Geekly Update - 06 October 2016

Category: Tech-News

Is Yahoo spying on your emails, and reporting back to Big Brother? Will new technology make waiting in line a bit less frustrating? And can your wi-fi router read your lips? Find out in today's Geekly Update -- it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. And it's *guaranteed* to make you 146% smarter. Read, think and comment!

The AskBobRankin Geekly Update

One quick note for those who had trouble ordering the IDrive One... When you get to the order page, don't click the little button at the top that says $39.50. If you do, you'll get the wrong price. Instead, SCROLL DOWN on that page, and you will see the order form, which will get you the discounted price of $39.50. Sorry for the confusion!


Pilots and air traffic controllers are switching from slow, repetitive radio transmission of traffic controller instructions to text messaging, which can notify dozens of flights simultaneously. I wonder if anyone has considered how easily a text message’s origin can be faked, or the message modified enroute.

Google has revealed a gaggle of new hardware devices. Among them are the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, Daydream (a virtual reality headset), Google Wi-Fi (wireless home networking), Google Home (a competitor to Amazon Echo), and a new Chromecast that handles 4K video.

It wasn't bad enough that Yahoo's shoddy security allowed hackers to steal login credentials of 500 million users. Now we learn that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer ordered the company to create tools to scan incoming email messages for specific words and phrases, at the request of the U.S. government.

Yahoo and Big Brother

And you think your workplace’s IT is outdated. An auto repair shop in Poland is still using a Commodore 64 PC, 34 years after its debut and 22 years after it was discontinued. Sometimes, a 1 MHz CPU and 64 kilobytes of RAM is enough.

You're waiting forever on a long line, and you're thinking, "Wouldn't it be great if all of us could instead be sitting in comfy high-tech self-driving chairs, capable of conducting us to the front of the line?" Wish granted. Nissan has unveiled a self-driving chair that moves people along fixed courses such as restaurant and movie theater lines.

Researchers have found that Wi-Fi signals can be used to identify humans and monitor what they are doing. By noting how the radio signals are deformed by peoples' activities, software can "see" what a person is typing, or even read their lips with surprising accuracy.

The fifth version of Teddy Ruxpin, the original animatronic doll, is coming this holiday season. It features LCD eyes that realistically (if creepily) track a child’s movements; 4 GB of onboard storage for 40 audio stories; and Internet connectivity to download new stories or read audio books aloud.

A New Hampshire law criminalizing selfies that show a voter’s completed ballot is an unconstitutional infringement upon free speech, a federal appeals court has ruled. The state argued that by letting the world know their vote on social media, selfie-takers could be aiding future vote-buying and voter coercion schemes.

Six seconds is the minimum time that a human needs to wake up from watching a “Harry Potter” DVD and take command of the wheel when a self-driving car alerts him that an eighteen-ton truck is approaching head-on. This could be the fatal flaw in self-driving car schemes.

Death and taxes are certain. But at least New York state residents will no longer have to pay early termination fees if they die before their contracts expire, thanks to a new law that applies to landline and cellphone providers, cable, television, internet, power and water companies.

Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 06 October 2016"

Posted by:

guitargyl
06 Oct 2016

"Pilots and air traffic controllers are switching from...radio transmission...to text messaging.... I wonder if anyone has considered how easily a text message’s origin can be faked, or the message modified enroute."

Anyone can buy a handheld aviation radio transciever and transmit to their hearts delight, and everyone on the frequency can hear it. The sender can't be authenticated.


Posted by:

db
06 Oct 2016

I should think that the text messages would be encrypted, and or authenticated.


Posted by:

David
06 Oct 2016

"Sometimes, a 1 MHz CPU and 64 kilobytes of RAM is enough."

Sometimes a pad and pencil are enough.


Posted by:

goodie
06 Oct 2016

I think Yahoo is doing a very patriotic thing!!
Who the h3ll wants to help terrorists hide?

