Geekly Update - 27 December 2018
Billionaire inventor Elon Musk is best known for his part in creating Paypal, Tesla, and SpaceX. So why is he digging tunnels under Los Angeles? Which voice-powered artificially intelligent digital assistant is the smartest? And are are those home DNA tests a huge privacy risk? 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
Google Assistant is still smarter than Siri, Alexa, and Cortana, but Apple’s personal assistant shows great improvement. Researchers asked the voice-enabled gadgets a series of 800 questions. Google Assistant answered correctly 88 percent of the time. Siri and Alexa got it right 75 and 72 percent, respectively. Microsoft's Cortana trailed the pack, answering correctly only 63% of the time.
Elon Musk's vision of high-speed underground highways with 16-passenger vehicles moving at 150 mph seems to have hit a bump in the road. The latest prototype was “like riding on a dirt road” according to journalists who described their trip through Elon Musk’s "Loop" tunnel beneath Los Angeles; and that was at 30-35 mph.
If you received a 23-and-Me or AncestryDNA kit for Christmas your best bet may be to throw it away. Home DNA tests were the best-selling non-Amazon-branded item on Amazon during this year’s Cyber Monday buying frenzy. But the tests are wildly inaccurate, unregulated, and you don’t know who will buy your test results.
Windows 10 will soon reboot your PC immediately after updating, an option that no user has ever requested but Microsoft thinks you should have.
It's nice to share, as long as you're sharing something that belongs to you. But Facebook hasn't gotten that message yet. In their latest privacy debacle, Facebook shared user data with Amazon so that the latter could better enforce its product review policies, although some might object to the word “better.” (See also: Wired Magazine's 21 Biggest Facebook Scandals of 2018.)
Internet access customers of Charter Communications will be getting cash refunds and months of free premium channels thanks to New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood’s settlement of a lawsuit alleging Charter defrauded it subscribers.
Fast, accurate, idiotproof blood pressure reading are possible on the go, thanks to the Heartguide smartwatch which incorporates an inflatable pressure band just like the one at your doctor’s office.
Hacking your own insulin pump is surprisingly easy, and the benefits are substantial. People with Type 1 diabetes can use the DIY method to make their pumps adjust insulin levels automatically and more precisely.
Amazon is overhauling its inventories of soft drinks, snack foods, and other product types known as “CRaP,” for “Can’t Realize a Profit.” That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to buy CRaP on Amazon; it will just be shipped by its makers instead of from Amazon warehouses, or moved to Prime Pantry which makes shoppers fill a box with small, inexpensive items before it will be shipped.
Here is a free service that quickly removes the background from an image you upload. For now, there must be at least one person in the image, but in the future it may support other kinds of images as well. The original images are deleted from the remote server within an hour.
The threat to free speech posed by automated DMCA takedown systems is highlighted in this case of a game developer who carpet-bombed a YouTube celeb with admittedly bogus copyright infringement claims just to silence him.
An autonomous delivery robot caught fire while rolling around the campus of UC-Berkeley. Manufacturer Kiwibot calls it “human error” that a replacement battery was defective. Maybe they shouldn't be used to transport hot wings.
Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 27 Dec 2018
|For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.|
[ALERT] Customer Service Impostors
The Top Twenty
Is Your Charging Cable Killing Your Phone?
Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions
Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter
Copyright © 2005
- Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 27 December 2018 (Posted: 27 Dec 2018)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved