Geekly Update - 26 November 2014

Category: Tech-News

What's the most important thing to remember when stealing cash from an ATM machine? Why does Computer Engineer Barbie need a MAN to help her finish a software project? And what's behind Google's plan to launch dozens of huge helium-filled balloons every day? 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

Khaled Fattah and his friend figured out a way to hack ATMs using only the keypad on the cash machine. Fattah's trick caused the machine to spit out $400, while debiting the account for only $20. The amount of cash the pair was able to withdraw before getting caught: $400,000. Using your own ATM card to commit bank fraud: Priceless.

Google’s driverless car is being trained to be more like human drivers in order to operate effectively among them. For instance, at a 4-way stop when it’s a Google car’s turn to go, the car will “inch forward decisively” to assert its right-of-way. "If you're always yielding and conservative, basically everybody will just stomp on you all day," says technical team leader Nathaniel Fairfield. Even MORE human would be a "roll down the window and shout obscenities" option.

The Barbie: Computer Engineer doll trolls every living geek girl with a storybook that includes lines like, “I’ve only created the design ideas… I’ll need Steven’s and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game.” And she thinks the library will let her hook up her virus-infected hard drive to its network for cleaning!
Geekly Update 11-26-2014

Google is launching 20 huge helium-filled Internet balloons per day as part of Project Loon, a loony scheme to encircle the globe with 7,000 airborne wireless Internet access points. The longest a balloon has remained aloft is 130 days, so expect to see lots of wildlife trapped in Google-branded “raincoats.”

Telephone monopolies would no longer be obliged to provide landlines in certain areas as early as 2018, under a provision of a bill approved by… the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee? Discontinuance of landline service would still require approval of the FCC and local public utilities commissions. Yes, it is part of a deeper conspiracy to pry that hardwired phone from ours cold, dead hands.

Detekt is free software that detects whether your Windows device is infected with FinFisher or Hacking Team RCS, two commercially available spyware suites. Detekt is aimed at activists and journalists in the human rights fields, and is brought to us by Amnesty International, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Privacy International, and Internet-rights group Digitale Geselleschaft.

Maybe you should be glad that your cellular carrier is slow to roll out new versions of Android. Owners of Nexus phones sold by Google itself are reporting many serious bugs after updating to Android v. 5.0 (Lollipop). Phones crash, contacts are wiped out, and nothing written in Adobe Air survives or can be re-installed.

Yahoo! Search will replace Google Search as the default search engine in Firefox. Of course, anyone who cares strongly enough to open their Settings can restore Google Search as the default search engine.

China is blocking thousands of foreign and domestic websites in one go by partially blocking the EdgeCast content-delivery network with the “Great Firewall” erected by the Chinese government. The reason seems to be that political activists have been using cloud services like EdgeCast to host forbidden information.

SnapChat will now let you send money to anyone using Square Cash, the free debit card to debit card payment service provided by payment processor Square, Inc.

An additional $2 fee would be tacked onto your phone bill if an FCC request for another $1.5 billion to provide broadband to schools is approved by Congress.

Facebook is reportedly working on a competitor to Microsoft Office, in hope of completing its mission to utterly destroy workplace productivity.

Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below, or I'll install the Bing toolbar on your laptop...

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 26 November 2014"

Posted by:

Lu Powell
26 Nov 2014

The Detekt program not available for Windows 8, according to its web site.


Posted by:

Rochelle
26 Nov 2014

I love the note about Facebook's office software. We were wrong years ago joking about Microsoft's World Domination.


Posted by:

Whitney Keen
26 Nov 2014

They will have to pry my landline phone from my cold, dead, hands. Don't these people ever have power outages? Landlines support our fire and burglar alarms, and any outside connections during blackouts. Cell phones don't do this.


Posted by:

MmeMoxie
26 Nov 2014

Oh Bob ... I am hopping mad!!! When is our US Government going to stop, interfering with our lives???!!!

Listen, I really do not have a problem with expanding Broadband in schools, libraries and the like, but, there comes a time, when enough is enough! I KNOW how many "fees" are added to my phone bill, every month and I don't like it one bit, that at LEAST $2, will be tack on! Anyone who knows our US Government, knows that the suggested $2, will more than likely, be more.

Here's a REAL thought!!! Why, doesn't our US Government put the "screws" to all of the Broadband Companies, in the USA and have them foot the bill, for expansion???!!! 1.5 Billion dollars, spread amongst them, would be less costly and would also, be done right!!! Broadband companies overall, make LOTS of money, in profits. Why aren't we "leaning" on Corporations, to help out our schools, libraries and the like???

Let us be real here ... Millions, upon millions of dollars are given to Universities by Alumni annually, right??? This money is to be used for needs around the campus and for students. Corporations will also, give to Universities, so why not something really important, like "forking over" for Primary Grade Schools, across the nation, so that the Universities will have students, in the future???!!!

To do this task, using Corporations and Broadband companies ... It seems the logical way.


Posted by:

Nigel
26 Nov 2014

If my phone bill goes up by $2.00 for the FCC to spend $1.5 billion on school broadband, how much will it go down when the FCC collects $43 billion for selling new bandwidth?


Posted by:

Madeline
26 Nov 2014

Many medical procedures require helium but it is a scarce resource,so it seems a waste to use helium for thousands of Google balloons. I hope they won't continue with this project.


Posted by:

Michael
27 Nov 2014

Read carefully, folks! (Including MmeMoxie, Bob R, and reporters.) Notice the item about proposed $2 increase in phone bill, etc? Notice how it doesn't specify what period? Follow the links to original article, to FCC site, to actual "press fact sheet". The increase is estimated at $1.90 per **year**. Keep calm and carry on.


Posted by:

Citellus
27 Nov 2014

Regarding the land line, I am in rural valley although only 12 miles out of town. There is no cell phone reception here; no cable; no DSL. Satellite internet is expensive and bandwidth limited, and it may not work in bad weather. Voice over Internet service has satellite delays in good weather. Dial-up is our backup - we have mostly underground phone lines. But what good is Internet Voice service if we need a landline connection to use it?

Bad idea.


Posted by:

tequilamockingbird
29 Nov 2014

Thanks for the notification about Mozilla changing from Google Search to Yahoo. I've been going bonkers trying to root out the virus I thought had hijacked my browser.


Posted by:

Daviq
03 Dec 2014

You can also change the search engine in FF (or any browser) to DuckDuckGo or Ixquick, if you'd prefer not to be tracked.


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