Geekly Update - 01 May 2019
Happy May Day! Yesterday I had surgery to repair torn tendons in my right elbow, so this issue was created entirely with my left hand. Please forgive any typos or odd commentary possibly induced by pain killers. :-) Has one San Francisco neurosurgeon created a gadget that can read your thoughts and speak them out load? Is a five billion dollar fine for Facebook's privacy violations just a slap on the wrist, or will it force them to change their ways? Can hackers in dark corners of the Internet tap into your car's GPS and slam on the brakes? And how easy is it to steal money from poorly protected crypto wallets? 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
This just in from the "Did I Say That Out Loud?" Department: A Wired story about The Machine That Reads Your Mind (Kinda) And Talks (Sorta) describes a brain-computer interface that was originally developed to help paralyzed people control computers. Now it's being used to turn brain activity into digitally synthesized speech. This could help people talk who can’t physically make speech.
SpaceX, the privately funded rocket science gang, just received approval from the FCC to launch 4000 satellites into low earth orbit, to create a network of satellites to sell home Internet service. These satellites will be in a lower orbit than traditional ones, so they'll be able to offer faster speeds without data caps. The goal is to bring high-speed Internet to developing countries and rural areas in the United States.
How fast do you need it? "Free two-day shipping" is the most popular feature of Amazon Prime, but the company is investing hundreds of millions in infrastructure to cut that delivery time in half. Amazon has already added same-day and one-day shipping to many of its markets, as well as two-hour deliveries through its Prime Now program. I suppose the next logical step is to deliver the goods BEFORE you order them.
Facebook is prepping for a massive fine from the Federal Trade Commission of 3 to 5 billion dollars for its privacy violations. You might think that would put quite a dent in their bottom line, but the anticipated fine amounts to just 20 percent off Facebook’s profits in the first quarter of 2019.
Microsoft says that the Windows 10 Spring Update may not work if you have USB drives or SD memory cards connected. Users may see a message saying that "This PC can't be upgraded to Windows 10." The problem involves the potential for incorrect reassignment of drive letters when re-mounting the USB drive or SD card.
This just in from the TANSTAAFL Department -- Some streaming devices that enable viewing of pirated content (movies, cable tv shows, and sports) are stuffed with malware. Worse, they also open the door for even more viruses to enter, by bypassing the user's router firewall.
One hacker claims he can remotely turn off car engines by breaking into gps tracking apps. If the car is traveling at less than 12 miles per hour, and uses certain GPS tracking devices, the hack can stop it cold. “I can absolutely make a big traffic problem all over the world,” the hacker says.
A software update that was meant to improve the Nokia 9 phone's fingerprint scanner module has had the opposite effect. After applying the update, the phones could be unlocked by swiping a pack of gum over the fingerprint reader.
Users who rely on cryptocurrency like Ethereum and Bitcoin had better beef up their security. Weak or easily guessable private keys, which function as passwords for cryto-wallets, have allowed sophisticated crypto bandits to raid tens of millions of dollars from accounts.
Is this a gigantic smartphone screen, or a vertical television? It's both, and Samsung is betting that millennials will buy them.
Apple just blocked several screen-time-limiting apps. Could it be that they were competition for Apple's newly introduced "Screen Time" feature? Apple says no, but Kidslox and Qustodio have filed an antitrust complaint to the European Union.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 1 May 2019
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 01 May 2019 (Posted: 1 May 2019)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved