Geekly Update - 14 August 2019
Do we finally have the solution to block robocalls? Is 600 million dollars a fair price for a supercomputer that might help to reconstruct the history of the universe? Can your digital camera be infected with ransomware? And are you still looking for a way to get Windows 10 for free? 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 Geekly Update is all about gadgets, and if you have culinary inclinations, this one is for you. Amazon has the Instant Pot LUX60 V3 6-quart pressure cooker on sale for $49. All that "3rd generation microprocessor technology" in the nifty pressure cooker will help you prepare food up to 70 percent faster. "While supplies last," of course.
Skimmers hidden inside gas pumps can be used by hackers to steal your card info (and your money). Krebs on Security reports on Bluetana, a new mobile app that is helping police locate compromised fuel stations. Computer scientists teamed up with the U.S. Secret Service to develop the software. (Did you know... in addition to protecting government officials, the Secret Service also investigates financial and other cybercrimes?)
The decades-old battle over the fastest supercomputer has shifted again. IBM arch-rival Cray will build El Capitan, the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration. The $600 million dollar beast will be 10 times faster than IBM's Sierra machine, and will help scientists determine if old nuclear weapons could still explode, assist in designing engines and aircraft, and "reconstructing the history of the universe."
Still clinging to Windows 7? (I've seen Windows XP running in local banks and restaurants.) If the price tag is your biggest concern about upgrading to Windows 10, here's good news. You can still get it for free, or almost free. Here’s a list of methods to get a free or discounted version of Windows 10.
Ransomware is the scourge of desktops, laptops, and mobile phones. But security researchers have found that DSLR cameras are vulnerable as well. It turns out Canon's Picture Transfer Protocol is unauthenticated, and can be used to install malware on a digital camers over a Wi-Fi or USB connection. Canon has issued a patch for the vulnerability.
In response to the robocall plague, the FCC has ordered mobile phone carriers to implement a call authentication system by the end of the year. AT&T and T-Mobile are the first to step up with a (partial) solution based on the SHAKEN/STIR standard that works for calls placed between the two networks. It won't block robocalls, but a “Caller Verified” message will indicate that the call isn’t from a spoofed number.
Why are robocalls, SIM-swapping attacks, and mobile phone privacy violations so common? Brian Krebs says it's because the wireless industry has "ceded control... to cybercriminals, scammers, corrupt employees and plain old corporate greed."
Trying to follow those little blue dots while using Google Maps in walking mode isn't easy, especially in cities where the signal can be blocked by tall buildings. Live View is a new feature in the Google Maps app for iPhone and Android eliminates the dots and superimposes a big blue arrow on the screen make sure you don't miss a turn.
Apple recalled some 15-inch Macbook Pros sold because they "contain a battery that may overheat and pose a safety risk." Translation: "They might catch on fire." If you have one of the recalled models, don't try to get on a plane with it -- they've been banned from flights by US aviation safety regulators.
OnePlus had a year-long competition to come up with a catchy name for its upcoming Android TV project. The winner was predictable -- "OnePlus TV" beat out my suggestion: "TV-Mc-TVFace".
Twitter is rolling out a new option that will let you follow topics instead of users. The Android-only feature will let you follow (or block) topics including sports teams, celebrities, and television shows.
Tesla’s $40,000 Model 3 doesn’t come with an old-school physical key. You can unlock or start it with a smartphone, key fob, or keycard. One Tesla owner apparently has a problem keeping track of those items, so she implanted the RFID chip from the keycard into her forearm.
If you have a faulty Pixel or Pixel XL smartphone, it could be worth up to $500. Google will pay out $7.25 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over faulty microphones on the original Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones.
Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 14 Aug 2019
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 14 August 2019 (Posted: 14 Aug 2019)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved