Geekly Update - 12 April 2017

Category: Tech-News

Is your Internet Service Provider poised to sell your web browsing history to the highest bidder? Is Uber cheating both passengers and drivers? Which mobile provider is giving HBO for free? And where should you look to find really terrible ideas? Get answers... in today's Geekly Update -- it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. This issue is guaranteed to make you 146% smarter -- you'll see why. Read, think, and, comment!

The AskBobRankin Geekly Update

AT&T is offering free HBO Go with new subscriptions to its $90/month Unlimited Plus plan. Subscribers to any AT&T video division, such as DirecTV Now or AT&T U-Verse, will get HBO channels and on-demand service free. If you subscribe to Unlimited Plus and one of the video divisions, you’ll also get a $25 monthly credit.

Amazon will refund up to $70 million as part of a settlement with the FTC over in-app purchases made by children. A court found last year that Amazon hadn't gotten parents' consent when their children made some in-app charges.

Congress’ recent rollback of FCC regs requiring ISPs to get customers’ permission before selling browsing data is extremely unpopular. In polls, 83% of Americans don’t like it, and 74% think President Trump should have vetoed the measure. Internet advocates are sharpening knives to hold those who voted for the rollback accountable in 2018 elections.

Geekly Update 04-12-2017

But it could be a tempest in a tea pot. A Reuters story says that Verizon, AT&T and Comcast will not sell customers' web browsing data to third parties. The AT&T privacy statement says they "will not sell your personal information to anyone, for any purpose. Period." Other ISPs have made similar statements. Web companies such as Google, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook were never part of the FCC privacy rules, and have always been free sell anything about your online activity to anyone.

The University of Utah is offering scholarships to varsity video game players.

The most hated cable company and the most hated cellular service provider are joining forces in what will surely be a wildly popular venture. Comcast will resell Verizon cellular service.

From the "Some PR Might Be Bad PR" Department: In retaliation for a customer’s one-star review, the inventor of an Internet-connected garage door opener bricked one of his own products, preventing the complainer from being able to use it.

Autonomous cars will be allowed on New York State roadways for one year thanks to a measure buried in the state’s budget bill. (Note to self: Do not post online complaints about self-driving car.)

A "Win, Lose, Lose" Situation. Uber may be using sophisticated software to defraud passengers and cheat drivers. According to a class action lawsuit, the Uber app displays a shorter route for the driver, and a longer one for the passenger. The rider's fee is based on the longer route, and the driver is paid based on the shorter one.

A Twitter account named “The Internet of Sh*t” highlights products that should never have been connected to the Internet.

Learning a new language? The Amazing Online Pronunciation Guide can help, with verbal pronunciations of many common words in multiple languages.

The Museum of Failure showcases and celebrates really terrible ideas, such as a cell phone that only Tweets - no calls or other text messages.

Australia’s consumer protection agency has sued Apple over the company’s refusal to service iPhones that one of its software updates bricked.

Google’s pay disparities for men and women are particularly pervasive and large, according to a Dept. of Labor EEOC audit. The company swears it pays equally across genders and races.

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

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 12 April 2017"

Posted by:

Kenneth Mitchell
12 Apr 2017

"Congress’ recent rollback of FCC regs requiring ISPs to get customers’ permission before selling browsing data is extremely unpopular. "

The regulations aren't being "rolled back"; they were never in effect at all. So this is the status quo. The new regs were to prevent ISPs from selling such info IN THE FUTURE, but since most of them don't anyway, it really IS a "tempest in a teapot". Mountains out of molehills.

The whole impetus of this hubbub was the press trying to stir up controversy about ANYTHING that the congress or the Trump administration is doing.


Posted by:

CJ Russell
12 Apr 2017

About the wage gap: I find it difficult to believe that there is a real wage gap based on gender. Men tend to work longer hours and take more dangerous jobs. Women take time off to have babies. When calculating the type of job, the actual time at the job, hours worked, experience level, that kind of thing, it seems to me that wages are pretty close to equal. Yes, I'm a woman who doesn't feel discriminated against.


Posted by:

Dennis King
12 Apr 2017

Our Right to Privacy is guaranteed in the Constitution. The regulations ARE being rolled back. So we should trust BIG Corporations to "do the right thing" over profits?
Wow, what world are you living in? Do you work for them?


Posted by:

Paul T
12 Apr 2017

Bob, thanks so much for this "Geekly Update - 12 April 2017. Especially the Forvo (Amazing Online Pronunciation Guide) link. I like the use of multiple native speakers when trying to learn the proper pronunciation of a language.


Posted by:

Wild Bill
12 Apr 2017

I find the Garadget garage door story quite interesting, as it shows a substantial degree of remote control over a purchased portal security device. Seems somewhere between contradictory and dangerous. Definitely hope the inventor doesn't branch out into autonomous autos.


Posted by:

Bill Conroy
12 Apr 2017

@ Dennis King. Dennis, the Constitution guarantees your right to privacy from the government. You enter into an agreement with a private company you are their will. If anybody actually read the "agreements" we all click yes to, you would not believe what you are agreeing to.


Posted by:

Art F
12 Apr 2017

Your item about NY State allowing self-driving cars on its roadways for the next year was needlessly alarming. The linked article clearly states that this is to be permitted for testing and demonstration purposes only, under the direct supervision of the New York State Police, with a licensed driver in the vehicle.


Posted by:

Ray
13 Apr 2017

This is typical lawyer speak to misguide customers. The privacy statement says: "... will not sell your personal information to anyone, for any purpose. Period." Guess what? Your browsing history is NOT "personal information." ISPs will sell your browsing history as they see fit.


Posted by:

Old Man
13 Apr 2017

I see people tying to say that our privacy is protected under the US Constitution. This is false.

Reference:
http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/rightofprivacy.html
"The U. S. Constitution contains no express right to privacy."


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