DTNS 2635 – Are Macs Losing Their Steam?

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comIs gaming dying on the Mac, choked by lack of video card power? Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt discuss with Patrick Beja.

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Weekly Tech Views 20 – Nov 28, 2015

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

You’ve found it–a five-minute break from our most revered holiday tradition: listening to people try to sell you stuff.*

For the week of November 23 – 27, 2015

Can’t I Just Post To Her Timeline?
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that he will take two months paternity leave when his baby is born, proclaiming, “Studies show that outcomes are better when parents take time to be with their newborns.” Asked why he’s not using the entire four months that Facebook policy allows, Mr. Zuckerberg appeared to hyperventilate, then he pulled tight his hoodie drawstring, leaving only a dime-sized opening, and screamed, “Two months of constant crying, no sleep, and ungodly smells–good lord, that isn’t enough?!” He then pulled back the hood, spent ten seconds rapidly blinking and shaking his head before calmly asking, “I’m sorry, what was the question?”

How About I Enjoy The “Go Away”?
UK carrier EE is considering allowing customers to block some kinds of ads. I am ready to announce right now that this is the Weekly Tech Views story of the year–IF U.S. carriers pick up on this and I’m never again subjected to that family of bears and their disturbingly giddy use of toilet paper.

Let’s All Go To The Lobby–It’s Only A Half-Mile Round Trip
Thirty percent of retailers use facial recognition software to track consumers in their stores. They believe this will not only help to identify known shoplifters, but to improve the customer experience by, for example, allowing alterations to the store layout depending on how long people spend in different areas. Following this lead, cameras are hurriedly being installed over the next few weeks in movie theater lobbies to improve the movie-going experience for the more discriminating fans attending Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The cameras will identify the image of Jar Jar Binks on clothing, resulting in the wearer automatically receiving a ticket to Theater 24, the 50-seater waaaaay back in the far corner of the complex–the one that maybe doesn’t get cleaned if time is short and the employees aren’t exactly hustling–where movies like Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension usually play in their fifth week.

Chrome Shot First
Speaking of Star Wars, you can add The Force Awakens themes (you even get to choose dark or light side) to Google apps, which installs a light saber progress bar in YouTube and a TIE Fighter or X-Wing fighter as your Google Maps position marker. I personally hope that a search in Google Shopping for “fur coat” results in endless images of women with a very annoyed Chewbacca draped across their backs.

I Don’t Suppose There’s A Super Mario Fallout 4 Galaxy?
Sony announced that the PlayStation 4 has surpassed 30 million units sold, a 5 million unit increase since July. Over that same four months, Nintendo sold 0.7 million Wii Us, the majority of which were purchased by grandmothers for a grandkid who had actually asked for a PS4, but “this one sounds like Wheeee You! so it must be more fun, sweetie.”

Just A Programmer Being A Programmer
When an unidentified programmer left his place of employment, a coworker found a collection of scripts the programmer had used to automate his work life, including automatically emailing in sick if he hadn’t logged in by 8:45am, texting his wife an excuse for being late getting home, and hacking a company coffee machine to prepare his latte in the exact time it took him to get to the machine. Asked for comment, his former boss replied, “It makes me really curious about why he asked if the toilets could be networked.”

Black Pi-day
Raspberry Pi has released a new five dollar version of the tiny computer, the Pi Zero. It’s half the size of last year’s Model A+, but twice as powerful. If you’re looking for a great stocking-stuffer, you can get this incredible deal now at raspberrypi.org. Haha! No, of course you can’t! They were sold out by the time you read the words “five dollar.”

Because An Exploding Zombie Head Can Never Be Too Big
LG is building a new plant to make OLED panels for everything from watch faces to large screen TVs. Production is expected to begin in 2018, when large screen TVs will be known as “the living room wall.”

You Can Hear “Hello” When Pandora Is Damned Good And Ready For You To Hear “Hello”
While they won’t be available to on-demand music streaming services like Spotify, every track from Adele’s new 25 album will be there for Pandora users. So, Adele fans, fire up Pandora and hear the complete album, one song every forty-five minutes or so, each track separated by thirteen songs by Lana Del Rey, Ellie Goulding, Natasha Bedingfield, and eight commercials.

 

* I… uh… can’t necessarily promise the same next week.**

** Who said eBook?

 

Okay, everybody, time to hunt down the last of the pie and ignore some jewelry commercials. See you next week.

 

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Weekly Tech Vies Blog by Mike Range is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

DTNS 2634 – Headlines Only

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comIt’s a headlines only show with agricultural drone sprayers and a cool pick for Firefox users.

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DTNS 2633 – Headlines Only!

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comA quick look at the headlines on a Thanksgiving holiday in the US.

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DTNS 2632 – Automate My Life

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comIt’s headlines only for +Tom Merritt today with a little bit about automating your life with scripts. 

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DTNS 2631 – Fair UseTube

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comAs YouTube Creators get legal support from YouTube are they also becoming the establishment angry at others using THEIR work? Is Facebook the next battleground? What is fair use anyway? Patrick Beja and Tom Merritt discuss.

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DTNS 2630 – Facial Profiling

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comYour grocery store is scanning your face. Retail shops are increasingly using facial recognition to catch shoplifters. Do we want them too? Is it worth it? Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt discuss.

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Weekly Tech Views 19 – Nov 21, 2015

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

Welcome to the Weekly Tech Views, your five-minute sanctuary from annoyingly-early Christmas commercials.

