Geekly Update - 11 September 2019

Category: Tech-News

Will a robot tax prevent silicon-based life forms from stealing your job and taking over the world? Why is Tesla taking steps to make their electric cars noisier? Can Facebook possibly get creepier? And will this new Samsung product put your local dry cleaner out of business? 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

The new iPhone 11 models (iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max) were announced yesterday, along with the 7th Generation iPad, and the Apple Watch Series 5. Apple also announced that you'll get one free year of Apple TV Plus if you buy any new Apple iPhone, iPad, laptop, or desktop.

How can we keep robots from taking over the world? NYC mayor Bill DeBlasio says "Tax them!" The proposed robot tax would apply to large companies that eliminate jobs through automation without offering employees new jobs.

Electric cars are just too darn quiet. So Tesla and others are figuring out ways to make them a little more obvious to pedestrians. New Tesla models will have speakers in the front and rear that will make either a whooshing sound or a backup alert when the car is traveling at low speeds.

Geekly Update 09-11-2019

A doctor in India has used a "precision vascular robot" to perform remote heart surgeries. Presumably from the comfort of his Predator Thronos Air gaming chair (See Geekly Update - 04 September 2019), 20 miles away from the operating room, Dr. Tejas Patel controlled the surgucal robot with joysticks and a video monitor, sucessfully completing five percutaneous coronary interventions.

Mozilla is incorporating a controversial DNS over HTTPS (DoH) feature in the latest version of Firefox. DoH adds encryption to the browser's initial contact with a website (the communication with a nameserver). That improves user privacy, and prevents certain types of web traffic hijacking. But it breaks many filtering and protection tools, and can make it harder for ISPs and cyber-security types to detect hacking and other online mischief. (Is Homer Simpson working for Mozilla now?)

This just in from the "Sleepless in Menlo Park" department: Facebook has been cited as a factor in many divorce cases, even though it wasn't intended as a dating site. But the new Facebook Dating app wants to change that. SlashGear says "As you’d expect, Dating takes advantage of plenty of its big brother’s immense pool of data and features. The app can suggest other users who have in common events you’ve attended, stuff you’ve liked and groups followed on your main account."

COBOL, the Common Business-Oriented Language, just turned 60. It was created in 1959 as the first English-like computer programming language. Sixty years later, ACM reports that 90% of Fortune 500 companies still rely on over 200 billion lines of COBOL code. Take that, C++!

Avast Security has identified over 600,000 GPS tracking devices (commonly used to track pets, family members, and cars) still using the default password of 123456. Trackers using the factory-supplied password can be easily hacked, and used to spy on conversations taking place near the device.

Remember Clippy, the annoying animated paperclip from Microsoft Office 97? Clippy was killed off by Microsoft in 2001, and it appeared that he was being resurrected in the Microsoft Teams product this week. But nope, Clippy is dead again, although maybe not for good. Clippy fans have started a petition to bring him back.

Samsung, not content to provide you with quality televisions and smartphones, wants to make sure your shirts are clean and pressed. The AirDresser smart closet will steam, sanitize and iron your clothes. The companion SmartThings app will notify you when your garments are ready.

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

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 11 September 2019"

Posted by:

David
11 Sep 2019

Yes, make EVs louder. I've been almost hit by several, since the drivers either assume you can hear the tires whirr, or they just don't care. Probably the latter, since a lot them seem to think they're better than mere mortals.

Now, if we could also do something about idiots on bicycles...


Posted by:

David
11 Sep 2019

I liked Clippy. He was droll, cute, and not full of himself. Unlike a lot of IT people, which is probably why he was killed.

(Today is Curmudgeon Day. Now back to watching the lawn.)


Posted by:

Ed Phillips
11 Sep 2019

Bob,
I Work for Unisys going on 51st year :)
equals (Combined companies Burroughs and Sperry) Would have liked to see Mary Hawes name from Burroughs given credit for inventing COBOL, even though some thought it was Grace Hopper (Sperry). See this link telling about the origin of COBOL Regards Ed
Details https://www.zdnet.com/article/cobol-turns-60-why-it-will-outlive-us-all/?fbclid=IwAR2mITRpTmoR_sTgrnist6R64cqWUpoSHuUtMaygsr433mr3LyAjxu6UK8w


Posted by:

Annette N
11 Sep 2019

Have Samsung call me when they invent something that does windows and bathrooms.


Posted by:

Brian B
12 Sep 2019

"Now, if we could also do something about idiots on bicycles"

....and idiot pedestrians walking around with headphones, ear pods or cell phones permanently surgically attached to their ears, who have effectively cut themselves off from the outside audible world.


Posted by:

Kirill
12 Sep 2019

1. ""Now, if we could also do something about idiots on bicycles"

....and idiot pedestrians walking around with headphones, ear pods or cell phones permanently surgically attached to their ears...."

I think, "kill all humans" ((C) Bender) will fix all the problems.

2. "Samsung, not content to provide you with quality televisions and smartphones, wants to make sure you shirts are clean and pressed. The AirDresser smart closet will steam, sanitize and iron your clothes. The companion SmartThings app will notify you when your garments are ready."

Did you catch it? Guess no. Samsung didn't mention folding clothes. Understandable after fail of Samsung Galaxy Fold smartphone. If they were unable to fold galaxy, better not to risk clothes to avoid at any cost such an epic fail, since everybody will see ruined clothes, but nobody cares about cracked galaxy.

Well, Bender is right again.


Posted by:

Jay R
12 Sep 2019

"The power to tax is the power to destroy."- Daniel Webster. He must have posted this on the internet.


Posted by:

Jay R
12 Sep 2019

If Clippy is resurrected, MS needs to be assessed a 15 yard penalty.


Posted by:

Brian B
12 Sep 2019

@ KiRill
"Did you catch it? Guess no. Samsung didn't mention folding clothes"

Looks like you didn't catch it either. Not only not mentioning folding clothes, Samsung didn't mention ironing them either.


Posted by:

tom
13 Sep 2019

"YES... spelling, punctuation, grammar ... are important!"

Ok then, "wants to make sure you shirts are clean".

EDITOR'S NOTE: Not a spelling error, just a glitch in the matrix. :-)


Posted by:

John
14 Sep 2019

Ever wonder why you have to type in "oconner" instead of "O'Conner" in so many application? It goes back to early COBOL.

Computer storage (think punch cards and tapes) was at a premium, so programmer's restricted the number of punctuation marks one could use. 50 years later, a lot of companies just don't want to touch that legacy COBOL code to fix such minor annoyances - afraid they might break something important.


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