Geekly Update - 31 August 2022

Category: Tech-News

Will a swarm of tiny robots brush your teeth in the near future? Can you sue spammers for cash without a lawyer? Is T-Mobile lying when they say your cell tower is being upgraded? And what should you do if you get a seven million dollar refund you weren't expecting? 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

CNET tells the story of a guy who sued a spammer and got $1,200, without the help of a lawyer. Read the article to learn how you can fight unwanted messages and smack down spammers for cold hard cash.

Scientists at University of Pennsylvania have a solution for people who don't like to brush or floss. And of course, it's robots. If you're okay with a robotic microswarm of iron oxide nanoparticles cleaning your teeth, this could be for you.

T-Mobile is offering a new version of their Test Drive program called Network Pass, which allows people to try out T-Mobile’s network with unlimited data for three months. In completely unrelated news, a former T-Mobile employee says the company intentionally misleads some Home Internet customers who have service problems they can’t fix. If they tell you they're "upgrading your tower" that's a sign you're getting the brush off.

Threat analysts at McAfee found several Google Chrome extensions that track users’ browsing activity. Collectively, the extensions have been downloaded more than 1.4 million times. If you downloaded Netflix Party, Full Page Screenshot Capture, FlipShope Price Tracker, or AutoBuy Flash Sales, you should remove them from your browser ASAP.

Geekly Update 08-31-2022 mistakenly sent a customer $7.2 million instead of a $68 refund. A typo by a customer service rep caused the mistake, and the customer happily kept the money. Seven months later, the company realized the error, and is suing to recover the funds.

"Just Add Your TV!" Bang & Olufsen’s motorized TV stand and Atmos soundbar combo is an all-in-one sound system containing 12 speaker drivers and two custom-made, long-stroke 6.5-inch woofers. The motorized bracket will rotate your TV for the best viewing angle. The price tag is just under $8000, TV not included.

The FTC's lawsuit against a data broker may protect Americans by keeping sensitive info off the open market. The FTC alleges that data broker Kochava is selling geolocation data that can be used to identify individuals and trace their movements to sensitive locations such as health clinics, places of worship, addiction recovery centers, and domestic violence shelters. This type of data could expose people to stalking, discrimination, and physical violence.

Scientists in the UK and Israel used mouse stem cells to create a synthetic model of an embryo which developed a brain, a beating heart and an intestinal tract. These embryo models could reduce the use of animals in research, and help to understand of why some pregnancies fail early on.

And finally, here is this week's Just Here For the Headline: Navy Seals Use Viagra to Prevent Fluid Buildup in Lungs While Swimming.

Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment, question (or witty puchline) below...

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 31 August 2022"

Posted by:

Al Jankowski
31 Aug 2022

Can routers contain malware? If so, how can it be fixed short of replacing the router?

I phoned customer service about one computer suddenly being unable to access the printer. After a while the techie ran some software, informed me my router was infected with something that could take control of any device connected to it, and offered to sell me a program to remove it and protect a re-infection for $300.

If routers can be infected, an article to that effect would be welcome!

Posted by:

31 Aug 2022

"These embryo models could reduce the use of animals in research..."

Sure they can. But since animals were used instead of humans in those researches, why still use mice instead of humans - anyway they will be not real humans, but models? I bet it would be the huge victory of animal right activists! By the way, they will get a chance to support it by donating their own cell materials for those models. PETA? Green Peace? Greta Tuborg... errr... Thunberg? Anyone?

Posted by:

Ernest N. Wilcox Jr.
31 Aug 2022

@Al Jankowski,

A router is essentially a computer (with an OS) that provides Network connections to other computers. It has RAM memory and often data storage capacity similar to a hard drive/memory card so it can keep records about the computers it serves DHCP addresses and other data to/about. Unplugging the router for a few minutes could reset the OS, but you may need to reset its data storage/history information (whatever is on its data storage device).

If your router is provided by your ISP, call and request a replacement/service call, otherwise call the makers/sellers customer service again and ask how to restore/re-install its OS and clear anything on its data storage device.

If you receive no satisfaction, do an Internet search for the service /user manual for your router. It may provide a way to restore/repair your router/a solution for your problem. Note, you may have to temporarily connect your computer directly to your ISP-provided modem to perform the Internet search for a solution/manual.

I hope something I wrote helps,


Posted by:

John W
31 Aug 2022

"The FTC's lawsuit against a data broker"

Well, that's all well and good against a private party. Now, how about going after the FBI for the backdoor they have initiated with several credit card companies. Good for the goose - must be good for the gander. Heck, I forgot. Government can do no wrong.

Posted by:

Brian B
31 Aug 2022

@ Al Jankowski.
This site will check your router immediately and for free.
$300 for software to fix any infections is way, way over the top. It almost sounds like a techy scam. There are software programs advertised to fix this problem, but I haven't had anything to do with them, and do not know any prices. A far easier, and less expensive way, is to just hit the factory reset button. Just make a note of any tweeks you might have made, so yo can add them back in after the reset.

Posted by:

01 Sep 2022

Is the following news to be considered "unethical treatment of jellyfish" by PETA members?
2022/08/29 (WSJ) - "A team of scientists in Spain has succeeded in mapping the genome of a jellyfish known for its ability to cheat death by rebirthing itself.
Dubbed the immortal jellyfish, the tiny sea creature can turn its biological clock backward and revert to a clump of juvenile cells—even after reproducing sexually.
Once back in its juvenile state, the jellyfish can also reproduce asexually by cloning polyps of itself—giving it two ways to propagate its genetic material.
In a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the authors said they hoped their genome mapping might lead to discoveries relevant to human aging and efforts to improve the human healthspan."

Posted by:

01 Sep 2022

Yes, we wouldn't want sensitive info on the open market. That would make it less valuable for Facebook, Google, Amazon, Netflix, Apple... We are well into the era of surveillance capitalism.

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