Geekly Update - 24 December 2019

Category: Tech-News

Do you know how much your car knows about you and where you go? Are you ready for a flying robotic vacuum cleaner? How about a do-it-yourself version of the Tesla Cybertruck? 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

No time to decorate the tree? Maybe you need a robot. Gilded robots are showing off their Christmas tree decorating skills at Bloomingdale's in New York City. They also play instruments, serve coffee, and offer up karaoke caroling.

If you've been wanting a Tesla Cybertruck, but can't quite afford the $40,000 price tag, maybe this DIY paper version will suffice until you hit the lottery. If you have a printer, scissors, glue, and an hour to spare, you can be a cybertrucker too.

Kerem Albayrak was twenty years old when he threatened to blackmail Apple. Albayrak claimed he had the credentials to wipe 250 million iPhones, and demanded $100,000. Apple called his bluff, and instead he'll get a two-year suspended jail term, 300 hours of unpaid work, and a six-month electronic curfew.

Lots of headlines are devoted to 5G technology, but the Wi-Fi 6 standard may actually make more of a difference to you in 2020. This CNet article explores what Wi-Fi 6 wireless technology will offer.

Geekly Update 12-24-2019

The TRACED (Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence) Act has passed both the U.S. House and Senate, and is now awaiting the signature of the President to ake it law. TRACED gives mobile phone providers new tools and incentives to go after robocallers, and allows for penalties of up to $10,000 per call.

Math nerds know that cracking strong encryption is a simple matter of finding two enormously long prime numbers that can be multiplied to match an encryption key. But with current computers, those calculations could take hundreds or thousands of years. What keeps them up at night is quantum computing, which promises to speed up number crunching to the point where encryption becomes moot. But a team of scientists now claim they've developed a silicon chip that uses chaos theory to implement an "absolutely unbreakable" encryption method.

The Washington Post hired a hacker to figure out how much information your connected car's computer is collecting as you drive. The answer turned out to be "a lot" but there are some ways to limit that data collection.

Stratospheric balloons are being launched with super-sensitive cameras that can capture images of people on the ground from the edge of space, 14 miles above. Interested parties include the US Department of Defense, and energy companies that could use the data to monitor critical assets.

The Roomba and its robotic vacuum cleaner cousins have one Achilles heel in common -- they can't handle stairs. But what if they could fly...?

CNet says Sling TV is the best budget live TV streaming service. Sling TV offers cord cutters a variety of live cable TV channels for $30 a month. Right now, you can get your first month for $20 and a free Amazon Fire TV Stick Device if you subscribe and prepay two months of Sling TV. Find out if Sling Orange or Sling Blue is the better choice for you.

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

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 24 December 2019"

Posted by:

Sarah L
24 Dec 2019

The article about the TRACED law says the new feature added to present law is that the companies have 18 months after the law is in place to follow the procedures to send along the true phone number of the caller, so that caller can be caught and punished under the law. FCC had been requiring this by the end of 2019. I do hope enough are caught and fined to stop this as a profitable business. It will not help my land line I guess, which right now gets the most garbage calls. So goes the slow progress, even in an election year.

Posted by:

Nancy Snider
24 Dec 2019

Nice to know that the Senate & House finally got a compromise bill ready for signature. Please keep us informed on when/if this gets signed. Since some of the penalties in early versions were scaled back, and so much of info gathering and enforcement is FCC responsibility, updates on this topic would alleviate some anxiety as tax season and related scams approaches.

Posted by:

24 Dec 2019

About 50 years ago when I was in my mid-twenties I came up with a system of encoding and decoding that I claimed was unbreakable. It was simple to use and didn't need a computer (not that computers were readily available then) but a computer would have made it easier.

I had approached governments with it but with no real interest being shown for various reasons.

A few years ago the University here did a 1-day seminar on me and my idea and they concluded that it was probably unbreakable.

At the time I had assumed that coding systems were based on logic; my system was based on illogic, and consequently could not be reasoned out and broken.

Posted by:

24 Dec 2019

Not all "strong encryption is a simple matter of finding two enormously long prime numbers," that just one way to do Public Key Encryption. It was the first, called "RSA" after it's authors. (Though there is some evidence that the NSA did it first, but they're not saying. They never do.)

There now are others Public Key methods, such as Elliptic Curve cryptography, that are not subject to Quantum computer attacks.

Posted by:

24 Dec 2019

Happy Christmas Bob, to you and yours.

Thanks for the info about cars, I had no idea that just using the built in USB would transfer data from the phone to the car without permission. Yikes!

Posted by:

Larry Petz
25 Dec 2019

Our son gave us a 65" LG 4k smart tv. It had Sling available and we signed up for $20 a month. Big mistake. Did not realize it used the internet to stream. I get 1000 gigs a month with my internet package. The first month used 840 gigs of my 1000. Needless to say Sling was cancelled, as my normal use is around 240 gigs. My internet provider charges $10 for every 100 gigs over 1000 gigs. Add that to the $20 for Sling it's just not a good choice for us.

Posted by:

25 Dec 2019

I thoughly enjoy your articles. Keep uo the good work. Merry Christmas.

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