DTNS 2864 – USB. Not Even Once

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.com Beware USB, Google Wifi Routers, and why Twitter and Salesforce makes sense.

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Weekly Tech Views: The Tech – No Logic Blog – Sept 24, 2016

Untitled drawing (1)

Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

The Weekly Tech Views tries to be the most bizarre take on real news that you’ll encounter in any given week, but we’re resigned to finish, at best, a distant second this week. Happy Presidential Debate Season!

For the week of September 19 – 23, 2016…

No, Mr. Berman, I’m Afraid There Is No Rumblin’ Or Bumblin’ Or Even Stumblin’
ESPN will begin televising the Drone Racing League this October, but it will unfortunately be a few years before they can put on a full-fledged pre-race show due to ESPN’s mandate requiring at least half a dozen former league members willing to laugh at each other’s catchphrases for three hours.

I’ve Returned Six Or Seven Times Already
A Netflix executive proclaimed that one-third to one-half of subscribers who cancel the service eventually return to Netflix, though, in my experience, “return” is often defined as calling in sick to work on Thursday and Friday and spending 96 sleepless hours bingeing the latest seasons of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Bojack Horseman, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Narcos, Bloodline, and Master of None before drinking a six-pack of Red Bull, driving to work, and canceling Netflix again on Monday morning.

Isn’t Seacrest Looking For Another Job?
AT&T’s Project AirGig is a program designed to provide low-cost, multi-gigabit internet access–primarily in rural and underserved areas–by installing plastic antennas on power lines. I think AirGig sounds like a great idea, especially since it turned that they hadn’t stolen my idea for Air Gig–a competition show like Lip Sync Battle, except contestants play a “gig” by “air” guitaring Guns N’ Roses’ Paradise City. For half an hour. You’d watch that, wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t call it “a horrible, mind-numbingly annoying, unwatchable concept” like twenty-four different networks have eerily repeated almost word for word, right?

Okay, Put The Halo Guy Back In The Chair
Following a strong surge in Nintendo’s stock price with the release of Pokemon Go this summer, the Pokemon Co. CEO announced that they would be making Pokemon games for Nintendo’s upcoming NX console. The announcement came just moments after the cable ties binding his wrists and ankles to a rusty metal chair in a dark, eight foot-by-eight foot room in the bowels of Nintendo’s headquarters were tightened another notch and the duct tape was ripped from his mouth.

Did You Ever Know That You’re My Hero, You *&!#%!?
YouTube, in an attempt to rein in some of the site’s inappropriate comments and videos, has started YouTube Heroes, a program that awards points to users who help moderate content by flagging questionable content for review. Who knows, maybe this will actually lead the vile, disgusting, racist and sexist commenters to stop and think hey, maybe I’d find YouTube to be a more enjoyable place if I laid off the racist, sexist stuff and, instead, make some vile, disgusting comments about these Heroes narcs.

Well, Virtual Reality Is More Reality Than You Usually Get At These Things
NBC is partnering with AltspaceVR to stream the upcoming presidential debates in virtual reality, hoping the entertainment value of this innovative technology offsets the inevitable spike in debate night emergency room visits, as viewers–feeling for a moment like they are actually at one of the most important events in American politics–throw out their backs trying to kick “that miserable liar” in the ass.

Slow Down, Where’s The Fire?
Samsung allegedly rushed the launch of the Galaxy Note 7 to capitalize on the anticipated lack of new features in Apple’s iPhone 7. And who can blame them? They had to jump on the fact that the iPhone wasn’t going to be able to match the Note 7’s ability to heat a mid-sized studio apartment.

Sorry Samsung, Just One More
A Galaxy Note 7 that caught fire in China was not the result of a faulty battery, according to Samsung, but likely caused by external heating. They have yet to rule out, however, that the external heat was a result of all those other Note 7s catching fire.

Couldn’t You Call It The Madison?
Google sent out invitations for an October 4 event at which they are expected to unveil their Pixel smartphones. In a meeting preparing for the event, one executive asked, “Anybody have an idea for some celebrities we can get that would tie in to the Pixel brand?”

Turning quickly away from the office window, the others replied,

“Ummm…”

“Gosh, uh…”

“Hmmm, Pixel…”

Outside the window, Adam Sandler and Kevin James, stars of last summer’s 16% Rotten Tomatoes-rated Pixels movie, frantically jumped up and down while alternately waving their arms and pointing at their Pixels t-shirts.

