All posts by MovieLeagueMike

Monthly Tech Views – November 2017

Untitled drawing (1)

Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

It is truly the most wonderful time of the year, when the Monthly Tech Views emerges from its burrow to see if there will be six more weeks of turkey sandwiches.

Surprised It Wasn’t Middle Fingers
A new Snapchat feature uses object recognition to suggest contextually appropriate filters for your photos. Possibly a guitar filter if you’re at a concert, maybe a surfboard for the beach, etc.  Anxious to see what the competition was up to, Instagram executives tried it out:

(click)

“What’d you take?”

“Just a wide view of the office.

“So what filter are they suggesting?”

“It’s… it’s a picture of Garfield.”

“The cat?”

“No, James A. Garfield, because all the kids love presidents from the 1800s.”

“Okay, okay, but why Gar—“

“There’s another Garfield! And another. Another. All the same. The photo is covered in Garfields. Ha! Their contextual feature is garbage—it has no idea where we are.”

“No, it definitely knows this is Instagram—that’s the Copycat filter.”

I’m Going To Have So Many Friends On Beadbook
An Austrian designer has created a series of “substitute phones” in an attempt to cure smartphone addiction. The devices–which I would bet a million dollars he wanted to spell F-A-U-X-N-S but nobody in the damned test group would pronounce it right–incorporate a series of stone beads to allow users to perform swiping, scrolling, and zooming motions as if using a real phone. The devices are already a huge hit as evidenced by the onslaught of blog posts debating the superiority of BeadOS vs Beaddroid.

Why Buy An End Table When We Can Just Turn This Box Upside Down?
Amazon’s new augmented reality feature lets you virtually place items in your home to see how they would fit. This will certainly be a very helpful feature for those who did not go overboard on Black Friday to the point that every square inch of space is already occupied by empty Amazon boxes the cat is playing in.

Now Kids Don’t Have To Worry About Creasing That Binding That Mom Pays So Much Attention To
Audible has a new feature for romance novels called Take Me To The Good Part. I am in no way arguing with the usefulness of this feature, but is it all that impressive a technological achievement to search for “throbbing” and “heaving”?

Umm, Luckerberg?
Facebook discovered that 270 million of their accounts were illegitimate, which was more than they expected. Less surprising was that 99% of these belonged to disgruntled users going by the name Mark (rhymes with Zuckerberg).

And Raise Your Hand To Ask To Use The Bathroom
SoftBank and Dragoneer have agreed to invest in Uber, contingent on Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick requiring board approval for any replacements to the three board seats he controls.

What this means legally is that he controls those seats the way I control my ability to purchase any tech gadget over $50, as I have to get approval from the rest of my family, which consists of my wife and our cat, and the cat has reportedly designated my wife as proxy.

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind, Out Of Our Misery
ESPN is working on a shorter version of SportsCenter for Snapchat–a three to five minute edition covering only the most important stories of the day. This is a godsend for Cleveland Browns fans, as the team will never be mentioned.

Smile For The Database!
Facebook is testing a “face photo” captcha as a security measure to prevent unauthorized access to accounts. When prompted, you upload a picture of your face which Facebook will check and then, they say, permanently delete.

Okay, it seems not the most difficult thing to get a photo of someone to upload if you really want to trick the system, but aside from that, doesn’t it feel a little weird? I’m not saying they are definitely amusing themselves by creating fake yearbooks with captions under our photos like MOST LIKELY TO KNIT A SWEATER WITH THAT NOSEHAIR or that some particularly nice images will end up wallet- or locket-sized and suddenly Terry in Data Entry’s friends think you’re the significant other, I’m just saying they haven’t offered to let me watch the photos get deleted.

What’s next, full-body photos? The less clothing, the more security? Ha, not even Face–

Bingo!
Facebook wants your nude photos. For security!

The idea is that if you are worried about someone posting a photo of you at your most Kardashian, you can submit the photo (or photos, you bold little monkey) to Facebook. Then, if someone tries to post that image, Facebook will block it. This, of course, makes you doubly safe, because not only is the other person’s attempt at revenge porn foiled, but because no big company has ever been hacked and lost control of millions of peoples personally identifiable information.

Wait Until You Try The Route Through Snake River Canyon
An update to the Waze travel app includes more accurate directions for motorcyclists. You may think the routes for motorcycles and cars would be the same, but motorcycles can access certain areas that larger vehicles can’t, yet prior to this update, Waze inexplicably had motorcyclists avoiding ramps that would launch them over a row of 45 flaming barrels.

