliens." ... there's also a more serious undercurrent here. A worldview that sees the U.S. as an evil hegemonic force so irrationally driven toward global domination that it must be run by space aliens is not a worldview that is predisposed toward negotiation or accommodation." — More at Forbes and Foreign Policy. Nothing at The Onion.

Submission + - 6 Howlingly Unrealistic Hollywood Portrayals of Law Enforcement Using Computers

Esther Schindler writes: Every time a technical minded person winces at the movies or in front of a TV, a puppy dies, and a Hollywood screenwriter smiles.

What Lisa Vaas does so well in 6 Howlingly Unrealistic Hollywood Portrayals of Law Enforcement Using Computers is far more than yet another collection of #headdesk moments. (Which are amusing enough.) She shows the OMG THEY DIDN'T DID THEY? example of Hollywood at its worst, and then intersperses the examples with what the current state of the art really is in law enforcement circles. For instance: "Nick Selby says that the average incumbency of technology for law enforcement (and we are obviously talking local police, not anything of the NSA’s XKeyscore ilk)—as in, the monitors you see in police cars, for example—is 18 years old."

The end result is an opportunity to snort into your coffee, and to say, "Really? Wow."

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