Geekly Update - 08 Feb 2018

Category: Tech-News

Will radiation from your cell phone help you live longer? Can you sue Equifax in small claims court and get a check for ten grand? How soon can you upload your brain to a computer? And which tech 'futurist' made the worst predictions about the Internet twenty years ago?

The AskBobRankin Geekly Update

A research study that will confound conspiracy theorists and put a big dent in the tinfoil industry found that rats exposed to cellphone radiation lived longer than rats who were not. My best advice, based on this report: don't give cell phones to rats.

Victims of Equifax’s grossly negligent loss of nearly every adult Americans’ credit data are getting judgements up to $10,000 in small claims courts nationwide, using a free app that files the papers for them. Equifax is appealing the rulings, so those checks may or may not be in the mailbox any time soon. Wonder what Grumpy Cat would say about this.

Never mind tired jokes about Bill Gates’ wildly wrong prediction about how much RAM everyone will need. Read this 1995 essay in which legendary tech futurist Clifford Stoll scoffs at the notion that people would one day buy and read books via computers. Oh, and it gets better than that!

Geekly Update - 02-08-2018

Facebook told users they “liked” posts made by undercover Russian trolls. The users reactions were overwhelmingly… disappointing. The program, intended to combat the spread of fake news, has been discontinued.

The Human Trafficking Prevention Act would impose a “p*rn filter” on every Internet-capable device manufactured and sold in the USA. Users would have to pay a $20 fee to get it removed. You bet your sweet bippy the ACLU has a problem with this. (10 points to the first reader who comments with the origin of “you bet your sweet bippy.”)

One ring to rule all your passwords, credit card and bank account data, and to slip off your finger while snorkeling in Hawaii or be snatched off in the blink of an eye by a cunning thief. Another problem... just like the "ring of power" in Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings," it makes you more visible to evil beings. But that’s what Token, Inc. is selling.

How crazy has the cryptocurrency craze become? In Japan (where else?) a popular music band of girls dressed in frilly maid outfits and wearing metallic, scary wrestling-style masks sing the praises of Bitcoin, and reportedly accepts payment in Bitcoin.

Microsoft Office 2019 will only run under Windows 10, the company told its captive audience of enterprise users recently. I predict a long life for Microsoft Office 2016, the current version.

“AI (artificial intelligence) is … more profound than, I dunno, electricity or fire.” Not some stoner computer science sophomore student, but the CEO of Google, Inc., Sundar Pichai. Do you agree?

The trade secrets theft lawsuit brought against Uber by Google sister company Waymo is underway. Both sides are bad, testimony reveals.

Tired of hateful, fake Facebook posts and Tweets? You can “virtually move” your location to Germany, which is threatening fines of up to $60 million against social media platforms that fail to control such trash.

“Will we ever be able to upload a human mind to a new body?” is another case of scientists asking the wrong question. Perhaps you would like to take a shot at “Should we ever…?”

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

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 08 Feb 2018"

(See all 26 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Mark Nowak
08 Feb 2018

I heard Linux market share doubled last year from roughly 1.5 to 3%. I can only hope this trend continues and accelerates.


Posted by:

Charley
08 Feb 2018

The story about the p**n law ("Human Trafficking Prevention Act") is 10 months old. And the bill was introduced in congress in 2014 and went nowhere.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Ooops, didn't realize that. And glad to hear it!


Posted by:

BobD
08 Feb 2018

Re: " I predict a long life for Microsoft Office 2016, the current version."

Will Office 2016 last as long as Office 2003, which serves me well on my Windows 7 machine? (I will never "upgrade" to another Microsoft product, since Windows 10 bricked my machine.)


Posted by:

BobD
08 Feb 2018

Regarding Stoll's scoffing at the internet, Ken Olsen once said no one needs a computer. He was right: no normal person needs a computer. How much computing do we do? We browse, we email, we Facebook, we read Geekly Update -- no computing. (Olsen was a founder of DEC, whatever that was...)


Posted by:

Mike Hamilton
08 Feb 2018

Of course it was Laugh-In, but I recently heard someone trying to steal Elaine's credit for yada, yada, yada! Can you imagine?


Posted by:

wrigleywrat
08 Feb 2018

A judgment against equifax may in fact be worth more than the paper on which it's written. In most states you can have a triple-sealed copy of the judgment recorded in any county where equifax owns real estate or tangible personal property (like computers, office equipment, etc.) Then have a sheriff from that county levy upon the property in an attempt to satisfy the judgment. The sheriff will post a notice of levy on the real estate and slap stickers on all of the personal property. At that point, you can hold a public auction (following state rules regarding execution on judgments) to sell any of the property. Of course, if there are any prior liens on the property, those would have to be satisfied first from the auction proceeds.

