Geekly Update - 25 June 2014

Category: Tech-News

Is your smartphone pre-loaded with spyware? Have clever programmers figured out how to make an app even dumber than iFart? And if a hard drive crashes in a government office and nobody hears it, does it leave an audit trail? 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

A Minnesota man came home to find his home had been burglarized. Cash, credit cards and his watch were missing. But oddly, his computer was displaying the face of a man he didn't recognize. Turns out the thief decided to check his Facebook profile, and didn't bother to log out before leaving. And that's not the dumbest thing he did that night...

Taking a picture of yourself: No problem. Taking a picture of a tiger: Okay. Taking a selfie WITH a tiger: Not cool. A New York lawmaker wants to ban the practice of posing for photos while hugging, patting or otherwise touching tigers in New York. Wouldn't it be better to let nature run its course in situations like this?

Geekly Update 06-25-14

A cheap Chinese smartphone, the Star N9500, comes loaded with spyware, according to German security firm G Data Software. The N9500 is sold via many online stores; often, the manufacturer’s model name is not mentioned. The spyware is built into the phone's firmware, so it cannot be removed.

"I predict another hard drive crash…" Another federal judge on June 14 ruled that the U.S. government must reveal more information about the data that it collects concerning citizens’ phone records. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the federal district court in Oakland, California, ordered the Department of Justice to produce 66 pages of documents that were improperly withheld from the public.

We are slipping back into the time of “stupid money,” it seems. “Yo,” an app that does nothing but enable its users to send each other the word, “Yo,” has received $1 million in venture funding.

First Derm aims to be your online dermatologist. Just snap two pics of your skin problem – closeup and overview – and send them off to First Derm; a dermatologist will send you his/her opinion within 24 hours. It costs $40 but 70% of cases are treatable with OTC meds without a doctor visit, says the company. For the other 30%, there's always Youtube and a sharp X-Acto knife.

Rumor has it Google’s Nest subsidiary, a recent acquisition, is looking to buy Dropcam. Dropcam is a popular home video surveillance product. Nest specializes in making household appliances that people don’t notice and which send data about householders’ movements to a central server. But don’t let that worry you.

A lawsuit over LinkedIn’s “invitation spam” may proceed, a federal judge has ruled. Users sued the social network for not disclosing that invitations would be sent three times to each invitee, even though LinkedIn promises that it will not email anyone on your behalf without your permission. Plaintiffs claim damage to their reputations and violation of California’s right-of-publicity law.

Now there’s an app that replaces your pancreas. Ed Damiano, a biomedical engineer, invented the app to help his son, who was born with Type I diabetes. It analyzes data received wirelessly from blood sugar monitors that many diabetes patients already wear, and controls the injection of insulin and glucagon to maintain appropriate blood sugar levels.

Cable TV set-top boxes become the Number Two energy hog in many homes, according the geekiest geeks who ever geeked at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. A set-top box and DVR combo eats an average of 35 watts, adding $8/month to the electric bill of a Southern Californian. Multiply that by 224 million U. S. boxes and you get the power equivalent of four nuclear reactors. In other news, that 40-watt lightbulb you never turn off uses even more energy.

ASS+U+ME: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 crashed into the Indian Ocean hundreds of miles from where searchers are currently seeking it, says an “independent group of specialists” who got together on the Web to analyze what data is available on the mysteriously missing aircraft. The group got busy when it was announced that previous estimates of the plane’s location were based on its communications with a satellite that was assumed to be geostationary but was actually drifting north-to-south. Oops.

"I am the 64 Percent." The FCC’s fourth “Measuring Broadband America” report says that, for the first time, a majority of major ISPs are delivering the “blazing fast” Internet speeds they promise – on average. There is a lot of variation in sustained upload and download speeds. The FCC’s standard for acceptable performance is “80% of customers get what they pay for, 80% of the time.”

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 25 June 2014"

Posted by:

RandiO
25 Jun 2014

Thank you for the "Eye Opener" about Set-Top Boxes (aka DVRs) being the 2nd biggest home energy hogs at $8/mo (35W) of average electricity bill!


Posted by:

Jay
25 Jun 2014

Yo! I be totally with you about letting natural run its course. Beauty is skin deep, but stupid goes way below bone level. Go pet that tiger, Bubba! About the FTC and ISPs. .8*.8 = 64%. The frighteningly close to a coin flip. Now, do you see what happens when your clientele gets 146% smarter?


