Geekly Update - 07 May 2020

Category: Tech-News

Are we ready to give up our privacy in exchange for safety? Have you been using (or re-using) compromised passwords? And why is Twitter suddenly so concerned about your feelings? 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

This just in from the Pinball Wizard Department: The Airbus "E-Nose" device could put bomb-sniffing dogs out a job. The sensor, which is designed to sniff out explosives on planes, could also detect biohazards and viruses like C0VID-19. The sensors are made up of genetically modified kidney or brain cells that have olfactory receptors and can identify compounds by smell. "Ain't got no distractions, can't hear no buzzers and bells, don't see no lights a-flashin', plays by sense of smell..."

The editors at Popular Mechanics admit that artificial intelligence can help stop the spread of C0VID-19, but they wonder if we ready to give up our privacy in exchange? Their article How the Coronavirus Could Turn the U.S. Into a Surveillance State raises some of the same questions that have been concerning me.

Firefox 76 will warns you if a newly-entered password is on the Naughty List, or if you're reusing passwords that could have been compromised. Google Chrome's "Password Checker" does the same.

Samsung's Galaxy A51 is a good midprice phone with a 6.5-inch screen and impressive camera specs for $400. Here's how it compares to the similarly priced iPhone SE.

Geekly Update 05-07-2020

Even before lockdowns and social distancing, buying dog food was never fun. I've been ordering from for over a year; their prices are better than the local stores, and the UPS guy brings those heavy bags right to my door. CNet compares five online pet suppliers, some offering first-time order discounts up to 30%.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the name of his newborn son. Of course it's unpronounceable and contains characters not found on a standard keyboard. Welcome to the world, "X Æ A-12 Musk".

Google's Authenticator app for Android phones is handy for those using two-factor authentication. But it's always been a pain to move it from one phone to another. But the latest release (finally) lets you move your account between devices.

Ring's latest Video Doorbell has a new lower price and new features as well. The 2nd Gen model has 1080p video, improved night vision, two-way talk, and an optional solar charger. It can also run from a rechargeable battery or hardwired connection.

Microsoft just released LinuxOS, and they're offering a reward up to $100,000 if anyone can break the security of this custom Linux operating system.

Twitter wants to make sure nobody gets their feelings hurt. They're testing a warning message that will ask users to reconsider potentially offensive postings that contain what they deem to be “harmful language.”

A new augmented reality (AR) app promises to help you copy and paste items from your surroundings into into digital documents. Point your phone at the object you want, and drag it into your photo or document.

Amazon expects to spend upwards of $4 billion in the second quarter on C0VID-19-related expenses. CEO Jeff Bezos said the funds will pay for personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning for facilities, higher wages for hourly workers.

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

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 07 May 2020"

Posted by:

Ted Leger
07 May 2020

Wanted you to know that at least one old geezer recognized "Ain't got no distractions, can't hear no buzzers and bells, don't see no lights a-flashin', plays by sense of smell..." from Tommy, and I thought it was hilarious!

Posted by:

07 May 2020

You gottta be a certain age to understand "Ain't got no distractions, can't hear no buzzers and bells, don't see no lights a-flashin', plays by sense of smell...". And I am!! Thanks for the smile, Bob!

Posted by:

07 May 2020

I can't figure out why Microsoft is putting out a reward for hackers to break an Linux OS named Azure Sphere.

I would think regular Linux developers would do this.Of course, Microsoft has a lot of money,so they can do this.Ibet a lot of Linux people could come back and come up with a better IoT Linux OS than what Microsoft is proposing.

Posted by:

Jay Bingham
07 May 2020

Regarding "X Æ A-12 Musk": Just last week I commented in a bulletin board message group that I belong to that it likely would not be long before someone named their child using only emojis. While this is not quite that it is close. :)

Posted by:

07 May 2020

The privacy issue is one with which I am struggling as well. Recently, I chose to join the COVID Symptom Study run by ZOE that provides daily info to MassGeneral and Stanford; I have the program on my phone and each day answer if I have been tested and whether I am feeling normal or sick. As security-conscious as I am, committing to the study was not something I would normally do.

Posted by:

07 May 2020

Nose in the news - I think the "e-nose" is being developed by Airbus not Boeing - at least the linked article says that.

Posted by:

Kenneth Mitchell
07 May 2020

Twitter's "hurt feelings monitor" isn't new. About 20 years ago, the email program Eudora had a "mood watch" program that looked at the message you were typing and rated it with 1, 2 or 3 chili peppers. If you clicked "Send" on a 3-pepper message, the program would display a question "Do you really want to send this?"

Posted by:

Robert A.
07 May 2020

Elon Musk just keeps getting weirder and weirder!

Posted by:

08 May 2020

I hope Musk gave his child a usable middle name, since the first name is clearly unusable. Also; the Galaxy A51 appears to be aimed at a different market than the new iPhone SE. That large screen is exactly what SE buyers don't want!

Posted by:

08 May 2020

Hello Bob - fix the e-nose link - Airbus (you know the competitor to Boeing) is developing the e-nose - accuracy would be a good thing.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Fixed. Thanks fixit. :-)

Posted by:

Jim Shaneman
08 May 2020

There is no longer any real privacy in the US or many other countries. If a hacker or intelligence agency, including police departments want access to your pet computer, they can do it with almost impunity. The privacy organizations are fading fast, and the ACLU seems to be wandering off to the Netherlands. I discovered the other day, when accessing my wi fi library, that a privacy note popped up, taking note of the fact that: Your account can be accessed by the police without warning you. I'm sure the message popped up by error, someone screwing around with the library settings or updating. Then, noticed a parked police car in front of a hospital where a visit was necessary, while parked a distance in front of me holding his smart phone up, so he could shoot through the rear window of the squad car, to record the tag number, I suppose, and the activity of the person parked behind his car. Clever. Then,. we now have an aircraft flying above, collecting information in a City area (I live n a county), in a 32 sq mile area of a high crime region. Supposed to be experimental.
But, frankly experimental projects really turn out to be permanent policies. And, there's more, and the politicos do little or nothing to check on the operations, covert, of their local police departments. It's all gradual, but there is no longer privacy in America, and certainly not much on the internet.

Posted by:

08 May 2020


Posted by:

10 May 2020

U.S. becoming an extra-ordinary surveillance state because of CoViD-19 is like accusing the cow for spilled milk on the kitchen floor.
Maybe the Chinese concocted it so that they can sell more surveillance hardware and beat MobileEye and Carmera to get the majority of the credit.

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