DTNS 2657 – Predictions for 2016

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comThe DTNS team members make their best guesses at what will happen in tech in 2016.

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DTNS 2656 – Predictions Results Show

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comWe review predictions by Tom Merritt, Justin Young, Patrick Beja and Jennie Josephson from last year to see how well we did. Hint: Not very well. But that’s all part of the fun.

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Big thanks to Dan Lueders for the headlines music and Martin Bell for the opening theme!

Big thanks to Mustafa A. from thepolarcat.com for the logo!

Thanks to our mods, Kylde, TomGehrke, sebgonz and scottierowland on the subreddit

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DTNS 2655 – Listener Co-Host Show

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comWe chat with a few listeners from our audience about why they like tech and what they do with it.

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A special thanks to all our supporters–without you, none of this would be possible.

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Big thanks to Mustafa A. from thepolarcat.com for the logo!

Thanks to our mods, Kylde, TomGehrke, sebgonz and scottierowland on the subreddit

DTNS 2654 – Quarterly Analyst Check-in

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comWe chat with some of our top Patreon supporters about how DTNS is doing and where it’s headed in 2016.

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Big thanks to Dan Lueders for the headlines music and Martin Bell for the opening theme!

Big thanks to Mustafa A. from thepolarcat.com for the logo!

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Weekly Tech Views 24 – Best Of 2015

Untitled drawing (1)

Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

As a blogger, I am required by internet law to submit an end-of-year “Best Of” list. Failure to do so results in a loss of my blogging license and expulsion from the International Membership of Accredited Bloggers Union – Tech Topics (IMABUTT).

As such, here are my favorite stories from this year’s Weekly Tech Views. The Top 20 will appear over the next two weeks, I’m thinking of using some wacky format like numbers 20 – 11 this week and 10 – 1 to end the year next week.

Let’s begin our stroll down technology memory lane…

 

Numbers 20 and 19 (October 31, 2015)…

Wait For It…
Architecturally, the Microsoft store is three stories tall, and expected to be one of the brightest buildings in Manhattan, because…

…of all…

…the Windows.

(I have a few more stories to talk about, but I expect many of you will be leaving now, so thanks for stopping by.)

And The Signal Is Better On The Dark Side Of The Street
In Ukraine, a statue of former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin was converted into one of Darth Vader. The statue has a wifi hotspot cleverly installed under Darth’s helmet, but there are a few bugs to be worked out–it currently only works with Anakin-dles.

(Wow, that is a truly despicable way to treat those of you who hung in there and gave me another chance.)

Number 18 (September 5, 2015)…

I’m Just Saying, Get a Receipt
Nextbit is Kickstarting a new phone called Robin that would automatically store your lesser used apps and data in the cloud to save space on the phone. Sweet. Why not store what you’re not using somewhere else? When you need it, you just bring it back. A fine idea. Except, I’ve kind of been through this before.

It starts out, “You haven’t looked at these comic books in a while, let’s make some space in your closet and store these in the attic.” You say, “Whatever.” They weren’t bothering you in the closet, but if it’s that big a deal to your mom, fine, it’s not battle-worthy.

Then, a year later, in eighth grade homeroom, you meet a cute girl who is actually into Marvel Comics. So you race home from school to prepare your collection to show her the next day. You perform the Olympic-level gymnastics necessary to hoist yourself through the ladderless two-foot square opening in the ceiling. It’s early September, so the attic has maintained its customary 197 degrees and your new school clothes are plastered to your body, including the sweater-vest, for god’s sake, that your mom made you wear, despite the fact that it was still officially summer, so you’d be a “handsome young man” for the first day of school.

But none of that matters, because you’ve reached the box that’s going to let you impress Cindy Stewart before any of the other guys have a chance. You throw open the slimy-yet-sticky, perpetually-on-the-verge-of-melting lid to the Rubbermaid container, and gaze upon six cubic feet of… tiny plastic pilgrims. And Indians. And turkeys. All slightly warped, losing their own non-air conditioned battle with the Cleveland summer. What you don’t see are four neatly-wrapped and bound packages of Marvel comics.

You have the wrong bin. Easy mistake.

You look at the side of the container and see the curling masking tape… Mike’s Comic Books is crossed off, Thanksgiving Decorations is squeezed underneath in your mom’s neat cursive.

You interrupt your mother’s viewing of General Hospital with a scream that convinces her you’ve finally impaled yourself on one of “those damned lightsabers scattered all over your room.” And when you try to explain that she has ruined any chance you ever had at being happy, she responds, with the same tone she might use to say she cleaned up an accident the dog had in the living room, “Oh, you hadn’t looked at those in forever, I got rid of them.”

Careful, Nextbit. Be very careful.

