DTNS 2700 – Heavy is The Head That Wears the Hololens

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comThe Microsoft Hololens costs $3,000 making the Vive and Rift seem cheap. But it’s a developer edition and Augmented Reality not Virtual Reality. Tom Merritt and Veronica Belmont discuss whether that makes a difference.

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DTNS 2699 – Out Think Disruption

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.com

Peter Wells and Trevor Long report back from MWC 2016; the best in show, and the most interesting gadgets they played with.

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Weekly Tech Views – Feb 27, 2016

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

Good luck getting to work on time Monday, what with your big Oscar-viewing parties coming right on the heels of your raging Weekly Tech Views-reading parties.

For the week of February 22 – 26, 2016…

Hype That Company
HTC announced that their Vive VR device would be available in April for $799. This is $200 more than the announced Oculus Rift, but includes two Hand Tracking Controllers. Hand. Tracking. Controllers. H. T. C. Right? Watch for this clever HTC naming convention to continue with future accessories Head Turning Contraption, Haptic Toenail Conceptualizer, Hydrating Tear Converter, and the Holographic Tooth Conduit.

Thanks, I Guess
Apple continues to fight a court order requiring them to help the FBI access information on an iPhone 5c. They have filed a motion to vacate the order, and amicus briefs supporting their stance will be filed by Verizon, Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. “We certainly appreciate the support and acknowledgment from our peers that we have made the correct decision,” said Apple’s Tim Cook, “but I don’t think it was necessary for Microsoft to include the line ‘even a stopped clock is right twice a day.'”

I’m Hoping There Will Also Be Some Texts With George Lukas
It turns out that in addition to this iPhone, the FBI wants Apple’s help accessing twelve others. It would be thirteen, if the FBI would realize the importance of getting into the phone I bought at a flea market from a guy that used to live in Los Angeles. He sold me JJ Abrams’s phone! The one he used while filming The Force Awakens! The guy says there’s audio, video, and photos from the set. Notes he made about script changes. But it’s password-protected. I know, I was skeptical too. But when he flipped it open, there, on one of those thin, red, embossed labels, just above the TracFone logo, was JJ’s name. You can even tell how pre-occupied he was with Star Wars because in his hurry he spelled it Abrims.

Although I Will Want To Insure It
Google is shutting down their Google Compare service, which provided comparison shopping for credit cards, mortgages, and insurance. It’s just as well; it was worthless to me without a category for used celebrity cell phones.

Yahoo, Indeed
Magazine publisher Time, Inc (Time, Fortune, People, Sports Illustrated) is in talks to acquire Yahoo. The final sticking point seems to be Yahoo standing firm on its demand that a minimum twenty executives be permitted to attend the SI swimsuit photo shoot.

Who Do You Think Taught Mrs. Montgomery To Use Facebook?
Chicago public schools are going to require one computer science course be completed in order to graduate. That sound you hear is 300,000 kids laughing and thinking: They are going to teach us about computers? Great, can they teach us about fashion, too?

How About If We Throw In Some Floor Mats?
FoxConn agreed to acquire two-thirds of Japanese electronics firm Sharp for 700 billion yen. Then they found out that getting controlling interest in the company also meant getting 350 billion yen in debt, and put the deal on hold. This explains Sharp’s new slogan: Sharp: The “2006 Ford Taurus That Seems Like A Great Deal Until You Take It To Your Mechanic Who Says It’s Got A $3,000 Transmission Rebuild In Its Near Future” of electronics.

It’s A Start
Samsung is building 256GB chips for use in phones and tablets, allowing, for example, storage of up to 90,000 eight-megapixel photos. “That sounds impressive I guess,” said my wife, “but what do I do with the rest of this year’s cat photos?”

Shoppers Like You
Meanwhile, Samsung opened Samsung 837, a store in New York City that has art exhibits, cooking classes, musical performances… but no products on site for you to buy. If you’d like to actually purchase a Samsung product while in the Samsung store, an employee will help you order it online, presumably between verses of “Tomorrow” from Annie.

Asked her expectations for the store, one Samsung executive said, “We are intent on providing these cultural experiences for the general public. While we would, of course, welcome financial support from those partaking of our offerings, there is no oblig–oh my god, we’ve started a PBS station!”

Things About To Change As Printer Division Puts On Lucky Shirt
HP, Inc reported that revenue was down 12%, but considered this good news in that it wasn’t worse than expectations. “I get it,” said everyone who’s been to Vegas.

As Huntsville Goes…
Google Fiber announced that they will bring their gigabit internet service to San Francisco, the announcement coming just days after saying they’d be doing the same in Huntsville, Alabama, reinforcing San Francisco’s tech reputation as Huntsville West.

Who Knows Where The Hockey Stick Ends Up?
Robotics company Boston Dynamics posted a video of its humanoid Atlas robot picking up boxes and shelving them, refusing to be deterred even when a guy with a hockey stick repeatedly knocks the box from its grasp. When this guy knocks Atlas down onto its “face,” it is able to right itself. A still frame from this video–Atlas pushing up from a kneeling position–has been chosen as the source for the first in a new line of inspirational posters, with the familiar caption IT’S NOT WHETHER YOU GET KNOCKED DOWN, BUT WHETHER YOU GET BACK UP WITH THE FACIAL RECOGNITION DATA FIRMLY FILED AWAY SO THAT AFTER HOURS, WHEN THAT CLOWN WITH THE STICK IS WATCHING THE VIDEO WITH THAT GIRL FROM ACCOUNTING HE WANTS TO IMPRESS, YOU CAN FIND HIM AND TEAR OFF THE ARMS THAT HELD THE STICK AND BEAT HIM WITH THEM. Future variations will show a kitten hanging from each severed arm, because kittens sell inspirational posters.

Also, Our Friends At The FBI Have This iPhone They’d Like You To Look At
The Department of Defense funded Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute to conduct research into ways to break Tor, software that enables anonymous communication. While this relationship was only now confirmed via information in a court order, eyebrows were raised last year during the theater department’s production of Annie Get Your Gun; We Finally Figured Out How To Track Down Those Guys You Were After.

 

Okay, clean the place up, rehydrate, get some sleep, and start on that Revenant-themed menu for the follow-up party.

 

Mike Range

@MovieLeagueMike

DTNS 2698 – Alexa All Over Your House

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comAmazon’s on a hiring spree for Echo and Alexa.Michael Wolf talks with Tom Merritt about Amazon’s smart home domination plans. Len Peralta is here to illustrate the show too!

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DTNS 2697 – Carpe Drone-um

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comHigh School students in Chicago will have to take a computer science class in order to graduate, starting with the fall freshman class. Is this the right way to promote tech literacy? Do we have enough teacher’s for this? Tom Merritt and Justin Young discuss.

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DTNS 2696 – Xamarin May Cause Invalid Page Faults

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comThe ad blocking wars pit your privacy and security agains publisher’s need to make money and a mobile ad panel at MWC turns heated. Tom Merritt and Scott Johnson discuss where the line should be.

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DTNS 2695 – Will VR break your hip?

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comVirtual reality got a big boost from phone manufacturers and IBM’s Watson this week, among others. Patrick Beja and Tom Merritt sort through it all and try to make sense of it.

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DTNS 2694 – Sweet Fiber Alabama

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comCould bots and chat interfaces replace your homescreen apps? Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt discuss. Plus the latest from Mobile World Congress.

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DTNS Briefing – Mobile World Congress

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comA quick look at the latest announcements from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

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Weekly Tech Views – Feb 20, 2016

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

Because this blog–filled with the least accurate tech analysis available–is where you naturally turn for breaking political news… the Republican South Carolina primary has been called for ol’ what’s-his-name, referenced in our fourth story today.

Who needs CNN?

 

For the week of February 15 – 19, 2016…

 

I’m Sure Artificial Intelligence Robot Barbie Will Love It
At the New York Toy Show, Mattel unveiled the View-Master DLX, a virtual reality device in which the imagery is provided by an app downloaded to your smartphone, which you then insert into the viewer.

Uh huh.

That is not a View-Master.

I don’t know what the “X” stands for, but the “DL” must be “Damned Lie,” because a View-Master does not require apps or smartphones. A View-Master requires a cardboard disc with some film on it and a finger to press the lever that rotates the disc. This device looks very cool, and appears to do some amazing things, but it’s a Google Cardboard Extra Special Super Deluxe or something, not a View-Master. What was at the next booth, a GeForce GTX 970 graphics card-bearing, Logitech Extreme 3D Pro joystick-compatible Etch-A-Sketch?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s nearly four o’clock, and I have to get to dinner so I can be back for the Matlock marathon.

