Geekly Update - 07 February 2024

Category: Tech-News

Is your toothbrush secretly plotting against you? Can robots be forgiven for their mistakes? What's the best plce to watch the upcoming solar eclipse? And how can you view the best part of the 2024 Super Bowl before the game even starts? 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

A Swiss company was taken down by three million smart toothbrushes, resulting in millions of euros in damages. Hackers launched a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, using an army of compromised dental gadgets. This should serve as a reminder that any device connected to the digital ecosystem can be a potential entry point for cybercriminals. Whenever possible, just say NO to connected devices.

Three students made an AI breakthrough enabling scientists to unlock the text of Roman scrolls buried by the Mount Vesuvius eruption in 79 AD. The badly charred scrolls were discovered in the Roman town of Herculaneum back in the 1700s and were thought to be unreadable.

Is it easier to forgive a human or a robot, when they make the same kind of mistake? David Heinemeier Hansson is a technologist who explores the question of tolerable error rates for AI, as it pertains to self-driving cars, medical diagnoses and customer service droids.

Robot getting scolded

Biotech firm Loyal is looking to recruit dog owners to test an anti-aging pill for senior dogs. The company hopes LOY-002, an injectible drug, will increase the lifespan of our canine companions. If your dog weighs over 14 pounds, and is at least 10 years old, you can enroll in the study.

In last week's Geekly Update I mentioned Google's ImageFX, a newcomer to the AI image generator field. But there are others you may want to try as well. See ZDNet's list of five of the best AI image generators.

A total solar eclipse will happen on April 8, 2024. has some tips on how and where to view the 2024 total solar eclipse.

You no longer have to wait for the Super Bowl to see the 2024 Super Bowl commercials. Budweiser, Doordash, Etsy, Mountain Dew and Oreo are among the advertisers who have already dropped their Big Game pitches on YouTube. BMW used a day in the life of Christopher Walken to promote its electric i5 offering.

Remember the see-through Macs from twenty years ago? Transparent tech is making a comeback, showing up (or naybe not showing) in televisions, smartphones, keyboards, batteries and other gadgets.

Despite the advice from experts to not pay ransomware extortioners, Wired reports that payments by victims to ransomware gangs topped one billion dollars in 2023.

And finally, this week's Just Here For The Headline entry: New Type Of Cherry Tomato Self-Dries While Still On The Vine.

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 2024"

Posted by:

07 Feb 2024

I was so disappointed with how Uber Eats used a food allergy as a point of humor in their Remember Uber Eats Super Bowl commercial.

Food allergies are not something to be made light of in an effort to be funny.

My wife has a severe allergy to a legume, soy, which is a hidden ingredient in many foods. She has to have an epi-pen with her at all times. She is not a "picky eater" as some call her, she has a condition that could kill her.

She did not choose to have this condition / allergy, but she is doing her best to live with it.

The suffering of over 33 million Americans, and more worldwide, who live with a life-threatening food allergy is no joke.

Please let Uber Eats and the NFL know how disappointed you are that such an amazing event like the Super Bowl can be tarnished by insensitive humor.

Posted by:

07 Feb 2024

I guess that is a Dental Denial of Service attack.

Posted by:

07 Feb 2024

Or maybe a Distributed Dental Denial of Service attack (DDDoS)

Posted by:

07 Feb 2024

Thanks for the link to the Super Bowl Ads. My daughter is a graphic artist, and *very* interested in the ads, but could not care less about watching "a bunch of millionaires bashing their heads together".
She really appreciates that link.

Posted by:

07 Feb 2024

or maybe a Distriduted Dental Denial of Service Brush Up

Posted by:

07 Feb 2024


Posted by:

07 Feb 2024

SteveJ: You must be referring to the famous DiDeDeSerBUp!

Posted by:

Robert T Deloyd
08 Feb 2024

I read an article on Forbes by Davey Winder saying it's all probably not true about toothbrushes and the DDoS...

Now some hackers will go out and use smart toothbrushes for DDoS...

My question is, why would anyone need a toothbrush connected to the internet?

Posted by:

wild bill
09 Feb 2024

Bob, you've got company on the toothbrush story. Here's Ars Technica's take on who and what:

EDITOR'S NOTE: I was thinking this probably should have been a Just Here For The Headline item! :-)

Posted by:

09 Feb 2024

Re: Superbowl Ads 2024.

Uber Eats have edited out their thoughtless comments about peanut allergies. See my first post.

Thank you

Posted by:

13 Feb 2024

Thanks Bob, I really enjoy your emails!

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