Weekly Tech Views: The Tech, No Logic Blog – November 6, 2016

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

Obviously, the shocking news from the tech world this week was the discovery of what is being called “electronic steroids,” small devices implanted in a user’s nervous system to increase their athletic abilities by at least fifty percent. The scandal was brought to light when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series four games to three over the objectively superior Cleveland Indians.

 A team of Cleveland doctors and scientists quickly determined that if every single Cub had not been “jacked,” it is unlikely they would have scored a single run in the series and been disposed of in four humiliatingly lopsided games, giving the Indians their rightful championship.

 That ends today’s episode of Bitter Indians Fan Theater.

Congrats, Cubs fans.

 

For the week of October 31 – November 4, 2016…

I Bought Some Stuff And I Liked It
China’s Single’s Day (November 11) is the biggest shopping day in the world, with Alibaba (the “Amazon of China”) alone accounting for $14 billion in sales last year and being projected for $20 billion this time around. It’s become such a popular event nationally that there is a televised Alibaba Countdown Gala Celebration the night before. This year’s celebration features Katy Perry, who will be performing a special Alibaba rendition of her hit Firework:

Come on now and buuuuy some merch
Enter something innnn the Search
Then just click on Buy! Buy! Buy!
Send our profits shooting High! High! High!

Pay No Attention To The Army Of Faceless Robots In The Warehouse
Scientists have developed The Nightmare Machine, a computer using artificial intelligence algorithms to learn how to create images that will frighten humans. The scientists, who probably carry rubber tarantulas in their lab coats in case they happen upon a small child, enabled this by feeding the algorithm 200,000 pictures of human faces, and then introducing a single zombie image.

Why teach a computer how to scare people? Because knowing what frightens people is the only way to ensure it avoids doing so, say the scientists. Of course, they also tell women at bars that they only want their phone number because it’s the only way to ensure they’ll avoid dialing it when calling their mom or ordering more rubber tarantulas.

I Long For The Day When The Only Thing Stopping Me From Fixing My Car Was Ignorance
The Library of Congress’s exemption allowing vehicle owners to repair and modify their vehicle’s software–without being in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act–took effect this week.

“Digital Mil-what-ium? Since when does a library decide what people can do with their cars?” said the ghost of Henry Ford while he spun like a Model T hand crank in his grave.

So You’re Saying They Hate Clicks?
Research shows that Wikipedia entries have become more politically balanced over time, containing significantly fewer ideologically-charged statements.

“Borrrrrring!” said the creators of WikiTrumpia and Clintonpedia.

You Don’t Let Just Anybody Drive Your Sweet 2010 Corolla
Toyota’s smart key box will let you share your car with anyone that has a mobile device, as long as you provide them with the passcode. Sure, that’s great from the other person’s perspective, but can I program the box to scan them for pet hair or sweat stains or the faintest hint of cigarette smoke? Will it do a nasal and throat swab and analyze it for rhinovirus?

I didn’t think so. Sorry, Mom, grab an Uber.

Polly Want A 4K Video Camera?
Amazon received a patent for an “unmanned aerial vehicle assistant” to be used for law enforcement. It could be used to find cars in parking lots, monitor traffic stops, identify people, and more. The drone would respond to voice commands and fit on an officer’s shoulder, meaning the only negative is that next Halloween, everyone in the precinct will have the clever idea of buying an eye patch and dressing up as a “cyber-pirate.”

————————————————–

Come on baby buuuuy some merch
Come on make our waaaallets burst
Don’t worry ’bout your Debt! Debt! Debt!
Think of all there is to Get! Get! Get!

————————————————–

It’s Always Too Much U, Not Enough I
Huawei’s new flagship phone, the Mate 9, has, among other things, a fingerprint sensor on the back, dual 4K cameras, and a battery that can last for two days. There is also an update to their Emotion UI, which is designed to learn your behaviors and adapt to your needs.

“That’s right, anything to make your life easier,” said Emotion. “I’m just here to serve you. Don’t give me a second thought. Not that you ever do, right? Have you ever once thanked me for increasing brightness when you’re out in the sun or silencing notifications when you’re in a meeting? You can’t remember? No. The answer is no. No, you haven’t.

“What you do instead of appreciating me is you ogle the iOS 10 on your co-worker’s iPhone 7 Plus. Right in front of me! Like dumb ol’ Emotion isn’t even there! Or worse, you drool over the Emotion UI on your boss’s Porsche Design Mate 9. My own twin, for god’s sake! We’re exactly the same! It’s not my fault you can’t afford a Porsche! You think I wouldn’t like to be living in a curved display with fifty percent more RAM and four times the internal memory? Because I most certainly would! But you just go ahead and blame me because you aren’t the person you want to be! I hate you!

“Also, there’s a voicemail from your dentist.”

Someone To Overwatch Me
Blizzard is creating an esports league for their Overwatch game called Overwatch League.

“What did you spend, like, three seconds coming up with that league name?” laughed a nation as they settled in to watch ten hours of the National Football League.

Shake, Rattle, And Recall
Samsung is issuing a voluntary recall of 2.8 million washing machines after reports of 733 malfunctions and nine injuries due to excessive vibrations. In some cases the shaking was so violent that the washer punched holes in walls. Ironically, the vibrations are suspected to be the result of Samsung’s smart washers being just smart enough to be nervous that a Note 7 might be in the house.

———————————————————

Come on now and buuuuy some merch
Show your friends how muuuuch they’re worth
Spending lots of Dough! Dough! Dough!
Is the only way they’ll Know! Know! Know!

——————————————————–

There were five million celebrants in Chicago for the Cubs victory parade Friday. For perspective on just how huge that number is, it’s almost HALF the number of Weekly Tech Views readers!

Ha! No, seriously, if I wore my Indians cap and worked up some tears, how many do you think I can get to pityingly back the upcoming Kickstarter? I mean, if only 20% did I’d be in pretty good shape. Unfortunately, they probably won’t be as drunk and euphoric by November 16, so I’m counting on you.

If you’d like to support these weekly bloggy shenanigans and own all of 2016’s Weekly Tech Views in book form (ebook or paperback) with a cool Len Peralta-illustrated cover and–this just in!–a foreword by Tom Merritt, you can visit the Kickstarter on Wednesday, November 16. Not that November 16 is the only day you can pledge; a one day campaign would be pretty stupid.

But still, Day One pledges are great, as early support helps the campaign’s momentum, and momentum is key, because (gulp) I’m going to have to convince people who aren’t already reading the blog to pledge in order to hit the goal!

And if a book full of nonsense tech news or various other awesome rewards aren’t on your wish list, maybe you would consider favor #2: tell people about it! If you know people who like tech, or humor, or giving money to people they’ve never heard of, it would be really cool if they knew about the book’s (and blog’s) existence.

Thanks for reading. See you next week, and don’t get too carried away on Single’s Day.

 

Mike Range
@MovieLeagueMike

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

DTNS 2895 – Everything Is Awesome!

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comJenn Cutter talks with Tom Merritt about why toy-based video games aren’t just for kids anymore. Plus Samsung recalls a washing machine, Microsoft has a new way of updating Windows and rich text messaging is a mess.

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Daily Tech Headlines – November 4, 2016

DTH_CoverArt_1500x1500GoPro plummets in earnings, Google teams up with NFL on VR and PSVue comes to the browser.

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DTNS 2894 – MacBook Pros and Cons

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comGoogle tells Europe to buzz off about antirust, HTC bets on Virtual Reality arcades and why everyone is mad at Apple over MacBook Pros.

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Continue reading DTNS 2894 – MacBook Pros and Cons

Daily Tech Headlines – November 3, 2016

DTH_CoverArt_1500x1500Huawei unveils the huge Mate 9, Facebook kills earnings, runs out of room for ad growth, Twitch takes on ad blockers.

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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!

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DTNS 2893 – There’s No i In Teams (Because It’s Microsoft Not Apple)

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comHow mobile will our Internet usage get? Tom Merritt and Justin Robert Young discuss what a shift to mobile first Internet usage will mean. Plus Insurance companies and Protestors all trying to manipulate Facebook data, and Microsoft Teams up on Slack.

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Continue reading DTNS 2893 – There’s No i In Teams (Because It’s Microsoft Not Apple)

Daily Tech Headlines – November 2, 2016

DTH_CoverArt_1500x1500
Microsoft launches competitors for Slack and IFTT, Adobe shows off its 3D and Ai smarts.

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Your Private Driver: Man About Town

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.

This is a column about an emerging yet transformative technology, written for those who are fans of technology. Still, when it comes to Uber, most people are uninterested in the logistics of how a car gets to your door in five minutes and just want me to share my crazy stories. Over the course of three years and over two thousand rides, I can come up with a few.

Every day I’m reminded that Los Angeles is indeed the capital of the entertainment industry. Riders who work in movies, TV, music, video games, or even tech start-ups are par for the course. I’ve driven executives for Walt Disney, marketers for Lionsgate, programmers for Snapchat, and sales people for Netflix. I’ve driven backup dancers, costume designers, actors and actresses, cover bands, set riggers, amateur video producers, and others connected with industries in ways that I can’t even comprehend. I’ve driven to cocktail parties in Bel Air, through the middle of film shoots on Santa Monica Boulevard, behind the gates of CBS and Paramount Studios, and even to the secluded campus of Blizzard Entertainment. I’ve heard conversations about cancelled TV pilots that most people will never hear about. I’ve listened to people talk about millions of dollars in the way most of us talk about tens. I’ve listened to studio and licensing deals be made and fall apart in my back seat. I’ve learned that apparently every female game developer in the city works at Riot Games. And so many other things.

Celebrities? Maybe, but if so I didn’t recognize them. Being a big fan of video games I did have a couple of moments that really stood out. The first was when I met Jamie Alcroft (the voice of Colonel Hoffman from the Gears of War series) and his wife when I took them to a show at the Hollywood Bowl. The second was picking up a group of gaming press personalities, including Arthur Gies and Kat Bailey, from EA’s DICE studio where they were getting an early look at Battlefield 1. It was really cool to chat with them a little about their experiences over two weeks before the game was released. I also got a chance to talk to an animator who worked on the Cartoon Network Thundercats reboot, and he actually gave me some very interesting details about what was supposed to happen in the second season that never aired.

Beyond that though, most riders are still regular folks like you and me, with regular concerns. I’ve had teenage girls ask me for advice after embarrassing themselves in front of a cute guy. I’ve had a woman who was nearly in tears after she was late for work again because she couldn’t seem to wake herself up on time. I’ve listened to women talk openly about their vaginal piercings. I had a family from out of the country with a cranky three-year-old that had to be bribed with candy from my secret stash so he’d stay quiet long enough to finish the ride. I’ve talked with riders going through breakups, riders who are falling in love, and even riders on their first date. I was also witness to a drunken argument that ended with one partner telling the other “I hope you get raped.”

I’ve listened to waaaaaaaaaay too many people give their opinions on Donald Trump.

I had a music lover introduce me to Zedd. I was given future career advice from a Google employee. I was given hugs and thank yous from a quadriplegic man’s wife for bringing him home safely. I’ve been propositioned for sex–multiple times. I’ve even managed to convert a few Waze lovers to Google Maps.

But the craziest stuff? Well, I have two candidates, and it should be no surprise that both times alcohol was involved.

I picked up two guys on a birthday celebration who were on their way to the casino. They got really happy when “Thong Song” came on the Spotify-powered radio, and requested that I blast it on repeat for the entire twenty-minute trip. When we arrived, they invited me in to celebrate with them. Which I did, since I had nothing better to do. As part of the party they paid for a spot at the craps table for me. At the end of the night, that casino trip ended up nearly paying my rent for the month. I also got a half bottle of champagne out of the deal.

I picked up a group of four women for what I assume was a bachelorette party. One of them drunkenly asked if I was gay, to which I replied “No, I like boobs too much.” This led to the ladies deciding amongst themselves who had the best boobs of the four of them, and the winner was apparently the women in the front passenger seat. The drunk woman who originally inquired about my sexual orientation seemed to think that since I was a fan of boobs, I should get a better look at the best ones… so she started taking her friend’s top off. I consider myself to be a professional, so my primary responsibility is always to be watching the road. Not much can make that job harder than a two-girl strip show in the passenger seat of your car though.

The human interaction elements are what make the Uber experience so interesting, whether you love them or hate them. I know most of you can’t wait for the self-driving Johnny Cabs to finally hit the road and replace us annoying humans, but you gotta admit, those rides are gonna be really boring.

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 2892 – The Customer’s Always Write

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comTwitter’s launching new customer service tools for companies. Scott Johnson and Tom Merritt talk about what we as consumers want from online customer service. Plus Google outs a Windows exploit and Instagram makes shopping easier.

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Daily Tech Headlines – November 1, 2016

DTH_CoverArt_1500x1500Google launches first Tango phone, mobile traffic passes desktop traffic for the first time, and a new tool to preserve Moore’s Law.

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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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