Geekly Update - 08 September 2022

Category: Tech-News

Have the robot overlords taken control of our thermostats? Should you ignore urgent pleas to update your web browser? And will there soon be enough oxygen on Mars to support human colonization? 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

Have so-called smart thermostats gotten a bit too controlling? Some users of Xcel's smart thermostat in Colorado were told they could not control the temperature in their own homes, even after it rose above 90 degrees. A message on the device said the temperature was locked because of an "energy emergency".

On the eve of students returning to school, LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District), the second largest school district in the U.S., was hit by a massive ransomware attack that required all students and teachers to reset their login passwords -- in person -- at a district site. In a video embedded in this article, one teacher casually mentions that "my password is the same for everything."

Thanks to Elton John, we all know that Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids. In fact it's cold as hell. Even worse, the air is toxic to humans. But MOXIE, a briefcase-sized machine, is busy making oxygen using resources on the surface of the Martian planet. It's proof that breathable air could be generated in-situ for a human mission on Mars.

Geekly Update 09-08-2022

Bleeping Computer reports that hackers are having great success tricking gamers into downloading malware, by hiding it in downloads promoted as game cheats, or as the games themselves. The most effective lures target fans of Minecraft, Need for Speed, Grand Theft Auto, and The Sims.

Apple announced the iPhone 14, Apple Watch 8, and new AirPods Pro yesterday. Most intriguing to me, the new iPhones and Watch have a crash detection feature, and can send emergency messages via satellite. Tom's Guide has a roundup of everything new from Apple, along with pricing details.

If you never heard of KiwiFarms, you might think it has something to do with fruit or farming. Instead, it's fomenting. THe article How Cloudflare Got Kiwi Farms Wrong delves into the question of who is responsible for moderating offensive content online.

You no longer have to tip the Uber Eats driver for food deliveries to certain locations Texas and California. That's because there will be no driver. The company plans to begin using autonomous (driverless) vehicles to make deliveries. The downside is that you'll have to go outside to get your grub.

I was going to use this one as my Just Here For The Headline entry for this week, but I decided to devote a few words to WHY you don't need to go beyond the headline on CNET's Major New Google Chrome Security Bug: You Need to Update Your Browser ASAP article. Warning, danger... there's a critical security bug in the Chrome browser! So what should you do? The answer: nothing. Chrome (along with Firefox, Edge, and almost every other web browser) will automatically update. One less thing to worry about.

A close second was NASA’s Webb Space Telescope Captures a Cosmic Tarantula. But this one is worth checking out. The James Webb Space Telescope is capturing some amazing images of the cosmos.

Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment, question (or witty puchline) below...

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 08 September 2022"

Posted by:

Art F
08 Sep 2022

Chrome requires rebooting the browser in order for updates to take effect. So for people like me, that tend to leave Chrome open for days or weeks at a time, the CNET warning was actually useful.

Posted by:

08 Sep 2022

It's hot here, in So Cal, and I'm not letting anybody program my thermostat but myself. The Electric Company has declared an emergency, but it's nobodies fault but their own. There is a greater demand for power, but they don't build new power stations because power requires fossil fuels or nuclear energy. Our scientists are PAID to say that the use of fossil fuels will make our planet hotter. Many of them (including myself ... yes, I am a scientist) know this to be wrong ... that we are simply in one of Earth's regular cycles and that, in fact, the Earth is not warming because of the use of fossil fuels. And though offered, I WILL NOT TAKE A PENNY TO LIE to you or anybody else. KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF MY THERMOSTAT!

Posted by:

Bob K
08 Sep 2022

Rad: Be careful what you say :-)

Blaming global warming on anything but what a few politicians say is wrong!

My house sits on a pile of rubble left by when the glaciers moved north. Obviously, the burning of fossil fuels is what made the glaciers start retreating, as they continue to do now.

Posted by:

09 Sep 2022

BOB --- BOB --- BOB --- BOB--- BOB --- BOB --- BOB

Yesterday I got a LOT of news letters from you, and again today one that Firefox marked as possible spam - offered to delete your name from my contact list - I didn't 'spam' it, but did not open it either - glanced down and saw started out with my name, so likely it was NOT from you -just hit delete -- perhaps a word to warn others? IDK -- I'm in NoCal.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, it was my fault. Problem is fixed now, sorry!

Posted by:

09 Sep 2022

Like Doc i got about a dozen emails yesterday as well from Bob all with the bold heading of RANKINFILE but each were a different current topic that have been sent recently. Nothing like that today (so far).

EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, it was my fault. Problem is fixed now, sorry!

Posted by:

09 Sep 2022

Got 2 of these. It's a bit annoying. Got a dozen yesterday.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, it was my fault. Problem is fixed now, sorry!

Posted by:

14 Sep 2022

About the thermostat problem, they said it was probably a bit uncomfortable but only lasted for a couple of hours. At 88° or 90°, that's more than a bit uncomfortable.

There's a much better way to deal with high power usage which I saw recently in a list of Pocket articles. Seems that California now has the ability to send e-mail alerts to their power customers asking them to conserve power for a brief period and it worked, reducing demand considerably.

It's better and fairer for everyone to participate rather than having a few bear the brunt.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 08 September 2022 (Posted: 8 Sep 2022)
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