Geekly Update - 16 Aug 2017

Category: Tech-News

Is Amazon marketing to dogs because they've run out of potential human customers? Which is the best web browser for mobile phones, and why have you never heard of it? Where is the WORST palce to view the upcoming solar eclipse? And what does the guy who invented those annoying password rules think of them now? 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

If you're planning to take in the solar eclipse that will occur in North America on August 21st, pick up some tips from NASA on how to view it safely. You can see how the solar eclipse will look in your back yard with this interactive tool from Time Magazine.

Bill Burr is very sorry he wasted your time with those stupid password rules he developed during his time with the National Institute of Standards & Technology. “Much of what I did I now regret,” Burr told The Wall Street Journal. Hmmm, perhaps that would make a good passphrase.

If you had problems with the August cumulative update for Windows 10 (KB 4034658), you are not alone. Check this link to find out if you were affected, and some workarounds.

Geekly Update 08-16-2017

Amazon is now offering audiobooks for dogs. It seems a soothing human voice will keep Fido calm while you’re gone.

Walmart is testing an app that lets shoppers skip the notoriously long checkout lines. The app lets shoppers scan each item as they shop, and make payment as well.

Walmart is also thinking about putting cameras in shopping carts to detect when shoppers look “unhappy.” The response to unhappy shoppers would be more staff on the floor. Apparently they have not see the website.

Consumer Reports withdrew its “recommended” rating on Microsoft Surface tablets and laptops after hearing from many buyers that the devices fail after 6-24 months. Microsoft says its current Surface lineup has fixed all the bugs. We'll see about that, in 6-24 months.

You can now download 26,000 rare songs digitized from 78 rpm vinyl records. 45s are made from vinyl, which is reasonably durable, but shellac-based 78s are more prone to shattering as they age. Sugar Foot Stomp, anyone?

The best mobile browser for Android is made by Samsung, and it’s now free even if you don’t have a Samsung phone.

Your podcasts are safe from patent trolls. The Electronic Frontier Foundation used crowdsourcing to collect examples of prior art and persuaded the Patent Office to cancel the bogus patent owned by Personal Audio.

Australia’s voice recognition software is used to test would-be immigrants’ English fluency. At least one Irish applicant flunked the test.

Disney is being sued for allegedly spying on children via its gaming apps.

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

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 16 Aug 2017"

Posted by:

David Bostwick
16 Aug 2017

OK, Bill Burr made a mistake. However, he didn't force anyone to follow his "rules" (which makes them suggestions, not rules). He's apologized, and done everything except repent in sackcloth and ashes. Those who have never made a mistake are allowed to pile on. The rest of the world, give it a rest!!!!

Posted by:

16 Aug 2017

Thanks for that digitized music site, Bob.

Great old songs from mid 50's and older.

Well worth a look, and a listen.

Posted by:

16 Aug 2017

During my father's final year, I would call him long-distance daily and he would sing "You're My Lady Of The Telephone", a song from his very early memories. Imagine how wonderful and magical it was for me to find the song as a digital download!!!!! :) :)

Posted by:

John T
16 Aug 2017

I would rater see Walmart place more employees at the registers they have installed. As usual they have maybe 25 or 30 register stations but will only have 6 to 10 open!!! And people standing in lines trying to check out.

Posted by:

16 Aug 2017

Disney has the right idea. SOMEONE has to watch the kids, since so many parents obviously aren't... Jus' sayin'.

Posted by:

Mac 'n' Cheese
16 Aug 2017

Bob, did you really mean "78 rpm vinyl records"? I've never heard of anything other than shellac (and the occasional aluminum radio transcription) 78 RPM platter.


Posted by:

17 Aug 2017

Walmart shopping app: The "Stop & Shop" grocery chain (in NY, NJ, and New England) has been having customers use scanners as they shop, then just bringing the scanner to the checkout to pay. Allowing an electronic purchase would be a logical next step.

btw, they routinely do a random inspections of the contents of a customer's cart.

Posted by:

17 Aug 2017

I remember, how you, Bob, advised to install all Microsoft updates, to turn on automatic updates. I was against it, I mentioned previous "unlucky" updates in well known Microsoft's style. Well, who is right? Long time ago I realized that one of the rule of thumb about Microsoft is "never ever trust Microsoft!" And always be prepared for something. Bad, of course.

About Walmart app - there was an attempt of British to come back - their grocery giant Tesco invaded the US by its daughter Fresh&Easy. I liked that grocery chain very much and they launched some new technology in some of their stores a couple of years before they failed. They had carts with scanner that can be used when you shop. When you finished, you just transferred this info to regular self-served cash register and paid for that. You just save time scanning every piece at register, scanning them shopping. I tried it several times, it worked. They had stores in California, Nevada and Arizona.

Posted by:

Bruce Lamb
17 Aug 2017

I bought a Surface RT 8.1 with the hopes of being on the cutting edge of Technology. Sorry to say the most underwhelming computer I have ever had. My old Win95 desktop performs better. I wanted to read Kindle books while traveling only to find that there is no Ereader that will operate on the machine. Everything from the Windows store fails to load.I tried to download updates for the machine which would not come through the normal update within the system, no go. I downloaded the files from the Microsoft Website only to find the system will not open them. Very disappointed and much out of pocket.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 16 Aug 2017 (Posted: 16 Aug 2017)
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