Geekly Update - 02 February 2022

Category: Tech-News

How many cats can you fit inside a Starlink satellite dish? What's the secret to playing Wordle for free, now that the NY Times has purchased the game? And “Oh No...!” did NASA just find Mister Bill hiding in a rock formation on Mars? 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

In my home state, for years we've joked about the legality of the "New York State Rolling Stop". But Tesla took it seriously, and rolled out "Assertive Mode", which instructs Teslas with the Full Self-Driving package to roll through stop signs under certain conditions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) didn't seem to find it any funnier than the police in New York, and ordered the recall of 54,000 overly assertive Tesla cars.

Starlink's internet satellite dishes have a Snow Melt Mode which keeps snow from building up on the dish. That keeps the signal strong after a snowstorm, but it also makes the satellite dishes irresistible to cats. One Starlink user tweeted a picture of five cats cozied up inside a Starlink dish.

SpaceX is offering a Premium tier of their Starlink satellite Internet service. It promises speeds up to 500Mbps (about 3-5X faster than the existing service). Premium, which is aimed at small business and power users, will cost $500 a month (5X the $99 non-premium offering) and has an initial equipment cost of $2500. No word from SpaceX if the Premium tier will have Anti-Cat Mode.

GeeklyUpdate 02-02-2022

Jack Sweeney is a 19-year-old who has a Twitter account called ElonJet that uses publicly available air-traffic data to report the takeoffs and landings of billionaire Elon Musk's private jet. Sweeney turned down an offer of $5000 from Musk to shut it down, and instead will expand his efforts to track the jets of other high-profile people, including Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.

And finally, a story that doesn't involve Elon Musk... Engineers from the Research Institute of Computer Science and Random Systems have developed a system that can detect malware by scanning devices for telltale electromagnetic waves. No anti-malware software is needed on the target device. A specially-equipped Raspberry Pi operates externally, and can discern between safe and malicious data emanations.

Jack Wardle's popular Wordle word game has been bought by The New York Times, for a price in the low seven figures. With that kind of layout, will the Times keep the game free for everyone to play? Wardle says it will remain so "initially" but there's no word from the Times if they will soon make it pay to play. But here's a little secret: Wordle is a webpage, so it's possible to download a complete copy of the game now, save it on your own computer, and play for free regardless of what the Times decides.

Engineering at North Carolina State University have developed a robotic "hand" with soft flexible grippers that can pick up a single strand of hair, or lift an egg yolk without breaking it. The researchers say the technology has both robotic and biomedical technology applications, and was inspired by the Japanese art of kirigami.

AT&T is offering a new "Unlimited MAX with 5G" plan for $45 a month. You get unlimited talk and text, and unlimited high-speed data.
But of course, there are a few limits to this "unlimited" plan. For starters, you can only get it with in-store activation of a single line at a Walmart retail store. And AT&T "may temporarily slow data speeds if the network is busy." That said, the price beats the competition, and adds HD streaming, 10GB hotspot, and 100GB of cloud storage.

CNet says: "New aircraft designs could power air taxis that later this decade will pop you above the traffic for fast, though probably pricey, journeys around town." Ummm, I'm pretty sure someone already invented something called a "helicopter" back around 1939.

And finally, here is today's Just Here For the Headline: NASA Rover Creates A Silly Face On Mars While Digging For Rock Samples.

Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 02 February 2022"

Posted by:

02 Feb 2022

Oh noooo! Mr. Sluggo is gonna hurt me!

Posted by:

David Lorenz
02 Feb 2022

Yep, I've got one of those "rolling stop sign" Teslas.

My wife and I were full self-driving through our neighbor yesterday, watching the car switching on signals and making turns, etc. When it approached some stop signs, it did some "boulevard stops", rolling at a very low speed through the intersections. (I normally 99-100% stop when I, the human, am driving.) The Tesla becomes timid and comes to a complete stop whenever other cars are near the intersection.
The good thing is that a Tesla recall is almost always a software update that happens over Wi-Fi or the car's cellular connection. No need to bring the car to the service center or dealer. Oh, I forgot - there's no dealers to hassle with.

Posted by:

Ernest N. Wilcox Jr.
03 Feb 2022

I tried to save the wordle webpage for offline viewing in Microsoft Edge. It doesn't seem to work, and I cannot find any setting about offline viewing in the Edge settings page. I'll try another browser and report back.

Posted by:

Ernest N. Wilcox Jr.
03 Feb 2022

I tried again to save the wordle webpage, this time to my desktop and it works! This time it worked!

The first time I used

This time I used, the link at the top of the results.

Posted by:

03 Feb 2022

Major mobile carriers will be shutting down their 3G networks in 2022, rendering older phones useless.


Posted by:

03 Feb 2022

I also used, the link at the top of the results to get Wordle.

The Times mini crossword had "wordle" in the clues today!! They are already marketing it.

Posted by:

06 Feb 2022

A month and a half ago I purchased phone service with Cricket. (AT&T Mvno) Unlimited with Max for $60/month. $55 with autopay. Mainly to be able to purchase a 5G Moto one phone for $29. Have to stay with Cricket for 6 months. 3 months on the unlimited plan. Then I'll switch to their cheapest- $30/month. Was using their hotspot (15 gigs a month) last night and found some shady websites were censored from viewing. Crickets 5G speed is faster than AT&T mifi 4G. And Verizon 4G here. T-mobile mifi is equal to AT&T 4G. But speed isn't everything.

Posted by:

15 Feb 2022


I am using the downloaded version written about here and today Feb 15, 2022 had a much harder word, that I did not get AGORA. Yet hubby, who just goes to NYT to get his Wordle puzzle, had the much easier AROMA.

Glitch, or is NYT dumbing down this puzzle.

I hope not because it really strains my brain, which is just great. I don't want another easy puzzle.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 02 February 2022 (Posted: 2 Feb 2022)
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