Geekly Update - 12 February 2014

Category: Tech-News

Can you log in to your favorite websites by waving your smartphone under your armpit? Will you welcome giant traffic-directing robot overlords? And why would a programmer pull the plug on a popular app that was making fifty thousand dollars a day? 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

Can we say goodbye to passwords, pin codes and fingerprint scanners? It turns out your body odor can act as pretty reliable biometric identifier. Researchers envision using the "sniff test" at security checkpoints, but why not for laptops and smartphones, too?

Perhaps you saw or read about NBC news reporter Richard Engel claiming that smartphone would be "instantly hacked" upon arrival in Russia for the Sochi Olympics. SURPRISE... it's a big fraud. Turns out he deliberately turned off an Android security feature and downloaded malware himself.

It’s weird to learn of eight-foot tall robots directing traffic in the Congo. But it’s alarming to learn just how willing humans are to obey commands from robots, even after “arguing” with the machines and strongly stating they’d rather not comply.

Even though tech support for Windows XP ends this April, the antiquated operating system’s market share increased in December 2013. XP is still in use on 29.23 per cent of PCs, according to the latest report from Net Market Share.

Geekly Update 02-12-2014

AT&T announced a new Best Ever Family Prices plan: 10GB of data, unlimited talk & text, starting at $130 per month for two lines and you can add more lines for $15/month each. The “catch” is that you must sign up for AT&T’s Next plan, which lets you out of a contract.

On February 5, Adobe issued an emergency security patch for Flash Player. It fixes a bug that would allow hackers to take remote control of a device running Flash Player v. and earlier versions for Windows and Mac and Adobe Flash Player and earlier versions for Linux. Check your version of Flash Player and download the patch if necessary.

“Flappy Bird” game developer, Dong Nguyen, ignited a firestorm of dismay, outrage, puzzlement, and speculation by tweeting that he “just can’t take” the runaway success of his creation and had decided to remove it from the Apple and Google app stores. This, despite the fact that he lives with his parents in Vietnam, and was making about $50K per day from the game. Pundits posited all sorts of possible motives for this startling move, but nobody is sure of the truth.

It’s Zuckerberg, squared. “It’s not about invading anyone’s privacy,” insists the CEO of, whose new app for Google Glass uses facial recognition to fetch public data about anyone you look at – in direct violation of Google rules for Glass developers that ban such apps. “NameTag can make the big, anonymous world we live in as friendly as a small town,” claims Kevin Alan Tussy, who’s obviously never lived in a small town or anywhere in proximity to people who think normally.

What else can Apple do to keep the price of smartphones too high? How about display screens made of lab-grown sapphire, the second-hardest mineral behind diamond? While even more durable than Gorilla Glass, sapphire displays cost ten times more.

Apple incurred the ire of the Bitcoin community by deleting the last Bitcoin wallet app from its online app store. A Reddit user offered to buy a Nexus 5 phone for the first five people who would send a video of their iPhone 5 or 5s phones being smashed. And then it got strange.

I’m not saying it’s OK to do this, but here are the five greatest pranks to play on an iPhone user.

A vulnerability in Facebook that allows apps to prevent users from denying access to apps was discovered by Israeli security startup MyPermissions, which spent 60 hours developing a script that diagnoses the problem. Facebook says, “Give us the script.” MyPermissions says, “Come to Tel-Aviv and get it.” Or, just wait for email to be invented.

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 12 February 2014"

Posted by:

12 Feb 2014

Despite the downplaying of the reporter's claim of phone hacking in Soohi, I have the impression that the field is too ripe for hackers to ignore the volume of smartphones, tablet snd laptops that are entering Russia. I suspect the real problem will be the infected devices that are brought back into the US and the havoc they will bring here.

Posted by:

12 Feb 2014

Why would anyone be surprised that a reporter representing NBC would attempt to perpetrate a fraud on viewers? That network has been doing stuff like that for years. The only network any worse is CBS, whose list of fraudulent "news" is longer.

Posted by:

Gloria Huffman
15 Feb 2014

The article you cited regarding Adobe's emergency patch was at The Inquirer. Since I know The Inquirer as a tabloid, I chose to go directly to instead of doing anything from The Inquirer's online article.

Under Downloads, I selected "Adobe Flash Player" and got a message saying, "Your [..] browser already includes Adobe Flash Player built-in. [your browser] will automatically update when new versions of Flash Player are available."

Does this not include an "update" for an emergency patch? Is the emergency patch for real?

Wouldn't Adobe's Flash Player page have a big ALERT on it if an emergency patch were needed?

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