Geekly Update - 22 February 2017

Category: Tech-News

Will robots have to start paying income taxes? Can Wikipedia get you VIP seats at your next concert? And is your child's voice-activated doll illegal where you live? 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

Have you ever wished for a backup camera in your older car, truck or SUV? The Pearl RearVision wireless camera system bolts up to your rear license plate and displays on your iPhone or Android phone. You can install a backup camera in any vehicle made after 1996 in fifteen minutes. My friend Dan from MPG-o-Matic did a video review of Pearl here.

Dashboard cams aren't just for cars. The driver of a train in Australia took it upon himself to install a dashcam, and captured the moment when his train collided with a motorcycle. In this clip, you can see the rider narrowly escaping harm while the 100-mph train crushes his bike.

User-defined lists have been added to Google Maps, allowing more options than the generic “My Places” list. Users can create lists of “Paris sights to see,” “Favorite bars,” etc., and share them with friends who can follow and add their reviews to places. The new feature was rolled out Feb. 13, but so far it shows up only in the mobile Google app, not on desktop browsers.

Geekly Update 02-22-2017

A British teenager arrived late to a concert and got “shite” seats. So he pulled out his phone, edited the band’s Wikipedia page to make himself the lead singer’s cousin, showed his phone to security, and got re-seated in the band’s VIP section.

One reason Google is experiencing high turnover in its self-driving car group is that the company is paying those employees too much, giving them lavish financial cushions upon which to land comfortably when they jump ship.

“Door locked after 10 p.m. Smile for the camera to gain entry.” You may see a sign like that on the doors of convenience stores that have installed new facial recognition software and cameras. The new software can also recognize burglars, known shoplifters and alert staff.

"Goodbye, Dolly." The Internet-connected “My Friend Cayla” doll records what you child says and transmits it to manufacturer Genesis Toys. In the U.S., parents have complained to the FTC. But in Germany, the government has directed parents to get rid of the spying toy or face up to two years in prison.

People are replaceable but apparently taxes are not. Companies should pay a robot tax on every machine that replaces a human’s job, says Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft. I wonder if Gates will want Microsoft (a leader in artificial intelligence technology) to be similarly taxed when AI replaces software engineers.

You can now shop from home, or anywhere else, via Google Home. After setting up payment options, just say, “OK Google, how do I shop?” Orders can be placed with a limited number (currently 50) of retailers, including Costco, Whole Foods, Walgreens, PetSmart, Bed Bath & Beyond. I can't wait for the TV commercial that triggers thousands of Google Home devices to order unwanted stuff.

If you think you closed your Yahoo account, think again. After users “delete” their accounts, nothing is deleted for at least 90 days. If you log in during the baffling waiting period, the clock is reset to wait another 90 days.

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

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 22 February 2017"

Posted by:

22 Feb 2017

>> The new software can also recognize burglars, known shoplifters and alert staff.
How wonderful it would be if the software could recognize alert staff!
Then it could pass that info onto weary shoppers, to track down those alert staffers.

Posted by:

Tom Beerley
22 Feb 2017

I got mine back in 2013. Works pretty well and it comes with a screen to see behind. Got it from Amazon. And it was only $30.00

TaoTronics® TT-CC05 2.4G Wireless Car License Mount Rear View Backup Camera 7 IR LED Night Vision with Transmitter & Receiver (Waterproof IP67 / Color CMOS / 135 Degree Viewing Angle / Distance Scale Line)

Roll over image to zoom in

TaoTronics® TT-CC05 2.4G Wireless Car License Mount Rear View Backup Camera 7 IR LED Night Vision with Transmitter & Receiver (Waterproof IP67 / Color CMOS / 135 Degree Viewing Angle / Distance Scale Line)

Posted by:

