Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.
Turns out tech stuff happened this week. Some of it may have even had a slight resemblance to what you’ll read here.
For the week of August 22 – 26, 2016…
They’re Just Mad I Cancelled When The Free Trial Was Over
There are reports that Spotify punishes songs that first appear on platforms like Apple Music by “burying” them when they do come to Spotify. Frankly, I don’t think that has anything to do with it. My latest album was never on any other platform, but no matter how hard you search Spotify, it’s still nearly impossible to find Let Me Tech You Home Tonight (featuring the single If Our Love Ain’t Real, It’s At Least A Virtual Reality).
Alexa, Make It Stop
Amazon is reportedly putting together a new music service with multiple tiers–a ten-dollar unlimited streaming plan, a $4-5 tier that would only be accessible on Amazon Echo devices, and an unprecedented-in-the-industry third tier in which Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will pay you a quarter each time you listen to him sing classic covers like Prime Is On My Side and I’ve Had the Prime Of My Life. The payout is a buck if you subject yourself to the video version of the Rocky Horror Picture Show-inspired The Prime Warp.
Six Of One, Seven Of Another
Samsung is apparently planning on selling refurbished smartphones next year, the devices coming from returns by customers who signed up for one-year upgrade programs. Not only will this be a boon to those looking for a more affordable phone, but to the economy in general, as thousands of customer service reps will be needed to handle calls like these:
“Hi, I was trying to order a used phone online?”
“Yeah, I don’t want the new Galaxy Note 7, I want the one just before it, but I can’t find a Note 6 anywhere.”
“I’m sorry, sir, there are no Note 6’s.”
“What do you mean there aren’t any? You just started this refurb program; you can’t be out of them already.”
“No, sir, the Note 5 is our most recent model.”
“Well that’s ridiculous! I don’t want one that’s two years old. You really need to have last year’s model in stock.”
“The Note 5 is last year’s model, sir.”
“What? No it’s not. I’m seeing ads all over the place for the new Note 7.”
“Yes, sir. We went from 5 to 7.”
“You w–get out of here! You expect me to believe that a multi-billion-dollar company decides, just for fun, to skip a number and confuse their customers?”
“Well, sir, it’s–”
“Look, I’ll call back later and speak to someone that knows what they’re talking about.”
“Forget it, I don’t have time for this right now; I’m getting ready to upgrade my PC to Windows 9.”
Apple is developing a video sharing and editing app. Said Apple, “You’re right, Instagram! Snapchat has all kinds of cool stuff!”
It’s Pronounced “Your Highness”
Barbra Streisand, annoyed with the way Siri was pronouncing her name, complained to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who agreed to have it changed in an future update. Still in the works are a FaceTime update that forces callers to avoid eye contact with the singer and a Safari restriction that prevents search results from including The Guilt Trip.
A photo of a new version of the PlayStation 4 has been leaked to the public. We all owe an immense debt of gratitude to the brave insider who risked his job to reveal this vital photo, finally supplying us with the knowledge that this version would be slimmer and available in black. Sure, you could say the same about the updates to the PS2 and PS3, but you never know when Sony is going to say this is the year for chunky and purple bedazzling. Certainly many of us have been anxiously postponing redecorating our living rooms until we knew for sure our plans wouldn’t clash with the PS4. To the swatches!
Pitch Him First–He Never Says “I’ll Pass”
Fresh off retiring from the NBA, Kobe Bryant is getting into the venture capitalist game, becoming a partner in a $100 million tech and media fund. One has to assume that on any visual media projects acquired, Kobe will be very hands-on and insist on getting behind the camera, seeing as he likes to shoot every chance he gets.
Death, Taxes, And…
YouTube is designing a feature called Backstage to let creators share photos, videos, text, polls, and links with subscribers. The posts will appear in reverse chronological order until, naturally, the feature is really popular, at which point–as required by the bylaws of the Organization Handling Social Network Alienation Program (OHSNAP)–the plan is to mess with users by switching to an angst-inducing algorithm.
Are You Sure They Said Art-ificial Intelligence?
Facebook’s AI Research team (FAIR) is making available to anyone their proprietary software tools that can identify the variety and shape of objects in a photo, allowing a program to distinguish, for example, a cat from a dog.
I’m sure FAIR is doing very impressive work, and making these tools freely available is a noble gesture, but the question all of you must have, as I do, is… does anyone believe their coworkers refer to them as FAIR? That they don’t consider AI one word and come up with another acronym for the Facebook AI Research Team? That, when a member of the team enters a room, everyone doesn’t look up and start sniffing? I don’t believe there is a group of humans anywhere with that kind of restraint.
“Check Out My Jigglypuff” Didn’t Go Over Well Either
Pokemon Go use has declined from 45 million daily users in July to 30 million in August. A survey of those who stopped playing found the number one reason to be “lack of time” followed closely by “my wife deleted my account the last time I asked our friends if they wanted to see my Squirtle.”
They’re Not Kidding About 908,000 Results, Are They?
Google will start lowering search rankings for sites that use “intrusive interstitial” ads, like those that cover content or have to be dismissed before the content will even load or are so large you have to scroll to reach the content.
Great. But if there is a higher power watching over us, there will soon be penalties for the worst offenders–pages that seem to have loaded, but juuuust as you start to click on the content, the page shifts and the innocent little sidebar ad is suddenly under your thumb and now you’re looking at jars of the newest scented wax blobs added to some candle company’s Autumn Collection.
I think an appropriate penalty would be that the site–even if it is called Candy’s Candle Company and deals exclusively in seasonally-scented candles and someone searches for “seasonally-scented candles by someone named Candy”–should show up on page 148 of the search results, just behind the Wikipedia entries for the movie Candyman and the lyrics to Seasons in the Sun.
That Was, Um, Research
Email accounts of reporters at the New York Times and other news organizations have apparently been compromised by Russian hackers. Opening a laptop on her podium, Hillary Clinton said, “What a shame. Let’s hope they haven’t leaked any of those emails. So, anybody still have a question about my emails? How about you, sir, it looked like you were about to raise your hand… I’m sorry, I don’t recall your name… shall I just call you… let’s see… Mr. Spank-Me-While-I-Suck-My-Thumb?”
Thanks for stopping by the Weekly Tech Views. C’mon, don’t give me that look. I said slight resemblance.
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And if you still haven’t had enough reading, check out the ridiculous analysis of 2015’s tech news HERE.
Weekly Tech Views: The Tech – No Logic Blog by Mike Range is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.