Weekly Round-Up Feb 5

Once a week, I try to bring you a small selection of links to items of interest that caught my eye since the last update - so here you go:
Doom reboot gets a launch date - I had no idea they were even doing this 


I Sing The Car Electric

Current low gasoline prices notwithstanding, electric passenger cars are starting make more sense for regular people as prices begin to descend from the stratosphere, but as with most new technologies there is quite a bit of jargon and some perhaps unexpected considerations to take into account before you might take the plunge.

HowToGeek has a pretty comprehensive overview of the current electric car scene, and whether an all-electric, a hybrid (or neither) may be a good fit. The article also explains the difference between a "standard" hybrid such as the Toyota Prius and a "plug in" hybrid like the Chevy Volt.

Photobombing Horse Owner Says Neigh To Selfie Winners

Ah, technology. Photobombing occurs when something humorous (or sometimes gross) occurs in an otherwise normal photo - a kid picking their nose in the background, an animal doing something unexpected, someone falling off a bicycle, that sort of thing. The most well know photobomb is probably the old two-finger rabbit ears gag (person A holds up two fingers behind person B's head in a photo). 

Anyway, in this case, a father and son took a selfie with a horse in the background, and the horse is apparently yucking it up - a pretty cute sort of photobomb. So cute, that the selfie won a prize - and now the horse owner is somehow miffed over the prize money, or the fact that the horse's photo was taken without permission, or something. Really? Life is way too short for this, people.
"I never thought of asking anyone for consent for the horse," Bellis [the Dad photographer] said. "It was clearly viewable from the road, so why would I? I just don't understand it at all."


Google On The Lookout For Deceptive Downloads

As you have no doubt noticed, the websites you visit can be a hotbed of deception, flim-flammery and general shenanigans. In short, it can be a jungle out there; with spurious buttons and links designed to mislead and cause you to venture into shady areas and possible problems - such as those buttons that tell you you "need to update" your video player to view such-and-such.

Well Google is expanding their "Safe Browsing" feature in the Chrome browser to include those sorts of deceptive page elements, as well as other social engineering attacks (i.e. tricking you).
The company says the content that will trigger the warning includes anything that tries "to act, or look and feel, like a trusted entity," or that attempts to "trick you into doing something you’d only do for a trusted entity.
The Verge


So Long, GE Curly Bulbs

General Electric has announced it will phase out the manufacturing of CFL ("curly") bulbs in the US market, and turn to LED lamps instead. Like many others, I was never a fan of the CFL lamps other than for utility lighting, and while we do have several LED bulbs in our home, we still mostly have traditional incandescent lighting.
This year, GE will cease production of its coiled compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) for the  U.S. market and instead focus its consumer lighting efforts on LED lamps. Few people will mourn the end of the CFL era. Introduced in the mid-1980s, CFLs enjoyed a spurt of popularity after Oprah Winfrey endorsed them in 2007. The bulbs briefly accounted for about 30 percent of U.S. light bulb sales. But the bulbs, which heat gas rather than a filament, were never really beloved, and last year accounted for just 15 percent of sales. Consumers complained CFL light was too harsh, didn’t work with dimmers, flickered and took too long to warm up and light a room.
GE Reports

The Skinny On Mobile Payment Apps

The concept of paying for purchases at the checkout with your smartphone is still pretty new, but it is definitely being pushed as a convenient and secure way to handles these transactions.
Mobile wallets and payment apps: they’re supposed to make it simpler and easier to pay for stuff, or at least let us grab lunch when we’ve forgotten our wallet. Yet there’s now a wide variety of payment apps out there, including systems that are only for one brand of phone (Samsung Pay, Apple Pay) or only for one retailer (Walmart Pay). Which can you use for what purpose? Which is compatible with ancient smartphones?


Self-Driving Cars Will Likely Watch Us, Too

In order to make better driving decisions, self-drive cars may also watch the driver to give the computer system a better idea of how to proceed. I guess if it sees a look of sheer terror, it will apply the brakes promptly?
A team of researchers from Cornell University has been developing a new system which trains a camera on the driver in order to understand what they’re up to, predicting actions from three seconds out. In the first instance, the system could be used to supplement driver aids that already appear on cars, but in the future it could be used to help train autonomous cars by providing them with a rich seam of extra data.