Number 17 (October 3, 2015)…

The Dark Side Of Twitter
Edward Snowden, leaker of National Security Agency documents and current fugitive resident of Russia, is now on Twitter. His first tweet–“Can you hear me now?”–was innocuous enough, but he then put stunned government officials on alert worldwide, wondering what bizarre and unbalanced move he might make next, when he followed up by live-tweeting Dancing With The Stars.

Number 16  (October 17, 2015)…

Avoid The Origami Setting
Laundroid is a robot capable of folding clothes. While the five minutes required to fold a T-shirt may seem excessive, the time, like everything, is relative. For testing purposes, I performed a time trial measuring my speed at folding a t-shirt, and completed the relatively foreign task in ten seconds. While not necessarily up to the precise standards you might encounter on the shelves at Neiman-Marcus, it was satisfactory for my needs (a low bar, true, as “worn for two days and hanging inside-out from the bathroom doorknob” is satisfactory for my needs). At that pace, I could theoretically fold thirty shirts in that same five minutes. Theoretically. But that little experiment took place in a controlled, distraction-free environment of our laundry room.* In the real world, I have been known to remove a t-shirt from a laundry basket as the Browns kicked-off against the Steelers and had that same shirt in my hand at half-time. So, assuming the Laundroid has no interest in football, I’m willing to give it a whirl.

*  Now that I think of it, why don’t we have a TV down there?

Number 15 (October 10, 2015)…

“My Platform Is Based On Secur–Damn It.”
Credit card information may have been stolen from Trump hotels. Said Donald Trump, “Our dedication to security is yuge. The only thing bigger is the jackpot you can win on our new Mexican Border Wall slot machines–payouts so big you can’t get over it. Heh-heh.”

Number 14 (September 26, 2015)…

And While You’re At It, Tattoo Your Bank Account Info on Your Forehead
The Indian government had proposed a law requiring smartphone users to keep any encrypted information stored on their phone, in plain text, for ninety days, so the government could have a little look-see if they felt like it. Thankfully, this provision was removed in a later draft, along with the less-publicized requirement that citizens keep all web site passwords written on a piece of paper and kept in their sock drawer.

Number 13 (October 24, 2015)…

Gullible Public Shakes Head, Says “You Got Me”
The European Court of Justice ruled that bitcoin is exempt from consumption tax. In other words, value added tax, or VAT, is not to be added to…

Okay, okay. We’ve all had a good laugh, but it’s time to come clean. As many of you have no doubt realized, there is no such thing as “bitcoin.” Don’t feel bad if you fell for it. I bought in for a while. But come on. Think about it. Somebody suddenly says, “Guess what? These bits of information on my computer? They’re now worth money!” Really, how much money are they worth? “That’s an interesting question. In July of 2010, a bitcoin was worth eight cents. A year later, it was worth a dollar. Another year later, two dollars. Then, get this, in 2013 it went up to $266! Then down to $100. The up to $1,250! Then down to $600. Today, about $280, give or take. ”

Suurrrrrre… that makes sense. But say you still haven’t caught on to the gag. You ask:

So it’s really currency? I could buy stuff with it?

Yep.

I could just walk into McDonald’s and buy a Big Mac with bitcoin?

No, not McDonald’s.

Burger King?

No, Burger King doesn’t sell Big Macs.

Okay, a Whopper then, smartass?

Nope.

Grocery store?

Probably not.

So it’s more of an online thing?

Ahhh…

I can use it at Amazon, then?

No. Well, not directly. You could go to a bitcoin-accepting site that sells gift cards and buy an Amazon gift card with bitcoin, then buy something at Amazon with the gift card.

Uh, okay. But if I spend a bitcoin today to get a $200 gift card, I might find out that if I had waited until tomorrow I could have gotten a $300 card? Because the value fluctuates?

Entirely possible.

So how do I know when to spend my bitcoin?

You don’t.

Well then, are people actually spending them, or are they investing in them, hoping the price goes up like a stock?

Yes.

Finally, the light bulb comes on, you elbow the person pranking you and say You had me going.

We expect this will be the topic of the series-ending episode of Mythbusters next year, right after they reveal to Cubs fans that there has never been such a thing as a “World Series,” but only a hoax–like the moon landing–performed each year to frustrate them.

Number 12 (September 12, 2015)…

Whisky-A-No-No
In one of mankind’s most vital experiments, a Scottish distillery sent whisky to the International Space Station for three years to find out what effect microgravity would have on flavor. The control sample kept on Earth had hints of raisins, toffee, vanilla, and creamy fudge, while tasters found the “space whisky” to have aromas and flavors of smoke, violet perfume, and antiseptic lozenges, a combination classified by whiskey aficionados as “My Grandmother’s Purse.”

