Geekly Update - 05 December 2017

Category: Tech-News

If your car is stolen, should you call the police, or post a cry for help on social media? Can you use a bag of corn chips to hide from your employer? Is Facebook targeting 6-year-olds with a new smarpthone app? And how hard is it to build your own Internet? 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

Score one for crowd-sourcing. When his newly purchased Land Rover was stolen, Sebastiaan de With did file a police report, but it was his message and accompanying photo on Reddit that resulted in the car being found within hours.

Danni Messina, a 19-year-old student at Washington State University, posted a challenge to her friends on Twitter. She would make a donation to St. Jude's Children's Hospital in the amount of 25 cents for every "like" her post received, and 50 cents for every retweet. Her post went viral, leaving her on the hook to donate over $200,000. Lacking that huge sum, she started a GoFundMe campaign which has raised over $85,000 so far.

That's really twisted… Tom Colella is an electrician by trade, but he got fired for using his electrical knowledge in a sneaky manner. Colella's company requires employees to carry a GPS-enabled device that tracks their whereabouts while on the job. But Colella had a habit of slipping the gadget into a bag of Twisties corn snacks, and heading off to the golf course. The foil-lined bag acted as a "Faraday cage" which blocks electromagnetic fields.

Geekly Update 12-05-2017

Facebook has launched a Messenger app aimed at kids between the ages of 6 and 12. More parents should have a problem with that.

Amazon scarfed up almost half of online sales during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, according to estimates by GBH Insights. The company said its top 5 best-sellers were the Amazon Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, TP-Link Smart Plug, Instant Pot DUO80 8 Qt 7-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker and 23andMe DNA Test.

Crappy service… A contract delivery driver for Amazon “pooped” in the driveway of Nemy Bautista, whose security camera caught the whole event. Amazon was apologetic, and sent someone to clean the mess. But the next day, another Amazon delivery person was caught on camera at the same address, hurling a package 20 yards, instead of walking to the door.

Forty percent of Detroit residents have no Internet access at all; they’ve been ignored by broadband ISPs. So they are banding together to build a wireless mesh network. It isn’t that hard, it turns out.

Canadian Karim Baratov admitted in a San Francisco court to masterminding the Yahoo phishing campaign that ultimately led to the compromise of more than 500 million accounts. He also admitted to working for Russia’s FSB intelligence agency. His three co-defendants remain in Russia, which refused to extradite them.

“Bomb on Board” is not a good SSID name to give your mobile hotspot, as a passenger aboard a Turkish Airlines flight learned when the flight was diverted.

Waze, the driver navigation system, has new features for motorcyclists such as hands-free voice commands. It’s also the first such system to provide info on traffic in car-pool lanes.

American Airlines has banned certain smart suitcases because they contain lithium-ion batteries, which we all know explode in cargo holds every few minutes.

A rather clever fake Google ad sent users who searched for “amazon” to a scam site where they could be milked of sensitive personal data. Don’t type “amazon” into your browser and hit Enter, then click on the first “Amazon” link. Type “” and go where you want to go, without danger or extra work.

Proprietary software is being used to estimate the probability that DNA belongs to defendants in criminal cases. Defense attorneys say “trade secrets” don’t trump the rights of the accused, and they want the source code to see if the algorithms are reliable.

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

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 05 December 2017"

Posted by:

Wayne W.
05 Dec 2017

I would call police first and go to social media immediately after.

Posted by:

05 Dec 2017

Wayne, you can kill two birds by one stone since now police has accounts in social media - just call police through their official social media account. Bingo!

Posted by:

Robert A.
05 Dec 2017

I'm surprised that Amazon didn't spin the story of the pooping delivery driver as an extra service benefit. He (assuming it was a "he")was actually fertilizing the front yard at no extra cost to the homeowner, in a test marketing program.

Seriously, the driver/delivery person must have been out somewhere in the boondocks not to be able to stop in and use the restroom at a nearby McDonalds or Burger King. In a city, either one is usually never more than four or five miles away!

Posted by:

El Chapo
06 Dec 2017

Robert A: No, it was a woman. Never assume anything.

Posted by:

06 Dec 2017

What's Behind the Increase in Lithium-Ion Battery Fires on Planes?
The FAA reports that, on average, one of these fires occurs every 10 days.


Posted by:

06 Dec 2017

Dear Bob,

Thank you for the article in which Amazon was listed. I usually use their services and was shocked to find out that this fake thing you mentioned in this article was involved in a scam. Thank you again.

Posted by:

Michael Marysej
06 Dec 2017


Posted by:

06 Dec 2017

Crappy details: This wasn't an isolated case. One Amazon customer has had it happen three times! In defense of Amazon, it was a third party delivery service.

Facebook used to have a minimum age policy of 13. So why are they targeting preteens?

Posted by:

Phil Reed
06 Dec 2017

As to "'Type “” and go where you want to go, without danger or extra work.'" Save the extra typing by just typing "Amazon" in your browser and then hit "Ctrl" and the "Enter" key at the same time to get "" to appear in your browser.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 05 December 2017 (Posted: 5 Dec 2017)
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