Geekly Update - 14 July 2016

Category: Tech-News

Will Microsoft pay you $10,000 if Windows 10 fouls up your computer? Do you have a right to privacy while using the Internet? Can robots do a better job of reporting the news than humans? Today's Geekly Update is jam-packed with the latest tech news. It's *guaranteed* to make you 146% smarter. Read, think and comment!

The AskBobRankin Geekly Update

A federal judge in Viriginia has decided that no one has an expectation of privacy when using a computer that is connected to the Internet. His “reasoning” is that any such computer is vulnerable to hackers. By such “logic,” no one has an expectation of privacy anywhere because any door can be opened.

Lying is patriotic? PBS television execs caught a load of flack online from viewers who noticed the “live” programming of Independence Day fireworks was actually recorded years ago when the sky over Washington, DC, was clear, unlike the foggy and cloudy conditions of July 4, 2016. PBS admitted to its subterfuge with the “we wanted to be patriotic” excuse.

A Tesla car in “autopilot” mode crashed, and the driver died. A “Harry Potter” movie was still playing in his DVD player. Tesla reminds everyone that “autopilot” does not mean “self-driving.” It means only that the car will attempt to stay between the painted lines.

Geekly Update 07/14/2016

Microsoft paid a $10,000 civil judgment to Teri Goldstein, the owner of Sausalito, Calif.-based TG Travel Group LLC, for damages done to her business by an unauthorized and unwanted upgrade to Windows 10.

In related news, Microsoft has heeded customers’ fury and changed the behavior of the red X in the upper-right corner of its “Get Windows 10 now!” alert so that it closes the window, as expected, instead of launching a Windows 10 upgrade.

Artificial intelligence programs will write summaries of minor league baseball games for the Associated Press, freeing sports journalists for more sophisticated tasks like filing for unemployment benefits.

Don’t say it can’t happen here. A sweeping cyberspace law has been passed in Russia. Among other alarming provisions, it requires ISPs to provide backdoors into their customers’ encrypted communications.

Security researchers have discovered how to steal data from a PC’s memory by hacking the machine’s cooling fan(s) and manipulating the noise they make.

Google Maps and Google Earth will soon be even more accurate and detailed as the company has purchased the latest, petabyte-sized database of ultra-high-resolution satellite photos from NASA.

Two virulent ransomware programs that had declined are sharply on the rise again. Instances of “Locky” are now much higher than they were before its masters took a vacation in June. Also, the CryptXXX ransomware is back, and its programming flaw that allowed victims to recover their data without paying ransom has been fixed.

A free chatbot has saved drivers $4 million in traffic fines simply challenging technical errors in tickets scanned and uploaded by users.

Thousands of unsecured CCTV (closed-circuit television) devices have been enslaved into botnets and are being used in DDoS (denial of service) attacks. This is what happens when security takes a back seat to deployment of the Internet of Things.

A triple-lens camera no larger than a grain of salt can be injected into a vein to provide a unique look at cardiovascular diseases.

Google is testing a method of testing one’s Internet speed directly from search results, an innovation that does not bode well for speedtest.net and other speed-testing sites.

You can help stop human trafficking by snapping a few photos of your hotel room and uploading them to a database searched by law enforcement to identify rooms in which minors are exploited. Because patrons of prostitutes are stupid and often share such photos.

Walmart.com launched a trial of its “Amazon Prime killer,” a $49/year ShippingPass that gives customers free two-day shipping. A Prime membership is currently $99/year.

Prison inmates get help using social media, including dating sites, from people like Renea Royster, who works 100 hours per week moving messages sent via CorrLinks, an email service available to federal inmates, to the Facebook pages they paid her to create in their names.

It may not be safe to “pay at the pump.” Discoveries of credit card skimmers hidden in gas pump card readers have tripled in the past year. Go inside and pay cash or charge a fixed amount to your card.

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

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 14 July 2016"

Posted by:

Thomas Lawson
14 Jul 2016

So what your telling me Bob is that Hillary, Comey, Lynch, And Obama, And all those that have said Hands Up don't shoot are patriotic. Man as a
retired Navy CPO I guess I must not be patriotic because I don't lie, Damn.


Posted by:

Paul Rosenberger
14 Jul 2016

After I downloaded WIN 10, I discovered my old $30 Lexmark 650 printer would not print some of the new files. So it forced me to buy a new printer - I chose a HP 2450. But then I learned its cartridges had been cleverly 'chipped' to prevent home refills. So Best Buy took the HP back and sold me an Espon ET 2550 (3 in 1, with refillable ink tanks). So far it's a winner, and I predict other manufacturers will copy the concept.


Posted by:

MmeMoxie
14 Jul 2016

Last year when Win 10 was first started, I did get very upset about Microsoft's tactics!!!

