Geekly Update - 27 March 2024

Category: Tech-News

Will you be able to see the upcoming solar eclipse from your back yard? Can a brain implant turn blind people into Nintendo Wizards? And should your next romantic relationship be with an AI soulmate? 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

In the rock opera "Tommy," a blind man learns to play pinball. What might he have accomplished with a bit of silicon and wire implanted in his brain?

Elon Musk announced that blind monkeys had their sight successfully restored with implanted brain chips from his company Neuralink. Following their present product, "Telepathy," which allows computer control through brain signals, the next device, termed "Blindsight," intends to restore vision for persons with complete blindness. According to Musk, Blindsight is already working in monkeys, and while its original resolution was akin to early Nintendo graphics, it may eventually outperform human eyesight. How do you think he does it? I don't know.

On April 8, there will be a solar eclipse that can be seen in different parts of the country. Based on your ZIP code, NASA provides an online tool to ascertain whether you can see the eclipse from where you are. The tool gives details on how much of the moon covers the sun and how long totality lasts, especially in the areas of the belt where a total eclipse can be seen. It approximates how much of the moon covers the sun in regions outside of this band.

NASA is asking people to use their free SunSketcher smartphone app to analyze the sun's "oblateness" during the solar eclipse in April. With the help of volunteers located in the eclipse's path, this effort seeks to improve our understanding of the sun's shape. Participants can record the eclipse with just the app, which makes use of the GPS coordinates and camera on a smartphone. The sun, which is sometimes portrayed as spherical, is actually oblate because of its spin, which causes it to somewhat flatten into an oval form. Since this behavior is exclusive to the sun, more research needs to be done.

Geeks watching the solar eclipse

If you're interested in trying Linux as an alternative to Windows or Mac OS, consider Ubuntu. The recent 24.04 release has some new and noteworthy features. Jack Wallen, a contributing writer for ZDNet, breaks down five new features that make Ubuntu stand out from the crowd of Linux distributions.

New artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are being used by scammers to imitate voices and produce phone calls or voicemail messages that seem real. Thanks to advancements in "voice cloning" technology, con artists can now replicate a voice using a short audio sample. The con involves getting a (fake) call from a family member, allegedly in need of quick financial aid or a voicemail ostensibly from a supervisor. The victims agree with the requests, incurring financial loss upon realizing later that the messages were fraudulent.

For the second year in a row, vinyl records exceeded CD sales in the United States. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reports that 43 million vinyl records were sold, six million more than CD sales. This is the second time since 1987 and illustrates the vinyl sales trend that has been steadily increasing for the past 17 years. Vinyl sales reached $1.4 billion while CD sales brought in $537 million, showing vinyl to have a significant financial advantage. The actual number of CDs sold fell by almost 700,000 when compared to the prior year, despite an increase in CD revenue. If you're surprised by this news, here's another shocker: almost 500,000 cassettes were sold in 2023!

Nala is a 4-year-old English Labrador retriever that loves treats. She's also a member of the Seattle Police Department, and an important asset for the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force that fights child s*xual exploitation. Nala's specialty is detecting the scent of TPPO (triphenylphosphine oxide) a chemical used in the production of hard drives, smartphones, thumb drives, micro SD cards and more. When Nala finds a hidden device, she is rewarded with food.

The TopScan Bluetooth OBD automotive scanner is a handy gadget that will help you diagnose the dreaded "check engine" light when it pops up on your car's dashboard. It has the capacity to read and clear trouble codes, access ECU (engine control unit) information, read the vehicle's VIN, and execute live tests. It can adjust the throttle, and reset the ABS (anti-lock braking system), steering angle, the airbag, and battery management system. This bi-directional scan tool lets you test and control components like the dashboard, windows, doors, sunroof, and lighting, directly from your smartphone. Supports more than 70 car brands, and is compatible with both iOS and Android.

A recent report from Mozilla's "Privacy Not Included" buyer's guide warns against using AI chatbots for virtual romantic relationships due to severe privacy and security risks. Researchers tested 11 such chatbots and discovered that all of them failed to protect users' personal information, with the majority failing to fulfill baseline security standards. Privacy policies were vague, providing minimal information about data usage and AI training. Users have little control over their data, making them subject to manipulation and mental health risks. These AI romantic chatbots provide companionship and emotional support in the face of increased loneliness. However, there are significant worries about deceptive marketing techniques and privacy dangers.

And finally, this week's Just Here For The Headline item: Joe Biden Wants To Make Mac And Cheese With Clean Energy

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

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 27 March 2024"

Posted by:

27 Mar 2024

There are lots of Bluetooth ODB scanners. I bought a Kitbest for $12 on Amazon that seems to work fine. I found plenty of free apps for it for my Android phone. Some of the more expensive scanners may have more features or come with their own app. But for what I need I have found it works fine.

Posted by:

28 Mar 2024

read customer reviews on the topscan car scanner, wont work on many new car/trucks,thebig i got you, is a $20/mo charge to use their software,with I phones there isn't an app for it on the phones app site and customer service leaves a lot to be desired, other had problems with updates, one said that after update it didn't work, if one get a new phone, have start all over with the setup on new phone, it seems to me that sites one checks for info on products don.t read reviews b4 saying how good it is

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 27 March 2024 (Posted: 27 Mar 2024)
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