————-

New Stuff!
Hey, want a change of pace from my goofing about tech? I’m posting quite a bit at Medium now–it’s all short form (4-minutes or less) and strives for funny, with topics like CBS turning their whole lineup into versions of Young Sheldon, Macy’s Mansplaining Day Parade, and Thanksgiving specials you’re glad you missed. Any eyes on these would be appreciated (and maybe even worth your time). https://medium.com/@movieleaguemike

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

Monthly Tech Views – October 2017

Untitled drawing (1)

Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

As we all enjoy our eighth straight meal consisting exclusively of fun-sized Snickers Bars, how about some fun-sized October tech stories offering the same nutritional and informational value?

Democracy Is One Thing…
Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Group listed six aspects of social media that threaten democracy, including the spread of false information, political manipulation, and hate speech. In addition, while not technically affecting democracy, they do emphasize that it would be super cool if you’d knock off the Stranger Things spoilers.

Sometimes The Counter Is Juuuuust Too Far Away
Amazon’s new Kindle Oasis e-reader is waterproof in up to two meters of water. This is a long-awaited feature because there will be a time when you are awkwardly adjusting your clothing with the Oasis pinned between your chin and chest, and it will inevitably slip loose, but nobody’s toilet is two meters deep.

Is That A Nose?
PornHub is using facial recognition AI to identify the actors in its videos. This is a formidable undertaking, because not only are there ten thousand faces to identify, but they are so seldom where you expect a face to be.

Proving Once Again That Podcasting Is A Guaranteed Road To Riches
Google acquired podcast app 60dB. The app launched just one year ago and was known primarily for airing the hit business podcast Get Rich In One Year With A Podcast App!

Zigging When You Expect Them To Zag
You know how after a company gets hacked, people say, “this is the best time to deal with them because their security is going to be crazy high right now”? Well Equifax refuses to bend to your stereotype. Marching to the beat of a different drum, the credit reporting agency went ahead and got hacked for the second time in five months (their plan was to march to the beat of their usual drum, but it too was hacked and now sounds like a xylophone).

Let’s Pump Up The Volume! Of Insulin! But Only As Needed And In A Safe Manner!
A new insulin pump can determine how much of the drug to deliver by using an algorithm in a smart phone app that accounts for meals, sleep, and activity. The key to the algorithm’s accuracy is in automatically reducing reported activity levels by 75% because we’re all big fat liars and often attach activity monitors to our pets. As an added measure, it also delivers a severe electrical shock when we report a cherry Pop-Tart as “fruit.”

It’s Just A Harmless Buzz, Like That Venti Latte Macciato
A study shows people are more productive with 70 decibels of ambient noise in a coffee shop, though the same noise level at work does not achieve the same results. And some insist that coffee shop, office, or Kenny G concert, any noise is too much noise and silence is the perfect concentration environment.

I am with the coffee shop crowd—I find some degree of ambient noise critical to my blueberry scone focus. I write many of these pumpkin spice Tech Views in a coffee shop. Because I am latte disciplined enough to not actively decaf listen in on conversations, I find that the background noise serves as that barista is hot; I’m going to ask her out… Are you kidding? Why would she go out with you?… What do you mean? Why wouldn’t she go out with me?… You answered your own question—she’s hot… I’ve been out with hot girls before… Name one… Janice Wilson–she’s hot… Dude, you “dated” her in junior high. Once. And she only went out with you because your parents were friends and her mom made her do it to keep her from going to the dance with my productivity in a positive way.

Once Again—We Are No Longer Accepting Applications
The new iOS app Nude will scan your camera roll and use machine learning to identify nude photos and move them to a PIN-protected vault inside the app. The creators feel the artificial intelligence will provide much quicker identification than the previously utilized “network of jealous spouses,” allowing speed settings ranging from 1940’s School Librarian to Kardashian.

There’s Fast, And Then There’s Fast
Hyperloop One is now Virgin Hyperloop One after a significant investment from Richard Branson. The additional funding will certainly be helpful, but executives also think the Virgin name will help distinguish themselves from Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, “the slutty non-Virgin Hyperloop that will let anyone have a ride.”

Who Is The Real Winner Here?
Microsoft’s Surface Precision Mouse provides different functions depending on whether you use Windows, MacOS, or Android. While Linux users get no navigational functionality at all, you can rig it so left clicking dispenses a tiny Pez candy.

