Geekly Update - 16 April 2020

Category: Tech-News

Surveillance cameras are everywhere, but do we really need them INSIDE THE TOILET? Are governments failing to balance their ever-expanding 'emergency surveillance powers' with privacy and civil liberties? And is it time for a virtual haircut? 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

A proof-of-concept smart toilet system monitors your toilet activities and can identify "users" by certain physical characteristics, which I will not discuss here. (I promise you will learn a new word.) Researchers at Stanford University hope that in-commode cameras and sensors will be able to detect chronic constipation, irritable bowel, and even colon cancer.

Apparently, the 3 ounce limit on (certain) liquids never had anything to do with passenger safety. The TSA is now allowing travelers to bring 12 ounce bottles in their carry-ons, as long as you pinky-swear that it's hand sanitizer. Shampoo, mouthwash, and H20 are still potentially explosive.

This just in from the "Never Let a Crisis Go To Waste" Department: Schneier on Security reports that China, Iran and Israel are using mass surveillance, or "emergency surveillance powers" to track people who may have C0VID-19. Schneier predicts the US and other countries will put pressure on corporate surveillance infrastructures to do the same, and offers some ideas on how to balance public safety with civil liberties.

Geekly Update 04/16/2020

If you thought now might be a good time to rob a bank, think again. Not only would it be considered "non-essential travel," but facial recognition tech for people wearing masks has reached 95% accuracy.

Apple just introduced the iPhone SE, a 4.7-inch model with an A13 Bionic processor, Qi wireless charging, haptic touch, and a single rear 12-megapixel camera. The biggest surpise was the price tag: $399.

Ever since Percy Spencer accidentally melted a candy bar in his pocket during World War II, we've been searching for the perfect microwave oven. So CNET editors present you with the Best Microwaves of 2020. See their picks for the best overall, best budget pick, best large capacity, and best compact microwaves.

Google Play is getting a new Kids section filled with Teacher Approved apps that have been highly rated by teachers and found to meet reviewers' quality standards. Each approved app includes a list of reasons why teachers like it, including age-appropriateness, and what it’s trying to teach children.

To improve your "digital well-being," you can tell Facebook to knock it off with all the beeping and buzzing on your phone. Turn on Facebook's Quiet Mode to silence push notifications on mobile devices.

Streaming service Sling is offering free TV from 5PM to midnight each night. “Happy Hour Across America” is meant to
to encourage Americans to stay home. You’ll get access to 32 live channels, including AMC, CNN, HGTV, and MSNBC - no credit card required.

Getting a little bushy while sheltering in place? You probably need a haircut, so a maybe a video chat with a real barber will help you find the confidence for a DIY haircut job. You can "head over" to You Probably Need a Haircut to book an appointment. It'll cost $18 for a 20-minute session. Just don't run with the scissors.

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

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 16 April 2020"

Posted by:

16 Apr 2020

in re: haircuts. I just gloat over the money I am saving. as we don't go much of anywhere, who cares if I look like Sasquatch!?

Posted by:

16 Apr 2020

Only hand sanitizer is allowed the larger size and the TSA warns that "could mean slightly longer waits at checkpoint because the containers may have to be screened separately when going through security." They may open them to see if it smells of alcohol.
The small limits were created after Al Qaeda tried to use a liquid bomb (H2O2 based) on an aircraft, they thought that half a kilo (about a pint of H2O2) would bring a plane down.

Posted by:

Bernie Crowley
16 Apr 2020

Sling TV is a major game changer for a senior Japanese American woman living in communal housing who can't afford cable. This may seem like a little thing to some users, but when I passed it on, she was more than grateful.

Posted by:

Larry Petz
16 Apr 2020

You better watch the Sling Happy Hour. We tried cord cutting and signed up for Sling. My internet usage went from about 200gigs a month, to over 800gigs in a few weeks. I pay for 1000gigs a month. If I go over it is $10.00 for every 100 gigs. Needless to say we no longer have Sling.

Posted by:

Robert A.
16 Apr 2020

The reality is that most consumers don't need a microwave oven larger than 1.0 cubic feet, with tons of bells and whistles. Probably over 90% of the microwave ovens are used for small, quick tasks like popping corn, reheating cups of coffee and hot chocolate, cooled off pizza slices and heating up small frozen food items like chicken pot pies, lasagna and other pre-cooked, frozen, "TV" dinners, as well as heating up hot dogs. And all of that stuff will certainly fit into a .8 to a 1.0 cubic foot unit. Bigger food items like hams, roast beef and turkeys are absolutely better cooked in a standard kitchen oven. Microwave oven technology has likely come as far as it ever will be, and, unless one needs the counter space and buys an over-the-range unit, with a built-in vent fan, which are generally about 1.5 cubic feet, or a built-in wall unit to go along with one's matching wall oven, then it's best to buy something at around the $100.00 range, which, under typical daily use, should last between five and 10 years, at which point, it's tossed and replaced with a new unit, like a toaster.

Posted by:

17 Apr 2020

A smart toilet system? How disgusting! Is society and its methods of surveillance moving to even more degenerate, more undignified, and lower levels? If people are experiencing a problem with their digestive system, they should consult their doctor. Such nonsense should be OFF LIMITS! Period!

Posted by:

17 Apr 2020

Fancy Toilet systems are Very big in some places. Not uncommon is a built in chemical analysis function to check for things like to much sugar being expelled from the body.

if a vision system is being used to identify Users with the images not leaving the household, it would enhance the other functions.

Fancy units also tend to have a built in Bidet function, and knowing who is using the facility could ensure that each person in teh family gets their perfered Bidet Temperature.

Posted by:

gordon maguire
17 Apr 2020

totally agree with pdsterling he has hit the nail on the head

Posted by:

17 Apr 2020

Using a toilet to check for health? Sounds like America's version of socialized medicine.

Posted by:

18 Apr 2020

"America's version of socialized medicine." My pet pieve. When someone says America/American, would that be referring to North America, South America, Central America? If referring to the United States, would the States be a correct term? And citizens termed statesmen? "America/Americans" seems too broad.
David Bowie- "I'm afraid of Americans."

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