Five Lessons Learnt This Week

This week in weird and wonderful news from around the world, our five lessons learnt include why you need to watch what you say in front of your TV, why bus passes are important, why you should always check your email attachments and where Wikipedia is headed next…

1. Your TV is listening

dckiksbsuyomwbs1paqsNot to creep you out or anything, but you might want to be careful what you say in front of your smart TV – because it’s eavesdropping on your private conversations. Samsung issued a warning this week to SmartTV customers, informing them that the TVs, equipped with voice recognition technology, are “always listening” for voice commands.

In order for the voice commands to work, Samsung capture every word you say and send the recorded data via the Internet. Apparently, they need to send the data to a third party in order convert your speech to text, which the TV can then “read” and act upon. But Samsung also collect voice commands in order to find out what improvements they can make to the voice recognition feature.

So watch what you say in front of your TV… In an official statement, Samsung reminded users that “if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of voice recognition”. Pretty creepy stuff…

2. Wikipedia is going to space

2000px-Wikipedia-logo-v2-en.svgAstronomers have come up with a plan to beam the entire contents of Wikipedia into space in an attempt to make contact with aliens. The Search for Extraterrestrial Life Institute, in California, want to use the informative website to reach out to intelligent life forms by sending messages via radio telescopes to hundreds of star systems and planets 20 light years away.

The plans are set to be discussed by astronomers over the weekend, as not all scientists are in agreement. Some fear that a reply from alien life forms might not be friendly, with institute astrophysicist David Black remarking: “One question is that if there are predators out there, we might be drawing attention to ourselves.”

What do you think? Are we ready for E.T. and Chewbacca to find out all the secrets of Wikipedia?

3. Who needs a passport

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 11.28.42Not John Williams… he can get around with just a photocopied bus pass as proof of ID. The retired school teacher from Liverpool was packing to go home from a family holiday in Lanzarote when he realised his passport had been stolen from the hotel safe. He reported the crime to the police and the drove his family to the airport, assuming he’d be stuck in Lanzarote a little longer.

But when he explained to staff at the Ryanair check-in desk what had happened and asked if they’d accept alternative identification, they agreed. So Mr. Williams phoned his niece back in England and asked her to email a photocopy of his bus pass to the Ryanair desk… and it was accepted, much to John’s surprise. He said “It was not only a bus pass, but a photocopy of a bus pass. I wouldn’t even get on a bus with that.”

He ran into a little trouble at passport control back at Liverpool John Lennon Airport, where staff demanded to know how he’d got back with the questionable ID – but they saw the funny side and John was allowed to go home after being questioned.

If you need a holiday, here are our top travel spots for traders – but probably recommend you pack your passport and not your bus pass. 

4. Always check your email attachments

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 11.37.03We’ve all had that red-faced moment when you merrily click ‘Send!’ only to realise you haven’t attached the document you meant to include in your email. But it could be worse – Scottish teen Heather McNab became an internet sensation this week after submitting a job application by email… with a Jamie Oliver chilli beef recipe attached in place of her CV.

The 18-year-old was applying for a job as a sales negotiator at an estate agents, but her application took a turn for the worse when she received the reply: “Dear Heather, You attached a Jamie Oliver Recipe for Chilli Beef not your CV.” After (presumably) cringing, Heather saw the funny side and posted the message on Twitter with the comment “Worst day of my life ha ha ha.”

She might not have got the job she wanted out of it – but she certainly got her 15 minutes of fame. Her blunder has since been retweeted 8,000 times and even received a reply from Mr. Oliver himself, who said she deserves the job, because his chilli beef can do anything! Better luck next time, Heather…

Just for Heather, here are some tips for success we’ve learnt from the biggest names in trading. They might just help her redeem herself… 

5. Driverless cars are coming

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 12.31.45Driverless cars have been all over the headlines for the past couple of weeks, threatening to make driving licenses obsolete, and the government officially gave permission this week for driverless cars to be tested on UK roads. But the self-driving vehicles are coming sooner than you think – a prototype of the UK’s first driverless car was unveiled this week and is expected to be released later this year.

The Lutz pod will be the first car of its type, and is aimed at commuters, shoppers and the elderly travelling short journeys. It uses 22 different sensors to drive itself safely, including panoramic cameras, lasers and radars to create a virtual image of the world around and avoid collisions. Pretty clever.

The first driverless cars are very much aimed at short journeys around the doors – with a range limit of 40 miles and a top speed of 15mph, we don’t think Lamborghini or Ferrari need to be too worried.

While you wait for driverless cars to catch up, check out our favourite cars of the year here