Geekly Update - 11 February 2015

Category: Tech-News

Did your auto loan come with stealth tracking and a remote-controlled kill switch? Would you pay a Japanese guy to watch you eat your lunch? And if you send email to an Australian tree, will it write you back? 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

Subprime car loan lenders are requiring borrowers to accept devices that track their vehicles’ location constantly and enable remote disabling of the car's starter. “I’ve disabled a car while I was shopping at Walmart,” says one collections manager.

Where do I go now, when I need a 25-ohm 3-watt rheostat? RadioShack, one of my favorite stores as a teen, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, ending a 94-year run that culminated in 11 straight years of losses. About 40% of RadioShack stores will become Sprint stores, continuing the tradition.

If eating at your desk gets lonely, you can always pay a Japanese stranger to eat with you on the Internet. One such Webcam dining companion earns $9,000 a month, according to reports. "Zoom in closer, I can't tell if that's a carrot or a cheese stick."
Geekly Update 02-11-2015

80 million Anthem health insurance customers, including the company’s CEO, had their personal data stolen by hackers in a recent security breach.

Verizon has graciously agreed to let its customers opt out of supercookies, the trackers that Verizon inserted into web page requests on its mobile network. AT&T abandoned supercookies earlier.

Ironically, the latest hat in the crowded streaming video service arena has been thrown by, which plans to add video rentals and purchases to its $20/year Club O membership program.

In a classic case of convergence, Uber announced intentions to replace drivers with driverless cars while Google is reported to be working on a ride-sharing service.

“Fake femmes fatale” are using Skype chat to pry battle plans and other sensitive data out of Syrian opposition fighters, according to security research firm FireEye. Provocative images booby-trapped with data-stealing Trojans have also ensared lonely revolutionaries.

Verizon has finally joined the price wars, cutting $10 per month from most of its shared-data plans – except the most popular one, of course.

Adobe has started distributing a patch to the latest flaw discovered in its Flash player for Windows, OS X, and Linux that would allow hackers to take complete control of vulnerable computers.

Time-Warner Cable’s profit margin on Internet service is either 97% or 3233%, depending on who’s reading the company’ financial report. If you take the average of those teo numbers, 1665% still looks pretty good.

[Insert tree pun here.] You can send email to any tree in the city of Melbourne, Australia, and get a reply. Yes, from the tree (or a city council staffer pretending to be a tree).

Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below, or I'll watch you eat your lunch...

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 11 February 2015"

Posted by:

Jon S
11 Feb 2015

May I watch you eat a Snickers that I'll buy for you for fun using the "For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers" link found above - instead of you watching me eat lunch?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Too late. Did you enjoy that turkey and avocado sandwich? :-)

Posted by:

Gloria Huffman
11 Feb 2015

Wed., 2/11/2015 5:00 pm EST - Meok bang! Just like that, I got a fantastic idea to solve the problem of families not eating together or how to stay in touch far-away family members and friends. Instead of sharing a photo of what you ate for dinner on Facebook in the hope that everyone will ooh and aah over your delicious-looking meal, hop over to a video communication tool like Skype and schedule ... yes, actually *schedule* ... a meal with one or more people you'd love to see or talk to and kill two birds with one stone. One of the worst things about living alone is chewing your meals alone! A lot of people already use Skype for chat with one or more other people. Why not use it for a dinner date?

Posted by:

12 Feb 2015

I guess the closing of Radio Shack will be good for business at and Perhaps their are other subsitute suppliers we don't know about?

Posted by:

12 Feb 2015

It is sad about Radio Shack, and not unexpected. I learned about electronic as a hobby using their Engineer's Notebook and Catalog. It was a fun time, then they moved away from hobbyist to phones. When that happened, I didn't go back as often. So, blame me for the Bankruptcy, if you like.:)

Posted by:

David Guillaume
12 Feb 2015

As always very informative Bob and a good read, shame to read about Radio Shack going chapter 11. They were a great company I do hope that all their staff get a job with the new company. Since reading about the USB problem I have always made sure only to use my devices on my remote hard drives storage and not my on my Data computer, god news that Adobe is working on the problem.
David Guillaume

Posted by:

12 Feb 2015

Regarding your comments on yet another security breach that has compromised social security numbers and other personal information.
All the stories I have read make very sensible suggestions about keeping your identity safe but I have not read about one option that I think should be considered if your information is compromised in one of the many hacks.
File your taxes early, before someone else does using your info, and gets a refund. You don't have to pay until tax day, but at least your return will be filed.

Posted by:

22 Feb 2015

Do you happen to have any of those tree addresses handy. My dog is very lonely.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 11 February 2015 (Posted: 11 Feb 2015)
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