Geekly Update - 03 June 2015

Category: Tech-News

Should you be alarmed if you see a flying saucer over the Pacific Ocean today? What percentage of dangerous objects do TSA screeners actually detect? And can you really shut down your friend's iPhone by sending a text message? Get answers to these burning questions, and the scoop on the latest tech news, in this edition of the Geekly Update. It's guaranteed to make you 146% smarter. Read, think and comment!

The AskBobRankin Geekly Update

Flying saucers are real, finally. NASA is testing the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator, a 100-foot diameter saucer-shaped combination spacecraft/parachute that they hope to use when sending humans to Mars in the 2030s.

Would you feel secure if TSA screeners found 95% of all weapons and bombs that bad guys were trying to sneak on planes? If not, how would you feel if they FAILED to detect over 95% of them? Because that is what's happening, based on undercover tests conducted by the Department of Homeland (in)Security.

A glitch in Apple’s iOS allows an iMessage user to remotely shut down another user’s iPhone or iPad simply by sending a specially-crafted message to the victim. Apple says its working on a fix.

Geekly Update 06-03-2015

Outfit a dog with a heart-rate monitor. Add a camera that snaps a photo of what the dog is looking at when its heart rate increases. Turn the dog loose and watch things go viral.

On May 20, a Canadian teen pled guilty to 23 counts of “swatting” and other social engineering crimes in one of the most appalling reigns of online terrorism ever documented, mostly against female online gamers who rejected his friend requests.

Google has applied for a patent on a toy fitted with WiFi, cameras, sensors, and servo motors that can sense when you looking at it, turn towards you, and speak. “Chuckie” the horror movie doll wants one.

Amazon is targeting Etsy sellers with email offers to try Amazon’s new “Handmade” marketplace. The Wall Street Journal’s Greg Bensinger wonders if Amazon’s standard 15% commission on sales will be cut to approximate Etsy’s 3.5%, but is too lazy to find out.

What was the Zodiac Sign of your kindergarten teacher? A new study of Goggle password-resets reveals that 40% of users can’t remember the answers to their “secret questions,” making this security protocol arguably worse than useless.

This startling infographic highlights the trillion-fold increase in computing performance since 1956. A Samsung Galaxy S6 has processing power equivalent of 18 Cray-2 supercomputers (circa 1985).

Dig your dual-deck boombox out of the attic: cassette tapes are making a comeback. Nielsen surveys report 50,000 albums were sold on cassette in 2014, up from 10,000 in 2010.

It bears repeating: Kickstarter is not a store. The case of a digital watch startup that raised over $1 million in 2013 and still hasn’t delivered the goods it promised underscores this warning.

To steal a stranger’s IRS data, including past tax returns, all you need is a name, Social Security Number, date of birth, current address, and tax filing status. Over 100,000 taxpayers have learned that the hard way.

Think a Solid-State Drive would be nice if you could afford it? Check out these prices on 2.5-inch SATA III SSDs from Crucial, starting at only $67.99 for 120 GB.

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment below, or Canadian hackers will send malicious text messages to your dog's heart-rate monitor.

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 03 June 2015"

Posted by:

Curt
03 Jun 2015

Wow! I still have a ton of cassette tapes. Guess you just hang on to stuff it always comes back. Now if I had only kept all my vinyl.


Posted by:

Mike S
03 Jun 2015

The TSA bit just proves what I've said all along, that the TSA is a useless waste of tax dollars. It was put in place to cause inconvenience, to the flying public, in order to convince people that they are being protected.

TSA is one of those government "we've gotta look like we're doing something" things, that politicians do in a panic when something happens - all in an effort to try to look good so they can get re-elected.

The proof is in the pudding, so to speak - TSA should be shut down and the money spent on something useful.


Posted by:

Tom English
03 Jun 2015

On security questions: it would help if not ALL the questions were designed for teens. At 67, I don't remember the names of my first grade BFF or teacher or who I sat behind. I don't have a favorite color or song or subject in school or flavor of gum.

I've closed checking accounts at two different banks because, when given their menu of 12 to 15 questions, I know there are not three to which I would be able to remember the answer I gave IN A WEEK, much less years in the future.

I guess they can't build the questions around anything important or memorable because the answers would already be in most marketer's databases.


Posted by:

RandiO
03 Jun 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Monday reassigned the leader of the Transportation Security Administration and directed the agency to revise airport security procedures, retrain officers and retest screening equipment in airports across the U.S..


Posted by:

Jon
03 Jun 2015

Doesn't TSA say that it is not detection so much as continually changing policies and criteria that discourage the bad persons? Someone decided that it is impossible to bat 1000, but that it is possible to be so erratic that those who want to commit no-nos will be so afraid that they might be caught that they won't try. What risk are you willing to take if there is a 5% chance you'll be caught? Believe it or not, most won't take the risk. There are solid peer-reviewed studies that support this. Guess a few policy-makers can read scientific literature. Amazing. To bad politicians such as senators and representative can't. Not amazing?


Posted by:

Bassman
04 Jun 2015

I too miss cassette tape, mind you quality players are hard to come by. Pretty much the best recorded music I've ever heard was from Direct to Disk ( vinyl) from Sheffield Lab. Unreal! Welcome back cassette; now where is my old Nakamichi tape player ... and does it still work!


Posted by:

Mat
08 Jun 2015

I have 3 answers (which I can remember by the type of question)for any and all of those security questions.......they don't have to be accurate, you just have to answer correctly with whichever key word you chose to use.

Just pick 3 silly, non identifying words and use them everywhere!


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