Geekly Update - 09 January 2020

Category: Tech-News

Is your internet router keeping track of every breath you take? Have you fallen for any of these devious tricks while shopping online? And will a robot vacuum with a four-figure price tag clean up after your robo-dog? 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 Every Breath You Take Department: Linksys Velop mesh routers with added Wellness Pods can sense movement inside homes, track breathing patterns, monitor sleep quality, and detect if a family member falls. No cameras needed, does that take the sting out of it?

No, you didn't just get drafted into the armed forces, despite that worrying text message instructing you to visit a branch office to prepare for deployment. The U.S. Army says those messages are fake, and reminds that the draft ended in 1973.

The oddly-shaped Y-Brush promises to clean all your teeth in just 10 seconds, with sonic vibrating technology. Even better, it's doesn't need wifi or a smartphone app. You can buy one for $125.

Geekly Update 01-09-2020

Tom Stevens' mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and could no longer care for her beloved dog. So Tom invented Jennie, a $400 robotic dog meant to simulate a 12 week old Labrador puppy, as a companion for her. Interactive touch sensors on the Tombot Puppy allow it to react in a lifelike manner as you pet and speak to it.

Facebook says it will ban deepfakes and all "misleading manipulated media" in the run-up to the 2020 presidential elections. Because the actual antics of the contenders are entertaining enough.

This just in from the Nothing New Under the Sun Department: Researchers at Princeton have reported that deceptive design tactics, known as dark patterns, are being used on thousands of websites to coerce shoppers into spending more money. Caveat emptor, folks.

What's the best robot vacuum cleaner on the market? CNet tested a bunch of them, and has recommendations in three price ranges.

When it comes to dealing with annoying insects, ultrasound gadgets, blue lights and tiki torches don't really work that well. So I'm seriously tempted to buy this $169 laser-guided mosquito zapper, which can detect mosquitoes up to 26 feet away. Unfortunately the high-tech bug zapper won't be available until some time in 2021.

Security researcher Brian Krebs has published an article detailing how a clever phishing attack can give hackers access to your online accounts without actually stealing the password. And the unauthorized access can't be revoked by changing your password.

Video doorbell maker Ring says they didn't give unrestricted access to their entire database of customer videos to researchers in Ukraine. But they have fired four employees for abusing their access to user video.

Samsung’s new T7 Touch external SSD hard drive is bigger and twice as fast as the previous T5 model, and has a fingerprint reader to prevent unauthorized persons from getting into your files. The T7, which was announced at CES 2020 will cost $129 for the 500GB model, or $229 for the 1TB model.

Google Assistant's interpreter mode lets you say something in one language and have it translated in another. American Airlines is putting that tech to work in airport lounges to help employees communicate with travelers when a human interpreter isn't available.

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

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 09 January 2020"

Posted by:

Jonathan
09 Jan 2020

I am disappointed in the mosquito gizmo as it only 'paints' the target and doesn't actually do anything else. AND it's not just mozzies that need attention it's midgies and even basic flies and wasps.....

The tooth cleaner isn't exactly a new idea they've been available on Chinese websites for quite a while and at a considerably lower price.


Posted by:

LittleMolly
09 Jan 2020

I use the 2010 Microsoft Office Disc. Nothing goes to the cloud. It stays on my PC. The only reason MS went to the cloud is money. What a rip.


Posted by:

Reg
09 Jan 2020

FACEBOOK DOUBLE SPEAK for "Facebook says it will ban deepfakes and all "misleading manipulated media" 'against their chosen candidate(s)' in the run-up to the 2020 presidential elections. 'However, in reality' the actual antics of the contenders are entertaining enough.


Posted by:

James Flint
09 Jan 2020

Little Molly is correct. On top of that there are a nomber of free, compatable office suites:

https://www.pcworld.com/article/218394/best-microsoft-office-alternatives.html


Posted by:

Wild Bill
09 Jan 2020

Office 2010 support ends October 13, 2020. The program will still function but will no longer receive updates and other support from Microsoft. This does increase its vulnerability but exercising caution, such as a good malware/anti-virus program(s) should allow you to continue using it for some time to come, after the cut-off date.


Posted by:

Wild Bill
09 Jan 2020

James Flint's recommendation is a good one. I am using a installed version of 2016, currently, but a number of friends swear by, not at, LibreOffice, an open-source alternative to Microsoft Office.


Posted by:

JP
09 Jan 2020

Another excellent free Office-compatible suite: SoftMaker Free Office 2018

https://www.freeoffice.com/en/

Works with Windows 7 or newer, MacOS 10.10 or higher and any PC-based Linux (32 or 64 bits). SoftMaker offers a paid version with more features, but the free version does everything I need (and more).


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