Geekly Update 02 26 17

Category: Tech-News

Is that blinking light on the front of your computer spilling secrets to hackers? What could go wrong if teenagers had the tech to turn their cars into self-driving robots? Can you type using only your brain waves? And are Internet slowdowns causing nervous breakdowns? 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

NOTE: Today's issued was mis-dated as 02-26-17. I don't know what my brain was thinking. Today's issue is for March 1st. Happy March!

Thanks to self-driving car software released to the public domain, college students are retrofitting their Honda Civics using off-the-shelf hardware for as little as $700. What could possibly go wrong?

A paralyzed woman has set a new speed record for typing using only her thoughts to depress keys. New brain implants developed at Stanford helped her hit 8 words per minute, four times the previous record. Star Trek's Captain Pike could have used something like this.

New geeky words recently added to the Oxford English DIctionary include clicktivism, drunk text, hackfest, screencast, and smishing.

Microsoft may not release the much-anticipated Surface Phone after all. Gartner Research reports that only 0.3% of smartphones sold in October 2016, were powered by Windows OS. Apple’s iOS operating system took 17.9% of mobile gadget market share, while Android crushed it with 81.7%.

Geekly Update 03-01-2017

You may want to cover your hard drive activity LED with electrical tape. Researchers have demonstrated how malware can control the lamp to transmit data stored on a hard drive as very rapid Morse Code-like flashes of light to a receiver such as a security camera. You've already got tape on your webcam, right?

Kim Dotcom, founder of the controversial Megaupload service, will finally be extradited to the U.S. from New Zealand, but not on copyright infringement charges which Kiwi law does not consider an extraditable offense. Instead, the court agreed that his case is essentially one of fraud, for which extradition is permitted. He is accused by the U.S. Department of Justice of criminal copyright infringement, money laundering, racketeering and wire fraud.

Oatmeal in the radiator? Five months after Yahoo disclosed the hacking of 500 million users’ accounts, its system remains compromised. Consequently, Verizon has knocked $350 million off its offer for Yahoo’s Internet business.

Mobile Internet users have zero tolerance for network delays that make videos stall and selfie uploads take “forever.” A study by Ericsson and Vodafone Germany used electroencephalography to detect the stress users experienced under simulated delays while performing various common tasks. Even a one-second delay caused enormous angst. I'll bet the users tested had an average age of 17.

YouTube will soon end those 30-second video ads that cannot be skipped because - surprise! - users tend to skip the videos to skip the ads.

Windows 10 now runs on 25% of PCs for the first time. Windows 7 still runs on 47%, down 1.7% from December. Windows XP, the OS that won’t die, held steady at just over 9%, while Windows 8.1 held steady at 6.9%.

Ajit Pai, the FCC chairman appointed by President Donald Trump, rescinded his predecessor’s rule that would have placed strict limits on ISPs’ use of customers’ data. Pai says Comcast, Cox, et. al., should play by the same privacy rules as Web sites, ignoring the fact that Amazon does not have a captive market.

And this has nothing at all to do with tech or gadgets, but I couldn't resist throwing it in this week's Geekly Update. Goats, in Idaho, wandering about wearing Snuggies. That is all.

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update 02 26 17"

Posted by:

Nezzar
01 Mar 2017

Dear Bob,
I am 67 years old, and I have below zero tolerance for any kind of network delays.


Posted by:

Dennis King
01 Mar 2017

I especially liked the Goat article!

I wonder where the new FCC Chairman has his off shore bank account. Just because he was one of Verizon's top lawyers, no conflict of interest there... corporate profits over citizen privacy, what a guy.


Posted by:

RichF
01 Mar 2017

I was scary thinking about professionally built self driving cars, but the road filled with systems built by tinkerers is really scary.


Posted by:

Reg
01 Mar 2017

Webcam? what webcam?


Posted by:

PgmrDude
01 Mar 2017

Delays: I can deal with Network delays, although videos stalling does drive me crazy, but not because I'm impatient, rather because I know the system/app IS/should-be Buffering to specifically PREVENT such a thing from happenning. What really gets me is MY PC running (apparently) system crap in the background and taking upwards of 80% CPU and/or Disk resources - when *I'm* not running ANYthing that is resource intensive. It's even worse when I've closed apps and the system is still taking up nearly all the resources. All without TELLING me what's going on. Yes, I know all about Task Manager, but that is usually of little help at times like this.

Video Ads: Even worse than the ads on YouTube, are the ads that pop-up when accessing a video or even an article from a Twitter post. Most of them CANNOT be skipped or even CLOSED - keeping you from the video/article entirely. THOSE I try to skip, regardless of how interested I may be in the stated topic.

Typing with Thoughts: Finally, up to the speed of, what?, an Ant crawling on the keyboard. Hopefully the speed of the system can be Greatly increased, now that they have it working.


Posted by:

BobD
02 Mar 2017

Something is going on.
A couple of days ago, a letter arrived via USPS from my humane (hint) health "insurance" company. The letter is dated August 14, 2018. The envelope with the postmark has vanished.
Today, I received an email telling me that a whatnot I ordered was shipped on "03/02/2017", via USPS.
And now the bizarre date on Rankin's blog.
I blame the commies, or space aliens, the latter of which has caused the majority of computer glitches for the last 60 years. I've caught them.


Posted by:

Marilyn
02 Mar 2017

I have Windows 10 on my latest computer but I still have my old laptop with XP; still love XP and probably always will.


Posted by:

SamG
04 Mar 2017

You hear retired people state, "I have all the time in the world." Not me. I'm 68 and I don't. Time is running out. After all, we only have a finite amount of time here.
Only 2 of my tech devices run Windows Phone 10. Only because my bank chose to support WP10 and not WP8. Computers running Windows 7, XP and Linux Mint 17.3. Won't update to Windows 10 on them. Also have an outdated 4.2.2 Android tablet.
Which is why I hesitate to purchase an Android phone. Most Android devices are only updated for 2 years. What a racket. Planned obsolescence.


Posted by:

Old Man
07 Mar 2017

*When I was working for a dot-com company during its peak, we had an 8-second rule. If the page delayed more than 8 seconds, our team had to find out why. The reason was that if a page took over 8 seconds, the viewer would go someplace else. Seems today that rule is ignored.
*The problem with what OS is being used is based solely on Internet usage. There is no way too tell how many older OSs (going back to Win 3) are still in use, but not connected to the Internet. (NOTE: I have two.)
*YouTube is not the only one with ads that can't be turned off. I was trying to read an article on one tech site where the ad just keep repeating - even when I had the auto-play and volume turned off. The ad overrode those settings, so I had to keep manually resetting them. Grrr. A tech site should have known better.


Posted by:

Granville
07 Mar 2017

8 Seconds, was this the days of 12k bit/s Modems. Otherwise this explains the end of the so-called dot-com era.


Posted by:

Old Man
09 Mar 2017

Re: Granville @07 Mar 2017

If you recall, in the early 2000's most people were using a 56K dial-up modem. The 8-second rule applied to the entire page, not when it started.
With today's high-speed broadband connections it is frustrating to have to wait 30 seconds or more for all the ads to load before actually being able to see the desired content on the page. Then there's also the excessive connection delays that can take over a minute (I've had some take up to 10 minutes to connect). The 8-second rule for 56K would be almost instant with today's connections.

NOTE: The dot-com bubble did not burst due to download speed, but due to poor management.


Posted by:

Citellus
10 Apr 2017

I have no choice but to be patient. With only satellite (or dial-up) internet connections in our rural area, we learn to have other things to do while waiting.


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