Number 11 (September 19, 2015)…

Frankly, I Don’t Trust the Coffee Maker Either
The new Roomba 980 vacuum cleaner will allegedly keep working until it has cleaned every possible spot on your floor. It is able to do this by mapping your whole house with the use of a camera. Oh, and military robotics technology.

No thanks. I’ve seen this movie. It was called Maximum Overdrive. It was based on a Stephen King story in which machines come to life and help us lead more efficient, fulfilling lives. Ha! As if! No, they want us dead, of course. And you know what the ability to map my whole house means? The ability to find me wherever the hell I hide, that’s what.

“Oh, what’s a Roomba going to do to you?” you ask. “Clean you to death?”

You don’t watch horror movies, do you?

All you have to do is trip once (guess what trips you?), and the Roomba accelerates, gets hold of your hair, and, without being too graphic, let’s just say you aren’t standing up again with your scalp and brain intact.

So I think we’ll keep pushing around our twelve-year-old, non-military grade Dirt Devil. (My wife would like me to clarify that, by “we,” I mean “she.” This is true, but only because I have an old Frisbee-related wrist injury that could flare up at any time, especially with the way that vacuum cleaner lurches to one side, being on only three wheels–it’s a real bear to manage, let me tell you–and I wouldn’t want my ability to type up this blog and deliver it to the readers (both of you) to be affected.)

 

There’s the first half of the Best Of the Weekly Tech Views – 2015. Stay tuned for the dramatic conclusion next week, when drones, adulterers, emojis, and others vie for the coveted title of WTVB Story of the Year!

If you’d like to relive all 200+ stories from 2015… well, I guess you could just read all the previous blog entries. But if you want them in a convenient Kindle format with a cool Len Peralta cover, just break out that Amazon gift card* you got from Aunt Nancy and pick up The Internet is Like a Snowblower (And 200 Other Things I Got Wrong About Tech This Year). If you are one of the wonderful people who have already done that, you could double your wonderfulness by leaving a quick review at Amazon. If you have time. Maybe while on hold with tech support about that new gadget you got that won’t download the new firmware. Isn’t tech fun?

*Credit cards work, too.

Check it out at Amazon, right here!

Snowblower Cover - Original - Final

Until next week, continued Happy Holidays.

Mike Range
@MovieLeagueMike

 

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

DTNS 2653 – Best of 2015

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comThe best moments from the Daily Tech News Show 2015.

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Big thanks to Dan Lueders for the headlines music and Martin Bell for the opening theme!

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DTNS 2652 – All Your Picks!

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comTom empties out the Picks email box to end the year with a load of great listener suggestions.

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DTNS 2651 – The Hosts Awaken

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comWired has a theory on the Juniper backdoor and Yahoo says Google and Ford will team up on cars. Tom Merritt and Patrick Beja discuss that and much more.

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DTNS 2650 – Legally Binding Mug

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comWanted to see a convincing hacker movie? Jon Schiefer made Algorithm for just that reason. Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt talk to him about his movie, hacker portrayals on TV and film, and using the Internet to distribute a movie.

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Weekly Tech Views 23 – Dec 20, 2015

Untitled drawing (1)

Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

We’re less than a week from Christmas, so consider this blog my gift to you, because I don’t have your address and have no way of getting you anything else.

I Knew It Would Make A Comeback, Just Like My Acid Washed Jeans… Wait, Says Who?
Google has updated Maps for iOS, enabling the use of offline maps. That’s right, offline maps. Now who’s “the poor schmuck carrying an iPod Touch 4 that’s as useless as a twig at a lightsaber fight”?

Is It Bad If It Takes Ten Minutes For The Form To Load?
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is asking New Yorkers to visit a site where customers of Verizon, Cablevision, and Time Warner can test their internet speed against what their providers have promised. Schneiderman is asking customers to submit a screenshot of the results and fill out an online form that asks 1) who their ISP is, 2) the speed they were promised, and 3) whether “Schneiderman” makes them think of the superintendent from the 70’s sitcom One Day at a Time, like the mayor keeps saying.

If their connection doesn’t measure up to expectations, it’s probable that there will be hints for optimizing speed at the customer end, while if promised speeds are achieved, customers will be asked to explain if they feel their unholy deal with Beelzebub was worth it.

Why Do The Seventh Graders Get Everything?
Starting next week, the majority of drone owners will need to register with the Federal Aviation Administration. Pilots must provide their name, home address, and email address and be at least thirteen years old. The legally mandated five dollar registration fee will raise a token amount of revenue for the federal government, a total dwarfed by that amassed from the suddenly burgeoning market of 10- to 12-year-olds desperate for fake IDs.

