Geekly Update - 01 May 2019

Category: Tech-News

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.

Geekly Update 05-01-2019

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...

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 01 May 2019"

(See all 33 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Martha
01 May 2019

Hey, Bob, best of health to you! You're looking game. I hope your healing is swift.


Posted by:

BillK
01 May 2019

Praying for a speedy recovery! (Though you did very well with your 'off' hand!)


Posted by:

Cynthia Garner
01 May 2019

I'm looking forward to 4,000+ satellites so that I can get high-speed internet (versus sl-o-oo-ww internet).
With that many satellites in low orbit will they be able to shield us from meteors?!
And--I love two day Amazon delivery. Some of us in the rural areas don't have a Walmart just down the road.


Posted by:

Nezzar
01 May 2019

Bob,
Great work with that left hand. I hope that you will heal up in a hurry!!


Posted by:

Bob Kinsler
01 May 2019

Dragon software works great for those with wounded limbs, hint, hint.


Posted by:

Coco
01 May 2019

Bob, Wishing you a speedy recovery from your surgery. Don't skip the physical therapy when recommended by your doctor! It is hard but works.

When I read about Amazon shipping before you ordered, it reminded me of, back in the 50's or 60's, there was a scam going around that companies would send you a product and then a bill for about 5 or 10 times what the product was worth, hoping you would pay. They would harass you until you paid or send the product back. Finally some court (maybe the Supreme Court) ruled that it was illegal to go after people that hadn't ordered that product from them. This was many years ago and probably before you were born. With that in mind, I don't see Amazon going that far with their shipping times.

Coco


Posted by:

Coco
01 May 2019

Bob, forgot to mention, great job on your typing! Only spotted one misspelled word. Coco

EDITOR'S NOTE: I spelled cocoa wrong? :-)


Posted by:

Linda
02 May 2019

Wishing you a quick recovery that's as pain-free as possible, Bob. Living a one-armed life for a while can be a challenge, especially as you begin to realize all the things you do that generally need two arms and hands! Hope you have some help to get you through the hardest parts.


Posted by:

nick saunders
02 May 2019

Hi Bob, some years ago I had an injury to my primary arm, that is, my right and subsequently had to learn to do things with my left arm/hand, I kept doing many things with my left even after recovery and to this day I find it is actually very useful to be partially ambidextrous.
Wishing you a speedy recovery from down under.


Posted by:

Jeanine
02 May 2019

Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Bob.


Posted by:

Therrito
02 May 2019

Wishing you a speedy recovery, Bob.


Posted by:

Steve
02 May 2019

Well done Bob, not easy to do and wishing you well for a quick recovery


Posted by:

Robert
02 May 2019

Well done Bob. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.
I was reduced to typing one hand when I contracted multiple sclerosis a few years ago. My sons are urging me to use Dragon software or something similar or dictate using my smart phone but I just haven't got around to it yet. I should not be so lazy and experiment.


Posted by:

rocketride
02 May 2019

You know what would really be nice?
If M$ would, when giving one of those error messages, state what the actual problem is. I.e., "This PC can't be upgraded to Windows 10 until you remove all External Drives and Restart.", instead of "This PC can't be upgraded to Windows 10."

This is related, I'm sure, to the fun and games attendant to safely removing an external drive in normal use. Windows will say that the drive is in use, but won't say what application or system process is refusing to (or 'forgot' to) relinquish control, or is still using the drive.

There really should be a better way of telling the computer "I need to dismount this drive RIGHT NOW!" than using 'Shut Down' or 'Restart'. (That's kind of like using a rag soaked in chloroform to quiet a screaming kid down.)


Posted by:

rocketride
02 May 2019

Get well soon! (Forgot to mention that in my previous post. Oops.)


Posted by:

Connie
02 May 2019

Hope you will be back to your self real soon! Praying for a speedy recovery.


Posted by:

Tony
02 May 2019

I know you're a stickler for spelling mistakes so: crypto-wallets typo in cryptocurrency section.
Wishing you a speedy recovery.


Posted by:

Dana Lynch
02 May 2019

This can be a blessing, I repeat can not definitely. By keeping the USB connected I may keep this sorry update from taking place.I have it delayed for 6 months.


Posted by:

Wolfgang
03 May 2019

First, take good care, and I wish you a speedy and complete recovery.

Then, thank you for all of the useful and valuable information!

Namaste!


Posted by:

DonnyB
03 May 2019

Best wishes for a quick recovery. Thanks for the great information (and hard work with the left hand). Great work, as always.


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