Posted by:

MmeMoxie
25 Jun 2014

Bob ... Just HAD to share, with my FB Buds, the comment about the "YO App!!!" I have some of the smartest FB Buds, who will snickering, on that one.

I also, HAD to share the info, about the supposed "experts" using a satellite that wasn't stationary, in their calculations, trying to find the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Hundreds of man hours wasted, as well as thousands and thousands of dollars, when if, they really knew what they were doing, the plane may have been found. As it stands now, who knows? A lot of time has past and the ocean can quickly, destroy a lot of evidence.

The reports of Google Nest acquisitions, are at best disturbing and at worst "spooky", as in spying. It looks like Google is taking a "page out of NSA's book", to look for stuff, that Nest can use.


Posted by:

Bob
25 Jun 2014

How about we pay only 80% of our Broadband bill? We need competition in the ISP business badly.


Posted by:

Doc
25 Jun 2014

Well **my** ISP (at&t) tells ME that I get EXACTLY what I paid for: UP TO 6 MEGS/SEC. And yes, 3.2 megs a second IS on the way UP TO MY MAX OF 6 megs, so shut up and enjoy your movie while it buffers ("Think of it as a built in bathroom break" one of their reps told me once when I complained. How did HE know I 'holding it in'?)

But now I have pushed into their BLAZING FAST U-VERSE (or nothing at all) at a GUARANTEED 20 MEGS/sec.

I asked again just to be sure -- I WAS absolutely guaranteed 20 megs a second, "you'll never again be a 'bump' in our highway ever again." I just ran the check, 56.6 k/s. Called AT&T Oh, they must have misspoke (after denying that they would NEVER misrepresent themselves to me again-- make that UP TO 20 megs/sec. now with a selfpaid credit card you can apply for services OR (hey- hey!!!) that new flat screen they knew I always wanted! CHARGE IT ON MY PRE-PAID CREDIT CARD!!!

And, AFTER switching I DID notice a difference in spped!!! Yes, 512K IS absolutely right, it IS on the way up to 20 megs/sec. (and they are sorry, sir, you can't get more than 20 megs/sec unless you upgrade to our Business Gold Class where we guarantee you up to 50 megs a second and if you have ANY trouble or an outage you go straight the top of the list if a repair is ever needed. (great, since my web and phone are now buldled, if my line goes down, calling won't be a polem will it? (they actually answered me and said no, I get routed to a 'business operator' where I get trucks spaced half again as fast, so I only have to wait 4 hours, not 8 hours for service a week and a half from today!!!
*********************************

Bob,

I hate to break the news you you but in ASS-U-ME -- it makes an 'ass' out of 'U' before it does 'ME',and that's all I ask. It's not much, but it seems to be about my only grip on reality of resent. I'm grateful AT&T did not point out that .512 meg/second WAS exactly what I paid for - up to 20 megs/sec, and 512k iS ABSOLUTELY ON THE WAY TO 20 MEGS/SEC. I wonder why they don't guarantee "up to 50 terabytes/second" because 512K IS on the way to 50 T/sec.

Do not EVER let your neighbors one-up you!!! MY hot spot offers YOU up to 300 tera-petabites/second EVERY second - *GUARANTEED* -- or your money never refunded! - SIGNUP TODAY FOR THE DEAL OF TOMORROW!!!!! (fees, flees, taxes, fluxes, masts, flatulence, installment, technological breakthroughs, fiber or wire (they recommend fiber over wire as it's better in your diet), local user fees, and Alien technology not included until released by your benevolent over lords equipment dispellers * death before service has never always not included in above package).
*You must use the equipment contracted or bought and repackaged by our company, not included.
* Ask about our pre-paid death insurance policies, void or prohibited where questioned or regulated.
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Posted by:

JI Means
25 Jun 2014

Thanks Bob. I look forward to your Geeky Updates. Just when I begin to hope that the government and humanity might be learning from their mistakes, your updates quickly prove me wrong. :)

I do appreciate these. You do the searching while I just sit back and learn.


Posted by:

alan1
25 Jun 2014

What's really stupid is people will spend $75 for a gizmo to turn off the $1 per month phantom electrical loads in their house. 6 year payback folks ! The average American doesn't even stay in the same house for 6 years! And I doubt that $75 gizmo even lasts the 6 years before it stops working !


Posted by:

nextime
26 Jun 2014

this site has been a tremendous help in me straightening out my tech-woes.... keep the faith...


Posted by:

Rochelle
28 Jun 2014

I love the story about the thief. Will nominate him for the Darwin Award this year.


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