Geekly Update - 30 Aug 2017

Category: Tech-News

How afraid should we be of artificially intelligent robot warriors? What makes it so easy for hackers to steal your mobile phone number? And are you ready for even MORE limits on your “unlimited” mobile data plan? 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

“Beware of robotic warriors” is the message of a letter to the United Nations signed by over 100 robotics experts. “Lethal autonomous” technology is a “Pandora’s box that will be hard to close,” they warn. The experts want a ban on the use of artificial intelligence in weaponry. “The Terminator is out there, it can't be bargained with, it can't be reasoned with, it doesn't feel pity or remorse or fear, and it absolutely will not stop...”

Forget about AI robots, apparently the USA has very little time in which to protect critical infrastructure from “9/11-level cyber-attacks,” warns The National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC), a task force of the National Security Council.

The easiest way to download YouTube and other videos requires no app, just three keystrokes and 2 mouse clicks.

If your smartphone's GPS tells you to ride your bike into the Lincoln Tunnel, don't. Police stopped a 26-year-old man who apparently got "tunnel vision" while delivering food.

Geekly Update 08-30-2017

Nestle’, the maker of Kit Kat candy, copied the look and feel of the long-defunct Atari game, Breakout. Apparently, this is worth a lawsuit.

This just in, from the Masters of the Obvious File… A state appeals court has ruled that Facebook friends are not necessarily real friends, rejecting a conflict of interest claim involving a judge and an attorney representing a client in her court room.

Verizon shut off a woman’s phone service on her 84th birthday, violating a federal law designed to protect elderly customers who live alone from being cut off for nonpayment. The woman has not paid her bill because she is in dispute with Verizon over charges.

Here's another limit on your "unlimited" mobile data plan. Verizon is under fire for throttling streaming video of all kinds, degrading resolution from 720p to 480p. Not only does Verizon claim customers can’t tell the difference, the company also claims it isn’t changing video resolutions at all, just throttling the bandwidth allowed for videos. Of course, that generally results in the streaming service downshifting to lower resolution.

Hackers are now using social engineering techniques to gain control of mobile phone numbers, which enables them to drain digital wallets kept on the hijacked phones. The hackers simply call the mobile provider, and ask them to transfer control of a victim’s phone number to a device under their control.

Google Home and Walmart are teaming up to take on Amazon Alexa in e-commerce and online grocery ordering.

If you bought a Sony Xperia phone, and Xperienced a failure after Xposing it to water, you may be eligible for a refund of up to half of its cost. A class action lawsuit claiming Xperias are not “water-proof” as Sony advertised resulted in this settlement. The correct phrasing is “water-resistant to X meters.”

T-mobile customers should not preorder the much-anticipated Galaxy Note 8 phone. Samsung has not made it compatible with the “band 71” 600 Mhz technology that T-mobile is expanding nationwide. T-mobile says two phones with band 71 compatibility will be available by year’s end.

The Justice Dept. has retreated from its demands for an awful lot of personal data about the people associated with 1.3 million IP addresses that connected to an anti-Trump site where disruption of his inauguration was discussed.

A federal judge sided with YouTubers Ethan and Hila Klein, defendants in a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by another YouTube star. It’s the first fair use case involving YouTube.

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 30 Aug 2017"

Posted by:

T Dan Martin
30 Aug 2017

The "Terminator" loose on the street! Has AI really gotten advanced to that degree?


Posted by:

30 Aug 2017

I can buy a robotics kit at Toys-R-Us that will allow me to build and program a small "robot" to perform basic tasks so I would say the answer to your question would be "Yes, while it is not true AI devices can be programmed to perform complex tasks today." As long as there is some remote access capability then there exists the possibility that the device can, and probably will, be hijacked and turned against you.

Posted by:

30 Aug 2017

The reviews for the Utube Downloader make it questionable to use - a PUP.

Posted by:

30 Aug 2017

Meh, I don't agree that the T-Mobile customers should, across the board, avoid the Galaxy Note 8. No other phones currently on the market support band 71 now, either. And, the two slated to arrive end of year are likely to be mid-level rather than flagship devices. If you want a flagship that supports it, you'll be waiting even longer.

I think that there are a number of things to consider before deciding whether or not it is vital to wait and purchase a phone that supports T-Mobile's new 600 MHz spectrum. These include, but are not limited to the following.

Does your current phone (which does not support band 71) work well for you and your travel habits on T-Mobile? Then band 71 support probably doesn't need to be a very big consideration. For example, my husband purchased the Galaxy S8 when it released a few months back. His T-Mobile coverage on it is quite good. My iPhone 7 Plus, also on T-Mobile, likewise experiences good coverage. Neither of these phones, of course, supports band 71. Our experiences mean that band 71 support isn't the highest priority on our list of desired phone capabilities at this time.

Is T-Mobile even rolling out the new 600 MHz spectrum in your area? If not, it probably doesn't matter if your phone supports it or not. (Exception: unless you travel a lot to a place that is getting the roll out and where you have noticed coverage issues that the new band will correct.)

Fortunately, the article does bother to mention the next point. Do you upgrade your phone fairly frequently? With the upgrade programs available through carriers and, in the case of Apple, manufacturers, a lot of people upgrade pretty frequently. If that be the case, it's not a big deal to get the Note 8 now (if it's a phone you've been wanting,) then upgrade next year to the Note 9, which will very more than likely support band 71. The way some of the upgrade programs work, you could even upgrade earlier if something you like comes out in say, six months, that supports band 71, and you've decided you want to take advantage.

There will ALWAYS be a new feature coming down the line. Waiting for a phone that supports/offers that new feature is really dependent upon individual needs/wants/circumstances. I don't agree with advice that presents waiting as something everyone should do. The article which Bob's blog post references nearly makes it sounds as if T-Mobile users will be unable to have indoor coverage if they don't wait for a phone with band 71 support. That's silly. If a person can't get good indoor coverage with T-Mobile, that person is probably not with T-Mobile for that reason already. And, if a person does get good coverage currently, then the addition of band 71 support is probably not the biggest requirement on his or her list for a next phone purchase. Of course, if your service is poor on all carriers, then buying a phone that supports band 71 and using T-Mobile's service if the 600 MHz spectrum does roll out in your area, may be a really good move.

Posted by:

31 Aug 2017

We are painting our world into a corner with them.

Posted by:

Stephen Earle
31 Aug 2017

"The easiest way to download YouTube and other videos requires no app, just three keystrokes and 2 mouse clicks." Not for me. I followed the instructions in the article and was taken to a site which required me to download an app. When I clicked on that link, it took me down-page so I could subscribe to something called "Ummy." I don't know if this works on smartphones - I don't have one. But for my PC (W10 up to date), THIS DOES NOT WORK. I'm a faithful reader, but this is a false lead. First time you've ever failed me, Bob :(

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 30 Aug 2017 (Posted: 30 Aug 2017)
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