22 Feb 2017

Sorry Bob, I know this is off topic, but I need to get this off my chest.
IDRIVEONE is the most useless piece of junk I have ever bought or even been associated with. After spending 4 hours messing around with it I am not close to getting it to do anything I want to do.
2 things make it totally useless to me. First It does not have a USB port of any variety except to be used for the power source. I have 4 other back-up drives and I don't need it to back up my system. What I want to do is back up individual files and transfer them from machine to machine, not all in the same location. And often it is easier to just download the files to a drive and then upload it again on another system. That's out the window here.
The 2nd problem is the drive inexplicably does not show up in Win explorer and there is no way to just drag and drop/copy and paste anything to it or from it. And I really have no idea how to retrieve files from the drive if I ever get them there. If I did put files on the drive I would have no idea how to retrieve them as a back-up.
My other external drives are different makes and use several different brands of software, but they all have one thing in common. I can see the drives!
I can find NOTHING on their so-called website that gives me any information whatsoever; it's nothing but one big ad. And the "instruction manual" with it is a joke.
This is the most expensive brick I ever bought. I'm assuming there is a standard hard drive in the case, and I'm hoping I can open it up and get it out without ruining it. At least then I can install the drive in an external case or a computer. If the useless software will even let me do that!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Your comments about the USB port are incorrect. Plug the drive into the computer's USB port, and it will show up as a drive letter. It's a standard external hard drive. I use mine that way.

Posted by:

22 Feb 2017

To Bob with the IDriveOne:

I got one of these but haven't installed it yet. When I read your comments, I thought, OH Cr@p, and I got out the included Quick Start Guide. On page 8, it says "using IDriveOne with a USB connection". It then gives steps on plugging the drive into the computer's USB port. It says it will appear as a drive/volume, and notes that wifi mode can't be used when the drive is connected via USB.

Maybe this will help you.


Posted by:

Alex Toth
23 Feb 2017

For Don and idriveone:

I tool up Bob Rankin’s offer in April 2015, and purchased the idrive with cloud storage. The price was excellent for an external hard drive, but I wasn’t interested in cloud storage at all. When I connected it to my macbook, it immediately started churning and installing software; I couldn’t recognize the software or what it was doing, but it seemed intent on phoning home, and updating itself. I stopped using the drive because I couldn’t tell what it was doing and wasn’t always able to stop it from connecting to the cloud.

I started getting spam from the idrive folks regularly, and that’s probably why I missed their negative option notice to renew my unwanted cloud storage in May 2016. When I found the $72cdn charge to my credit card in June, I contacted idrive in California, but they absolutely refused to cancel my ‘renewal’, nor acknowledge that I had never (knowingly) accessed the cloud. Nor would they even pro-rate my cancelling my ‘contract’.

The message here: be VERY SURE you want to use and renew idrive’s cloud services, otherwise they may slip stuff past you and then be completely intractable in dealing with any complaints.

Posted by:

23 Feb 2017

-“My Friend Cayla”: your text, "doll records what you chid says ..." should say, "doll records what youR chiLd says..." Just saying...

EDITOR'S NOTE: Good detective work! Fixed now.

Posted by:

23 Feb 2017

Pearl system at $494 but no display? Seriously? There are tons of systems on Amazon for a tenth of the price or a quarter if you want one with a display.

Posted by:

23 Feb 2017

RE: IDrive: To avoid automatic charges from IDrive - I used a one-shot credit card number (offered by CitiBank and others).

My system uploads to the IDrive cloud once a day and does a local upload via USB to my IDrive (local). Have never needed to use the backups and I can only find files with strange numerical names on the IDrive.

Posted by:

23 Feb 2017

@Don @ SewLady:
I too bought an IDrive One External Hard Drive. I was sold on the Wi-Fi and Backup capabilities; not so much on the "Cloud" storage. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a ZeroGeekGuy. And a lot of my knowledge (if you can really call it that since I am basically following Bob's advice and suggestions); anyway - I have attributed my lack of IT skills as the reason why my IDrive One and I have not worked well together. In fact, I don't know if the device has not provided me with what it said it was capable of because 3-quarter of the times, it does not work. Right off the bat, I could not change the default password and their Support Staff is the "worse!" Don, I inquired if there was a way to know if files were actually being downloaded to the IDriveOne, and Support gave me data/instructions to verify a few files that had been uploaded to my IDrive Cloud account. After telling them I only wanted my files backed up to my IDriveOne device. Have not heard back from them. Currently, I does not back up any of my files because it says something about not being able to read files on a "Y" drive that is not online. Dummy that I am, I ask how to fix the problem from IDriveOne Support. No help again. Agree, the website is totally useless...a sales tool. SewLady, I get the USB port thing, but I want the WiFi. In total agreement about the Setup Brochure...rubbish. Overall, I am frustrated at my lack of skills; but more so ticked off at the company for it lacks of "real" help and support. If Don and I are the only two folk that have bought this device and it's not working for us, perhaps our IDriveOne External Hard Drive might be malfunctioning or were defective in the beginning. Bob, we could obviously use some help or your influence with the company to fix these problems. Thanks.

Posted by:

23 Feb 2017

Pearl system sounds good at first, but think about it...

Spend 4 to 5 hundred bucks on something that is easily removed by alert criminals? Does it come with tracking software so you can find who is using it after yours is stolen?

But even before it gets stolen and I want to back up, I'll have to bring up the app on my smart device to see what's behind me. Touching a handheld electronic device while driving just became illegal where I live. $200 fine.

Pearl is very expensive toy. Seems just sand in an oyster to me.

Posted by:

23 Feb 2017

Re: the wonderful world of I-Drive. On my second attempt to contact them , I got through. I also do not want (or need) cloud storage. I am also not much of a techie. I don't know if the cloud was pre-set or if I set it not knowing any better. I-drive refused to refund the $59.00 renewal, so I contacted my credit card to initiate a dispute. My card company cancelled the charge and posted a note on my account to NEVER allow anther charge from I-Drive. Problem solved! Thanks to all of the previous posts for letting me know that I am not alone.

Posted by:

23 Feb 2017

I'm another unsatisfied I-Driver. Wanted to use as a stand-alone Wi-Fi backup for laptop, desktop and tablet. Wi-Fi was a pain to say the least. Would show up as available to connect but would not allow access in file explorer (it was there just wouldn't play with anyone). I'm now using as USB connected backup drive to desktop. Using cloud I-drive to backup but will not continue subscription.

Posted by:

23 Feb 2017

Yes, I am sorry to say we too were charged for a renewal of Cloud service by iDrive.

We had not knowingly set up to use the cloud storage service, and had never accessed it. In fact we made sure not to sign up when it came up in the registration. We just back up our data to the external drive itself.

It is a shame because I have never found advice etc. from Bob to be anything but excellent.

Hey BOB! Maybe as has been said, you could use your influence....this is reflecting badly on you, maybe very unfairly.

Posted by:

Alex Toth
24 Feb 2017

Follow up: @Lucy, @Frank, et al

I, too, asked my credit card company, CapitalOne, to cancel the second year charge, with all the a/m details and more, and they did.

Then iDrive fought back, claiming that their fine print proved I had knowingly committed to them (in Canada Negative Option Billing is not only frowned upon, but is actually illegal in many jurisdictions) by failing to respond to their notice of automatic renewal. CapitalOne reversed their reversal, and reinstated the charges.

In exasperation, about six months ago, I outlined this situation to Bob Rankin through the Ask Bob site, where he clearly states that he is unable to answer every submission, and sure enough, he didn’t.

Now, I’ve been a big, and continuing, fan of Bob’s since “Tourbus” days, and I tend to believe him when he says he has no connection to iDrive, and receives no favour nor remuneration from them.

Nevertheless, Bob, if you’ve been following this thread, maybe the time has come for an eloquent response, and some action on your part.

In all respect,

Alex Toth.

Posted by:

25 Feb 2017

I was very much hoping to see some kind of response or comment from Bob R. here since he's pushed this product at least a couple times that I remember. I just went to iDrive and cancelled the auto-renewal on my credit card. If not for this discussion, I wouldn't have even realized there was an automatic renewal set! Bad, bad idea on iDrive's part. Maybe there's some fine print about this somewhere, but I certainly didn't see it. All I expected to get was the drive as it was a very good price and I have been following Bob's newsletter for some time and have come to trust his viewpoint.

Posted by:

Storm Connors
02 Apr 2019

I actually have 2 iDrive units. (Bob's salesmanship was so good that I purchased the second when I couldn't find the first.) I wanted to do a wifi relay with it but found that it will not maintain a wifi connection. I do not want to do the cloud backup and have found the iDrive unit to be worthless. It is hard to believe that anyone would recommend this unit without being paid to do so.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 22 February 2017 (Posted: 22 Feb 2017)
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