Geekly Update - 26 February 2020

Category: Tech-News

What's the best way to get revenge on robocallers? How is the Coronavirus helping to spread computer viruses? Are hackers using your robo-vacuum to spy on you in your home? And what do new studies reveal about the safety of 5G mobile tech? 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

Robo Revenge is a service that lets you sue robocallers for up to $3,000 per call. Using the time-tested "follow the money" principle, the service uses a virtual credit card to fool the robocaller into providing their contact information so you can sue them.

A new "semantic camera" from Outsight can identify whether an object is skin, cotton, ice, snow, plastic, metal, or wood. The technology can help facial recognition systems determine if a face is real, and because it is able to identify and follow moving elements, it may improve self-driving applications.

A two-year investigation of the crash of a Tesla in Autopilot mode reveals that the Apple employee behind the wheel was distracted by a video game. The Tesla failed to identify a concrete highway barrier and accelerated when it should have braked.

Last year, Microsoft changed the name of its security product from Windows Defender to Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection, and now we know why. The Defender product is now available for Mac OS and Linux, and Microsoft will soon be rolling out versions for Android and iOS mobile devices.

Geekly Update 02-26-2020

This just in from the "Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste" Department: Hackers are taking advantage of Coronavirus fears to spread computer viruses. They're sending emails that appear to come from the Centers for Disease Control, encouraging recipients to click a malicious link.

Researchers say that the Trifo Ironpie smart vacuum's camera can be accessed by hackers, and that the device has multiple security vulnerabilities.

Inpixon's radio frequency scanners pick up Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cellular signals from phones, smartwatches, and headphones. The same technology being used to monitor prisoners is now being adopted by some schools to pinpoint the location and movements of students.

If you've ever wondered why all movie villians have Android mobile phones, here's why. Rian Johnson, director of the "Knives Out" and "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" movies, says Apple won't let bad guys have iPhones on camera in movies.

The Smithsonian Institution has released a trove of nearly 3 million high-resolution images from its museums, research centers, archives, libraries, and the National Zoo. The Smithsonian Open Access online platform offers 2D and interactive 3D images for anyone to use and download for free. Very handy if you need a picture of Owney the Dog or a 3D image of Triceratops Horridus for your website.

5G mobile technology is safe, at least in the UK. Testing in 10 cities across the UK found "no identifiable risks" in the deployment of 5G. The highest radiation reading found for the 5G band was 0.039% of the recommended exposure limit.

"Mad Mike" Hughes believed the Earth was flat. So he built a rocket that he hoped would take him high enough to prove his theory. But a parachute malfunction caused his rocket to crash into the ground, killing Hughes.

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 26 February 2020"

Posted by:

26 Feb 2020

Can a Flat Earther point to any starting place on Earth that you CANNOT fly to any other destination going in a straight line directly to that destination, using the SHORTEST ROUTE POSSIBLE, as based on the ‘Round Earth’ model?

EXAMPLE: Suppose the standard paper Map of the World was the actual “Flat Earth” with Nome, Alaska on the left side of the map and Provideniya, Russia on the right side (the full width of the map apart) but because the Earth is ROUND they are less than 400 miles apart, just a short distance by air, not well over 20,000 miles away from each other, as a “Flat Earther” would have you believe!

Posted by:

26 Feb 2020

The Smithsonian site is fabulous! Don't go there unless you have lots of time or, maybe, an iron willpower. (They have the Wilson snowflake photographs which alone are worth it.)

Posted by:

26 Feb 2020

All automatic driving aids carry some risk of being abused. Even something as simple as adaptive cruise control can lull people into not paying the attention to driving that they should.

One article about this crash said that he family claimed that he had complained about the autopilot not being able to handle driving in this location. Makes it even dumber to play a video game where you KNOW the system may not keep you safe.

Posted by:

26 Feb 2020

Semantic cameras may 'mean' the world for AI/robotic applications but they sure scare the bejesus out of me!

Posted by:

Jay R
26 Feb 2020

It sounds like "Mad Mike" wound up a lot flatter than the earth of his misunderstanding. And another thing, I hope that Outsight's creation doesn't lead to someone developing an anti-Semantic camera.

Posted by:

27 Feb 2020

Bob -
Since I automatically received Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection in the latest update, can I now safely drop my $59 annual renewal of Malwarebytes Premium?

Posted by:

Robert T Deloyd
27 Feb 2020

I'm kinda sad to see Mad Mike leave this round planet of ours... people like him make life more interesting for us who'd never dare follow our dreams.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 26 February 2020 (Posted: 26 Feb 2020)
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