For the week of November 16 – 20, 2015

You know how basketball teams, before a game, will run layup drills? Take some really easy shots to warm up? Yeah? Good…

You’re Getting Warmer
Nvidia’s Shield Tablet is back on sale with a price reduction of $100, after a recall during the summer for potential battery fires.
[Dribbling toward the basket…]
The company is obviously hoping the recall didn’t burn any bridges with customers and that new sales don’t flame out, but at $199 this red-hot deal may be asbestos you can find.

Emoji To Your Mother
Oxford Dictionaries named their annual Word of the Year this week, and the winner was… “Face with tears of joy” emoji. Of course, this emoji is not, if you’re going to nitpick, actually in the Oxford Dictionary, nor what uptight purists would technically call a “word,” but there you have it. Whether or not this is just another flashy publicity stunt from the perpetually attention-seeking dictionary industry, it opens the door to a busy award season for the world’s most popular emoji. With the ridiculous onus removed of having to officially belong to a group in order to be judged the best of it, FWTOJ is now the frontrunner for the Best Actor Oscar and NBA Player of the Month.

Son, Pretty Much Everything Is A No-Fly Zone
Drone maker DJI will be implementing a geofencing system to keep drones from entering restricted areas. This technology is expected to prove extremely lucrative once adapted for a line of wristbands that a father can slap on the wrists of the boy arriving to date his daughter.

Government For The People… Yeah, Right
The New York Attorney General’s office has issued a subpoena to Yahoo related to its investigation of daily fantasy sports. Sure, now they’re looking into fantasy football. But when I contacted them about the injustice of my 2004 Rudy Johnson-for-Randy Moss trade getting vetoed in my neighborhood auction league, they were all, “Sir, if Security has to remove you a fourth time, we will press charges.”

I’ll Bet They Never Get Tired Of These Jokes
Apple Pay went into effect in Canada this week, where it is known, of course, as Apple P-eh?

I Paid $200 And I’m Still Under Contract, I’m Not Throwing It Away
Amazon has enabled two-factor authentication, making your account more secure by requiring a code from an app or text message in addition to your password for access. If you are accessing your account from an Amazon Fire Phone, this additional step is unnecessary, because, well… who else has a Fire Phone?

Guy Who Lugged Twenty Pounds Of Punch Cards To Program A Computer In 1971 Finds Another Reason To Bang His Head On The Table
Google and Asus launched the Chromebit, a complete Chrome OS computer fully contained on an HDMI stick. Approximately thirty seconds after this “PC on a stick” was announced earlier this year, a phone rang in the Google marketing department:

“Hello?… You’d be perfect for what?… Who is this?… Jeff Dunham? A ventriloquist? You want to do a commercial for our PC on a stick? I’m not sure how a ventril… you’d use your Jalapeno on a stick? Why is a jalapeno on a stick?… On a steeeeek? I’m afraid that doesn’t really explain anything…”

That Is One Sexy P/E Ratio
Owner of dating companies Match.com, OKCupid, and Tinder, the Match Group issued an IPO with stock at $12 per share, which was at the low end of expectations. Spirits on Wall Street were buoyed, however, when a number of investment analysts rated the company “a strong right swipe.”

It’s Not Me, It’s You
Facebook is introducing tools to allow users to “digitally distance themselves” from former loved ones without going as far as blocking or unfriending them, instead providing the option to share less information with the other party. Guess that means you’ll be missing out on my holiday activities this year, Cleveland Browns.

On The Other Hand, They Do Make Tasty Lasagnachos
Google is encouraging users to contribute to Google Local Guides, their Yelp-like review service, by offering point-based awards for things like fixing errors and writing new reviews. A heads-up: it turns out you can’t rack up points by repeatedly submitting a review of Smitty’s Pizzaritos (“Greater Cleveland’s Finest Mexitalian Cuisine”) claiming that forgetting your side of refried anchovies makes them, to quote Homer Simpson, “the suckiest bunch of sucks who ever sucked.”

I Get Distracted By The Craft Beer Aisle–You Don’t Just Cruise Past “Old Leghumper” On Your Way To The Canned Tuna Without Stopping For A Second Look
Forecasters expect that, with the increased use of on-demand ride services like Uber and Lyft, car sales will decrease while total miles driven will actually increase. Currently, cars in the U.S. travel approximately two trillion miles, half of which is likely the result, based on personal experience, of husbands returning to the store for something they forgot “that was written right here on the list if you bothered to look.”

 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and thanks for spending a few minutes each week to read these Weekly Tech Views, despite the very real possibility that you end up knowing less about tech after doing so. And if you have actually told someone else about this blog, you get not only my thanks, but I’m going to come up with a wristband to wear in your honor (if there are any colors left to choose from).

 

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Weekly Tech Views Blog by Mike Range is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

DTNS 2629 – Here’s My Foot, Print Me a Shoe

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comThe Gear VR ships int he US and Volvo wants to us the Hololens to sell cars. By this time next year when we all have VR what will we use it for? Darren Kitchen and Tom Merritt have some ideas.

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DTNS 2628 – Pirate Taxi

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comIt’s Fanmail Thursday! Tom Merritt and Justin Young discuss your thoughts on Black Friday, movies on planes, the Feynman lectures on LOTS of stuff about the cars of the future and ride sharing. It’s like our own little LA auto show except Justin’s in Oakland.

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