:..Yahoo Said to Have Aided U.S. Email Surveillance by Adapting Spam Filter
By CHARLIE SAVAGE and NICOLE PERLROTH

A system built to scan emails for spam, child pornography and malware allowed Yahoo to search for a terrorist organization's "signature" to satisfy a secret court order, several sources say.
.."


Posted by:

George
06 Oct 2016

It should be noted the iDrive offer is only good in the US. Its there in very fine print, but not noted in your email publicity. -=Geo=-


Posted by:

Doc
06 Oct 2016

I used to work with students who have an Acquired Brain Injury (educationalize for Traumatic Brain Injury). When trying to find a way to serve an ABI student, I met his father - a computer and programing wizard. He used an old Commodore 64 that would turn on the outside lights, turn on inside lights and radio, turn up the heat - turn on an electric stove - you know, kidnda run a house - USING VOICE COMMANDS - and that was 'back in the day'. I was astounded. He'd done it to try to help his son (ABI from Motor-cycle accident sans helmet). Back then the 386's were SCREAMING - and a 10 MEG hard drive was HUGE (who'd EVER use that much memory!??).

I'm not surprised that code can be written so tightly that it can take up virtually no room at all - Clap your hands 3 times and it 'turned on' the voice command program (one of two external drives) (?? I think that's right) - and the kid (16) could turn on lights, the hot water heater, the heater, the stove with a meal on it if Dad was out working late (plumber) -- you don't need a lot to do a little. Let's remember we would have fought World War III with less memory than our lap or desk top - and we sure used a LOT less RAM than even the most modest desk top to run our lunar space programs (including putting a man on the moon) - so it' just how tightly you can write code.

I am still amazed so many years later that you made me remember the plumber who lived nearly 'off the grid' had used a Commodore 64 to use speech recognition that was 100 times better than Dragon Dictate when it first came out. HIS program didn't need to 'train' on your voice. His advice to me when Dragon first came out? -- "Get the best microphone your school will let your buy". I got a $100 mic, and a LOT of problems were solved, esp the AM-PM change in voice that required most kids to retrain their program after they'd been speaking for about 90 minutes trying to get their term paper out on time.

And, I agree with David - sometimes - MOST of the time - a piece of paper and pen is all you need (I use a pen because I don't make mistakes ;-) ) -- And my desk is littered with scraps of paper to prove it.


Posted by:

Reg
06 Oct 2016

"Wi-Fi signals can be used to identify humans and monitor..." Hmmm...isn't that how the stealth jet was tracked and shot down in Bosnia?


Posted by:

Paul
06 Oct 2016

How long before a DDOS attack by a Teddy Ruxpin bot army against the Brian Krebs site.


Posted by:

Howard Lewis
07 Oct 2016

"Sometimes, a 1 MHz CPU and 64 kilobytes of RAM is enough."

A member of my family knows very little about computers but is the smartest computer user I know.

He learned VisiCalc, the first computer spreadsheet, around the time it was introduced in 1979. He continued using it decades later because "it does everything I want."

So much for "upgrading."

Howard L


Posted by:

D.V.N. Sarma
07 Oct 2016

Bob, Do you know where one can get old BBCMicro B
or B+ or Master.


Posted by:

Ted
07 Oct 2016

further to the comment by George 06 Oct 2016 and my comment on a previous offer _ PLEASE make it clear when an offer is available only in the US !! The order page allows input of non-US contact details but restricts delivery info to US addresses.
Or maybe YOU can persuade the sellers that Europeans also want to take advantage of such offers.
Thanks
Ted


Posted by:

Tom
08 Oct 2016

I'm not buying a Teddy Ruxpin until it is as smart as Ted. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1637725/


Posted by:

cal67
15 Oct 2016

According to a 2012 PC World article, at that time Sparkler Filters was still using an IBM 402 with punch cards. [url]http://www.pcworld.com/article/249951/computers/if-it-aint-broke-dont-fix-it-ancient-computers-in-use-today.html[/url]


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