A guy did just that at a local Bank of America branch after he got a judgment for attorneys' fees against them when BOA negligently foreclosed on his home when he didn't have a loan with them. According to the newspaper article, BOA corporate paid up quick.


Posted by:

Mike
08 Feb 2018

IMHO, the Token ring is a terrible idea. Putting all your eggs in one basket always has been. It's a neat idea, but anything that interconnects one's life so thoroughly shouldn't have a single point of failure. And I thought I was nervous using a password manager...


Posted by:

Richard Herman
08 Feb 2018

As long as we are back to the 60"s with you bet your bippy....who said you bet your life in=yers before??


Posted by:

JJ
08 Feb 2018

The problem with futurist Clifford Stoll's predictions for the future was that he took 1995's state of technology and projected that far into the future, not accounting for massive improvements in technology and younger generations who grew up with computers.


Posted by:

RichF
08 Feb 2018

What Stoll didn't realize back in '95 was how the general population is getting dumber each year and are more inclined to believe all the misinformation out on the web.


Posted by:

GuitarRebel
08 Feb 2018

The problem with the discontinued Facebook program wasn't that it didn't accurately report users troll 'likes', it was simply that the vast majority of users refused to admit (and still do) they were played like a fiddle.


Posted by:

PgmrDude
08 Feb 2018

Facebook "Fake News" filter: I was recently notified by Facebook that I had shared and article that was "disputed" as Fake News. They didn't say that it WAS fake, just that the info contained was DISPUTED. Oy vey!


Posted by:

Robert A.
08 Feb 2018

"(Olsen was a founder of DEC, whatever that was...)"

DEC stood for Digital Equipment Co., a New England manufacturer of mini-computers (much smaller than a huge, multi-room IBM 360 mainframe, but certainly much larger than the PCs which followed them), and late 70s/early 80s PCs that were in competition to the original IBM PC, but ran, if I remember correctly, the CPM (Control Program for Microprocessors) operating system.

Unfortunately, for DEC, IBM rolled over virtually all other competitors in the marketplace with the modular Personal Computer, that ran an early edition of Microsoft's MS-DOS, renamed for IBM, as PC-DOS.

Businesses were familiar with IBM products, such as the revolutionary IBM Selectric typewriters, which were generally more expensive than competitive products from Remington-Rand, Adler, Olivetti and Smith-Corona, but built like a tank, totally reliable, and backed by the largest and best sales and support team in the office equipment business. An old business adage was "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM equipment."

DEC tried unsuccessfully for about a dozen years to gain market share in the segment dominated by the IBM PC, but was ultimately swallowed up by the up-and-coming PC maker, Compaq, in the late 80s. Less than 10 years later, Compaq was swallowed up by Hewlett Packard, itself a maker of higher-end computing equipment, which was looking to expand its business in the home and personal use area.


Posted by:

cal67
09 Feb 2018

Token is a horrible idea and will fail in it's present form. However, eventually there will be some type of chip or mark as part of a person's body that will enable all transactions, etc.

A ring as security? Ask my wife - I lost our original wedding ring (taking it off to protect it while working on my car, and placed it on the hood. I then jumped in the car for a quick test run to verify my repair - no ring when I came back).


Posted by:

Jay R
09 Feb 2018

I'm pretty sure "You bet your life" was from Groucho.


Posted by:

kevin
09 Feb 2018

I note that Stoll wrote "...the Internet is one big ocean of unedited data, without any pretense of completeness. Lacking editors, reviewers or critics, the Internet has become a wasteland of unfiltered data. You don't know what to ignore and what's worth reading."

Regardless of whatever has turned out differently, that comment remains as true as ever. For every site that tries to set things straight (like Wikipedia, International Fact Checking Network, Snopes, Hoax-Slayer, TruthOrFiction,or Politifcact) there are scores of other sites that are determined to deceive people into being outraged over imaginary "facts".


Posted by:

Frank Cizek
09 Feb 2018

Re: "Microsoft Office 2019 will only run under Windows 10." I'm not surprised.
One thing their XP 'upgrade' killed was my $80 Sidewinder joystick pro that I BOUGHT FROM MICROSOFT 'cause I thought that it would be good to go for years. It's was GREAT! Programmable! Lots of buttons! Piece of sh!t now!
They killed the expensive Office 2000 suite. Really? I've switched to free Open Office. I hope everyone else will, too.
I expect that some small utilities won't be supported as time goes by, but are we surprised that the guys from Redmond have little respect for the consumer?


Posted by:

Andy
09 Feb 2018

I'm going to say either That was the Week That Was or the Rowan & Martin Show


Posted by:

RandiO
09 Feb 2018

You bet your sweet bippy that when I start using a cellphone, I will make sure to put a rat between the phone and my ear. Rats lives matter, too!


Posted by:

Donna
09 Feb 2018

You bet your sweet bippy it was Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.


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