Geekly Update - 02 October 2019
Will bubbles in the space-time continuum make it possible for spaceships to travel faster than the speed of light? Why did a little-known librarian from a small town just get inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame? And will your next online purchase be delivered by drone, or will that annoying neighbor kid shoot it down with a garden hose? 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
Without warp drive, Star Trek's Starship Enterprise wouldn't have been able to explore strange new worlds. Einstein's Theory of Relativity implies that no object can move faster than the speed of light, but a student at the University of Alabama thinks that a bubble created within space-time could theoretically make it possible to boldly go where no man has gone before.
It look three years of trial and error, but Picnic, a startup company based in Seattle Washington, has (almost) perfected a pizza robot. The machine can crank out 300 custom pizzas per hour with little human intervention. Someone has to pick up the bits of sausage that falls on the floor.
Hey, kids, it's Cybersecurity Awareness Month! To celebrate, Google is rolling out three privacy-enhancing updates: Incognito Mode for Maps, an auto-delete feature for YouTube, and the ability to delete Google Assistant voice commands.
United Parcel Service (UPS) has just received FAA certification to operate a drone airline. The company has begun deliveries via a Matternet M2 quadcopter drone to hospitals around the country. UPS has plans to transport packages for other customers as well, but don't expect your next bag of dog food to go plop on your lawn any time soon.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning patients that "cybersecurity vulnerabilities" in certain medical devices could allow a hacker to “take control” of a device, causing it to malfunction, or leak personal information. That's the serious part. Here's a funny part: The FDA advises patients to "talk to their doctor" to see if their medical device might be vulnerable.
Tech pundits gush about the benefits of 5G wireless technology, but aside from faster mobile Internet speeds, what practical difference will it make in our lives? Qualcomm, one vendor of 5G chips and modems has a "road map" predicting what new things 5G will enable, and when we might actually begin to see them.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently unveiled the Starship Mk.1 prototype, which promises commercial flights to the Moon, Mars and off-world bases. Musk posted a video showing the inside of the Mk.1's cargo bay, where payloads and passengers will stay.
Not to be outdone, Relativity Space has announced plans to use giant 3D-printers called Stargates, to "print" space rockets. Staffed by former employees of SpaceX and Tesla, the company says it can drastically cut costs by reducing the number of parts by 99 percent.
Messaging app WhatsApp is testing a disappearing messages option that will allow users to send messages that are automatically deleted after a period of between five seconds and one hour. FYI, WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, so you can use your imagination to guess at what "disappearing" and "deleted" might mean in actual practice.
We take free internet in our public libraries for granted, but when librarian Jean Armour Polly made the suggestion in 1991 that her upstate New York library should offer free internet to patrons, there was quite a bit of pushback from other librarians who saw it as a threat. For her many years of promoting library-based internet services, Polly was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame.
Your encrypted PDF file might not be quite as encrypted as you hope. German researchers report that "Our attacks allow the recovery of the entire plaintext of encrypted documents by using exfiltration channels which are based on standard-compliant PDF properties." In other words, some popular PDF readers have a bug that makes it possible to view the contents of an encrypted PDF file.
Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 2 Oct 2019
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 02 October 2019 (Posted: 2 Oct 2019)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved