Geekly Update - 13 November 2019

Category: Telephony

Can you still upgrade your Windows 7 computer to Windows 10 for free? Is your antivirus software making it EASIER for hackers to gain access to your computer? And will quantum computers ruin everything? 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

Earlier this week, lots of people reported receiving "ghost text messages" that were sent this past Valentine's Day. The texts resulted from a glitch in the "cross carrier messaging system" being implemented by the four major phone carriers. Apparently a server crashed back in February, and when it was brought back online, the unsent messages poured forth. Some users received messages from ex-spouses and deceased loved ones.

Google has medical records for 50 million Americans, and the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services want to know why. Google says they received the data from healthcare firm Ascension "to collect and crunch detailed personal-health information" and has promised that it won't be combined with any Google consumer data, or be used to target advertisements at Google users.

And according to the Wall Street Journal, Google is planning to offer checking accounts via Google Pay sometime next year. The financial transactions of the "Cache" app will be handled by Citigroup and (weirdly) "a small Stanford University credit union". Google says they won’t sell all that valuable data about consumer spending to advertisers, which makes me wonder why they're doing it.

Geekly Update 11-13-2019

If you're not comfortable with Google's privacy promises, and don't want to be confined to the Apple ecosystem, try a phone with /e/, the "Google-free" Android clone. In the /e/ operating system, Google services have been removed and replaced with open-source alternatives. With no Gmail, Maps, Calendar, Photos or Drive, I pronounce it "eh".

Apple just unveiled their new 16-inch MacBook Pro, with prices starting at USD $2,400. The top of the line model with 8 terabytes of storage and 64GB of RAM will run you just over $6,000. The new Pro has a larger screen, faster processors, better speakers, and an improved keyboard that doesn't rely on the "butterfly" mechanism that users of the older model disliked.

The January 2020 "end of support" date for Windows 7 is just weeks away. This article from MakeUseOf has some advice for those who plan to stay put, and tips on how you may still be able to get a free Windows 10 upgrade.

This just in from the "Doubt of the Benefit" Department: A Facebook user noticed that the app was secretly using his iPhone’s camera as he scrolled through his feed. Facebook's "vice president of integrity" said it “sounds like a bug” and the company was investigating.

Disney+ is a new streaming service that offers Disney classics, and video content from Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, Fox and National Geographic. But for the easily triggered, Disney has added disclaimers to some older movies warning viewers of "outdated cultural depictions." You know, because Dumbo, The Jungle Book. and Lady and the Tramp might cause rioting in the streets.

If you've ever wondered how Roku makes money, beyond the sale of those little plastic black boxes, here's the answer. Motley Fool says that Roku's annual revenue of $22.58 from each of their 32 million users comes mostly from advertising, and that number is poised to climb steadily.

Bitcoin, online communications, financial systems, and data storage all rely on encryption for privacy and security. Will quantum computers, which can crunch numbers thousands of times faster than today's supercomputers, ruin everything?

Here's another example of how antivirus software can sometimes have flaws that make it easier for the bad guys. SafeBreach Labs discovered a new vulnerability in all editions of McAfee Antivirus software that could enable hackers to bypass McAfee’s Self-Defense mechanism, and to load and execute malicious payloads. McAfee is rolling out a patch.

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

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 13 November 2019"

Posted by:

BobD
13 Nov 2019

"...new 16-inch MacBook Pro..."
"The top of the line model with 8 terabytes of storage and 64MB of RAM..."

Are those Imperial bytes?


Posted by:

Paul
13 Nov 2019

I dread to think how much the new macbook will cost with 64GB RAM instead of 64MB ;-)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Same price! :-)


Posted by:

bb
14 Nov 2019

And another Google-free tablet running Android is the Amazon Fire Tablets.

'Course, that may be just as bad. :-)


Posted by:

David
14 Nov 2019

Google having access to our health records. What could possibly go wrong?


Posted by:

Sirpaul2
14 Nov 2019

With Disney's new disclaimer, what are the chances Disney might eventually show 'Song of the South'?
It's currently (as of today) not in the menu.
From 1984–2005, Disney CEO Michael Eisner stated that the film would never receive a home video release in the US (you can get it overseas), due to not wanting to have to have a viewing disclaimer.


Posted by:

Therrito
18 Nov 2019

Gee, I wonder how much more info Google is collecting on us and what they are doing with said info. It makes you wonder.

I finally took the plunge a few months ago and broke down to buy a retail copy of Win10 Pro. It's a learning curve like any other OS but overall I like it.

I have been using the free alternatives for Anti-virus protection and I haven't had anything in over 15 years and even then it wasn't the fault of the hardware and/or software (yeah, it was my own dumbass fault lol). Live and learn.


Posted by:

Mike C
20 Nov 2019

Not positive but I have heard that Bill Cosby bought the rights to "Song of the South" so nobody can watch it. Personally, my feelings on Disney? When we figure out who "Big Brother" is....


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