Geekly Update - 25 February 2015

Category: Tech-News

Will speaking in Pig Latin prevent the NSA from intercepting your phone calls? Are Google's robo-dogs peeing on your lawn in the middle of the night? And why might you want to use a drill press to format your hard drive? 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

"Kick my dog, please!" Boston Dynamics, a robotics firm acquired by Google, has created a robotic dog that can walk, run, even climb hills and stairs. But more importantly, it can recover from a good hard kick, and not lose its footing.

Tired of the voice mail maze, or waiting forever on the phone for a customer service rep at your bank, phone company, or airline? Get Human helps you find customer service numbers fast, and zip right to an actual human who can help you.

Google’s latest U.S. patent (#8950238) is an odor removing device that detects body odor, blows deodorant on the smelly spot, and suggests routes you can take to avoid any nearby friends. Something smells fishy about this one.

Geekly Update 02-25-2015

You may have too many mobile devices if you need this 49-port USB hub to recharge all of them simultaneously.

The Invisible Boyfriend will help you convince family and friends that you’re in a relationship even if you’re not. For only $25 a month, you receive romantic texts, shareable photos, and even a “how we met” story that you can customize online. For $25/month, it should include a free dinner at Taco Bell.

AT&T is going up against Google with gigabit Internet service in Kansas City, MO. But the really exciting news is that it will cost an extra $29 per month if you don’t want AT&T to track your online activity.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is asking a federal court to invalidate a patent on “online competitions on social networks where users vote for the winner.” Cases like this are why we should invalidate the entire Patent Office!

"Pass the hammer and drill, please..." A new type of malware "makes traditional anti-virus and anti-malware software practically useless” by hiding itself in the firmware of disk drives, according to security experts. Even reformatting the hard disk won't remove the virus. So far, only one shadowy hacker gang known as “the Equation Group” is known to be using the technique.

"Alktay otay emay inway Igpay Atinlay..." The latest rumor from the “Snowden files” is that the NSA and its British counterpart, the GCHQ, hacked into the computers of Gemalto, the world’s largest maker of cell phone SIM cards, and stole encryption keys that enable the spy agencies to decode the encrypted transmissions of several million phones.

In an unusual “reply-all” mishap, Missouri public utility Ameren accidentally sent emails that disclose its confidential negotiations with rate regulators to all parties in the case, including consumer advocates opposed to the proposed 10% rate hike. The emails reveal that Ameren would be willing to settle for much less than that.

Don’t bother calling the Midlothian, IL, police if you are the victim of ransomware extortion. They were, too, and paid the $500 ransom to get the key to their illegally encrypted computer.

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 25 February 2015"

Posted by:

David Guillaume
25 Feb 2015

The Equation Group . Bob are you saying that the virus attaches its self to the printed circuit board of hard drives such as a 500gig sata for instance. I would be very interested to know a bit more about this particular methodology and how it becomes attached in the first place. Is it attached during manufacture or by way of the internet. Please explain in more detail if or when you have the time
David Guillaume


Posted by:

Sandy Papavasiliou
25 Feb 2015

Alwaysway eatgray otay eadray ouryay olumnscay.

My sister and I used to speak pig latin all day on Sundays when we were kids. Drove my granny insane until one day she figured it out.


Posted by:

Lloyd Collins
25 Feb 2015

I am not surprised about AT&T wanting to get more money out of us customers, they raise my phone bill every year. And, they say they hope that they are exceeding my expectations....NOT!


Posted by:

intelligencia
26 Feb 2015

Hi Mr. Rankin and fellow Rankinites!

I LOVE the Geekly Updates as it informs and entertains at the same time (with your funny asides)!

It is Always a pleasure anticipating (next) what you'll find for us in Cyberspace, Mr. Rankin.

i


Posted by:

Mac 'n' Cheese
26 Feb 2015

Hrumph. Robot dog. The text in the TechCrunch article accompanying the video you linked to said we could easily imagine the contraption "navigating crowded city streets." But nothing I saw makes me think the robot mongrel could safely CROSS a busy street, even with a stop 'n' go light. We all know dogs are color blind.

Mac


Posted by:

Eugene Crawford
27 Feb 2015

Hi Bob,

My first time to make a comment . All I have to say at this time is that I find many of your articles really helpful to me. I'm somewhat of a novice with this computer stuff and you make a lot of things easy for me to understand.

I also get a good laugh from some of your articles.'' THANKS


Posted by:

Kenny D
27 Feb 2015

Malware that infects the hard drive. AY Caramba!


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