Geekly Update - 10 September 2014
Are evil hackers messing with your thermostat? Who is behind all those fake cell phone towers that secretly listen to your conversations? And is there any way to stop Facebook videos from playing automatically? Get answers to these burning questions, and the scoop on the latest tech news, in this edition of the Geekly Update. It's guaranteed to make you 146% smarter. Read, think and comment!
The AskBobRankin Geekly Update
"Is it getting really hot in here?" Hackers at the Black Hat security conference demonstrated that it's possible to compromise a Nest thermostat in 15 seconds, and control it from a remote location.
General Motors has announced Super Cruise, an automated driving technology that will enable hands-free lane following, braking and speed control on highways. But don't too excited yet. John Capp, GM's director of global safety strategy, says drivers must still "pay attention" when driving. No snoozing while cruising...
A car chassis inspired by a turtle’s skeleton doesn’t sound very promising, but it does show off the latest achievements in 3D printing. Germany’s EDAG Genesis engineering group tried even sexier-sounding technologies – selective laser sintering, selective laser melting, and stereolithography – before settling on a modified version of fused deposition modeling.
Internet founding father Ray Tomlinson invented email, according to everyone except India-born scientist Shiva Ayyadurai. He says he invented email when he was 14, in 1978, while “helping out” the dental clinic in Newark, NJ, where his mother worked. There’s a book, of course.
“Have you ever borrowed a book from thousands of miles away?” “Have you ever driven cross-country without stopping to ask for directions?” These are two of seven futuristic questions asked in AT&T ads during 1993-1994. The spot-on punchline to each ad is, “You will!” You can view all seven ads in one compilation here.
A smartphone app called Pulse Point allows 911 dispatchers to broadcast a call for help to registered users who are near a medical emergency scene. It brought CPR-trained auto mechanic Jeff Olson to the aid of a month-old baby who wasn’t breathing at a dance studio two blocks from his shop. He applied CPR to the infant until EMTs arrived. Tell your police department about Pulse Point:
HealthCare.gov, the federal portal to “affordable health care,” was hacked and malware was planted on one of its servers, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal . The breach went undetected from March until late August, 2014. We’re told that the malware only launched denial-of-service attacks against other government servers. But frankly, that makes little sense. HealthCare.gov would be a perfect place to plant a “drive-by download” exploit kit to infect millions of visitors.
Twitpic, the popular picture hosting and URL-shortening service for Twitter users, is shutting down thanks to Twitter’s trademark enforcers. But who cares? Twitter added similar functionality in 2011. And according to CNNMoney, the Twitpic terms of service let them take credit for your photos, and keep your deleted images.
“Facebook auto-play videos are driving me over my data allowance!” That complaint is flooding many consumer-gripe sites. The fix is simple: on the Facebook app, go to your account settings; click “App Settings,” then choose “Auto-play only on WiFi” or “Off.”
At least 17 fake cell phone “towers” are intercepting callers’ transmissions and routing them to unknown parties, or downloading malware to victims’ phones. That’s according to experts with ESD America, which just happens to sell a Cryptophone that solves this security problem.
"Hey's that's my dog!" Dave McLean with the Center of Geographic Sciences has created an interactive map of over 650 photos of Earth taken from the International Space Station.
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This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 10 Sep 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 10 September 2014 (Posted: 10 Sep 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved