DTNS 2768 – electronic Sports Player Network (eSPN)

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comELEAGUE goes live on Twitch and TBS Jenn Cutter is here to talk with Tom Merritt about why hot wings are the signal this is esports big time moment. Plus, Twitter loosens character counts and Toyota drops cash on Uber.

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DTNS 2767 – Beating the Self Driving Horse

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comWe don’t trust self-driving cars but chances are we get them anyway. Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt discuss whether companies can convince US drivers to take their hands off the wheel.

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DTNS 2766 – The Echo For The Rest Of The World

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.com Apple Bricking iPads, The NBN Police Rids, and Google Prepares to Ship The Echo to the Rest of the world.

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Weekly Tech Views (The Tech – No Logic Blog) – May 21, 2016

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

For the week of May 17-21, 2016… 

Style For The Camera!
Google introduced Duo, a one-on-one video calling app. It includes a feature called Knock Knock which allows you to see the caller before you answer, an entertainment feature providing laughs you can only get by watching someone suddenly remember it’s a video call and frantically try to rub away whatever that is they feel at the edge of their left nostril.

Mmmmm, Dark Arts
Google is taking submissions for “N” names for the latest version of Android. Two near-certainties: First, 85% of the suggestions will be some variation of Boaty McBoatface. The guess here is a whole lot of Nerdy McNerdfaces. Second, failing a marketing partnership with Nutella or Nutter Butter, I think we can all agree that the obvious choice will be Necromancy. I mean Nougat. Nougat. Necromancy would just be weird. There’s nothing sweet about the black magic used to communicate with the dead. If that’s even what it means. I guess I saw it in a movie once. So yeah, Nougat.

We Said We’d Recognize It, Not Read It
Android Wear 2.0 will include handwriting recognition. Wait, they’re going to recognize my handwriting? On a watch face? Challenge accepted. During the week, I take notes on tech stories. Doing the Weekly Tech Views takes about three hours longer than it should because I can’t recognize my handwriting. When I sign the credit card display at the grocery store, the resultant squiggles could be interpreted as “Mike Range,” assuming you knew my name ahead of time and that my goal was to impart that information to the screen. Still, you could be forgiven for guessing “Nirk Puljz.” Or “a three-year-old’s drawing of an unraveled ball of yarn.” And that’s on a, what, six-inch screen? And Android Wear is going to read what I write on a watch? Good luck, Carnac.

Contact Your Doctor For Critical Vulnerabilities Lasting Over Four Hours
Google is making HTML5 the default in Chrome instead of Flash. Sites using Flash will cause a prompt to appear asking the user if they want to enable Flash. If the user answers “yes,” another popup appears–a three-page treatise on the possible side effects of running Flash, which is just a magazine ad in which “Flash” is substituted for “Cialis.”

I Even Get The First One Free
Amazon is expected to expand their selection of private label brands to include things like baby food, nuts, vitamins, coffee, tea and more, under brand names like Happy Belly and Wickedly Prime. I think I wait for the bus each morning with an Amazon executive, because he keeps trying to sell me vitamins that he insists are Wickedly Prime. He makes that finger quote gesture when he says “vitamins” and it might actually be “wicked primo” he says, but still, maybe I should give them a shot.

Try Not To Sweat, It Voids The Warranty
Samsung has acquired a patent for a small projector that can display user interface elements on your skin. Like Carnegie Mellon’s SkinTrack, it essentially turns your arm into a touch screen. It’s being marketed as The coward’s alternative to just getting a real touch screen imbedded in your arm already, you whiny little baby.

Maybe You’re Bitter About Being 4-22 Against Them
Uber’s Pittsburgh-based Advanced Technology Center is testing self-driving cars on the city’s streets. The autonomous vehicles use 22 camera lenses, lasers and other sensors to see as far as 100 meters in any direction, enhancing safety and, even more importantly, giving them every opportunity to find their way out of Pittsburgh.*

I Swear We Were In Ferris Wheel – Green – 6A!
Starbreeze and Acer are teaming up to make the StarVR headset, a high-end virtual reality device designed for places like amusement parks. They expect the most popular experience to be VR Amusement Park Parking Lot, where you can stand motionless and still cover the entire 300-acre main lot and locate your car without actually wandering aimlessly for an hour, herding three cranky kids, carrying the one that fell asleep, worrying that the fourth funnel cake had been a mistake, and cursing every other family that just had to show up here in another white minivan.

No, How Would I Know What Happened To Your SIM Card?
Facebook and Instagram were blocked in Vietnam during environmental protests, Iraq shut down the internet during student exams, and Uganda blocked social media access during the presidential oath of office. You’ll hear a lot of justifiably angry talk about depriving citizens of free speech and the heavy-handedness of government in these far-reaching actions that affect hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. Hypothetically, however, it wouldn’t be the same if someone unplugged their router for a while after losing a game tournament to his wife, right? I mean, if she was going to really make fun of him on Twitter?

 

* You know, as a Clevelander, these jokes were funnier when the Browns actually beat the Steelers once in a while.

 

In the Movie Draft, it’s been an eight-week climb for Team DTNS, but they’ve made it to the summit! Read all about it in the CRUMDUM.

 

Mike Range
@MovieLeagueMike

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DTNS 2765 – It’s not a bar, it’s a grove!

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comApple’s gargantuan glass flagship store in San Francisco has us thinking? Are they the exception, or the new retail rule? Amber Mac and Tom Merritt discuss while Len Peralta illustrates the show.

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DTNS 2764 – Cool Kids are Second Movers

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comGoogle will make their own VR headset after all but why? Has Google run out of ideas? Tom Merritt and Justin Young discuss.

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DTNS 2763 – Allo? Knock Knock, Is There Anyone Home?

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comAre we headed to a world without screens? Could eyes and fingers be enough to control your computers? Plus all the announcements from Google I/O from Scott Johnson and Tom Merritt.

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DTNS 2762 – Pick a Card Any Card

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comNvidia’s new GTX 1080 could improve VR. Plus its’ their fastest yet and beautiful. But is it worth the money? Patrick Beja and Tom Merritt discuss.

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DTNS 2761 – Email Manners Matter

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comFrance may pass a law preventing companies from sending work emails after hours. Has work-life balance gotten that bad? Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt discuss.

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Weekly Tech Views (The Tech-No Logic Blog) – May 14, 2016

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

Tech companies keep making news, despite knowing darned well how it’s going to get treated here.

For the week of May 9-13, 2016…

But Ours Uses 100% More Words
Facebook won a trademark infringement case against a Chinese company who registered the name “face book.” “Damn, that’s not good,” said the CEO of binocular manufacturer Go Ogle.

You Play The Game Once And Thankfully It Goes Away
Apple’s app approval time for submissions to the App Store decreased from a mean of nine days to just two days over the past year. This story is interesting for two reasons: 1) how often do you get to start a sentence with three words starting with “app”? and 2) how come it’s been a month and I have yet to hear a peep about my Flappy Bird/Snapchat mashup, FlappyChat?

Get Your $4.99 Ready
Amazon launched Amazon Video Direct, which allows creators to submit video to sell, rent or stream at Amazon Video. AVD is expected to be a home less for hastily-shot pet and prank clips and more for polished, “professionally produced video.” Finally! Imagine, if you will…

We open on a young social commentary blogger. Well, it’s not actually called blogging in this pre-internet era–what he does is write completely-justified, hate-filled diatribes on notebook paper and then stuff them into the lockers of the jerks who dragged him to the middle of the basketball court during the Lunch/Rec hour the day before and administered a painful and embarrassing “pink belly” (the pinkness of the belly a result of four or five ninth-graders grabbing the seventh-grader, pulling up his shirt, and smacking the hell out of his stomach until the desired hue was achieved–a time-honored junior high tradition maybe not exactly endorsed, but certainly ignored by the lunch monitor/gym teacher).

Anyhow, our hero goes to college where he pulls mostly Bs in his English classes, but remains convinced that one day his writing will be important, and following graduation he continues to write, unknowingly preparing for the vital blogging career awaiting him. Mostly, this is by submitting letters to the editor of the local newspaper, sometimes criticizing the government’s policy on foreign affairs, but more often going off on why the potholes on his street haven’t been fixed or whether the police are ever going to do something about the neighbors who think it’s fine to have parties on Tuesday nights and won’t turn down the Metallica no matter how many times you ask even though some people have to work the next morning.

Then, the internet arrives. And eventually, our protagonist begins to shape public opinion with his snarky comments about technology in his wildly popular blog–let’s call it The Weekly Tech Spews–and this, of course, makes him a target for the tech industry, who rightly fear the impact a blogger of such renown and influence could have on their profits.

