Geekly Update - 25 May 2022

Category: Tech-News

What's the latest way to smuggle malware into your computer? What do drones, Walmart, and Hamburger Helper have in common? And should you worry if Grandma starts communicating with a lampshade? 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

It's the end of an era, and bad news for Superman. Officials in New York City held a ceremony Monday marking the removal of the last public pay phone in the metropolis. The city is replacing phone booths with public Wi-Fi hotspots.

If you didn't get your grocery delivery, it might be due to a lost robot. A Twitter user in Northamptonshire, England posted a photo of a delivery robot apparently wandering in the woods.

Cybersecurity researchers say hackers are using malicious PDFs to sneak malware onto your computer. The PDF, which arrives as an email attachment, has an embedded Word document, and displays a prompt stating that the document “has been verified”. If the embedded Word file is opened, it runs a macro that will download and run an RTF file that installs keylogger malware. It's 2022, folks -- are we still clicking on random email attachments?

The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) plans to provide robot companions to 800 older adults. The ElliQ robot looks like a lampshade, and can "project empathy and form bonds with users." NYSOFA says the goal is to address social isolation among the elderly by engaging them in small talk, help seniors contact loved ones, keep track of medication, and even crack a joke.

Geekly Update 05-25-2022

Walmart is expanding drone delivery to 4 million U.S. households in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah and Virginia. Essentials such as Tylenol, diapers, Hamburger Helper and hot dog buns (or thousands of other items weighing less than 10 pounds) can be delivered in as little as 30 minutes, for a delivery fee of $3.99. No word on how the drones will defend themselves from baseball bats, garden hoses and shotguns.

BBC reports that smart contact lenses promise to bring data directly into your field of view. Mojo, the company that makes one such product, says the words of a speech, or the lyrics for a song could scroll across a "heads up" screen in front of your eyes. Smart contacts could also monitor intra-ocular pressure or glucose levels.

Findings published in the journal Nature suggest a new method for strengthening human memory in middle age and a possible early intervention for dementia. An HIV drug could be repurposed to combat memory loss, by strengthening the ability of the brain to link related memories.

Text-to-image generators are getting super sophisticated. Using AI, they’ll generate pictures that accurately match a natural language description. One example given is "An oil painting of a fuzzy panda wearing sunglasses and black leather jacket riding a bike in a garden." Even though this software has great creative potential, Google isn’t releasing Imagen, their image modeler to the unwashed masses, because it could be used for fake news, hoaxes, or harassment.

Remember back in December when the CEO of fired 900 employees on a Zoom call? Klarna, the Swedish “buy now, pay later” service took heartless pink slip distribution a step further by using a prerecorded video message to lay off 700 employees. Those unlucky workers will get their severance pay "later".

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine has sued Facebook/Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The company was given access to personal data from about 87 million Facebook users, with a goal of influencing their vote in the 2016 presidential election. The complaint says that "Zuckerberg directly oversaw the product development and engineering work that was exposing consumer data to abuse."

The 19-year-old who figured out how to use public flight data to track Elon Musk's private jet is also tracking the plane used by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, several other billionaires, and the mega-yachts owned by Russian oligarchs. You can follow the movements of the movers and shakers on Twitter.

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

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 25 May 2022"

Posted by:

J Stuart Wells
25 May 2022

Snopes tells us that the rumor that the last public phone has been removed from NYC is false. There are many left.

Posted by:

25 May 2022

Bob's link to the last payphone in NYC story is worth following. In part the article reports that:

"Officials said it was the last public pay phone in the city, but there are still privately owned pay phones and four permanent, full-length "Superman" phone booths."

I am so glad Superman will still have somewhere to change into his outfit.

Posted by:

25 May 2022

I think I believe WSJ's supplied photos and transcript as proof.

Posted by:

Kenny D
28 May 2022

That delivery robot's not lost, It's just searching for my camping spot.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 25 May 2022 (Posted: 25 May 2022)
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