Daily Tech Headlines – November 30, 2016

DTH_CoverArt_1500x1500Netflix allows offline viewing, GoPro lays off 200 employees and its president, The Internet Archive wants a backup in Canada.

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Your Private Driver: Thanks, I think

This is a weekly column that offers news, insights, analysis, and user tips for rideshare platforms like Uber and Lyft. Look for it every Tuesday after the live show, right here on dailytechnewsshow.com.

Sorry for the long break, it’s been a busy few weeks as the city of Los Angeles has gradually descended into chaos–well, more than usual. First some reality TV star got elected President, and people weren’t too happy about it. Then people decided to take a break from protesting to go eat turkeys with their families, but everyone drove to see them at the same time. Those who couldn’t drive flew… and there were a LOT of those. Finally, just as things started to get back to normal, more chaos. And on top of all that, I still have to figure out what I’m supposed to do with this thing.

Uber has been pretty busy as well. In addition to a shiny new rider app that has gotten universally negative reviews from my passengers so far, the new president of ride-sharing Jeff Jones is on a self-proclaimed mission to make the lives of drivers easier, safer, and fairer. His first deed of that mission? Compliments.

I completed my merit badge collection already.
I completed my merit badge collection already.

In Uber’s eyes, this is a way to thank your driver because “sometimes, 5 stars just isn’t enough.” I dunno, normally that’s when you leave a tip, but maybe that’s just me… along with pretty much every other Uber driver out there. In fact, by far the most requested (and demanded) feature is an in-app tip function similar to what Lyft already offers, but the odds are slim that it’s ever going to happen. Uber has taken a pretty hard-line stance against tipping–they even say it’s racist–but instead are more interested in improving their drivers’ bottom line in other ways.

I’m waiting to see what those other ways are, because merit badges aren’t paying the bills. Neither are stars for that matter, but at least they serve some sort of purpose in that it tells riders that I’m awesome.

Look how awesome I am, so many stars (with no dollar value).
Look how awesome I am, so many stars (with no dollar value).

If Uber is truly serious about improving their drivers’ bottom line while still discouraging tips, then it would be a great idea to give some kind of performance bonus for high ratings or compliments. Hell, just about every other job does this already; servers are motivated by potentially high tips, workers are motivated by the chance of a raise or promotion, Tom Merritt is motivated by watching his Patreon numbers go up. OK, sure, some people are also motivated by the pride of a job well done, but for argument’s sake we’re not talking about those weirdos. At the moment, the only motivation for an Uber driver to give a five-star experience is so they won’t get deactivated. Beyond that, a driver with a 4.95 rating is treated pretty much the same in Uber’s system as a driver with a 4.61 rating; all stick, no carrot. And you wonder why drivers can be disgruntled.

Anyway, while I pass on my brilliant idea to Mr. Jones that I’m sure he’s heard a dozen times already, feel free to leave a compliment if you’re so impressed with your driver’s service. It’ll be appreciated, but a couple of dollar bills will be appreciated so much more.

Sekani Wright is an experienced Uber driver working in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. If you have any questions you would like answered for this column, you can contact him at djsekani at gmail dot com, or on twitter and reddit at the username djsekani. Have a safe trip!

DTNS 2912 – Zero Sense

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comAT&T will “zero-rate” it’s DirecTV Now service on mobile. Patrick Beja and Tom Merritt discuss what that means and whether it’s, good, bad or otherwise.

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Daily Tech Headlines – November 29, 2016

DTH_CoverArt_1500x1500Amazon developing Echo with a touchscreen, DirecTV Now comes to the Internet, Nintendo comes to European theme parks.

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DTNS 2911 – All Good Things Must Trend

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comHow do you predict the future of tech? Amy Webb talks with Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt about spotting trends and being prepared for them.

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Daily Tech Headlines – November 28, 2016

DTH_CoverArt_1500x1500CNN acquires YouTube star, VLC adds 360-degree video, San Francisco light rail computer system attacked.

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Weekly Tech Views: The Tech, No Logic Blog – Nov 27, 2016

Untitled drawing (1)

Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

I appreciate you taking time between what should be your fifth and sixth viewings of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles this holiday weekend to read the Weekly Tech Views. If, for some strange, sad reason you are not familiar with perhaps the funniest movie ever filmed(1), then stop reading this, find a copy or fire up Amazon Prime Video (or, if you have to buy it at the expense of, say, supporting a Kickstarter, I won’t argue with that choice), and acquaint yourself with Neal Page and Del Griffith for 92 minutes of hilarity.

See you in 93 minutes.

For the week of November 21 – 25, 2016…

Hey, A Forfeit Is A Win
Google has changed its Popular Times feature so that rather than indicating how busy a bar or restaurant usually is throughout the day, it will estimate how long the line is at the moment. This will certainly prove a useful adjustment around here, because when our flag football team gets a win, it’s not uncommon for the victory celebration to result in the combination of our team and fans(2) monopolizing three full four-person tables at Applebees.

