Geekly Update - 30 November 2017

Category: Tech-News

Can you tell if your Uber driver is a convicted felon with no driver's license? Would you pay $10,000 to escape from the Internet? Are pricey upside-down Christmas trees the latest must-have for holiday decorating? And how are flying cows helping with disaster recovery efforts in Puerto Rico? 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

Target, Home Depot and Walmart are selling upside-down Christmas trees, with online prices ranging from $80 to almost $1000. Apparently the "tapered shape" allows it to be placed in spots that might not accommodate a traditional tree.

If you've got a cool grand to spend on your Christmas tree, then you might also be interested in the $10,000 Internet Escape Pod, festooned with the head and long embracing arms of Colonel Sanders. The tent is designed to block Internet and cellphone signals, so you can eat your crispy Kentucky Fried Chicken meals without any digital interruptions.

Colorado has fined Uber $8.9 million for knowingly fielding 57 drivers who lacked driver’s licenses and whose background checks included disqualifying convictions for motor vehicle or criminal offenses.

Geekly Update 11-30-2017

But that's the GOOD news from Uber. It was recently revealed that Uber concealed the theft of 57 million riders’ personal information for more than a year, even paying the hacker $100,000 to keep quiet and destroy the stolen copies of the data.

Iranian national Behzad Mesri has been charged by U.S. prosecutors with hacking HBO to steal unreleased “Game of Thrones” episodes and other data relating to the show, then demanding $6 million in exchange for his promise not to release the material. I don’t think he spotted the flaw in his cunning plan.

The lone Democrat on the FCC, Jessica Rosenworcel, is begging your help in stopping Chairman Ajit Pai’s destruction of consumer protections for Internet and cellular service consumers.

A very brave bunch of hackers living undercover in Syria and Iran are fighting ISIS propaganda with Russian disinformation tactics, causing terrorists to distrust their official communications channels.

Computer avatars that shout abuse at schizophrenic patients actually help them resist the voices in their heads. Patients showed significant improvement.

The photo-cataloguing site Imgur has revealed that it was hacked and the account info of 1.7 million users stolen - in 2014. But Imgur wanted to give us timely notice to prove its transparency.

Online sales revenues hit a record high this Thanksgiving, reaching an estimated $7.9 billion on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. That’s up 17.9 percent from a year ago. Cyber Monday added another $6.6 billion.

Puerto Rico, still devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Marie, will soon get Google’s Flying Cow cellular “towers” in the sky, beaming AT&T service. The helium-balloon network was approved by the FAA on November 20. Now if only more than half of the island had electricity to recharge phones.

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

Posted by:

30 Nov 2017

Jon Oliver posted a link to file an opinion on the FCC ruling on Net Neutrality. The link is: . Click on "Express" on the right to post a comment. Make it scientific with facts if you want it to count for something; otherwise it will be ignored.

Posted by:

Mark H.
30 Nov 2017

Regarding the KFC Escape Pod: No one knows about the O-N/O-F-F device? Obviously someone thinks some people have way too much money and too little common sense.

Posted by:

30 Nov 2017

$1000 for a tent that blocks phone reception? Why not save the 1K and just turn the phone off?

Posted by:

Wild Bill
30 Nov 2017

Thanks for the FCC comment link, David. I just posted mine. And I believe there are two Democrats on the Commission, the second being Mignon Clyburn.
They are obviously the minority voice at this time.

Regarding the KFC Escape Pod, it would appear to be a higher-tech version of the aluminum foil cap.

Posted by:

30 Nov 2017

Even as I question paying those kind of prices for a REGULAR tree or REGULAR tent, I can't help but remember a time when we'd do everything possible to hide the fact we were suckered into a bad deal. Today, we publicize our ignorance, somehow thinking we're smarter for shouting about it?

Posted by:

30 Nov 2017

Considering that at least half of the millions of comments, and I've seen some stories that put it at 90%, were fake (not boilerplate "fill-in-the-blank-and-send" messages), I guess Jon's doing his part. Of course, his site tells you all you need to know.

Posted by:

Mark N
30 Nov 2017

The AT&T drone-based service is completely separate from Google's Loon balloon-based service.

Posted by:

30 Nov 2017

Re: And for those that didn't know about the "fake comments to the FCC" - they were all on the *ANTI*-net neutrality side.

Remember: Net Neutrality is not about "Regulating the Internet" as the ISPs would like you to believe but all about regulating the *ISPs* themselves.

Posted by:

Jay R
01 Dec 2017

....this Nut Neutrality sounds like it might be good for Congress. I'm in the antireundegulation camp. (We are currently working on a reposition paper for our convictions. Coming to terms with what we stand or sit for has been a bit stumbling block.) When I say that readings these emails is the highlight of my day, I hope that will be interpreted in Bob's favor rather than a public declaration of my exciting life.

Posted by:

Lloyd Collins
01 Dec 2017

Aluminum foil caps, I noticed the Trump Administration and Congress wearing them, no wonder Common Sense is blocked in Washington. So,to complete the effect, they need to get the KFC Dome for the Capital. Also,why not let the Pentagon buy it, they know how to save money.

Posted by:

Tim H
04 Dec 2017

Everyone talks about record online sales for Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I would like to know the numbers for returned merchandise, as this would give us a more realistic number for actual online sales for those days. Does anyone track and publish sale return numbers for Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

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