Naturally, their first move is to send one assassin after another to take him out, but our hero (okay, it’s me) reveals heretofore hidden martial art and weaponry skills that defeat the forces of corporate evil in an 90-minute, action-packed bloodbath (all that backstory stuff is covered in a 30-second flashback). We’ll call it Blog Hard. Well, that might have issues. How about Blog Day Afternoon? Marvel’s Blog-Man? The Bloginator!

I Might Reach Forty If I Can Choose The Word
Google is hiring “drivers” to collect data while riding in self-driving SUVs. The company will pay $20 per hour for a 6-8 hour workday, provided you have a clean driving record and can type 40 words per minute. So taking the pointless Ethics and Philosophy elective in high school instead of Typing bites me in the ass once again.

A Neural Network Framework By Any Other Name…
Google’s SyntaxNet is “a neural network framework… that provides a foundation for Natural Language Understanding systems.” This is important in that it demonstrates Google’s ability to string together a lot of words that make me feel stupid. Okay, apparently, this means it can help computers understand the structure of sentences.

More interesting is their SyntaxNet companion, designed specifically for parsing the English language–Parsey McParseface. This is important in that it demonstrates Google’s ability to be cute little buggers. Not everyone is happy about the name, though, as it was chosen only after Google executives vetoed the controversial company-wide vote that dubbed it David Attenborough.

Beyond Cabledome
The California Public Utilities Commission has approved the Charter acquisition of Time Warner Cable, leaving only the final step of the merger to be completed, the Redundant Customer Service Rep Showdown. Individual CSRs from Charter and TWC will be pitted against each other, with each receiving a customer service call at the exact same moment. The first to make their customer cry keeps their job. While rare, a match lasting longer than thirty seconds means both are fired.

And the new bonus clause has really raised morale: “Should any contestant break the 2004 record set by Charter legend Anson “Asshat” Andrews, who had Lafayette, Louisiana customer Edna Bertrand–a customer who had called to notify the company that they had neglected to charge her for HBO the previous month–sobbing in just 5.6 seconds, they receive an extra half hour for lunch. Once, not every day. And you supply your own lunch. This isn’t freaking Google, damn it.”

The Sincerest Form Of Patent Infringement
Many are accusing Huawei of blatantly copying Apple’s iPhone design for their P9 phone, down to the same type of screws. Said a Huawei executive, “Nonsense. Why would we copy anybody when we do such brilliant work of our own? Just watch this demonstration of our new voice-activated personal assistant. It does such a great job of helping you explore the internet, we named it after famed explorer Sir Edmund Hillary–Hey, Sir E, where can I buy proprietary star-shaped screws? In bulk.”

Also, The Ability To Rewind And Fast Forward Makes You Weak
Streaming music became Warner Music Group’s biggest source of income in the first quarter of this year, surpassing physical media and downloads revenue for the first time. Look, I don’t want to play the “in my day” card, but you’ll never convince me the convenience of streaming trumps things like the one-of-a-kind mashups you can only get when you pop in Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell 8-track and Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad from Program 3 bleeds over and plays simultaneously with Program 4’s Heaven Can Wait.

Or the cool, ahead-of-its-time techno-club-DJ-like altering of a song by allowing the loud ka-chunk! of changing programs to occur mid-song. Sometimes mid-lyric! That right there was art. Imagine the building anticipation as your favorite part of For Crying Out Loud approaches, then, suddenly, three seconds of hiss, KA-CHUNK!, another three seconds of hiss, and then the song resumes. You appreciate that next line like you never will with Spotify and its boring, constant delivery of entire songs. But go ahead and listen to your streaming service. While putting ketchup on your steak. Heathens.

That Means I’m Better Than An Amateur Crastinator
The free upgrade to Windows 10 ends July 29, which means it’s a good time for people like me to start planning their July 30 email to Microsoft begging for an extension because we planned to upgrade but things came up and we thought we might be getting a new computer and we accidentally turned off upgrade notifications and come on we promise not to borrow our neighbor’s copy of Word any more just give us one more day!

 

Over at the Night Attack Movie Draft, as of Monday, Tom and Jennie had drawn tantalizingly close to first place. You can see that (and what the future may hold) in the CRUMDUM. And if you check the latest standings HERE, you just may see even better news.

Mike Range
@MovieLeagueMike

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Weekly Tech Views (The Tech-No Logic Blog) by Mike Range is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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