Geekly Update - 17 August 2016

Category: Tech-News

Does changing your password frequently make you LESS secure? Is Facebook now allowing marine mammals to have their own accounts? Are robots sneaking into your closet and donating your clothes to the Salvation Army? 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

"Can I borrow that for a sec?" A woman trying to take a picture of a dolphin at SeaWorld was surprised when the dolphin grabbed the iPad out of her hands and tossed it in the water. Presumably, after taking a quick selfie and checking his Facebook page.

Houston police arrested two men who stole 100 cars using a laptop and an illicit copy of a database of electronic key codes. The pair would quickly hack a car’s computer to read its key code, then burn a matching wireless key fob on the spot to open and start the car. Police are puzzled as to how the thieves got the key code database, which is supposedly available only to authorized dealers and locksmiths. I'm not puzzled at all.

Twenty years ago, a series of futuristic ads from AT&T predicted how we would work, play, and live in the 21st century. See how close AT&T’s fortunetellers came to the truth.

geekly update 08-17-2016

Nikola Tesla did pretty well in the predictions game, too. He foresaw WiFi, smartphones, airplanes that flew without fossil fuel, “X-ray” machines that can read thoughts, and more.

Two white-hat hackers won $2 million at the Cyber Grand Challenge sponsored by DARPA during the lead-up to the hackers conference DefCon. Their software, named “Mayhem,” defeated all others in bot battle, learning to defend and attack in a cyber-war.

The right to beer arms? AP reports that the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has proposed a regulation to require brewers to "collect the name, address, age and phone number from anyone who purchases beer at a brewery for off-premise consumption.” Perhaps beer should be added to the 2nd Amendment.

Use it or lose it. A new “nanny wardrobe” keeps track of the clothes in your closet, including how often you wear a given piece. If you don’t don a shirt in a specified number of months, the system gives it to a charity.

The owner of a small-town newspaper in Vermont couldn't sell the business, so he found a clever way to "give it away" for $122,500. He started an essay contest where the winner would assume ownership of the publication, in exchange for 400 words of prose and the $175 entry fee. The contest had to be extended because only about 100 of the required number of 700 entries were received.

Sports fans can finally go directly to instead of It only took 18 years.

Some of the greatest contemporary champions of online privacy will be honored at the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s 2016 Pioneer Awards, September 21 in San Francisco. They include Malkia Cyril of the Center for Media Justice, data protection activist Max Schrems, the authors of the “Keys Under Doormats” report that counters calls to break encryption, and the lawmakers behind CalECPA—a groundbreaking computer privacy law for Californians.

Google Fiber has postponed its San Jose deployment while it integrates a newly purchased company that delivers 1Gbps Internet via *wireless* technology. Google hopes to avoid protracted fights with incumbents over access to the wooden poles that support traditional cables.

Frequent password changes actually result in weaker passwords, security experts are warning. Many users just make shorter, predictable, more easily cracked variations of their first password.

Don't read this one if you are afraid of spiders. “Yablonina's mobile robotic fabrication system for filament structures features two semi-autonomous bots working together to distribute thread. They climb walls using suction and sensing technology, and can construct a hammock-like web strong enough to support a person.”

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

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 17 August 2016"

Posted by:

17 Aug 2016

Proposed Alabama Beer Rule Prompts Privacy Concerns
Alabama's alcohol regulators want to know who is buying beer from one of the state's craft breweries and taking it home to drink.

The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board is considering a new rule that would require brewers to collect the name, address, age and phone number from anyone who purchases beer at a brewery for off-premise consumption.

Industry groups are crying foul over the proposed regulation, which they say is an invasion of privacy. They also say it would be a logistical nightmare to collect the information.

"As nonsensical as it might seem, this rule would essentially empower the ABC Board to come to an individual's house to confirm his or her purchase of a six pack of beer," said a statement by Nick Hudson of Free The Hops, a group that has campaigned to increase craft brewing to the conservative, Bible Belt state.

The Alabama Brewers Guild, composed of the state's roughly two dozen breweries and brewpubs, said collecting the information would be an administrative nightmare and could pose concerns not just over privacy but also about potential data breaches and governmental use of the information.

"I'm honestly not sure they thought it out very well," said Guild executive director Dan Roberts.

The ABC hasn't publicly explained why it wants detailed personal information about beer purchasers, and officials did not return a message seeking comment on reasons for the rule, which will be considered by the board on Sept. 28.

Roberts said the agency told him the information would be used to verify enforcement of the state's 288-ounce limit on the amount of brew anyone can purchase at one time. Breweries would have to come up with a way to gather the information and deal with customers who don't want such information in the government's hands.

"It's a huge deal logistically. Also, there are purchasers who just won't do it. They'd go to Publix instead of buying at a brewery," he said.

The proposed rule follows a law that took effect June 1 allowing the state's craft breweries to sell six packs, large bottles and other containers of beer directly to consumers, subject to a limit on quantity.

While Alabama and other states require identification to prove the age of someone purchasing alcohol, Roberts said he knows of no other state that collects information about consumers.

To me, this sounds like some Alabama legislatures need to be fired.

Posted by:

17 Aug 2016

At&T's prediction about ‘tucking the baby in from a phone booth’ is like predicting “auto-correct” capability for a typewriter!
I think it would've served AT&T better if they only tried to predict their own future, where they are no longer the alpha dog!
I finally washed my hands free of AT&T and I don't regret it one bit!

Posted by:

17 Aug 2016

At&T's prediction about ‘tucking the baby in from a phone booth’ is like predicting “auto-correct” capability for a typewriter!
I think it would've served AT&T better if they only tried to predict their own future, where they are no longer the alpha dog!
I finally washed my hands free of AT&T and I don't regret it one bit!

Posted by:

17 Aug 2016

What astonished me is how sheepish people act around execution of drinking laws altogether. When one travels to Europe, nobody and nowhere checks IDs selling booze. Not a single place. In Canada youth can drink at 18 and they don't have drinking problems. Maybe too much control isn't the way to go. Yet I see people handing their documents to civilians, that have no business looking into personal data, just because the law makers had a genius idea that this is the best way. Nobody even notice, how ridiculously abusive, yet ineffective this way is. We just stupidly and obediently hand out our IDs.

Posted by:

17 Aug 2016

If you use a password database program such as Keepass or Lastpass then there is no need to create variations of your original password because you do not have to remember them in the first place. Just open the password database using a known single master password and then copy and paste and/or generate new passwords as needed.

Posted by:

Pat C.
18 Aug 2016

I was stationed at Redstone Arsenal at Huntsville, Al. in the early 70's and the Alabama laws about alcohol purchases were strange and alien to a Hoosier born boy. Now, they're even more strange.?! What about the folks hiding out on the back sides of the Blue Ridge Mountains who make shine? And I met a few back in the woods around Madkin Mt. The Alabama ABC can go pee up a weed!

Posted by:

18 Aug 2016

As interesting as the Alabama beer article was, I am very concerned about the actions of Darcetha who felt the need to copy and past the entire article in the comments section. It has been long known, as people are saying, that when you copy and paste in that needless manner that somewhere in the world a kitten immediatly dies.

Posted by:

18 Aug 2016

In PA, every time I buy a 12 pack of beer at the local Weis Markets, they scan my driver's license. Even my 79 year old Dad had his license scanned when he purchased a 6 pack of NA beer!
Ridiculous. Another example of Too Much Information being collected.

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