Geekly Update - 15 December 2016

Category: Tech-News

Has David Bowie come back from the great beyond, to hang out with astronaut Buzz Aldrin? Can you be sued for posting truthful negative reviews online? And is your umbrella smart enough to predict today's weather? Find out... in today's Geekly Update -- it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. And it's *guaranteed* to make you 146% smarter. Read, think, and, comment!

The AskBobRankin Geekly Update

Amazon Prime is really taking off, literally. This week the company made its first delivery to a customer via its Prime Air drone. The company hopes that drone delivery will eventually squeeze out UPS, FedEx, and the postal service. (First, they'll have to figure out how to keep dogs from peeing on the packages.)

Samsung will remotely disable all unreturned Galaxy Note 7 phones starting on December 19. About 7 percent of the recalled devices remain in consumers’ hands, despite the very real risk of the phone exploding. AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile will be pushing out Samsung software update that will render the phone useless, starting late this month. Verizon has stated that it will not push out the crippling update.

No tiny elephant for you! Kickstarter backers of Magic Leap - all 90,000+ of them - may be disappointed to learn that jaw-dropping demos of the company’s “revolutionary” mixed-reality software are faked.

Magic Leap - Fake virtual reality

Forget about Michael Jackson sightings at the 7-Eleven. Would you believe that moon-walking astronaut Buzz Aldrin is being cared for in a New Zealand hospital by Dr. David Bowie? Dr. Bowie's famous namesake, who died in 2016, wrote the songs "Space Oddity" and "Starman."

It’s unusually expensive to call Cuba from the US thanks to trade embargoes. That’s why phone scammers trick U. S. callers into connecting to audiobook recordings in Cuba.

South Korean military computer networks have been hacked and North Korea is being blamed. Malware has been found on the military’s intranet, and classified documents have been stolen. (Are we sure it wasn't Russia?)

A cute robot modeled after fast-leaping bushbabies can hop up walls and through rubble at disaster sites much better than professional parkour competitors.

Yes, you can post a truthful negative review on Yelp, or anywhere else on the Web. Congress makes that clear in in the Consumer Review Freedom Act, which voids all contractual “non-disparagement” clauses. The new legislation comes in response to businesses who have sued their (former) customers for posting (well deserved) negative reviews.

The Opus One smart umbrella flashes a red light when rain is forecast, a green light when clear skies are forecast. However, you must first a) spend $105; b) connect the Opus One to your smartphone via Bluetooth 4.1 and a companion app, then c) shake the umbrella. Or you could tap the weather app on your phone. Or look up from your smartphone.

AT&T will pay wireless customers $88 million to settle FTC charges of “cramming” fees for services never ordered onto their phone bills. The average credit will be $31.

Two Netgear router models contain an easily exploitable flaw that enabled remote attackers to root them and take complete control. More models may be affected. The company is advising people with these routers to stop using them.

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

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 15 December 2016"

Posted by:

Robert A.
15 Dec 2016

Bob Rankin: Could you elaborate on the process that phone scammers are using to trick U.S. callers into connecting to audiobook recordings in Cuba? Who are these scammers and how are they tricking callers? Thanks.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Did you read the article linked to that item?

Posted by:

15 Dec 2016

Just wondering why the CIA, FBI & President Obama are't as concerned about China hacking and stealing our miltary secrets as they are about the DNC being hacked.

Posted by:

15 Dec 2016

The only remaining question regarding Buzz Aldrin is "What on earth was he doing at the south pole, especially at 86!"

Posted by:

15 Dec 2016

Colin, Buzz was probably researching a cheaper way to cryogenics than Ted Williams used.

Posted by:

Mike C
15 Dec 2016

Netgear Router - many thanks for this valuable info. I would never have heard about it without your much appreciated Geekly updates. Just wanted to advise you that there are now at least 11 routers and modem routers affected by this:

Mike C, in the UK

Posted by:

15 Dec 2016

Just an FYI: there is an update at the end of the Samsung article that Verizon has reversed their decision and will be pushing the update on Jan 7.

Posted by:

Andrea Suhaka
16 Dec 2016

Hah, AT&T's $31 does not even come close to how much they gouge us monthly! They're coming out ahead in the game.

Posted by:

Bob Greene
16 Dec 2016

@chuck-- Obama and the Pentagon never parade their computer warfare campaigns on the New York Times magazine section-- nor are they especially candid with journalists about anything else, for that matter.

We can rest assured, for all the justified concern about attacks on this country's networked infrastructure, we are doing at least as much.

The difference between a security exploit and a mere embarrassment, say those who know, is the genuine security exploit is never known or even suspected until it no longer matters.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 15 December 2016 (Posted: 15 Dec 2016)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved