Geekly Update - 18 September 2019

Category: Tech-News

Are new FCC rules and call-blocking apps from phone companies making a dent in the number of annoying robocalls? What feature of the new iPhone 11 is causing some people nausea and vomiting? Is your password manager leaking your passwords to hackers? And will a tiny computer the size of a credit card replace your desktop computer soon? 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

Despite new initiatives by phone companies and the Federal Communications Commission, the robocall problem continues to get worse. Over 200 million unwanted robocalls pour in to phones in the USA each day. Nuisance calls jumped 38% from the third quarter of last year, according to Transaction Network Services.

Apple's new iPhone 11 is triggering people who have trypophobia, an irrational fear of clusters of small holes. The three cameras on the back of the latest iPhone are apparently enough to evoke a strong emotional response, even goose bumps, nausea and vomiting. Maybe those cameras are coincidentally right next to the price tag.

Nextdoor, the popular social networking app that connects neighbors, is trying to make online discourse a little kinder and gentler. If you post a potentially mean comment, the Kindness Reminder will pop up and ask you to consider something nicer. The app can't read your mind yet, so it looks for comments that are similar to ones that users have previously flagged as objectionable.

This just in from the Glassholes Department: CNBC reports that Facebook is working with sunglass maker Ray-Ban to develop augmented-reality (AR) glasses that are designed to replace smartphones. AR technology would superimpose computer-generated images and information in the user's field of view.

Geekly Update 09-18-2019

Richard Stallman, an MIT computer scientist and head of the Free Software Foundation, has resigned from both of those posts in the wake of backlash from his statement that characterized one of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims as "entirely willing."

Financial services firm Square is testing a new feature that would allow users of the Cash App to buy and sell stocks with no charge. Square already offers free bitcoin trading.

Popular password manager Lastpass was found to have a flaw that could expose your login credentials. LastPass says they have fixed the problem and pushed out updates to more than 10 million users. Yes, but...

ZDNet asks: "Can a Raspberry Pi 4 really replace your PC?" The $35 Raspberry Pi 4B is a bare-bones computer-on-circuit board, a little bigger than a credit card. The latest iteration is more powerful, and has a slick Linux-based operating system. Just plug in your monitor, keyboard and mouse to cobble together a desktop computer.

The Internet of Things connects a lot more than computers. Wifi-enabled speakers, thermostats, doorbells, and lightbulbs are just the tip of the IoT iceberg. But sadly, vendors are not paying a lot of attention to gadget security. This article says that "As our devices become smarter and Internet-connected, the potential attack surface for cyberattackers increases."

Insurance company Chubb wants to help you stay safe in cyberspace. Their article "6 Ways to Protect Yourself From Hackers" offers tips on wifi safety, avoiding sketchy apps, strong passwords, and encryption.

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

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 18 September 2019"

Posted by:

Bob
18 Sep 2019

With regard to the LastPass problem, "Yes but..." But what? To me, that is unnecessary and potentially detrimental fear mongering.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Fred's comment is a good start to the "Yes but" thought. What I had in mind was how often flaws in security and password management software are discovered. Surely there are more, and we can only hope that they are found and reported by the "good guys".


Posted by:

Fred
18 Sep 2019

"yes but..." you may have to change all your stored passwords. You may never know if they were compromised until it's too late.


Posted by:

Kirill
18 Sep 2019

The solution for stopping robocall is obvious. The list of robocall companies has to be public with all contacts of management and owners. Also should be legalized murder of anybody of that list by assault or other firearm. Moreover, it will solve one more problem - problem of mass shutting. This way the natural killer instinct of those madmen will be channeled for making our society better and safer. Somebody can say that there will be mistakes. Well, as you all know, police sometimes kills law abiding citizens as well, however nobody is going to shut down police isn't it?


Posted by:

bill
18 Sep 2019

ALL software of any reasonable size will have possible security flaws. Last Pass was informed of one, fixed it, and THEN told people about it. All before anyone ever saw it used. About as perfect handling of it as it could be.

EDITOR'S NOTE: You're assuming that Tavis Ormandy (the researcher who reported the flaw) was the only person to notice it. That may well be true, but rest assured there are very smart people working on the other side of the security fence.


Posted by:

Dave
18 Sep 2019

It seems that each cellular provider has a method of reducing the amount of robocalls received. However, many of them want to charge a premium per month to use the service. They should be forced to include that service in all of their plans. At my last trip to the local provider, I was told that their "free" service did relatively nothing and that I would need to add the premium service to get any positive results.


Posted by:

Jeri
19 Sep 2019

Anyone else freaked out by the creature Richard Stallman in holding in the photo?


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