Putting It On My Visa For The Sharper Image Gift Card Reward May Have Been A Mistake
Lyft president John Zimmer believes that personally owned cars in major US cities will be virtually non-existent by 2025. That’s crazy talk. I have a 2009 Corolla that I guarantee I’ll still be driving then. Unless by “owned” he means “paid off,” in which case I can’t really argue the point.

Good To Get A Second Opinion
Dating site Tinder has introduced Stacks, a new app for Apple’s iMessage that lets users create polls using stacks of images that their friends can swipe left or right on to express their opinion. This will prove helpful for questions like “Should I wear this on my Tinder date?” or “Does this look like a herpes sore?”

Or A Third
Facebook Messenger also added polling capability, allowing the opportunity for fun interactions like “The 97% of Tinder users who said this was a herpes sore are probably wrong, don’t you think? Just a cold sore, right? He seemed like a nice guy.”

Then Wait Tables Until 2AM!
Airbnb acquired Trip4Real, a company that offers travelers activities to let them “experience a city like a local.” For example, in Paris, instead of the obvious Eiffel Tower visit, you can “Taste the Best Chocolate in Paris with a Chocolate Addict.” And why not skip the Universal Studios tour in Los Angeles for “Grab a Scone and Latte in a Quirky Coffee Shop and Nurse it For Six Hours While You Stare Forlornly at Your Laptop Trying to Drag One More Coherent Scene From Your Soul For the Screenplay You’ve Been Working on for Two Years Even Though You Know Damned Well That Once it’s Finished the Business School Punks Who Run the Town Won’t Read Past the First Page Because They Wouldn’t Know Art if Da Vinci Popped Out of His Grave and Painted The Freaking Mona Lisa on Their Faces.”

 

Okay, time to prepare for the debate: Tonight’s post-first blog of fall beer–pumpkin or apple?

Mike Range
@MovieLeagueMike

 

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

DTNS 2863 – #forsale

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comTwitter may be up for sale and Facebook has been fudging video numbers, accidentally. Plus Lamarr Wilson shares his thoughts ont he YouTube Heroes community effort and talks with Tom Merritt about why privacy matters.

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Daily Tech Headlines – September 23, 2016

DTH_CoverArt_1500x1500Twitter up for sale? Yahoo confirms breach, Facebook misreported video views.

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DTNS 2862 – Yahoo gets their breaches in a bunch

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comThe scoop behind Yahoo’s 500 million account breach and Lenovo’s inability to run Linux on some laptops. Plus Justin Robert Young and Tom Merritt discuss Twitter’s ability to predict elections.

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Daily Tech Headlines – September 22, 2016

DTH_CoverArt_1500x1500Yahoo once more may announce a breach, Twitter’s transparency report, Rocket Internet cuts costs.

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DTNS 2861 – Motion Sickness or Regular Sickness?

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comIs it risky to use Allo? Should Apple by McLaren Auto? Plus Chris Kohler talks with Scott Johnson and Tom Merritt about the Tokyo Game Show.

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Daily Tech Headlines – September 21, 2016

DTH_CoverArt_1500x1500Google backtracks on Allo privacy, AT&T announces multi gig wireless project, Apple looks into buying McLaren Automotive.

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Your Private Driver: Hey Tom, Waze Sucks.

This is a weekly column that offers news, insights, analysis, and user tips for rideshare platforms like Uber and Lyft. Look for it every Monday (or Tuesday) after the live show, right here on dailytechnewsshow.com.

One of the opportunities that driving around all day gives me is the chance to use navigation apps far more than the average person. Between Waze and Google Maps, these apps are collecting something like 300 miles every day from my driving exploits. So, I think I’m somewhat qualified to give the opinion that Waze sucks and no one should use it anymore. DTNS Founder Tom Merritt on the other hand is a proud Waze advocate however, and I tried once (and failed) to convince him once of the superiority of Google Maps. Yes, even in the Los Angeles area, which is Waze’s largest market by far (for good reason), the revered navigation app is simply not the best at what it does.

This time, I make my case again, along with some data and pretty pictures to assist me.

Proof that I use Waze a lot
The crown says I’m legit. The angry face says L.A. traffic is annoying.

It’s hard to argue against Google Maps being the superior app in general for navigation. Lane guidance, offline mode, and the ability to easily select multiple routes on the fly are all great features that are far more useful for keeping you from getting lost than Waze’s alerts about cars on the side of the road. Waze, however, was never designed to be a navigation app; it was designed to be a traffic-busting app. While Google Maps also has the ability to find the fastest route through rush-hour traffic, it’s a feature that seems to be all but forgotten in the presence of the mighty Waze.

