Geekly Update - 25 February 2015
Will speaking in Pig Latin prevent the NSA from intercepting your phone calls? Are Google's robo-dogs peeing on your lawn in the middle of the night? And why might you want to use a drill press to format your hard drive? Get answers to these burning questions, and the scoop on the latest tech news, in this edition of the Geekly Update. It's guaranteed to make you 146% smarter. Read, think and comment!
The AskBobRankin Geekly Update
"Kick my dog, please!" Boston Dynamics, a robotics firm acquired by Google, has created a robotic dog that can walk, run, even climb hills and stairs. But more importantly, it can recover from a good hard kick, and not lose its footing.
Tired of the voice mail maze, or waiting forever on the phone for a customer service rep at your bank, phone company, or airline? Get Human helps you find customer service numbers fast, and zip right to an actual human who can help you.
Google’s latest U.S. patent (#8950238) is an odor removing device that detects body odor, blows deodorant on the smelly spot, and suggests routes you can take to avoid any nearby friends. Something smells fishy about this one.
You may have too many mobile devices if you need this 49-port USB hub to recharge all of them simultaneously.
The Invisible Boyfriend will help you convince family and friends that you’re in a relationship even if you’re not. For only $25 a month, you receive romantic texts, shareable photos, and even a “how we met” story that you can customize online. For $25/month, it should include a free dinner at Taco Bell.
AT&T is going up against Google with gigabit Internet service in Kansas City, MO. But the really exciting news is that it will cost an extra $29 per month if you don’t want AT&T to track your online activity.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is asking a federal court to invalidate a patent on “online competitions on social networks where users vote for the winner.” Cases like this are why we should invalidate the entire Patent Office!
"Pass the hammer and drill, please..." A new type of malware "makes traditional anti-virus and anti-malware software practically useless” by hiding itself in the firmware of disk drives, according to security experts. Even reformatting the hard disk won't remove the virus. So far, only one shadowy hacker gang known as “the Equation Group” is known to be using the technique.
"Alktay otay emay inway Igpay Atinlay..." The latest rumor from the “Snowden files” is that the NSA and its British counterpart, the GCHQ, hacked into the computers of Gemalto, the world’s largest maker of cell phone SIM cards, and stole encryption keys that enable the spy agencies to decode the encrypted transmissions of several million phones.
In an unusual “reply-all” mishap, Missouri public utility Ameren accidentally sent emails that disclose its confidential negotiations with rate regulators to all parties in the case, including consumer advocates opposed to the proposed 10% rate hike. The emails reveal that Ameren would be willing to settle for much less than that.
Don’t bother calling the Midlothian, IL, police if you are the victim of ransomware extortion. They were, too, and paid the $500 ransom to get the key to their illegally encrypted computer.
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 25 Feb 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 25 February 2015 (Posted: 25 Feb 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved