Geekly Update - 27 November 2020

Category: Tech-News

Is Hyundai taking the hybrid car concept a bit too far? Can your robo-vacuum be used to spy on conversations in your home? What ranks highest on the list of 2020's tech failures? 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

Hyundai wants to buy Boston Dynamics, the robot dog company, for $1 billion. Some believe the technology will help Hyundai build walking cars.

Researchers at the University of Maryland’s Department of Computer Science say popular robotic vacuum cleaners can be remotely hacked to act as microphones, despite not having a microphone. 

Ummm, not that kind of streaming… a New Jersey school board member has resigned after accidentally streaming her bathroom break during a public meeting.

CNet editors present their annual Tech Turkeys issue, with the biggest tech fails of 2020. Ever heard of Quibi?

Geekly Update 11-27-2020

Apple's security chief allegedly offered to "donate" $70,000 worth of iPads as a bribe to a sheriff's department, in exchange for concealed-carry gun permits.

Projekt Melody, a "virtual streamer," was recently caught up in a copyright dispute over her body. Virtual streamers broadcast using a digital model instead of their actual body. The artist who created Melody's avatar claimed owned the design, which resulted in a temporary ban on the Twitch platform.

This just in from the Mama Don't Take My Kodachrome Away Department: Nikon is offering its online curriculum of photography classes for free, until December 31st. The Nikon School Online courses are taught by a professional photographer, and are designed to help you improve your photo-taking skills. Nikon camera not required.

I was surprised to learn that Microsoft Windows is older than my 30-something children. Windows 1.0 launched in November 1985, and is celebrating its 35 anniversary.

Microsoft Teams is challenging Zoom with an unlimited free video calling offer. The free version of Zoom only allows for 40-minute sessions.

Back in 2017, Apple started slowing down older iPhones, claiming the move was necessary to protect older models from degrading batteries. Critics claimed they were trying to force iPhone users to upgrade. A $500 million class action lawsuit was settled earlier this year, and Apple has now agreed to pay an additional $113 million to customers to settle what came to be called the ‘batterygate’ scandal.

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

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 27 November 2020"

Posted by:

27 Nov 2020

Bob, another great Geekly update. It is chucked full of cool interesting articles from the Hyundai robot to the school board member streaming streaming.
But in the end I only felt that I was 145% smarter. I could be wrong however. :-)
Thanks for the continuous great updates.

Posted by:

Norman Salsen
27 Nov 2020

When my age group were young, all our food came wrapped in brown paper bags and even unused newspaper (fish and chips mainly) then it was decided to ‘persuade’/’force’ everybody to go to plastic for virtually everything that needed to be wrapped, and look what has happened to the environment, caused by this requirement;
It upsets us when we see pictures of seals with plastic wrapped round the neck.

My Work With Batteries

I started work in 1958 and I worked a lot with battery equipment, which we knew to be dangerous and environmentally dangerous, I have worked with most types of batteries.

Over time I have purchased several battery operated drills, various makes. I now have four, dead, battery operated drills, the batteries cost more to replace than the cost of a new drill, one of these drills I have now been converted to run off the car, caravan 12v battery or 12v power supply, due to this, I have gone back to using more friendly mains operated drills, lawn mower etc. The dead batteries have to be disposed of, but they will still have some acidic and plastic and metallic type materials that will be difficult to make safe.

Once again we are being forced to go to really dangerous and environmentally dangerous battery powered vehicles and replace the less environmentally damaging diesel and petrol vehicles

The batteries used to power these vehicles will last approximately three to four years, if recharged normally, forced fast charging, maybe less time. Apart from the replacement cost, they will need to be disposed of by some ‘safe’ method and obviously by the million.

Once again we are being lied to, the vehicles are being called EV, electric vehicles instead of the correct term; battery powered vehicles.

My main reason for this message is; I feel so very sorry for ours, and other people’s grandchildren, as they will suffer an even worse environment than we have at the moment due to the amount plastic waste, chemicals and other dangerous items, the only fortunate thing is I won’t be here to suffer with this.

Information taken from an instruction booklet for electronic equipment;-
Low batteries should be changed soon to avoid the damage resulting from a leaking battery. Batteries contain harmful acids. Wear protective glasses and gloves when handling leaked batteries.

Posted by:

Alfredo J Ramirez
27 Nov 2020

Great info, Bob. The free version of Zoom allows for unlimited time when only two locations are conferencing (point-to-point). The time limit is for more than two; still, you close the session and can start a new one.

Posted by:

28 Nov 2020

Bob I hope what I am about to say is OK. I am compelled to reply to Norman's post on batteries.

I have never heard this argument about the EVs but it makes perfect sense.
However, I have heard from reliable close relatives sources high in the energy sector that this attempt to reach a zero carbon foot print is impossible because of many things one of which is a similar reason.

Can you imagine the number of solar panels and their associated batteries and wind turbines it would take to replace the output of the current power plants of hydro, coal and nuclear? The amount of waste would be phenomenal. Plus it would take 500 years to produce all of these devices while in the mean time their life cycle would be ending and there would be all this evolving waste to dispose of before they reach this utopia.

The greenies preach about save the planet and their alternatives would be even more devastating because of the waste factor for one. Not to mention the astronomical cost.

This reminds me of the guy that came up with the Y2K scare in the early to mid 1990s. Myself and some friends that all worked in the tech world kept scratching our heads and saying, I don't see a problem while in the mean time all the so called experts and everyone was going crazy trying to prevent a world calamity that would bring down the power grid and everything around us. On January 1, 2000 we all woke up with electricity and heat and nothing was any different.
I think we have another "chicken little" event but the sky is not really falling.
I too feel sad for my children and grand children that will have to live in a world being mislead by these politicians and so called experts. Unlike Y2K there may be no end date to prove them wrong.

Posted by:

28 Nov 2020

Hi Bob!
As usual, interesting stuff!
However, I am a little concerned that you've got 30 something children! Now that really is over-populating the planet! (grin)

EDITOR'S NOTE: I've lost count, what can I say!

Posted by:

Jim Seiler
28 Nov 2020

Hi Bob ...
Re your 27 Nov newsletter

1) Been reading Sci-Fi since I was about 8 yrs old and I'm almost 82 ... What in the hell would a walking car be???

2) Not to worry about snooping by robo-vac ... anybody who has one probably has Google Home, Alexa, Siri or some combination of all 3

3) I remember Windows 1.0 quite well ... I was a beta tester ... back then, Microsoft would send a free copy to anyone who was willing to use it and report+ their experiences back to MS ... BTW, it was a DOG!!, and remained so at least until about v 3.1 ... but it passed the time ... only difference between then and now, today MS wants you to buy it, and then become a beta tester via Insider ...

Re, the post about electric and other forms of alternative energy to fossil fuel (dirty) energy ... suggest reading "The Science of Energy" by Michael E. Wysession and see if you still think so ...

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