Geekly Update - 07 February 2019
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."
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...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 7 Feb 2019
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 07 February 2019 (Posted: 7 Feb 2019)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved