Geekly Update - 20 May 2021

Category: Tech-News

Will you soon be able to fly from New York to Los Angeles in under 15 minutes? Why are those CAPTCHA puzzles so purposely annoying? What's up with all the Mac malware lately? And is there a glimmer of hope on the personal data privacy front? 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

Google Photos will soon have a new feature called cinematic moments that will be able to create an animated picture by combining two similar images. Machine learning is used to synthesize movement between the two shots. Reality is just an illusion, again.

The government has a program called the Emergency Broadband Benefit, to help low-income Americans with a $50/month discount on Internet service. But Verizon and other ISPs are abusing the program to "upsell" these customers to higher-priced plans.

An elderly couple briefly escaped from an assisted living facility in Tennessee. The husband claims he used his military experience with Morse code to memorize the electronic keypad code that locked the door to the facility. So why is he in a "secure memory care" unit?

At the 2021 Google I/O conference, the company announced a new feature for the Chrome browser's password manager. If the security check finds a potentially compromised password while you're logging into a website, a “Change Password” button will help you update that password with a few taps. The feature is rolling out on Android mobile devices.

Geekly Update 05-20-2021

Researchers at the University of Central Florida are working on technology that could allow for hypersonic flight at speeds up to Mach 17 -- about 13,000 miles per hour. This feat is acheived by "harnessing the power of an oblique detonation wave." Dang, why didn't I think of that?

"Select all photos that show a monkey riding a bicycle under a full moon." Those CAPTCHA puzzles you have to solve in order to access some websites are designed to keep out automated software robots, but they can be tricky and frustrating for humans as well. The folks at Wired have some tips to help you navigate these digital roadblocks.

During courtroom testimony, Apple's head of software engineering says malware on Mac computers has reached "unacceptable" levels. In the past year there have been 130 types of Mac malware, infecting hundreds of thousands of systems.

Porsche and ExxonMobil are working on eFuel, a new kind of fuel that makes gas-powered cars almost as environmentally clean as electric cars, even taking into account the pollution associated with the generation of electricity for EVs.

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators have reintroduced the Social Media Privacy Protection and Consumer Rights Act. The legislation is aimed at platforms like Facebook, Google and other websites that collect user data. It would give users greater control over their data, and allow them to opt out of data collection and tracking.

Can't get out of the city? The BBC reports that looking at paintings of nature can soothe the soul and relieve stress. Here's a batch of 600,000 high-def nature photos to get you started.

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

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 20 May 2021"

Posted by:

20 May 2021

In re: An elderly couple briefly escaped from an assisted living facility in Tennessee.

The couple was in an Alzheimer's unit. As a funeral director, I was called to make a removal at one of these places. It was like a plush luxury prison. No bars, but break-proof windows. The place was locked up like Ft. Knox, maybe better. Every wing was locked from entry from other wings so NO mobility except within your own residence. The furnishings were grandiose, but absolutely NO freedom of movement. And families VOLUNTARILY place their "loved ones" in these facilities.

Posted by:

Ken H
20 May 2021

eGas? indeed a boondoggle waste of time when the research could better be spent on real viable solutions for Global Climate Change.

"The first batch will only amount to around 34,000 gallons, ramping up to 145 million gallons made in 2026. Compare that to the 124 billion gallons of gas burned in US cars alone in 2020 and you get about 0.1% of the American gas pump market."
"To be sure, at least one study decries eFuel as something of a boondoggle, saying it's neither clean enough nor likely affordable enough to win the day on climate correction."

Posted by:

20 May 2021

Dear Bob,
Thanks much for the link to the photos. They are GORGEOUS

Posted by:

20 May 2021

CAPTCHAs? Easy. I simply refuse to do them. If a site starts that BS, I won't visit that sight. Period.

Posted by:

21 May 2021

Is there really a company called ‘ExxonMobile” (a phone company perhaps), or did a stray ‘e’ slip in there? ;-)


Posted by:

21 May 2021

About the Alzheimers unit, people with Alzheimers dementia tend to wander and then do things like die from exposure, or falling, or getting hit by a car. Which, of course, causes an public outcry and weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Hence locked wards.

Posted by:

Martin Greenberg
26 May 2021

captcha; When the puzzle to find all of the same items, it is impossible to solve and you keep getting a different puzzle. Very frustrating.

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