Geekly Update - 02 September 2020

Category: Tech-News

What do you get when you combine silicon, artificial intelligence and pig snouts? Is T-Mobile giving away free iPhone 11s? Are Ring video doorbells tipping off criminals to police raids? And should you ditch Amazon Prime, and switch to Walmart Plus? 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

Elon Musk and the Neuralink gang say that their goal is merging human brains with AI, but for now they're putting brain implants in pigs.

Wired Magazine's piece "The Oysters That Knew What Time It Was" is a deep dive into chronobiology, the science of biological clocks. Researchers are discovering more about how plants and animals are in constant communication with the Earth, sun, moon, and stars.

T-Mobile is offering a "free" iPhone 11 for customers who switch from another mobile provider. But of course there's a catch. You have to trade in an eligible device, and pay for the phone up front, then T-Mobile will pay you back in billing credits each month over a 24-month period. Isn't that kind of like the death of a thousand cuts in reverse?

Many students will be forced to continue sub-standard virtual classroom instruction this fall, so parents will be looking for educational apps to fill the gaps. But adding insult to injury, Researchers from the International Digital Accountability Council examined hundreds of education apps and found they were funneling data to third-party advertisers, including student names, emails, location data and device IDs.

Geekly Update 09-02-2020

Hopefully, this roundup of The 9 Best Robotics Kits for Kids will help homebound students learn STEM skills. Popular Mechanics says robotics is useful for engineering, coding, programming, and even broader skills like hands-on creativity, problem solving, communication, and (socially distanced) teamwork.

Are you having trouble getting things done? Maybe Specs, the anti-procrastination smart glasses, will help boost your productivity. They use artificial intelligence to watch what you watch, and nag you when you're spending too much time with TV or social media.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently passed the $200 billion net worth milestone. That, and the fact that almost 50% of all online purchases are at, got me thinking about alternatives. Enter Walmart Plus, which offers groceries and pretty much anything you could find in a Walmart store. The $98/year e-commerce membership program will provide same-day and other fast shipping options.

There's concern about the many ways that law enforcement could use surveillance footage from Ring and other doorbell cameras, but that knife can cut both ways. With the ubiquity of these video cameras, some are concerned that they may tip off the bad guys by alerting them when police are approaching a house to search it.

Engage is a battery-free Game Boy, a video game console powered by a combination of solar energy and button-mashing during gameplay. That'll get kids out of their dark bedrooms for a while, at least.

Watch engineer Michael Pick build the world's smallest iMac. The video covers the entire process of designing and 3D printing a miniature iMac, about the same height as a can of Red Bull.

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

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 02 September 2020"

Posted by:

James Orpin
02 Sep 2020

Walmart & Sam's Club are the same entity. Will your Sam's Club membership also include the Walmart membership ???

Posted by:

David Horsfall
03 Sep 2020

I'd be interested to hear your views on Internet coverage and speeds in the USA which I understand are pretty poor or virtually non existent in all too many places Many UK providers talk about "Broadband" whatever that's supposed to mean. I understand Dial-Up, ADSL, DSL and Fibre. Each gives the potential client an idea of what to expect. Next comes silly adjectives like Super, Extra super Fast etc. etc. Then comes Symmetrical or Asymmetrical (terms providers in the UK tend to shy away from). In Spain where I presently live, the ISP's are up-front with the gory details and advertise for example 300 X 300 Symmetrical (which is what I have) or higher. The lowest offering is 100 X 100 and again Symmetrical. It matters not what you may or may not want to do with your connection. Some UK ISP's throw another spanner into the mix and put limits on download limits. Here in Spain limits don't exist. How is it in the USA where normally one expects to find the biggest and best of everything?

EDITOR'S NOTE: The United States has vast rural areas, some of which lack (wired) broadband Internet service. But satellite connections are adequate for most of those people.

Posted by:

Joel Bergmann
03 Sep 2020

Here in the USA broadband (DSL, etc) is disgracefully slow. And expensive.

Posted by:

03 Sep 2020

James Orpin, Walmart and Sam's West Inc (dba Sam's Club) are subsidiaries under umbrella of parent company Walmart Inc, they are run as separate corporations. Even within "Walmart" there are numerous separately run companies. Great list of Walmart Inc's global assets on Wiki. Sam's Club has several memberships with specific terms, not affiliated with any Walmart memberships, so unless Sam's Club specifically adds this benefit, the answer to your question is sadly "No." But keep checking!

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 02 September 2020 (Posted: 2 Sep 2020)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved