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The Geekcast

Aaron Crocco

Long Island, NY

Description: The Geekcast is a technology show hosted by all-around tech guy Aaron Crocco, featuring news, how-tos, hacks & more. Cohosted by gamer Gozer, The Geekcast is the best tech resource.

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The Geekcast #404 – Podcast Not Found

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News:

Firefox dumps Google for search, signs on with Yahoo

Google’s 10-year run as Firefox’s default search engine in the US is over. Yahoo wants more search traffic, and a deal with Mozilla will bring it.

In a major departure for both Mozilla and Yahoo, Firefox’s default search engine is switching from Google to Yahoo in the United States.

“I’m thrilled to announce that we’ve entered into a five-year partnership with Mozilla to make Yahoo the default search experience on blog post Wednesday. “This is the most significant partnership for Yahoo in five years.”

The change will come to Firefox users in the US in December, and later Yahoo will bring that new “clean, modern and immersive search experience” to all Yahoo search users. In another part of the deal, Yahoo will support the Do Not Track technology for Firefox users, meaning that it will respect users’ preferences not to be tracked for advertising purposes.

With millions of users who perform about 100 billion searches a year, Firefox is a major source of the search traffic that’s Google’s bread and butter. Some of those searches produce search ads, and Mozilla has been funded primarily from a portion of that revenue that Google shares. In 2012, the most recent year for which figures are available, that search revenue brought in the lion’s share of Mozilla’s $311 million in revenue.

http://www.cnet.com/news/in-major-shift-firefox-to-use-yahoo-search-by-default-in-us/

Uber executive casually threatens journalist with smear campaign

 

It seems that for every story about how much people love Uber, there’s another story about something awful that Uber has done or that its executives said. Here’s the latest one: , Uber’s senior vice president of business, Emil Michael, floated the idea of spending $1 million to hire Uber’s own team of researchers and journalists who would surreptitiously fight back against reporters by digging up dirt on their personal lives if they write bad stories about the company.

It seems that for every story about how much people love Uber, there’s another story about something awful that Uber has done or that its executives said. Here’s the latest one: , Uber’s senior vice president of business, Emil Michael, floated the idea of spending $1 million to hire Uber’s own team of researchers and journalists who would surreptitiously fight back against reporters by digging up dirt on their personal lives if they write bad stories about the company.

In particular, Michael is reported to have singled out PandoDaily editor-in-chief Sarah Lacy, suggesting that he already knew something about her and could have his team of journalists confirm it. He’s also reported to have said that Lacy, who previously wrote about removing Uber from her phone because of the company’s “asshole culture,” should be held “personally responsible” for every woman who deletes Uber from their phone and then gets sexually assaulted by a taxi driver, arguing that assault is more likely from a standard taxi driver.

Uber confirmed the incident in a statement to The Verge. “The remarks attributed to me at a private dinner – borne out of frustration during an informal debate over what I feel is sensationalistic media coverage of the company I am proud to work for – do not reflect my actual views and have no relation to the company’s views or approach,” Michael says. “They were wrong no matter the circumstance and I regret them.” Michael is also reported to have believed he was making the comments during an off-the-record conversation, though BuzzFeed disputes that this was the case.

http://www.theverge.com/2014/11/18/7240215/uber-exec-casually-threatens-sarah-lacy-with-smear-campaign

 

There’s nothing like some good ol’ fashioned corporation scamming on the holidays. And as we inch closer to Black Friday, some particularly ambitious shoppers have convinced the mega-chain Walmart to sell them PlayStation 4s for as cheap as $50 thanks to a simple new price-matching scam.

Don’t cry for Walmart, though. Cry for price-matching. “We’re committed to providing low prices every day,” reads the Walmart website. “On everything. So if you find a lower advertised price on an identical product, tell us and we’ll match it. Right at the register.”

They’re probably going to tweak that policy soon. Last weekend, some lucky shoppers got their hands on $60 Wii U and 3DS bundles by asking Walmart to price-match what turned out to be a glitch on Sears’ website. And now, more devious shoppers have come up with a different scam to get PS4s: fake Amazon listings.

 

http://kotaku.com/people-are-scamming-walmart-with-bogus-cheap-ps4-listin-1660150939

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Geek This Week:  

Aaron:

Finished S1 of DS9. Got a SmartThings app working on my Pebble! Entire movie filmed on iPhone, edited on iPad.

Gozer:

Games: COD Advanced Warfare & Halo local multiplayer

Movies: Dumb and Dumber to

 

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Feedback and items of Note:

Hi guys,

 

On your recent podcast you talked about a rather expensive electric heater to deal with uneven heat.

After our daughter was born, we realized our other 3 bedrooms were of a different temperature than the master bedroom where the upstairs thermostat is. Our house is divided into 2 zones (forced air oil furnace) — upstairs and downstairs. I know a thing or two about HVAC, so I had installed Wifi connected thermostats some years back and have fully integrated them into my home automation system (not nest, I don’t do closed API) . Then I did the following. I installed motorized dampers on all 4 bedroom vents in the attic, and connected them to insteon outlets. Now I could programmatically control if a room was getting heat/cold air. I then added insteon wireless thermostats in the other 3 rooms. Now I know the temperature in each room and can control if it’s getting heat/cold and can fully control my primary thermostat settings. After some more programming I wrote a what I call a thermostat engine as a component of my home automation system, each of these 3 rooms has heat/cool offset — so spare guest room doesn’t get heat or cooled when no one is in it — hence heat offset is -6 and cool offset is +8, so it doesn’t get any air unless it’s below 62 or above 77 (assuming normal heat schedule of 68 heat and 70 cool). I also added an override window, so my daughters room will get heat starting her bedtime. The trick is how to force the termostat to go on when it doesn’t think it needs to — I did that in code, when a room needs heat or cool and master thermostat doesn’t — the master bedroom vent gets closed and a hold temperature is set 2 degrees of the current temperature. Any room which doesn’t need heat/cool — vent gets closed, when the secondary room gets to target temperature hold is cleared and regular schedule is resumed.

Basically for about the cost of $200 per room (3 rooms  in this case) I have the ability to give each room it’s own temperature zone. So each room only gets to the temperature it’s configured to — our master bedroom doesn’t get blasted with heat to simply warm up the nursery, and no need for electric space heaters everywhere.

Sorry for the long e-mail, it’s a tricky system, but it has been working marvelously and I checked the furnace run times and they’ve gone down significantly since I implemented it (50% of same time last year and we were not even heating spare rooms, just had the vents closed — which still blasts the spare rooms with air)

 

Cheers

-Yakov

Marc Morrell from Let’s Voltron will be on next week. Send in your questions! – http://www.theorange.co/letsvoltron/

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