Geekly Update - 25 Jan 2018

Category: Tech-News

Can you get free movie tickets in exchange for ignoring your Facebook notifications? What caused the massive spike in Bitcoin values? Has artificial intelligence surpassed human intelligence? And how do you feel about robots in the restroom? 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

Do you need to curtail your screen time? There’s an app for that called “The Hold”. It provides rewards such as movie tickets when you don’t use your phone. The Guardian tells us how well it works.

An artificial intelligence program beat the average reading comprehension score of an unspecified number of humans “with a score of 82.44 versus 82.305.” Of course, this means “millions of customer service jobs are at risk of automation”... in China… eventually… perhaps.

If your WiFi speed has been problematic since October, 2017, it may be due to Google hardware devices such as Chromecast and Google Home. A firmware glitch sometimes causes these devices to go into “sleep” mode yet still flood WiFi networks with data, causing throughput to plummet.

Geekly Update 01-25-2018

"Desperately seeking Claudia." And not just any Claudia. A student at Missouri State University accidentally swiped the wrong way on a dating app, and Claudia was gone. So he went old-school, and emailed every Claudia on campus. One of them replied, and agreed to a donut date.

One wealthy speculator “likely” drove the price of Bitcoin from $150 to over $1,000 in early 2017, sparking the whole year’s cryptocurrency feeding frenzy. Researchers think they know who it is.

A drone rescued two people immersed in rough ocean waters off the coast of Australia by dropping a flotation device right next to them.

Small businesses are being warned by the IRS to watch out for phishing emails that request “replacements” of employees’ W2 forms. Information from the forms can be used for tax fraud and identity theft.

Apple temporarily banned from its app store an app called WeHe, which detects ISPs’ potential violations of Net Neutrality principles. WeHe was restored to the store after the developer helped Apple understand how the app works.

“Roomba for the restroom” is how one might describe ToiBot, the automatic toilet-cleaning robot from Israel.

Oops! The NSA is apologizing profusely for violating a federal judge’s 2007 order to preserve surveillance data relevant to several ongoing privacy lawsuits. It seems the spy agency never took some of the steps it was supposed to take in order to preserve the data.

And finally, IT WASN'T ME! Apparently "Bob" was having trouble with delivery drivers finding his house. So he put up an official-looking sign along the road in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, which complied with Department of Transportation standards. Local officials were amused, but removed the unauthorized sign. I actually do have this problem with delivery drivers not being able to find my house. Maybe I'll put up a sign.

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

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 25 Jan 2018"

Posted by:

25 Jan 2018

The city said they thought Bob's sign was funny and want him to come in and pick up his sign. I'm sure if he did go in they'd end up charging him with some crime and fine the daylights out of him.

Posted by:

25 Jan 2018

I've got some kids and grandkids that could really benefit from that Hold app. Too bad it's European and not over here.

Posted by:

25 Jan 2018

The ToiBot at first flush seems to be the answer to porcelain god worshipers world-wide. Butt I predict a problem if there is not some super accurate sensor that tells ToiBot not to clean if...
If by chance I was a long to medium haired individual involved in some well-deserved after party upchucking would the bowl drone know not to orbit around my white haven happily sweeping away puke? I would be aghast if the beast snatch a claw full of my golden/gray locks and whipped them around like a horse's tail inside the bowl while said locks were still attached to my head.
And then, I need to ask about the outside of the toilet. In any house of even moderately toilet trained males it is not the inside of the loo that needs the most cleaning. Despite sharpshooter aim even the best pee-pee professional will often hose the seat, the back of the toilet, the wall beside the toilet, and the floor around the toilet. Who is gonna clean that ToiBot?

Posted by:

25 Jan 2018

Bob, Anyone: Here's a question that's apropos of scamming in the false-advertising department:

What's been your experience with a site called ""? I ask because the site purportedly offers a million ebooks for download free. Now I know that there's no such thing as a free lunch or a free site, so I became suspicious when I was asked for my credit card supposedly to verify my identity. I started the process by giving my email address but then backed out when I was asked for my card's security code.

If I went on, would I find that is on the up-and-up? (If so, how does it make money?} Or is it one of several I've encountered that charge a "membership fee" before giving access to a book?

For the record, these sites promise free downloads but ultimately charge before letting you at a book. Beware of: [dba melicplay];,, and [all urbook]; and [filenugget].

Posted by:

26 Jan 2018

To follow up on Jim's comment - Who's going to clean ToiBot? It's right there in the line of fire.

Posted by:

Ken Driver
27 Jan 2018

Signage sounds like a great idea. Nothing worse than having to constantly direct delivery drivers to your house.

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