Geekly Update - 28 October 2015

Category: Tech-News

Are self-driving cars smart enough to make life or death decisions? What new weapon was just unveiled in the war against telemarketers? And have scientists finally proved that a watched pot never boils? Get answers to these burning questions, and the scoop on the latest tech news, in this edition of the Geekly Update. It's guaranteed to make you 146% smarter. Read, think and comment!

The AskBobRankin Geekly Update

The robot insurrection will have to wait another year. Amazon will hire 100,000 temporary (but human) workers for the holiday shopping season, 25% more than last year and 30,000 more than second-place Target.

In Seattle, there is now a Little League for aspiring professional video game players. This confirms my theory that children of the future will have huge thumbs and small brains.

What should a self-driving car do when its only choice is to plough into a group of children or swerve into a wall, probably killing its owner? Ethicists are wrestling with this question and more complex ones like, “What if there are also kids in the car?”

Geekly Update 11-28-2015

What did your best friend eat for lunch three years ago yesterday? Now you can find out, and probably relive those exciting photos, too. Facebook is indexing all two trillion of its members’ public posts to make them searchable. It remains to be seen just how good the search algorithm is.

Who's watching the watchers? Millions, possibly billions, of CCTV (closed-circuit surveillance) cameras are infested with botnet malware as a result of the Shellshock bug that was discovered over a year ago. It's not clear whether this allows hackers to view the video streams, but we do know that the vulnerability is being used to perpetrate ultra-high speed denial of service attacks.

Turns out Grandma was right, when she warned that a watched pot never boils. Cornell physicists have confirmed one weird prediction of quantum theory – that a system can't change while you're watching it.

Yale, the lock company, has entered the doorbell-camera market with a new product called the Look Digital Door Viewer. Its outdoor component features a motion sensor, a peephole that doubles as a camera, a mic and speaker for the intercom, infrared night vision and—of course—a doorbell button. The intercom and smartphone apps allow you to communicate with visitors from just about anywhere.

Toshio Yamamoto has searched for the perfect ramen noodle since 1996. His website,, contains in-depth reviews of 5,653 ramen brands, and he’s not stopping. The site is in Japanese but Google Translate can help with that.

Facebook now sends members scary notifications when the social network thinks a member is being targeted by government-sponsored hackers. Among other advice, Facebook recommends turning on two-factor authentication of logins.

AVG Security has released its list of the top 10 performance-killing, battery draining Android apps. Actually, there are two lists; one for apps that hog resources in the background and one for apps that must be initiated by the user.

"License and registra... what the heck?" A Tesla car running on autopilot got the first speeding ticket issued to an autonomous vehicle, for doing 75 mph in a 55 zone on a Florida turnpike. I wonder if the car is programmed to stop and roll down the window when approached by a trooper?

Henceforth, the FCC will publish a weekly report including the phone numbers of the companies that garner the most complaints about telemarketing robocalls. Of course, the FCC doesn’t expect any consumers to retaliate using this information.

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

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 28 October 2015"

Posted by:

28 Oct 2015

Retaliate? Me? Where can I buy a robotic dialer?

Posted by:

28 Oct 2015

Re: AVG Security has released its list of the top 10 performance-killing, battery draining Android apps.

I had "rooted" my previous phone. That allowed me to run modify the "autostarts" of apps. Many apps autostart every time the Wi-Fi changes and various other events. So as I walk around my house and connect to my various access points, or get in the car or turn on the screen, many apps start up to check things even though I have notifications turned off for them. Facebook is notorious for this but so are many others apps.

I have always been annoyed by this behavior of the app developers.

-- Charley

Posted by:

28 Oct 2015

Re the millions of cameras infected with botnets: I followed the link. It appears the device has to be one running BusyBox. However, I can't find out how to determine if a particular camera uses that code.

Posted by:

28 Oct 2015

Posted by:

Mac 'n' Cheese
29 Oct 2015

Hey Bob,

Thanks for including the ad about a FREE solar system for my home on the email page for this issue (the page you see when you first open the email message--before you click to get to the geekly content). With the way electricity rates are climbing in so many parts of the country, this is DEFINITELY worth checking out!


Posted by:

29 Oct 2015

Forget the phone numbers of telemarketers. I want addresses - to give my compliments of course.

Posted by:

Lloyd Collins
30 Oct 2015

"License and registra... what the heck?" As the Tesla car speeds off, ensuing a chase that runs over a group of Children.

I still think driverless cars are a really bad idea.

Posted by:

02 Nov 2015

A watched atom never moves. Neither does a Weeping Angel in Dr Who. QED

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 28 October 2015 (Posted: 28 Oct 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved