Geekly Update - 10 August 2016
How many government-sponsored autonomous vehicle advocates does it take to deliver a Slurpee from 7-11? What surprising item is being removed from Google Maps? Does a new Chinese smartphone use lasers to warm your Pop-Tarts? And can you still get Windows 10 for free? Find out in today's Geekly Update -- it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. And it's *guaranteed* to make you 146% smarter. Read, think and comment!
The AskBobRankin Geekly Update
A 7-11 store used a drone to deliver chicken sandwiches and Slurpees to a customer’s home one mile away in Reno, NV. Actually, it took two flights of a drone to deliver the whole order, plus a government-sponsored autonomous vehicle advocacy group and “special flight planning, risk analysis, and detailed flight procedures ensuring residential safety and privacy were equally integrated.” Oh, thank Heaven!
If Google Maps now looks a bit weird to you, it’s not your browser or eyeglasses. The company announced an overhaul of Maps to make it easier to read, including eliminating most roads. Because nobody uses a map to find ROADS, right?
It seems a free Windows 10 upgrade is still possible, despite Microsoft’s insistence that the giveaway ended July 29. Using any valid Windows 7 or 8.1 product key, one can install (or re-install) and activate Windows 10 for the first time on any PC. Mercifully, the annoying “Get Windows 10 Now” nagware is dead and buried for good.
At least one “PC repair scam” crook has been caught. Robert Ratkovcic milked $150,000 out of his victim, traveling from Florida to Sausalito, CA, twice to pick up cashier’s checks from her. She finally called the cops on the third shakedown, and they were waiting to arrest the aptly named Rat.
Comcast sold “near-worthless” service plans to 500,000 Washington State customers, a lawsuit filed by the State Attorney General claims. The $4.99 per month upsell did not cover in-wall wiring problems which account for 99% of technician visits, and most of the plan’s actual coverage is already provided by Comcast’s free “Customer Guarantee.”
Netflix’s library has shrunk by 40% since 2012, while the basic subscription price has risen to $9/month. Third-party content producers which once welcomed Netflix are now stingier with their movies and TV shows, prompting the company to invest in original content.
A proprietary algorithm powered by my TI-58 calculator uses the latest artificial intelligence to analyze that data in real time, and transmogrifies the results using a solar-powered autonomous drone. I was surprised to find that some readers experience smartness gains up to 300%! Of course, that implies that a small percentage of readers actually get dumber, but I'm sure you'll agree it's all for the greater good. :-)
The Holofone from Chinese firm Akyumen includes a 7-inch HD screen, Android Lollipop, a full version of Windows 10 for phones, and a 35-lumen projector that allegedly can illuminate a 100-inch screen. Unfortunately, the $750 base model does not include a toaster slot or a handy pop-out screwdriver.
Chinese sellers on Amazon and other marketplaces can get testy if you don’t leave positive feedback or reviews, even calling buyers repeatedly to beg and bully for props.
Arrrrrrrrgh! The U.S. Navy is charged with piracy of 558,000 copies of a virtual reality software package. Bitmanagement Software is seeking $596 million in damages.
Rival hacker gangs have leaked several thousand decryption keys that defeat the Chimera ransomware. Of course, sites offering the keys will infect you with their own malware.
The FCC is pressuring telcos and backbone ISPs to give consumers anti-robocall tools, including free robocall-blocking. Telcos are balking, claiming existing blockers block too many legitimate calls.
When Australian drivers follow GPS directions into a ditch, they at least have the excuse that the continent has shifted 1.5 meters to the north since 1994, the last time satellite coordinates were synced with the coordinate system used on the ground. The Geocentric Datum of Australia, the country's local co-ordinate system, will be shifted north by 1.8 meters in January, 2017, ensuring that it matches GPS coordinates by 2020.
A Las Vegas woman stands accused of stealing $6.7 million worth of printer ink from her employer, a water utility. At some point, it was inevitable that accountants would notice the rising tide of red ink on the company's balance sheet.
A Ukrainian hacker stole the health care records of 105,000 patients of the Central Ohio Urology Group and posted their full 156GB of data on a public Google Drive. Some people are pissed off.
Uganda’s morality police have spent $88,000 on a dubious “pornography detector” machine. (I'm sure they could find plenty of citizen volunteers to do the job for free.) Meanwhile, the government still can’t find funds for a radiotherapy machine for cancer patients.
Windows 10 Anniversary Update began rolling out via Windows Update on August 2. Computers with the latest hardware will get it first; those with older gear that may have driver compatibility issues will get the update later, presumably after discovered issues are fixed. The impatient can download and install the Anniversary Update manually. I do not see any reason home users should be anxious to get this update.
Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 10 Aug 2016
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 10 August 2016 (Posted: 10 Aug 2016)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved