DTNS 2773 – The Three Stages of Buzzwords

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comComputex, like all tech conferences brings on the buzzwords. Patrick Beja and Tom Merritt try to predict which buzzwiords will go mainstream (like smartphone did) and which are destined for the trash heap. (RIP netbook).

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DTNS 2772 – Headlines Only

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comJust the headlines about Asus announcements from Computex and more.

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Weekly Tech Views (The Tech – No Logic Blog) – May 28, 2016

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

Ah, Memorial Day Weekend. The unofficial kickoff to summer, when the weather is finally nice enough to open the windows while spending three days on the couch watching The Simpsons Marathon.

For the week of May 23 – 27, 2016…

They Are Kind Of Catchy
Google is launching Magenta, a project that will use “deep learning” to allow artificial intelligence to create art, starting with music. Its first efforts are a little derivative, like the obviously R.E.M.-inspired It’s the End of Insignificant Humans as We Know Them. And you can hardly ignore the Springsteen influences in Born to Run Insignificant Humans Off the Face of the Earth. Katy Perry’s team is actually considering legal action to collect anticipated profits from I Killed an Insignificant Human and I Liked It. Yes, the unwavering theme is a bit disturbing, but the videos are so kick-ass.

What, I Let Him Borrow A Rake Once
Microsoft is rumored to be releasing a streaming stick that would allow you to stream games from your Xbox One to another TV. It’s a nice idea, but my concern is with the range. If the Xbox is in an upstairs bedroom, will it stream to a TV in the basement? Or what if the other room is separated by the kitchen, then a bedroom, then, say, a fifteen-foot strip of lawn, then the neighbor’s kitchen, the neighbor’s hallway, and most of the neighbor’s living room where the Xbox you’d like to stream from is located? Asking for a friend.

You Don’t Know Until You Listen An Hour In Their Earbuds
Spotify is allowing an additional person on family plans, upping the total to six, while also lowering the monthly price to $15. So the Big Family lobby wins again. While couples with no kids are paying $7.50 each, two-parent, four-kid tribes are only dropping $2.50 apiece. Is there any break big families don’t get? Lower Spotify costs, higher tax deductions, fewer household chores per person, it’s ridiculously unfair. Sure, the parents in big families may sacrifice “free time” to cart their kids all over town, and when one person gets sick everyone gets sick, and the washer and dryer and shower are always running and jacking up utility bills, and they might fix five different dinners each night because no kid likes what anybody else likes… you know what, where can I donate to the six-family-member Spotify accounts?

It’s Better To Look Good Than To Feel Good
HP is introducing the Omen line of gaming laptops. They contain some serious specs–configurable to i7 processors, 16 gigs of RAM, a GTX 965M graphics card, and a 4K display–and look pretty stylish, with red highlights on the lid and around the keys. Which is cool, I guess, though a real gamer earns the red outlines the old school way–by playing Doom until your fingers bleed.

Even Worse, There Are No Scheduled Patches
The US Government Accountability Office would like to scare the crap out of you by reporting that the unit in charge of nuclear weapons uses an IBM computer from 1976. That uses floppy disks. Eight-inch floppy disks, that are, apparently, an actual thing. Said one government official, “Yes, we’ve had these computers a long time. You know why? Because they work. They might have a few quirks, but we know how to handle them. If you want to worry about the deployment of nuclear arms, I suggest you concern yourself with the potential installation of a 69-year-old piece of bloated software that shows no signs of stability, that seems likely to send nukes at Quebec because it didn’t like the maple syrup on its pancakes.” He lowered his voice and said, “You get what I’m saying, right? About the software? Orange-skinned, baseball cap-wearing software? Rhymes with Ronald Dump?”

I Saw It On Monsters & Myths On Some Cable Channel And It Was Late And I’d Had A Couple Drinks But I’m Pretty Sure It Was In The Monster Part
Microsoft and Facebook are helping to build the transatlantic MAREA cable, capable of 160 terabits per second. Great. Technology trumps safety once again. How many more innocent ocean floor visitors have to lose their lives because they confused the Giant Ocean Snake Monster for a transatlantic cable?

“Don’t worry, I’ve heard about these. It’s just a cable to increase bandwidth–OH MY GOD!”

“IT ATE GEORGE! CABLES DON’T HAVE MOUTHS WHAT IS THIS GIANT OCEAN SNAKE MONSTER-LIKE THING IT’S COMING THIS W–”

Happens all the time. But you go ahead and enjoy your faster-loading cute panda video on Facebook.

