Geekly Update - 18 November 2020

Category: Tech-News

Will your expensive new 5G smartphone be faster than your older 4G model? Should people forced to work from home be required to pay a remote worker tax? Why is it getting harder to cheat at video games? And are the days of privacy through encryption coming to an end? 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

Before you buy a shiny new "5G smarpthone" you should know that Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are all playing fast and loose with claims about next-generation 5G service. The super-fast 5G that Verizon advertises is available only in a few urban areas, and the "Verizon 5G DSS" that has been rolled out across the U.S. is really no faster than the current 4G LTE service. AT&T's fake "5G Evolution" shows a "5GE" indicator on phones, but some studies have shown that it's actually slower than Verizon's and T-Mobile's 4G. T-Mobile has admitted that some 5G users "might experience incremental speed boosts," but for most customers speeds will be the same.

People have been complaining that Google's Chrome browser is lagging in performance, so Google has gone under the hood to make some significant changes. Chrome version 87 will start up 25 percent faster, reduce CPU usage by up to five times, and consume less RAM memory. It will require less power on mobile devices, improving battery life by up to 75 minutes.

Robocalls are back. The numbers dipped during the middle of the year due to the pandemic, but as of September they’re back to 2019 levels. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which operates the “Do Not Call” registry, tracks the number of complaints, the types of robocaller, and breaks down the data by state. You can view the numbers on an interactive map, and see which scams are most prevalent in your locale.

Fake 5G?  Verizon AT&T T-Mobile

Deutsche Bank economists have come up with a new way to "redistribute" your hard-earned money. Because so many people are now working from home, they aren't spending money on commuting, food and other typically work-related expenses. So "remote workers should pay a tax for the privilege," they argue, and those monies allotted to low-income workers who cannot do their jobs remotely. If implemented, the average work-from-home employee in the US would pay just over $10 per day in extra taxes.

Twitter just announced “Fleets,” a tweet that disappears after 24 hours. Twitter users mocked the move, not only because they seem to have copied the idea from Instagram, which copied it from Snapchat, but also because Fleet is the name of a line of enema products.

Computer Weekly says the European Union is considering moves to ban the use of end-to-end encryption offered by WhatsApp and other messaging services, in the wake of Islamist terror attacks in Austria and France. Governments around the world say they want to balance the privacy and security of communications through encryption, and at the same time allow authorities to lawfully access relevant data for criminal investigations. But once that “back door” is opened, encryption (and privacy) is history.

Chimera Painter uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to generate realistic images of scary monsters based on the rough sketches provided by users. Chimera Painter is a prototype, but the developers claim that similar software could “reduce the amount of time necessary to create high-quality art.”

Robot wolves are protecting residents of the city of Takikawa, Japan from bear attacks. In 2019, over 150 people in Takikawa were attacked by bears, but this year thanks to “Monster Wolf” robots, there were none.

Computer scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas have found new ways to identify players who cheat at video games. By analyzing the encrypted network traffic from the game, researchers identified patterns that indicated cheating in first-person shooter games such as Counter-Strike.

Samsung’s new Smart Monitor functions as a PC monitor, a smart TV, and will run Microsoft Office 365 applications wirelessly, without requiring a PC connection. The M5 version of the monitor comes is available in 27 inches ($230) and 32 inches ($280).

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 18 November 2020"

Posted by:

Renaud Olgiati
18 Nov 2020

"Food a work-related expense" ?
Does this mean that people staying at home do not eat ?
Or that they get their food for free ?

Posted by:

Bruce Webb
18 Nov 2020

Thanks for your work! I really appreciate the info & the humor as well. Thanks again, Bruce Webb

Posted by:

18 Nov 2020

Deutsche Bank economists "thinking" is totally not thinking at all. People who are forced to work from home take on the expenses normally borne by the employers such as electricity, heating, cooling, phone usage, internet services, etc. Even the IRS is aware it costs to work from home. They allow deductions for those expenses and/or a "Home Office deduction. If DB was correct the IRS wouldn't allow the deductions. I don't believe one should rely on companies with such short sighted employees.

Posted by:

18 Nov 2020

I follow one simple rule and never get a robocall. NEVER answer the phone unless the number is in my contact list.

Posted by:

Thad Collier
18 Nov 2020

You might check out Zolucky advertisers on your website.
Some of their products are very vulgar. i.e.: the "F" word is written out on some socks, The "S" word is on some other socks and shirts and the year "2020 sucks" with the 2020 in the shape of the "Finger" (bird) is on other socks.

Thad Collier
Murfreesboro TN, 931-704-3710

Posted by:

18 Nov 2020

IF a used car salesman told me '25% faster, 5x power-unit usage reduction, ...and require less power... improving battery life by 75 minutes.'; I'd run away. IF a 21st century mediocre software engineer told me the same: I may just question their aptitude for 86 previous versions, and then run away.

Posted by:

18 Nov 2020

Thad C: Bob Rankin has no control over his advertisers. He probably has a contract with an ad agency that provides advertisements linked to the words in the Ask Bob article. It is funny to see ads for driver updater utilities when the article is railing against the very same driver updaters.

The Deutsche Bank economists are probably the same ones that want an extra tax on high mpg cars because they don't buy as much gas as other, and thus don't pay "their fair share" of gas taxes.

Unbreakable, "military-grade" encryption is freely available in the market. Big brother thinks they can outlaw it but once a thing is created, it can't be uncreated. The old saw is, "If they outlaw {good} encryption, then only outlaws will have encryption."

Posted by:

19 Nov 2020

Deutsche Bank economists don't do their work properly. They still oversee the great inequality between people. They should finally take a look at bald people. They don't use shampoo, conditioners, combs, they don't visit barber shops, they save a lot of money on any kind of hair-related treatments or care. It's not fare. They have to pay a special tax! Also they are dangerous - in a sunny day the reflection of a bright sun from their bald heads can blind other people, especially drivers that can led to deadly car accidents. It has to be stopped! Or at least compensated financially through tax.

Posted by:

19 Nov 2020

So the money that isn't (supposedly) spent on work should induce a tax because people are saving money.
Well, isn't life supposed to be about saving money here and there so that it can be spent elsewhere?
And, the savings will be spent elsewhere(by, I guess, 100% of people)!
So, the reasoning reduces to the idea that because people have changed where and what upon they spend their money, a new tax should be imposed. What a Orwellian type precedent for another tax when something changes!!
So easy to impose laws on the 'ordinary working' individuals.
Really, the tax and financial and criminal laws and 'loop holes' that allow the 'rich and powerful' to avoid taxes and cause financial disasters must be overhauled (as many a politician has touted in their ideological politicking).
PS. Is this really a true 'story'?

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 18 November 2020 (Posted: 18 Nov 2020)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved