Geekly Update - 14 Jun 2017

Category: Tech-News

Is it legal to hack the school computer to change your grade in a cyber-security class? Can your local politicians now see what you're reading on Facebook? And what did the Wall Street Journal do that earned them a smackdown from Google? 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 U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against Lexmark and other printer companies, affirming the right for third-party companies to legally sell refilled inkjet cartridges. The ruling is also a victory for companies that sell used or refurbished auto parts and medical devices.

A University of Central Florida student hacked into the school’s computer system and changed his grade in a course from “F” to “A.” No word on whether it was a cybersecurity course, in which case he may well deserve that “A.”

Google co-founder Sergey Brin is building the world’s largest airship, or “blimp.” It will be his personal toy when it’s not carrying supplies to remote disaster areas.

The Chipotle restaurant chain revealed that nearly all of its 2,550 stores were hacked and customers’ credit card data were stolen. This time the bug hits customers in their wallets instead of their stomachs.

Geekly Update 06-14-2017

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has taken up the case of an employee who has been charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. That law, says EFF, was never intended to criminalize password sharing between legitimate users of a “protected computer system” and others who were not authorized by the computers’ owner.

Verizon and T-mobile are neck and neck in the race to build the fastest LTE network, according to statistics collected in May by SmartSpeed, a crowd-sourced network monitoring firm.

A 14 year-old Japanese boy has the dubious distinction of being the youngest alleged ransomware extortionist.

A glimmer of hope for privacy? The U. S. Supreme Court has accepted a case that challenges police authority to obtain cell phone location data from service providers.

"Send in the humans!" At least one insurance company is using drones to examine damage to roofs, and one customer in Denver is not happy about it.

From the Tiny Violin Files: The Wall Street Journal stopped letting people access its articles for free, erecting a paywall. Now the WSJ is protesting because its traffic from Google has plummeted 44%.

Foreigners in any country can spy on, injure, or even kill Americans in their homes, as long as they do it by remote control from outside of the USA, according to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is appealing this bizarre ruling in the case of Kidane v. Ethiopia.

Amazon Drive’s “unlimited storage” deal has come to an end. Now, the $60/year “unlimited” package is capped at 1 TB. Customers can also opt for 100 GB at $12/year.

Japan expects to launch self-piloting cargo ships by 2025. But what can you do with a rusty robot early in the morning?

Facebook is rolling out updates that will allow politicians to see what news stories are popular among their constituents. The idea is to help elected representatives understand what issues are important to people in their districts. Optional “badges” will also tell officials whether a comment on their page comes from a constituent.

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 14 Jun 2017"

Posted by:

14 Jun 2017

Regarding Amazon's $60/year for 1T storage: Amazon lists a 1T disk for $55. That extra $5 gets cloud access, for the first year. Then cloudiness costs $60/year. What a bargain.

Posted by:

Mac 'n' Cheese
14 Jun 2017

The Rankin Mind comes up with some pretty funny mental connections ...

Getting an A for hacking a school's database--IF the grade changed was for a cyber-security class!
Very good, Bob!

Your "tiniest violin files" reference went over my head until I googled it and found: "When someone is whining and you are tired of hearing it, you can play the world's smallest violin to provide musical ambiance to dramatize their annoying whine. This is accomplished by rubbing your index finger and thumb together and saying, 'This is the world's smallest violin, and it's playing just for you.'" NOW I get it! Very appropriate for the Wall Street Journal story!

And we loved your reference to "What Can You Do with a Drunken Sailor Early in the Morning?" sea shanty.

I spend far more time reading your Geekly Updates than I really should, Bob. But I must admit I always feel a good 146% smarter when I do. -- Mac

EDITOR'S NOTE: Pleased to be of service. :-)

Posted by:

William Fennell
14 Jun 2017

Why would any politician trust Facebook to inform
them what FB members were saying, rather than just informing the politicians of what FB would like to believe the FB members were saying?

Posted by:

14 Jun 2017

Regarding the Ethiopian government spying on an American in his American home ... I do not believe it is possible for an American Court to successfully order a foreign government to "stop and desist" illegal activity in the United States and to make amends for their illegal actions.

Of course, the US Federal Government has many ways to do this ... but the Courts hands are tied.

Posted by:

14 Jun 2017

I don't know, but with the US court letting Ethiopia off the hook for spying on residents over here, wouldn't that also apply to other countries changing our election results here?

Posted by:

Sarah L
14 Jun 2017

Face book never stops finding ways to be creepy. I can write directly to my elected representatives when I chose. Sometimes i might speak of political topics not wanting them to overhear me. Thus will I end political commentary on face book.

Posted by:

15 Jun 2017

Why use Amazon's cloud for any money, when you easily can find free services? Like free 50 Gb of Mega or 1 or 2 Tb of some Chinese cloud services? Also I still have 39 Tb of 360yunpan cloud despite they announced to switch to paid business services. There is a catch for Chinese services - they don't care you don't know Chinese - no English clients nor menus. But c'mon, 2 Tb for some guessing what means each hieroglyph in their interfaces is a pretty reasonable price that is way better lame $12 for laughable 100 Gb from Amazon. Yes, free services don't offer you any guarantee, but why don't use several free cloud services for backup? It always amazes me, how people are lazy... Well, I'm lazy too, but that pushes me to find a way to keep my laziness free of charge. Maybe there are two types of laziness - a good one that drives progress and a bad one?.. Yeah, I'm too lazy to research that subject that definitely worth a Nobel prize.

Posted by:

Byron M
15 Jun 2017

Love reading your Geekly updates. Find out a great amount about what's going on in the tech world good and bad. These articles and others show that absolutely nothing is private, safe or secret on the Internet. Technology is very useful but it can also turn and bite us on the backside. AI is already in its infant stages infiltrating online activities and reading emails to garner info on us. Scary that AI may one day think, analyse and initiate actions without any emotional consideration. I watched the old B&W movie Orwell's 1984, Big Brother is Watching You. We are now in that technological era. GPS tracking, ability to remotely turn device cameras and mics on at will to spy, Web cams everywhere. Then there are intelligent kids like the 14 yr old in Japan who can integrate several malware programs into a Global Cyber attack. The group Anonymous is proof that any system or computer can be hacked and taken over by those who have the IT knowledge. We are all susceptible to Cyber attacks and Ransom Ware taking over our Internet lives. Thanks for the many and varied topics Bob. Knowledge is power and knowing more better equips us to protect and defend ourselves.

Posted by:

Dave Ream
19 Jun 2017

The "promo" for this latest "Geekly Update" asked the question, "Is it legal to hack the school computer to change your grade in a cyber-security class?" Your interesting report on that incident did not answer the question. I suggest that you advise your readers, in case another student is tempted, that this is a felony crime. If I had not clicked on the link that you thoughtfully provided I would have been only about 128% smarter!

EDITOR'S NOTE: My comment was tongue-in-cheek, of course. (Ever try talking with your tongue actually in your cheek?)

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