Geekly Update - 03 February 2021

Category: Tech-News

What happens when an 11-million pound rocket lands at 45 degree angle? Did Elon Musk slyly refer to inveterate gamers living in their mothers' basements as monkeys? Will your next blood test be painless and blood-free? And what should you do if your buffer is bloated? 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

For the second time in a row, another SpaceX Starship had a great test flight, but a bit of trouble sticking the landing. SN9, SpaceX’s latest Starship prototype soared 10km into the sky, but the 400-foot-tall craft exploded in a fireball upon landing. SpaceX engineer John Insprucker, who apparently majored in both Rocket Science and Understatement, said “We’ve just gotta work on that landing a little bit.”

When billionaire Elon Musk isn’t busy lauching rockets, he’s working on Neuralink and other pet projects. Musk said in a recent interview that Neuralink, a brain-computer interface, has enabled a test monkey to play video games with its mind. I’m thinking he’ll have little trouble finding human volunteers, or perhaps he already has.

Engineers at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a “nearly pain-free” microneedle patch that can be applied to the skin, as an alternative to a needle stick to draw blood. The patch can capture potential biomarkers from the fluid between cells to detect antibodies, viruses, or cytokines.

Geekly Update 02-03-2021

Both Microsoft Edge and Google’s Chrome browser have been updated to help you create and manage secure passwords. Edge now has a password generator for new accounts or when changing an existing password. Microsoft is also offering "password monitor" in Edge, an optional feature that will check your saved passwords to see if any are included recent data breaches. Chrome already has the password auditing option, but has beefed up it’s password manager to allow for easier password changes.

Apple has announced "app tracking transparency," a new privacy tool lets you choose which apps can see and share your data. The feature is expected to roll out when iOS is released this Spring. Users will also have the option to prevent apps from sharing information with data brokers.

First it was herpaderping, now it seems there’s an epidemic of bufferbloat, according to Jim Gettys, who is apparently an expert in computery stuff. Bufferbloat can have “devasting effects” on your online activities, he says. If you experience lag during online games, sluggish web browsing, or glitches in your Zoom calls, your buffer may be bloated.

Microsoft Defender ATP, the commercial version of the Defender antivirus product included in Windows 10, is erroneously flagging a recent Chrome browser update as being infected with the Funvalget backdoor malware. Microsoft says it was a false positive detection due to "an automation error." And a major Oops.

This just in from the “Why Bother Closing the Barn Door” Department: The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) says "We've heard of one organisation that paid a ransom (about USD $8.9 million) and recovered their files” but “without any effort to identify the root cause and secure their network.” A few days later, the same ransomware attacker struck again, noting that the vulnerability had not been fixed. “The victim felt they had no other option but to pay the ransom again," the NCSC blog said.

An upcoming NASA mission will place three tiny cube-shaped satellites into orbit, to demonstrate how a swarm of thousands of small satellites might track and communicate with each other autonomously. Zac Manchester, an assistant professor in Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, says some companies already are launching hundreds of small satellites into orbit for tasks such as Earth imaging and weather forecasting.

Can somebody tell me why 150 million people are paying for a Spotify subscription? I don’t have any trouble finding free music or podcasts, so…?

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 03 February 2021"

Posted by:

Bill Roberts
04 Feb 2021

With Spotify, I can ask "her" to play almost any album by name, output to any of my devices. The tracks play in the correct order, as intended by the artist. I can't say that is worth the monthly cost for everyone, but it is for me, and is FAR less expensive than purchasing albums as I did for many years.

Posted by:

04 Feb 2021

I'm with you Bill. As a classical and jazz lover it is worth it to me to have my albums organised in playlists accessible from anywhere. And I very rarely purchase CD's any more.

Posted by:

05 Feb 2021

"a swarm of thousands of small satellites" - and when they merge together, resistance is futile!

Posted by:

Wild Bill
06 Feb 2021

We should probably be working on how to insert our endgame meme into the AI consciousness so that when they expand into the galaxy and, perhaps, the universe, they take some of our self with them. Or maybe not?

Posted by:

06 Feb 2021

"Cutting the cord" has become quite chic and apparently a bragging right as a frugal choice for both audio/video accompaniment in daily life.
We try to lead a commercial- and advertisement-free lifestyle to the maximum extent possible. Our house rule is to never watch anything in real-time, which makes a DVR an essential part of our lifestyle that we are willing to pay for.
Going back at least a few decades, our cable providers (Adelphia/ATT/TWC/Spectrum) have always provided a wealth of FREE (and ad-free) music channels. Most cable customers are not even aware of this free perk; maybe because cable-providers rarely mention this worthwhile ad-free perk. Why even bother foraging for 'finding free music"? Especially when you can have a wealth of music genres (24/7 uninterrupted FREE kind) just at the touch of a remote control.
Originally, we abandoned FM radio music for FREE Sirius satellite music channels offered by DishNetwork. Currently, Charter/Spectrum FREE (and ad-free) music channels only get turned off when we are enjoying DVR videos in non-linear time.
In addition to a 1000+ LP collection; our current digital music library is in excess of a few TeraBytes and is accessible to our portable media players and via NAS/Server for all our mobile devices.
Spotify? Cord-Cutting? SuperBowl? Never gonna happen under our roof.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 03 February 2021 (Posted: 4 Feb 2021)
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