Geekly Update - 21 November 2017

Category: Tech-News

Will you find the best Black Friday ads online, or in your local newspaper? Is a California man's homemade rocket destined to prove that the Earth is flat? And what should you do if your caller-ID shows that your own phone number is calling you? 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

The first “nation in space,” Asgardia, is now drifting towards the International Space Station after launching from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia aboard a mighty Orbital ATK Antares rocket. Over 300,000 signed up to become “citizens” of Asgardia, a satellite about the size of a half-gallon milk carton. And we thought space flight would solve the overpopulation problem.

"Mad Mike Hughes" says he doesn't believe in science, or that the Earth is round. But he has spent $20,000 to build a rocket which will propel him to an altitude of 1800 feet at a speed of 500 mph.

Scientists at Cambridge University have reported that sheep can recognize human faces on computer screens. Because they're studying human brain disorders, or something definitely sciencey.

Geekly Update 11-21-2017

A digital pill that can be tracked remotely has been approved by the FDA to help doctors monitor patient compliance with medication schedules. Around and around it goes, and where it stops no one wants to know.

The independent fact-checking organizations hired by Facebook to combat “fake news” on the social network say that reports of their success are “fake news.”

CompuServe’s forums will be shut down and deleted on December 15, 2017. CompuServe, one of the pioneering social networks, was founded in 1969 and acquired by AOL in 1998. What’s left of CompuServe? Try it and see; it’s free. Compatible with Windows 98, ME, XP, Vista, 7, 8.1, and 10. Dial-up modem or broadband required.

Do not answer calls from your own phone number. If it’s not a scammer, you’ll end up talking to yourself and that never ends well.

Amazon’s supposedly secure, literally “in home” package delivery service requires a $250 package of hardware and services. Announced October 25, Amazon Key has already been hacked by security researchers, who used a widely available app to make customers think their front door had been closed after a delivery when, in fact, it was left open to thieves.

Astronomers have found about 3,700 planets outside of our Solar System. Now they are organized in a Periodic Table of Exoplanets that shows at a glance each planet’s characteristics, enabling easier searches for planets capable of supporting alien invaders.

Germany has banned smartwatches designed for kids, citing privacy and data collection flaws, and advised parents to destroy any of the banned devices they’ve already bought.

Uber has placed an order for 24,000 Volvo SUVs, vehicles large enough to hold complex autonomous-driving gear as well as passengers. No word of what Uber’s absolutely-not-employees human drivers think of this.

The FCC’s latest proposals would leave many rural and low-income citizens without broadband or cellular service, concentrate TV and radio station ownership in fewer hands, and allow telcos to abandon aging copper wire networks without replacing them.

This week’s Geekly Update would not be complete without a link to Black Friday Ads. Despite e-commerce and digital coupons, the overwhelming majority of Black Friday deals are still offered in print. Happy holiday shopping!

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

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 21 November 2017"

Posted by:

Wild Bill
21 Nov 2017

I'm going to guess that Ajit Pai (FCC commissioner) has a great high-speed broadband connection at his home and lives in an area with great cellular coverage to support his best-of cellular service.
His decisions won't affect his life other than to assure a great job subsequent to his current tenure.
It's good to be King.


Posted by:

RichF
21 Nov 2017

CompuServe - the first organization I signed up for eons ago on the web. Didn't realize they were still around.


Posted by:

BillZ
21 Nov 2017

I still have a drawer with some original CompuServe CDs in there. Guess I can toss them out now!


Posted by:

Bob Frazee
21 Nov 2017

When I got my first computer in 1981 I signed up for Prodigy for e-mail and CompuServe for medical and legal research. They were the two latest and greatest. Prodigy has been merged so many times you wouldn't recognize it. Sorry CompuServe didn't keep up with the digital age.


Posted by:

Audrey
21 Nov 2017

When the electricity is out, the landline will no longer work to summon help. I'm guessing no copper landline repair will dispense with landline privacy laws as well.


Posted by:

SysOp404
21 Nov 2017

After several sessions of teaching Windows Hello to recognize my face under various lighting conditions, NOW I find out all I needed was a sheep for that?

Of course back in-the-day many of us were familiar with CompuServe from using machines on college campus. Much later, by the end of 1990, I was running Windows 3.0 at home and loving it, (when it wasn't crashing), but I didn't have Internet access. (As a side note, Windows wouldn't include a graphical browser for another four years yet - not that it mattered much at the time, as my little 386 BSR B/W laptop was too under-powered to have handled that much excitement without locking-up anyway!) Gotz some great memories, but truthfully wouldn't want to re-live ANY of the bad-old-days of computing.

Additionally back then, my bored dorm-mates often dialed their own phone number and then quickly left the room. Being on three-room party-lines, the phones rang subjecting anyone answering them with a strange, very LOUD chittering sound. No scammers were involved, but the victims were then said to be "Woodchucked" and we all had a good laugh. (Yeah, low threshold of excitement, for sure.) Guess we've come a long way since then.

Wait! We've still got some copper wire that hasn't been stolen for salvage coinage? Who knew? SHHH-H-H! Best not let THAT get out...


Posted by:

Peter
21 Nov 2017

I talk to myself all the time. It's sometimes the only sensible conversation that I can have...


Posted by:

DonnyB
21 Nov 2017

Just saying thanks again, Bob, for all the great work you do on Geekly Update and your other articles. I'm guessing you put in many many hours each week to be the professional "keeper upperer" that you are. You are a great help to both techies and non-techies. Best quick-digest tech news on the Internet.


Posted by:

Karena
22 Nov 2017

I live in Rural America - when I moved to my current house, my internet bill doubled from what I was paying at my previous location for DSL - here, I have the options of outrageously expensive satellite service (one provider only), or prohibitively expensive cellular service. And they both have 10 GB/mo data limits, after which (with my satellite provider) I am reduced to


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