Geekly Update - 07 February 2019

Category: Tech-News

Are geeks at MIT sending secret messages into your head with laser beams? Should you be concerned about the recent breach of 2.2 billion usernames and passwords? And why is some guy you've never heard of hailed as one of most influential people on the 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

Meet Steve Pruitt, one of Time magazine’s “top 25 most influential people on the Internet.” Over the past 13 years, Steve has written or edited one-third of Wikipedia’s 5.7 million English-language articles.

Bad news for cat video fans? YouTube is starting to bury “borderline” content by lowering its place among recommended videos. But who decides what content “comes close to—but doesn’t quite cross the line of—violating our Community Guidelines?”

Another week, another record-setting collection of stolen usernames and passwords; 2.2 billion of them. However, the data is years old so, hopefully, you have already changed passwords several times.

Someone is hacking Nest thermostats and video cameras, using them to terrorize homeowners. A couple in Illinois was harassed by a stranger who hurled obscenities and turned the thermostat up to ninety degrees. Google says Nest's system was not breached, and that the incidents resulted from "using compromised passwords … exposed through breaches on other websites."

Geekly Update 02-07-2019

According to Microsoft's 2018 Digital Civility Index, there has been a slight decline in people experiencing unwanted online contact from strangers. Uncivil behavior from friends and family, however, increased by 11 percent.

Yet another reason to wash your hands after touching your phone. A company that makes a home-based urine analysis kit that utilizes a test strip and a user's smartphone has raised $18 million in funding.

2018 was the “worst year ever” for smartphone shipments, according to research firm IDC. Manufacturers shipped 4.1% fewer units than they did in 2017. People are holding onto phones longer thanks to lack of compelling reasons to upgrade, rising prices, and uncertainty about the economy’s future.

Google+ will shut down on April 2, ending a social network that never took off. If you have any photos or documents on your Google+ page, you may want to download them before they get deleted.

Windows 10 Update appeared to be broken again, but this time it wasn’t Microsoft’s fault. Some Comcast/Xfinity customers were unable to download updates due to misconfigured settings on that ISP’s DNS servers. Switching to Google DNS solved that problem.

Lowe’s is shutting down its Iris smart-home platform on March 31, 2019. The company will refund all or part of the prices paid for Iris products, or help customers migrate to Zigby or another compatible platform.

Finally, an explanation for those voices in your head. Scientists at MIT have figured out how to beam sound directly into a person's ear with lasers. The lasers act upon water vapor in air to create vibrations in a small spot in space. “You move your head around, and there’s a couple-inch zone where you go ‘Oh, there it is!’… It’s pretty cool,” says physicist Charles Wynn.

A cryptocurrency exchange lost access to $137 million worth of customers’ assets after its founder died suddenly, taking the crypto-wallet’s password with him. Oh, and the hard drive of the laptop on which the wallet resides is encrypted, so make it two passwords.

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

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 07 February 2019"

Posted by:

Louise
07 Feb 2019

I hope the lost $137 million will wake folks up to the need to have a way for someone else to access their files!! I live in the volunteer world and it just constantly amazes me how much "community" information is on volunteer's personal computers with no backups and no second access!!!!


Posted by:

Bill C
07 Feb 2019

Want to know what content You Tube "buries"?

Ask the people at PragerU.


Posted by:

David
07 Feb 2019

And who is surprised that the IoT is hackable?


Posted by:

MikieB
07 Feb 2019

I have the instructions for building a tinfoil hat. Maybe I better get busy and make a couple.


Posted by:

John
07 Feb 2019

What seems suspicious with this scenario - a 30 year old Canadian suddenly dies in India - and $137 million vanishes because he was the only one with the password. While a tragedy for the family, it does sounds like the plot line of a great conspiracy theory thriller.


Posted by:

Oliver Fleming
07 Feb 2019

If web sites are being hacked and people details and passwords are being stolen, then what is the use of these "password wallets" the crooks have your password.


Posted by:

Nezzar
08 Feb 2019

Bob,
Thanks for the heads up about the problem with Microsoft updates. I am an Xfinity customer; but, so far, I haven't had any problems with updates. I would hope that Xfinity has fixed the problem by now. If not, at least I will know what is wrong if the error message shows up.


Posted by:

Ken
12 Feb 2019

Re Nest: Remember that the 'S' in 'IoT' stands for security


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