For one thing, everyone in Los Angeles swears that Waze gets them through traffic faster. It could be from word of mouth, it could be from name recognition, or it could be that Waze actually always says it’ll get you there faster than the competition. Seriously, every time. Even when Google Maps and Waze have chosen identical routes to a destination, Waze says that it’s faster. How does that one work?

Waze screenshot of my drive homeGoogle Maps screenshot of my drive home

Above, you can see two screenshots showing my drive home from Santa Monica during the afternoon rush hour (yes, it’s that bad). What you may not have noticed is that both apps are giving me the exact same route. And yet, somehow Waze is claiming it’ll get me there nine minutes faster. I don’t really see how that’s possible; I’d have to go uncomfortably far over the speed limit to shave off a whole nine minutes from this trip, and speeding is nearly impossible in rush hour congestion anyway.

As it turns out, I’m not the only person who’s noticed this little discrepancy. Lynn Walford earlier this year took some data points comparing ETA times in Waze and Google Maps, and found that Google’s less appealing numbers were actually more accurate the vast majority of the time. CNBC did a similar unscientific test around the 4th-of-July weekend and came to a similar conclusion regarding ETAs (Apple Maps was also included in this comparison).

Another feature which in my mind elevates Google Maps’ status an actual traffic-busting option is the ability to select from multiple alternate routes on the fly. Waze only offers this option from a Routes screen that’s in a less-than-convenient location, though it will eventually recalculate its One True Path if you take a wrong turn. Google Maps on the other hand allows a driver to easily make decisions based on traffic conditions that haven’t been updated yet, or to avoid traffic jams created by Waze (seriously, that’s a thing in L.A.). Some examples below:

screenshot_20160920-073830 screenshot_20160913-091930screenshot_20160913-090004 screenshot_20160912-110052

In light of all this new evidence, you may be wondering why everyone isn’t hastily deleting Waze from their mobile devices this very moment. Well, Waze is a different kind of app, and it has its benefits. First of all its driving instructions are a lot easier to understand since the street names and and exits are all written by human editors, not automatically generated. Google Maps sometimes references freeways and exits by names that only exist on maps instead of actually on the road; I doubt many SoCal residents have any idea where Highway 19 is, for example.

Another one of Waze’s killer features is the ability to send your ETA. With one tap you can send it to any of your friends who also use Waze, but with a few more taps you can also send your ETA to anyone else using email, SMS, Facebook Messenger, Hangouts, iMessage, or just about any chat program in existence. The message even includes a link to a private webpage where you can view the sender’s drive in progress. This is an amazing feature for letting my wife know when I’ll be home for dinner, and was the primary reason I used Waze until very recently. Google Maps has been rumored to be adding this functionality into its app soon, but in the meantime I’ve resorted to using the third-party alternative SendETA. (Hey look, it’s a bonus Pick of the Day™!)

Thirdly, there’s a gamification aspect of Waze. There are points to earn, leaderboards to climb, and ranks and avatars to unlock if you report enough of those cars stopped on the shoulder or traffic jams. There’s even virtual candy to collect if you’re willing to take a certain route. It’s a way to make rush hour driving a little bit of fun for those willing to pay attention. Also, if you’re watching for road hazards you’re probably not doing something else dumb like texting… though I guess reporting that Highway Patrol vehicle on the shoulder could be equally distracting.

It may come down to personal preference at the end of the day regardless of how much information I present here. Waze is one of those apps that everyone knows about and almost everyone uses. It’s hard to dethrone that level of mindshare (right, Uber?), especially when you’re coming to the dance with a non-catchy name like Google Maps Navigation. I know I’m going to get at least one person daily bringing up Waze and insisting that it’s faster and that I should do what it says. I’ll drop some knowledge on them, but I’m only one man in a sea of ten million rush-hour commuters.

But you, dear reader, and you, dear founder, are now part of the enlightened ones. Use Waze if you’d like, but know that while it was the first name in anti-traffic navigation, it is no longer the last.

Sekani Wright is an experienced Uber/Lyft driver working in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. If you have any questions you would like answered for this column, you can contact him at djsekani at gmail dot com, or on twitter and reddit at the username djsekani. Have a safe trip!

DTNS 2860b – Windows Velociraptor

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comHas the excitement gone out of apps? Patrick Beja thinks it may have he and Tom Merritt talk with developer Brett Rounsaville about whether excitement of the app hunt is over. Plus macOS Sierra and guesses on Google’s forthcoming phones.

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On your side.