(Prime Members Only)
ABX Air, which contracts to fly packages for Amazon, saw 250 employees go on strike just ahead of the busy holiday season. Should the strike not be resolved quickly, Amazon will shift some of the load to UPS and FedEx, but even if your order can’t be accommodated there, there is still a good chance it will arrive on time if the package fits in the trunk of Sheila from Accounts Payable’s ’07 Honda Accord and you live reasonably near her in-laws’ place in Omaha where she’ll be visiting this weekend.

Fakebook! Has Anybody Used That Yet? Let’s Say I’m First
Facebook is taking steps to fight the rampant appearance of fake news on the site, including a mechanism to make it easier to report misinformation, which will definitely be helpful when, a half hour later, they need to start developing a mechanism to report fake reporting of fake news on the site.

Count Your Blessings
Apple confirmed that some iPhone 6S phones are shutting down when the battery drops between 60 and 50%. Those with affected devices can get a free replacement battery by visiting betterthanstartingafire.com.

Only One Of These Two Have Experience Completing Drives
Nutonomy, developer of self-driving vehicle software, will make Boston its second test location, following three months in a 2.5-square-mile area of Singapore. The Boston test will take place in a lightly-traveled industrial park and without passengers.

Thank God. I mean, I’m sure Nutonomy’s technology is capable and all, but dealing with real Boston driving three months into testing would be like rounding up 11 people who have never heard of American football, letting them toss the ball around for ten minutes, then making them face the Cleveland Brow–sorry, hometown bias. I obviously meant an NFL-caliber team.

Go Drehcufdlfsv!
The United Kingdom’s first college of cyber education will be located at Bletchley Park, the site where Alan Turing’s team broke Germany’s enigma code during World War II. The students admitted beginning in 2018 will be expected to adhere to a strict code of conduct consisting of a single rule: when told there will be a quiz in any class, nobody, under penalty of expulsion, will respond with “Is it a Turing test?”

Half Of It Was Just To Avoid Talking Politics With Uncle Roy
Online shoppers in the U.S. spent $1.15 billion between midnight and 5pm Eastern on Thanksgiving. Wow. That is a lot of money. It means if someone felt like they had worked really hard all year and deserved to reward himself with both an Xbox One and PS4, that would only be 5/100,000 of 1% of that total. Which, when you think about, is practically nothing. Not even worth discussing with someone unreasonably upset by it, right?

Bet It’ll Have At Least 16 GB Of RAM
Japan is hoping to build the world’s fastest supercomputer, budgeting $173 million for the project. $173 million for a computer. Seriously, if that guy we were talking about earlier spent another couple hundred on games for those consoles, still not even a drop in the bucket, right?

 

(1) Movie and film allegedly mean the same thing, yet you can’t say “the funniest film ever movied.” At least not without proofreaders giving you a bunch of grief.

(2) “Fans” pretty much consists of our left tackle Tim’s wife Becky, who doesn’t like football or sitting in the cold or, frankly, the rest of us on the team, but she’s determined to be wherever Tim goes because she liked even less the look on his face last week when he read about the hacked AdultFriendFinder site.

 

I hope you enjoyed this week’s Weekly Tech Views, despite my sabotaging myself by telling you to watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles first. Why would I want to follow that? Also, I was probably a little hasty telling you to buy that rather than back a Kickstarter.

If you sensibly ignored that bit of advice, then let me submit the Tech, Please! Kickstarter for your evaluation at bit.ly/techplease. Over 500 stories recapping the year in tech, without a bunch of accuracy getting in the way of your enjoyment. Plus, getting an ebook, paperback, or having your name in a story as a   substitute for some weasely spokesperson supports this very blog. What a deal!

 

Mike Range
@MovieLeagueMike

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Weekly Tech Views: The Tech, No Logic Blog by Mike Range is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Daily Tech Headlines – November 25, 2016

DTH_CoverArt_1500x1500Xiaomi doesn’t need phones, GoDaddy reportedly buying Host Europe, and Japan builds a supercomputer.

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Show Notes
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Daily Tech Headlines – November 24, 2016

DTH_CoverArt_1500x1500Google shakes up its Cast names, Bletchley Park becomes a security college and Reddit CEO edits comments about himself.

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

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Show Notes
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DTNS 2910 – Techsgiving

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comAs we think about how thankful we are to have these tech-focused jobs we talk about the new MacBook pro, SurfaceBook, YouTube videos for kids and more. Scott Johnson, Roger Chang and Tom Merritt thank YOU for supporting the show!

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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 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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Show Notes
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Continue reading DTNS 2910 – Techsgiving