nGeekly Update - 07 August 2019
How likely are you to get a slice of the 700 million dollars that Equifax has set aside for consumers harmed by their massive data breach? We know e-cigarettes are loaded with 20 times the nicotine of tobacco cigs, but are they spying on you, too? And which one of Verizon's new 'unlimited' mobile plans will cost you more and give you less? 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
I reported a few weeks ago that Equifax has agreed to pay up to $700 million in damages as a result of the massive 2017 data breach that exposed sensitive data of 147 million Americans. It turns out that only $31 million is allocated to individuals who were harmed by the breach. The FTC says “millions” of consumers have already filed a claim online, making likely payouts in the single digits. The agency says consumers would be better off taking Equifax's free credit monitoring offer instead.
If you think vaping is a healthy alternative to regular cigarettes, think again. The FDA warns that vaping could lead to a teenage "addiction epidemic," and says teenagers who vape are more likely to start smoking tobacco. So e-cig vendor Juul has released a new product, the Juul C1, that will monitor users when they vape, and incorporates facial recognition tech to verify the user's age.
Tesla's “Dog Mode” is supposed to keep pets cool while their owners pop into the Whole Foods market for grain-free kibble and spiced pumpkin doggie biscuits. But a software flaw could cause drivers to accidentally deactivate it. Instead of referring to this as “Hot Dog Mode”, the company tweeted that Tesla was fixing the problem.
After one failed attempt, French inventor Frank Zapata successfully crossed the English Channel on his jet-powered hoverboard. The trip from Sangatte, France to Dover, England took only 22 minutes including a pit stop at the halfway mark to refuel. The Flyboard Air, which reminds me of the fictional hoverboard in "Back to the Future" can reach speeds of over 100 miles per hour.
Google, Apple, and Amazon are starting to get real about voice privacy -- but not because they want to. After lots of negative press, and pressure from the EU, Apple and Google will no longer have humans "reviewing" what their voice-enabled devices hear you say. Amazon will offer an opt-out setting to Alexa users.
This just in from the "I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Means" Department: Verizon has four new "unlimited" offerings which are even more confusing than the three plans previously available. It turns out they are more limited than before, and if you switch you'll lose any corporate discounts you currently have. DroidLife helps you decide if one of the new plans is right for you. (See also: related video clip)
The “get voicemail via message” feature in Google Voice has become the latest victim of the robocall scourge. The feature allowed users to forward voicemail transcripts to their phone via text message. But a Google rep says "certain carriers are blocking the delivery of these messages because they are automated and, at times, contain unsolicited robocall transcripts. We can no longer ensure these messages will be delivered, so unfortunately we are turning (off) the feature."
Google's Advanced Protection Program will provide another layer of safety for those who download often. Users will see warnings for some download attempts, and some will be blocked automatically. The goal is to make it harder for cyber-scammers to trick you into downloading malware onto your computer. Sounds like a good thing if you have a family member prone to clicking anything with an HREF.
Bring on the robo-chargers. Volkswagen is partnering with an electric vehicle charging startup to eliminate human intervention from the re-charging process. If robots are going to drive, they might as well do this as well. I'll buy a self-driving car when it comes with a coffee maker and onboard porta-potty. Then I'll never have to stop at all.
Is traffic congestion getting worse in cities due to the popularity of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft? According to a study commissioned by the two firms, the answer is yes. And so...?
Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 7 Aug 2019
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- nGeekly Update - 07 August 2019 (Posted: 7 Aug 2019)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved