Geekly Update - 20 July 2016
Could eating a Baconator sandwich result in identity theft? Is your antivirus software the biggest security threat on your computer? And can Google Maps act as a time machine? Today's Geekly Update is jam-packed with the latest tech news. It's *guaranteed* to make you 146% smarter. Read, think and comment!
The AskBobRankin Geekly Update
Researchers in the Netherlands have developed a data-storage device that works by positioning individual atoms. It is capable of packing 500 terabits (enough space to store every book written) into a single square inch. But you can't buy one now, because it only works in a vacuum, at a temperature of -210°C.
Here's some good news on the privacy front. "Absent a search warrant, the government may not turn a citizen's cell phone into a tracking device," wrote U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan on July 12, in a first-ever ruling that tossed out evidence collected by the FBI’s notorious “stingray” device.
On the other hand... everybody is losing your credit card data to hackers these days! Wendy’s, the hamburger chain, is the latest leaker, with customers affected in over 1,000 stores in the USA. Company officials say they're not sure the breach (which started in the fall of 2015) has been contained. Better pay cash for your Baconator until further notice.
And now your antivirus software might actually make you LESS saecure. “Symantec and Norton Security Products Contain Critical Vulnerabilities” was the headline of a July 5th alert issued by the U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT). Some of the vulnerabilities required no user interaction and could allow a remote attacker to take control. Symantec has issued fixes, but you’re too smart to be paying money for security software, aren’t you, gentle readers?
Landlines are going away; get used to it. The FCC has made it easier for telcos to stop maintaining or offering new landline service in areas that meet certain criteria.
Snapchat’s Discover program, which curates articles found on various media sites, should be rated “R,” according to a class-action lawsuit filed by attorney Mark Geragos. He wants $50,000 for each alleged violation of the Communications Decency Act, and a warning to parents that Snapchat Discovery is “harmful to minors.” A list of salacious headlines makes his case “arguable,” at least.
Time, Inc. thinks it can compete with YouTube and Instagram; isn’t that adorable? Instant.me is the new streaming video service that editorial director Kirstin Benson says, cluelessly, “is for my grandmother.” The press release says Instant.me is “strictly mobile” but it works in desktop browsers too.
“Brewmaster” is another job that may be threatened by automation. A startup called IntelligentX claims its artificial intelligence software can quickly adjust flavorings to satisfy beer drinkers’ suggestions.
If you bought RAM (computer memory chips) 15 years ago, you may soon see a check in the mail. Several big RAM manufacturers have settled a class-action lawsuit that accused them of illegally fixing RAM prices back in the 1990s.
A Google Map showing New York City as it may have appeared circa 1900 has been developed by a team of archivists using photographs from that era.
Tired of cats pooping in your garden? Nvidia Systems Software Engineer Robert Bond sure was, so he put together a “deep learning” network whose surveillance cameras can recognize cats and turn on the sprinkler system. If he can create one that combines deer recognition with laser-guided missiles, I'd be interested.
MuckRock, an organization that has long helped citizens navigate the intimidating and confusing process of filing a Freedom of Information Act request for data from government agencies, is now building a database of reasons agencies have given for denying FOIA requests. “The dog ate it” is probably one of more frequent reasons.
Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 20 Jul 2016
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 20 July 2016 (Posted: 20 Jul 2016)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved