Geekly Update - 09 June 2021

Category: Tech-News

Will scientific breakthroughs involving tiny particles improve your life? Can you type using only your imagination? How fast will your stolen password be used to hack your account? And wait, what, Windows 11 is coming? 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

Tech news headlines trumpeted the discovery by MIT of a new way of generating electricity. Tiny carbon particles suspended in a liquid organic solvent can generate a current, the researchers found. But it won't power your home, smartphone, or electric vehicle. The tiny particles generate a tiny amount of electricity that could drive tiny chemical reactions or power tiny robots.

In other tiny particle news, researchers at the Cambridge Graphene Centre have discovered something that actually has practical applications for the masses. They found that graphene can be used to boost the capacity of hard disk drives by tenfold. The trick is using graphene instead of the carbon-based coating currently used between the platters, which protects against mechanical damage and corrosion.

This just in from the Fear and Loathing Department: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella promised that the company would share “one of the most significant updates to Windows of the past decade.” The event slated for 11 AM on June 24 teased a “next generation” of Windows. Plenty of hints have been dropped that Windows 11 is on the way.

How fast will hackers access your account after a compromised password is posted on the dark web? Cybersecurity researchers planted passwords for fake accounts on sites where stolen usernames and passwords are commonly posted. They found that 20% of those accounts were accessed within an hour, and 40% were accessed within six hours.

Yes, you can type using only your thoughts. Researchers at Stanford University developed a brain-computer interface that allows a person to communicate with a computer by creating handwritten messages in their imagination. This approach enables "typing" at half the typical able-bodied typing speed. It's hopeful news for those who are unable to speak or type due to stroke or injury.

Law enforcement agencies announced the arrest of over 800 alleged criminals who were tricked into using An0m, an encrypted messaging app covertly run by the FBI. The app was used to monitor the conversations of suspected criminals, and uncovered plots related to drugs, guns and murder.

Here's the flipside of the goodguy/badguy coin. The FBI is asking USA Today to provide information including the IP address, phone number, and other information on people who read a specific article during a 35-minute timespan on the USA Today website. USA Today is calling the request unconstitutional.

Tuesday's internet outage, that brought down dozens of popular sites across the world, is being blamed on a single customer of cloud service provider Fastly. A "service configuration change" triggered a bug in Fastly's network, which caused Amazon, Reddit, Spotify, Ebay, Pinterest, BBC, the New York Times and other sites to go dark for about an hour.

The U.S. Department of Justice says they have recovered a big chunk of the $4.3 million ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline, in the wake of the Darkside hack. The DOJ's Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force recovered a digital wallet used by the attackers which contained $2.3 million in Bitcoin. Fears about Bitcoin security caused the popular cybercurrency to drop in value by about 12% on Tuesday, but the price quickly rebounded to about $36,500. (In case you're thinking about investing in Bitcoin, be warned that the price per "coin" fluctuates wildly.)

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

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 09 June 2021"

Posted by:

Nigel A
09 Jun 2021

Just when I've finally managed to understand and adjust Windows 10, they bring out a new OS! I may just wait a while and let others get the kinks. What was it they said - Windows 10 will be the last version, just updates as required.

Posted by:

Paul R
09 Jun 2021

No doubt most users are non-computer-savvy like me. How can we escape cyber crime? We read many horror stories about it We also see many ads for cyber security so we get nervous.

Posted by:

09 Jun 2021

Here we go again!Another Microsoft Windows version to put up with.Microsoft talks about refreshing the Windows OS with new icons and experiences.

Why don't they make the OS reliable for the majority of us who need the OS to operate correctly and smoothly when we are at school and/or work.Having to learn new icons that can be confusing or having existing programs not work anymore is maddening.

Posted by:

09 Jun 2021

Does Linux offer all the "improvements" like MS Windows does? I too need something to stay basically the same regarding actual usage, just with security updates to keep us safe.

Posted by:

09 Jun 2021

I agree with the posters above. Except that unlike Nigel, I have not yet adjusted to Windows 10--I just got it three months ago. Yes, only when my 11-year-old laptop had almost given up and I had to get a new one.

Posted by:

09 Jun 2021

For Lucy: 'Linux' is a bit of a broad term for the technically not savvy. Being open-source, there are so many flavours of Linux that it can become baffling. Linux is the underlying operating system, while the user interface is a custom presentation, and there are many. Ubuntu Linux is one of the really popular ones, but I find the interface less than appealing. For someone used to Windows, Linux Mint with the Cinnamon desktop is probably the most like Windows, though more Win7 than 10 (I hate Windows 10's user interface, especially the desktop). The best of Linux is, if you don't mind burning a DVD, most Linux distributions will allow you to make a 'Live' DVD and run the OS from that - it's mighty slow that way, but at least you get a flavour of it.
Updates? Of course, nothing's perfect first time out, but most Linux distros add updates to the apps, and improve the core OS, but very rarely do they make major version changes like MS does. Best I can say, is try it and see. Apart from my one W10 laptop which I have yet to find how to change to Linu,x my two desktop,and two other laptops, dual-boot Windows or Linux Mint. I HAVE to keep Windows for a couple of hobby apps that only run under Windows, but for day to day stuff, I like Mint.

Posted by:

09 Jun 2021

Microsoft has *never* said "Windows 11" - that's all made up by the press for headlines.

What has been said is decidedly less ambitious: new designed icons, a new 'settings' app. Maybe kill off the "3D Objects" folder. (Oh wow, that's big!)

Watch or read about the 24 June brief first, then judge and throw the brickbats.

Posted by:

Greg C
10 Jun 2021

Windows 10 runs remarkably well on several of my old laptops. Except for speed and battery life there is little incentive to upgrade to new laptops. Desktops are even immune to battery problems.
I was wondering when Microsoft would 'force" us to buy new computers AND new Operating Systems with them. Stop the updates to Windows 10, make applications that no longer run on Windows 10 and force people to spend money.

Posted by:

14 Jun 2021

Interesting that no one has bashed Microsoft/Windows in a post, thus far. We've have all had issues, at one time or another, with Windows' Operating Systems (or from one version to another). Yet, if wide-compatibility and respect-for-legacy with hardware/software is considered; then, Microsoft certainly deserves kudos... at least from this long term user.
I am not certain whether Windows or myself will be around for the 13th version, but I have been wondering if Microsoft will skip that version number... ;)

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