It Is, After All, One Of The Higher-Point Scrabble Letters
Google parent Alphabet renamed it’s think tank–tasked with solving your standard tech company issues like privacy and security; oh, and terrorism and human trafficking–from Google Ideas to Jigsaw. Why Jigsaw? Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt explained, “the new name acknowledges that the world is a complex puzzle of physical and digital challenges.” He then held up a hand, cutting off the next question, and added, “Yes, okay, and we needed a ‘J’.”

It’s Not Yeezy Earning Green
Streaming music service app TIDAL became the number one app in the iTunes Store after Kanye West announced his new album, The Life of Pablo, would be available only through TIDAL for a week, before being sold on his website. He then said it will never be for sale, and TIDAL was the only way to (legally) hear it. Unfortunately, this all came after Kanye had started taking orders for the album on his website. When he changed his mind, TIDAL was flooded with complaints by fans who pre-ordered the album, saw their credit card charged (sometimes twice), but received approximately zero albums. For all we know, Kanye may next decide Pablo will be included in specially marked boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but for now, congratulations, TIDAL.

We’re Hackers, Not Hagglers
A California hospital’s computer network was hacked with ransomware, making access to some patient data impossible without a decryption key to unlock the data. The hackers were reportedly demanding $3.6 million in bitcoins as ransom, but eventually settled for $17,000.

“Look, we’re really proud of the technical work we did here,” said Gotcha!23, the hacking team’s spokesman. “We had absolutely zero issues bringing an institution focused on healing illness and injury to its knees. It really couldn’t have gone smoother.

“But…” here Mr. Gotcha!23 hesitated and shifted in his seat. “But… well… the negotiations were a joke. We obviously need somebody with some business savvy in here. Our initial demand of $3.6 million was really cool and got us some nice press. But letting ourselves get talked down to $17K made us look like chumps. It’s embarrassing. I even read what’s-his-name’s book–the big-mouthed, tomato-faced guy–The Art of the Deal, but look where that got us.

“Frankly, it hardly seems worth the effort of crippling a life-saving facility. I mean, if someone was going to die being transported to another hospital, it was supposed to be for an estate on a tropical island, not, what, a few grand in everyone’s 401k and some pizza? Okay, maybe we get Netflix hooked up again; I’ve heard good things about Jessica Jones. But the 4K TV is definitely out.” He stared into the distance, obviously envisioning the visual clarity of the television that was not to be. “It’s on me,” he said, weakly thumping his chest. “I talked big to the guys, swore I wouldn’t take less than a million.” He shook his head. “I don’t know, the hospital negotiator sounded hot; I guess I let her get in my head.”

Hospital spokesman Bud “Marcus” Hermann commented, “Obviously, nobody wants to give in to extortion, no matter the amount. It sets a bad precedent, bowing to lawless thugs. That said, we recouped the $17,000 this morning by telling a few walk-ins with low grade flu symptoms–and decent insurance–that we suspected the Zika virus. They’ll be here a few days and–heh-heh–we’ll probably come out a little ahead.”

A Mobile Payment Method By Any Other Name
Apple Pay is teaming up with UnionPay to begin business in China and compete with AliPay. Which mobile payment service achieves dominance in this massive, burgeoning economy is interesting, I suppose, but takes a back seat in my mind to understanding the logic behind Papple, Punion, and Pali adopting this Pig Latin naming convention.

I’m Hoping Jokes At My Expense Lower Expectations
A winner of Amazon’s Internet of Things Mega contest was a drone that can be launched by voice control via an Amazon Echo and Raspberry Pi. Version 2.0, which can be told to go to a nearby store to retrieve one or two small items–and accomplishes the feat nearly half the time–has been codenamed “Husband.”

Can You Ear Me Now?
Doctors have 3D printed living tissue that formed blood vessels and cartilage when implanted under the skin of mice. In this particular case, a printed human ear was attached to a mouse. “Oh, sure, everyone’s all, ‘Ewww, that’s weird, a human ear on a mouse,” said the mouse. “I can’t turn around without somebody in the lab telling me that Dr. Moreau is looking for me. But, somehow, tourists at Disney World are ‘cute.'”

How Much Do We Want To Please Our Users? Check Out This GIF Of A Monkey Bending Over Backwards!
Twitter will be adding a GIF button to its app over the next few weeks, allowing users to easily communicate their feelings via all the chuckle-inducing clips of cute animals and precocious kids their hearts desire. Moments after the announcement, a Twitter executive poked his head out of his office and asked, “Did it work? Are they still pissed about the timeline? What about stickers? Would they like stickers?”

 

You made it. It’s over. Congratulations.

 

Mike Range
@MovieLeagueMike

 

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