I tried twice to upgrade to Win 10 before the November Win 10 upgrades to the main OS. Both times, I was frustrated beyond belief. I quickly went back to Win 7 Pro. I used GWX Control Panel to shut Win 10's attempts to change my computer.

In March of this year, my daughter decided she wanted her computer to be upgraded to Win 10. I was totally amazed as to the ease of Win 10 after it was installed. It truly seemed more like an upgrade to Win 7. Of course, there were differences Win 10 does most things a bit different, but I was able to figure them out and do the right thing.

Since I was so impressed with Win 10 - I made another attempt to upgrade my own computer. It was easy and the learning curve wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I who said she would NEVER upgrade to Win 10 - Made a complete liar out of herself. :O)

Now, as to Microsoft's sneaky, crude methods to get people to upgrade to Win 10 - This is WRONG on ALL accounts!!! I really don't understand why MS thinks it needs to do all of this BS. MS is well known and overall, a good solid OS.

Yes, more hackers use MS OS computers to do damage. Apple doesn't get as many hackers as Windows does. Why??? The simple answer is there are more Windows OS on computers, around the world!!! Plus, most Apple products are way more expensive. I know, I can't afford any Apple product, that is why I have Windows and an Android Smartphone. :O)


Posted by:

Daniel Wiener
14 Jul 2016

My daughter and wife both decided to upgrade their computers to Windows 10, and they are both happy so far. My wife says that it's faster and is giving her fewer problems than Windows 7. (Of course my wife has a psychic aura that causes all kinds of electronic devices to malfunction, so she's probably not a good data point for other people to consider.)

I'm staying with Windows 7, because I have a ton of specialty programs on my computer and I don't want to risk malfunctions. I see no need to upgrade, nor do I see any significant advantages.

Besides, I have a sneaky suspicion that Microsoft's deadline of July 29th for a free upgrade is set in mush rather than in concrete. Considering how desperately they've been pushing people, and all the underhanded tricks they've been using, they aren't suddenly going to stop trying. Either they'll announce a deadline extension, or they'll charge a nominal amount ($9.95?), or they'll offer it as a free "bonus" when you purchase other software (or practically anything else), or they'll temporarily charge the full amount for it but then have surprise "sales" every couple of months during which you can get it for free for a few days.

One way or another, Microsoft isn't going to give up. So I'm not at all worried that my failure to upgrade will come back to bite me if I later changed my mind. And the longer I wait, the more stable and bug-free it should get.


Posted by:

Mike Davies
15 Jul 2016

All good and useful stuff as usual, Bob, thank you.
But "flack" is spelled "flak". It references WW2 ground-based anti-aircraft munitions also known as "ack-ack", in WW1 it was known as "archie". Just sayin'.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Point taken, I always enjoy a good etymology lesson. But Merriam-Webster says that "flack" is an accepted variant of "flak."


Posted by:

MrBill
15 Jul 2016

Bob wrote: Also, the CryptXXX ransomware is back, and its programming flaw that allowed victims to recover their data without paying ransom has been fixed.
I have a machine infected in early 2014 with the Crypt ransomware. Fortunately, I had a recent (not current) backup of my data, so I didn't pay and bought an updated computer. However, I still have the CPU on a shelf and wasn't aware of a flaw (possibly in my version?) that might allow me to recover all data.
Can anyone out there steer me to some good/detailed instructions on how to try the recovery? Thanks.


Posted by:

Bruce Fraser
15 Jul 2016

Re: Help stop human trafficking, and "Because patrons of prostitutes are stupid and often share such photos".
Sorry, Bob, your sarcasm bounced back and bit you.
It's because these scumbags sell videos of children being sexually abused. If police can identify where the video was made -- by matching the background in the video to YOUR photo of a hotel room -- they have a better chance of nabbing the abusers, and rescuing the children.


Posted by:

Old Man
16 Jul 2016

RE: Bruce Fraser (15 Jul 2016)
I think that is the point Bob was making. At least the way I read it was that by providing photos of your room and its location could be used later by law enforcement to identify where the illicit activity is occurring.


Posted by:

Old Man
16 Jul 2016

All the gas stations in my area charge and extra 10-15 cents per gallon to use any card other than their brand. I don't like paying for gas that I'm not getting, so I only use cash.
So far I haven't heard of any method to take advantage of cash transactions.


Posted by:

Pat C.
20 Jul 2016

I rarely use my card for anything but buying from people I know and trust. Fer instance - my music guy whom I get music stuff for my get-box. I went through grade school/high school with this guy and we get a good buzz on a weekend after hours now and again and set in his store and jam.
Cards are handy and easy to use BUT...the bad guys are busy, smart and hungry for MONEY. I pay cash and I go inside to my bank and get money in my pocket to buy stuff.


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