Geekly Update - 21 October 2015

Category: Tech-News

How often are those self-driving cars involved in accidents, and who is almost always at fault? Are hackers from France silently hacking into your smartphone? And does a new NASA data dump finally put all those moon landing conspiracy theories to rest? Get answers to these burning questions, and the scoop on the latest tech news, in this edition of the Geekly Update. It's guaranteed to make you 146% smarter. Read, think and comment!

The AskBobRankin Geekly Update

The sports world was rocked by an “insider trading” scandal involving online fantasy football league operators DraftKing and FanDuel. A DraftKing employee won $350,000 in a FanDuel contest (not bad for 2nd place), but he may have had insider knowledge of other players’ picks.

In a glimpse of our scary future, a Tesla all-electric car collided with a Google self-driving SUV in Mountain View, CA. No one was injured when the Tesla rear-ended the Googlemobile. This Tesla had a human driver, but the company recently released an upgrade that enables Autopilot Mode on Tesla Model S vehicles.

Coincidentally, California just published all of its accident reports that involved driverless vehicles. Most of the accidents were caused by the robotic cars being overly cautious, confusing human California drivers.

Geekly Update 10-21-2015

Drunk Mode, an app for Android or iOS, integrates with Uber to get you a safe ride home; tracks your friends via GPS in case you lose them; retraces your footsteps from the night before to help find lost keys (or home); and blocks specified contacts for 12 hours so you don’t accidentally "drunk-dial" an ex-spouse, or worse, your boss.

Here's a Florida woman who could have made good use of that tool. Whitney Beall shared live video of her drunk driving via the Periscope app on her smartphone. That prompted numerous calls to local police, who tracked her down and arrested her for DUI.

Mark Davis has kindly shared his audio collection of Kmart elevator music and in-store advertisements from the late 1980s to early 1990s.

Not to be outdone, NASA has published all of its Apollo program photos in one convenient Flickr collection.

Japanese artist Seikou Yamaoka creates startlingly life-like portraits of people, including President Barack Obama, using just his finger and his smartphone’s free painting app.

Amazon has shuttered its travel booking site, Amazon Destinations, only six months after launching it. Apparently, Amazon customers want the world to come to them, preferably with free 2-day delivery.

Another critical vulnerability was discovered in Adobe Flash just one day after Adobe released a patch for previously discovered holes. Uninstalling all Flash software is the only remedy at the moment.

Apple just patented a magnetic iPad stand which allows two iPads to become one laptop. One iPad functions as the screen, and the other as a keyboard. Or, you could save about five hundred hundred dollars and buy a $20 iPad keyboard. Am I missing something?

French researchers have discovered how to use radio waves to silently trigger voice commands on any Android or iPhone. The hack uses the headphone cord as an antenna to trick the phone into "hearing" the audio commands.

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

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 21 October 2015"

Posted by:

Michael Meder
21 Oct 2015

Great geekly update! You had me laughing out loud!


Posted by:

Greg C
21 Oct 2015

Thanks for the link to the Apollo program pics. I grew up during that time (yeah, I'm old) and browsing those Flickr albums brought back a lot of memories.

Posted by:

21 Oct 2015

Will it ever be safe to re-install Flash? (Emphasis on "ever)

Thanks for the "heads up" on this issue today.

Posted by:

22 Oct 2015

Actually what disappointed me with the Amazon Travel service was I was expecting to fly via Amazon drones and avoid all the airport check-in hassles... But than again there were not going to be on-board washrooms or beverage and snack carts.

Posted by:

Shirley Cline
22 Oct 2015

This issue was a hoot! Some funny stuff there that people and robots are doing, lol.

Posted by:

Mac 'n' Cheese
26 Oct 2015

Thanks for the link to the Kmart background music collection, Bob. I love playing background music while I work, so I'm downloading several of these tracks. A little judicious noise-reduction with Adobe Audition, and cutting out the syrupy announcer, and I'll be left with about 75 or 80 minutes of music per track. What a hoot!


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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 21 October 2015 (Posted: 21 Oct 2015)
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