Geekly Update - 27 April 2017

Category: Tech-News

Is there a really good reason to read the blah-blah-blah in those online privacy policies? Is a smart-lock invented 350 years ago superior to today's offerings? And if the majority of Web traffic is not human... what is it? 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

About 52% of all website visitors are not humans. But don't worry... the Web hasn't been overrun by cats or Klingons. They're actually bots - software programs that interact with sites without human aid. The annual Imperva Incapsula Bot Traffic Report differentiates between good bots - such as Google’s web-crawling indexing bot - and bad bots that look for vulnerabilities and inject malware.

When was introduced a couple years ago as an easy way to “clean up your inbox,” I was skeptical. What might the company do, if they had access to all my emails? The NY Times reports that the app sifts through its users' messages and receipts, and sells that data to other companies for marketing purposes.

Here's why you need to read privacy policies. Unroll.Me's privacy policy clearly states “we may collect, use, transfer, sell and disclose nonpersonal information for any purpose.” Oh, and by the way, the NY Times privacy policy goes into great detail about the data they collect, (including subscribing and purchasing patterns) and how they use, share, sell, exchange or rent it. Hmmm, no mention of that in the Unroll.Me story.

Geekly Update 04-27-2017

"I always feel like... somebody's watching me listening to me…" Now it’s audio giant Bose’s turn to be sued for allegedly collecting and selling data about the audio content that users of its smart headphones choose.

A smart lock made in 1680 is a beautiful piece of mechanical engineering that even tells its owner if it’s been unlocked in his absence.

Wikipedia is demanding an apology from Burger King because the fast food chain pulled a fast one by manipulating its own Wikipedia entry to trigger Google Home virtual assistants.

This just in from the "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" department... Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales wants to start a news organization to fight “fake news.” But he wants to do it by letting the people who donate money to his Wikitribune project choose (and edit) the stories that will be covered. Maybe we should demand an apology from Wikipedia.

Finally, a reason for video games to exist. The violent and popular video game, Grand Theft Auto 5, is being used in simulations to test self-driving cars. Let’s hope the cars don’t pick up GTA drivers’ bad habits.

Met Wes Cherry, who was an intern at Microsoft in 1988. During his dull moments there, he wrote the program that became the first Solitaire game included with Windows. No, he didn’t make a dime for it.

InterContinental Hotels Group now says up to 1,000 of its properties may have exposed guests’ credit card details to hackers, up from “a dozen or so” previously reported. No big deal, they were only off by two orders of magnitude.

Why does Apple employ a guy to make artificial sweat? So it can test wearable devices like the Apple Watch under real world conditions, and hopefully avoid giving customers nasty rashes as FitBit once did.

The Atlantic gives us one of the long reads in which it specializes, this time diving deeply into the turbulent history of Google Books.

Many innocent parties used to store files that didn’t violate anyone’s copyright, but they have been unable to recover their property from the government’s evidence locker in the past five years. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is asking an appeals court to order the government to devise a way for such people to get their stuff back.

Hasbro has released a bilingual version of Monopoly for anyone interested in brushing up on their Klingon.

Oops! For 13 minutes on April 25, antimalware service Webroot quarantined a folder containing system files essential to Windows’ functioning. It’s not known how many users were locked out of their operating system, but Webroot claims to have over 30 million users worldwide.

Online shopping makes suckers of us all, says The Atlantic, in an exploration of how prices are changed on the fly to be maximize revenues based on customer location, type of device used to shop, and many other factors.

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

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 27 April 2017"

Posted by:

Jim Swan
27 Apr 2017

When I first heard of Amazon's "dynamic pricing" I was angry. The on the Freakonomics podcast, there was a report about using the same technique to rationalize parking (in San Francisco, I think it was) and I thought that was clever. But now when I try to make airline reservations, the price differential between flying on any two particular days can be as much as FOUR TIMES! Skewer the customer.

Posted by:

27 Apr 2017

RE: Online shopping. Yep. Seen it. When I bought a hood for my riding lawnmower about 2 months ago the original search performed on my desktop computer found only prices in the $300+ range. When my wife searched using her I-Pad style device she found one (OEM just like the ones I saw) for just over $200 which we promptly bought.

Posted by:

27 Apr 2017

I was in the market for a particular blender. I looked at, then went directly to where I found it for $10 less. The next day I checked amazon again and they had the walmart price beat by 99 cents.

Posted by:

27 Apr 2017

Finally! Webroot has recognized Windows as Malware!

Posted by:

27 Apr 2017

When looking for airfares I have noticed that I get a price but if I leave the booking site then go back even only a couple of minutes later, that the price is always higher. If I then turn on Private Browsing or incognito I get the cheaper price again.

Posted by:

02 May 2017

All those books, provided by Google (for a fee if I wanted the whole book), and they are in the "Indiana Jones" information warehouse? Why can't someone somewhere unlock that warehouse?

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