It’s A Safety Concern, Because I’m Getting Ready To Punch Somebody
After airlines banned “hoverboards” (two-wheeled, self-balancing scooters)–deeming many of the batteries to be fire and explosion hazards–Amazon has stopped selling certain models until they can be proven safe. Some, myself included, believe this move would have been justified long ago, for all manufacturers, because, yes, fires and explosions are not great, but more importantly THEY AREN’T HOVERBOARDS! THEY DON’T HOVER–THEY HAVE WHEELS! I GUESS I’LL CALL MY SHOES HOVERSHOES! AT LEAST THEY LEAVE THE GROUND EVERY OTHER STEP!

The Wheels Of Justice Turn Slo–They Are Turning, Aren’t They?
Samsung has asked the Supreme Court to hear their appeal of a smartphone patent dispute with Apple that began over four years ago, and was initially decided in Apple’s favor over three years ago. The Supreme Court asked both parties to be patient, and will consider whether or not to hear the appeal as soon as they finish with Tesla v Edison.

Sure, Freedom Of Speech, Within Limits
There are reports that Homeland Security is planning to examine the social media accounts of foreigners applying for visas. They would presumably eliminate applicants for references to terrorist ties, while the remainder would be forwarded to a committee flagging occurrences of “Kardashian,” “Real Housewives,” and the barest hint of The Force Awakens spoilers.

So About Three Inches Of Mulch, You Say?
Speaking of Star Wars spoilers, a new Chrome extension called Force Block will block web pages containing spoilers for The Force Awakens, instead loading a screen with a Star Wars joke. This allows those of us who have not yet seen the movie to freely navigate the remainder of the web–an archive of geocities gardening blogs last updated in 2003.

Do I Need A Watch To Count The Steps From My Bed To My Couch And Back?
Pebble has introduced Pebble Health, their first foray into fitness-tracking. Initially it will track only steps and sleep, but hopes are that the first update will start to allow comparisons between the two, and when minutes of sleep exceeds number of steps, it will immediately sync to your phone and block access to the GrubHub app.

Here’s A Nutty Idea
Rumor has it that Google plans to use its self-driving cars in a ride service that would rival Uber. There are further rumors that the autonomous car division will become a stand-alone company under Google parent Alphabet, proving definitively that they care nothing about my feelings. If they did, the cars would remain under Google and the Uber competitor would be named Goober.

I Guess It’s Official
Facebook announced that Messenger will have a Transportation option in the More menu, allowing users to access ridesharing services. Currently, Uber is the only provider, but Facebook expects to add more in the coming months, and down the road one would expect to see Goober. Yeah, I’m calling it that, whatever they decide.

Hue Know What I Mean *
A software update to the Philips Hue lighting system prevented users from adding third-party bulbs to the system until they are certified “Friends of Hue.”

“Friends of who?”

“Friends of Hue.”

“Friends of me? Why would they care about my friends?”

“No, Friends of Hue.”

“Hugh who?”

“What? I’m right here.”

“No. Hugh… who?”

“Hue… nobody. Just Hue.”

“Just me? What happened to my friends?”

“Why can’t you get this? We’re talking about Philips Hue.”

“Phillips, Hugh? Why would you say it like that?”

“Why? Because that’s what it is!”

“Not Hugh Phillips?”

“No, Philips Hue.”

“What about his friends?”

“Whose friends?”

“The friends of Hugh. The friends of Phillips, Hugh.”

“Listen. It’s Philips Friends of Hue.”

“So Phillip’s friends are also Hugh’s friends?”

“I… you… it’s…”

“Wait a minute; I get it! You mean Philips the company! They make a lighting system called Hue! Bulbs have to be certified “Friends of Hue” to be used in the system, like to replace those little portable lights, the… uh…”

“Yes! The Philips Hue Go!”

“Hugo who?”

 

* Apologies to Abbott and Costello

 

Need to get a gift for someone, but worried that it won’t arrive by Christmas?

Well, I’ve got the answer.

Worried that they might not fully appreciate a book filled with technology nonsense?

Well, it will arrive by Christmas.

The Internet is Like a Snowblower (And 200 Other Things I Got Wrong About Tech This Year) is a collection of the year’s Weekly Tech Views, is available immediately for the Kindle or Kindle app, and, at $2.99, is 40% less expensive than a drone pilot registration (yet contains many more words!).

Check it out at Amazon here.

Snowblower Cover - Original - Final

And if you’re looking for a short holiday story that I’m going to classify as “humorous,” (there’s really no other option for the origin story of a Christmas napkin) for the bargain price of FREE, The Christmas Napkin will be exactly that price this coming Thursday and Friday, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. After all, there’s no rule saying you can’t read this AND The Night Before Christmas.

FREE at Amazon here (Dec 24 & 25)

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