Could It Finally Be?
The tech press has been speculating for years that Apple would not only produce their own television but include their own content-providing service, though the rumors never panned out. Now, sources have indicated that Apple has been in talks to possibly acquire Time Warner (owner of HBO, TBS, and TNT), which has had its own talks about buying a stake in Hulu. Apple is also said to be interested in acquiring a streaming service, possibly even Netflix. After weighing the pros and cons of various options–buying Hulu and its existing relationships with broadcast networks versus forging their own deals, buying Netflix and its library of content versus obtaining a smaller company for the streaming infrastructure and producing their own content–Apple is finally ready to announce that the iPhone 7 will be available in Primrose Lavender!

Take That, Robot
Scientists are trying to devise ways for robots to feel pain, primarily as a deterrent from doing things that could damage them. The scientists are presenting “nervous robot-tissue models inspired by human skin structure,” but already there are competitors promising a cheaper, more effective alternative–if the robot does something dangerous, a quick clip from ESPN’s latest 30 For 30 documentary, Believeland, chronicling the history of Cleveland sports, is uploaded to their memory, and the dangerous action is never, ever repeated.

Also, it turns out their robots can cry.

 

Following Team DTNS in the Movie Draft? Here’s the latest CRUMDUM.

 

Thanks for taking time from your holiday weekend for the Weekly Tech Views. To the couch!

Mike Range
@MovieLeagueMike

 

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

DTNS 2771 – Better for Whom?

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comJustin Robert Young hosts the show and is joined by Steve Kovach (Tech Insider) and Len Peralta to discuss Facebook and their ad push beyond the walled garden.

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DTNS 2770 – If It Works, Don’t Nuke It

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comApple thought about buying Time Warner and may still be thinking about buying Netflix. Should they? Could they? Tom Merritt and Justin Young discuss.

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DTNS 2769 – HoloLens Ruined Ek’s Couch

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comIs the HoloLens worth it? Ek put his money on the line to find out. He shares his findings with Scott Johnson and Tom Merritt.

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Why esports can’t be stopped

This was sent to us by Brian Henry, Assistant Professor of Finance at Benedictine College and listener to the show. Thanks Brian!

The arrival of esports on ESPN properties, and now a whole season on TBS is making it clear that we have reached an inflection point for professional gaming. Watching professionals play video games is not yet on a level with traditional sports, but there is at least some indication that there is potential for Esports to be a lot more mainstream in the very near future.

It is hard to proxy for growth of Esports. I am using two measures, the first being tournament prizes. I went to esportsearnings.com and summed up the top 50 games’ earnings for the years 2012 through 2015 (not 50 games being tracked prior to 2012). The total tournament payouts grew by 56.2%, 73.3%, and 77.1% respectively and a total of 379% (due to compounding) cumulatively from $13.6 million to $65.1 million. That is a rather large change in a very short period of time. I was worried that the top game might be driving and skewing our outcome here since Dota 2 has a tournament called The International which is by far the largest payout. Even without that included, the total growth was 265%.

The top games are taking home way more money than the others, but the distribution is growing top to bottom. The median game earned about $32 thousand in 2012 and the median in 2015 was over $82 thousand. Also, only three games gave out over a million in prizes three year ago, but in 2015 nine games did.

This is just looking at the tournament winnings for the players, but there is plenty of other money going toward the scene through advertisement, sponsorship, and fans, though it is mostly hidden from view. Having financial info on Twitch would be great, but we are unlikely to get a lot of out of Amazon. It is so small relative to its parent that they have basically been swallowed whole, and for the foreseeable future will not be large enough to report on in any detail.

The best I could find is Twitch viewers from quantcast.com and stats.twitchapps.com. Concurrent viewers have risen from somewhere near 100,000 in 2013 up to five to seven times that each day recently. What that equates to is around a million unique visitors each day and over the past month more than 16 million unique visitors. Again, not on par with the Super Bowl or anything, but a lot of people are watching Twitch which is mostly built around live gaming. If you include the incredible number of views on YouTube and of course YouTube Gaming, Google’s Twitch competitor, among other places where VoDs are available after the fact, there are a lot of eyeballs on esports and casual gaming alike.

People appreciate high skill shown by other humans. At one point being a professional baseball player seemed ridiculous and now we watch nine-figure contracts go to young men because they can swing a bat or throw a ball really hard. There is no reason why video games can’t be similarly appreciated, and it looks more and more like we are headed that direction. Judging by the growth in recent years we might not even be that far away. In fact, now that virtual reality is here, maybe we can start combining the two. Who wants to watch some professionals play football against each other in virtual reality? All the sports action, way fewer concussions.

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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