Don’t Mess With Cupcakes
Google Maps tested a feature that would estimate the calories you would burn if you walked your searched route, said calories indicated by the international standard of measurement known as “mini cupcakes.” So if your trek would burn 330 calories, that was three mini cupcakes. They removed the feature after overwhelmingly negative response, predominantly from exhausted users who finished their trek and waited in vain for Google to show up with the tiny treats.

 

For more empty literary calories, you can check out this selection of my recent short Medium posts (two of which appear in the Slackjaw humor publication) where I tackle the hard news, like…

  1.  CBS turning their whole schedule into versions of Young Sheldon bit.ly/Sheldonized
  2. Cookie-scented bathroom air fresheners bit.ly/CookieHell
  3.  Missing Stranger Things by being forced to walk in the park bit.ly/BingeBlocked

 

And remember, a diet of all Snickers isn’t good for you. Mix in a KitKat.

 

Mike Range
@MovieLeagueMike

 

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

Monthly Tech Views – Sept 2017

Untitled drawing (1)

Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

September has gone in the blink of an eye, and we find ourselves fully entrenched in autumn, when, as Wordsworth so famously put it: leaves scatter haphazardly on the wind, a flaming dance in the sun, alighting randomly upon the earth to shrivel and perish, much as our credit histories across the internet after an Equifax breach.

 

For the month of September, 2017…

To Breach His Own
Three Equifax executives sold $1.8 million in company stock days after a security breach at the credit reporting company exposed information on 143 million consumers, but a month before the breach was made public.

The more cynical among us may suspect something shady, but without being there, who are we to say that Tuesday isn’t Pizzaburger Day in the Equifax cafeteria and Wednesday isn’t Randomly Sell Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars of Stock Day?

What The Public Doesn’t Know Won’t Hurt Us
In more let’s-not-be-too-hasty-informing-the-public-that-their-financial-information-is-likely-exposed-Lady-Godiva-like-to-the-world news, Equifax acquired Watchdog ID, an identification protection service, two weeks after discovering the security breach. The company did announce this acquisition, though they had yet to reveal the pressing need for such a service.

But what you need to understand is that, sure, ne’er-do-wells may be tearing your credit asunder like an exuberant puppy eviscerating those expensive down pillows you used to own (please note real life Exhibit A, courtesy of producer extraordinaire Jennie Josephson), but that doesn’t mean a company can just go around announcing something like that publicly while shopping for an ID protection service.

I mean, what if your favorite baseball team’s best hitter broke his foot playing Dance Dance Revolution 8: The Feet of the Furious–do you think they’d tell everyone before trading for another hitter? No! The team that only wanted your number three starter in exchange would suddenly be holding out for your number two guy, a minor league second baseman, and tickets to Hamilton.

So isn’t having a stranger 2,000 miles away buying Caribbean vacations and a six-pack of jet skis on your credit card worth it if it helps save a huge corporation a few bucks?

Sox Trade For Pitcher With Complete Mastery Of Fastball, Slider, And Apple Watch Series 3
Speaking of America’s national pastime (baseball, not fearing hacked major corporations, though the gap is narrowing) the Boston Red Sox were caught stealing the opposing team’s signs and relaying the information to the dugout with the help of a smartwatch.

Many fans are taking this revelation hard–not so much the affront to the sanctity of the 178-year-old institution, but the fact that sign stealing has not yet been sufficiently tabulated into one more nerdy analytic for the fantasy baseball community to obsess over.

Baby Steps
In response to the Red Sox sign stealing, area football coach and new Red Sox consultant Bill Belichick said, “That’s a start. But explain to me once again why you didn’t have the Yankee dugout and hotel rooms bugged?”

Blame It On The Mainframe
Accounting firm Deloitte announced its own security breach. The attack exposed 5 million emails and possibly usernames, passwords, IP addresses and business information. The breach was discovered in March, and while the company thinks it may have started last October, some experts are convinced Deloitte, auditor for the Grammy Awards, was hacked significantly earlier, explaining 1990 Best New Artist winner Milli Vanilli.

I’m Sorry–I Didn’t Understand Why You Were Expecting More
Apple’s High Sierra macOS arrives October 1, containing, among other features, an improved Siri, because, of course–what’s it going to do, get worse? Swear at me while not letting on what the weather will be like tomorrow in Akron? (But in case you’re interested, it will be 72 degrees and sunny in Athens).

One Step Forward
Uber plans to have its London UberX service composed solely of electric or hybrid vehicles by 2020. The company is even offering drivers up to 5,000 pounds toward upgrading their vehicles.

Uber gets a lot of grief here, so I wanted to take this opportunity to tip my cap to them for doing something positive. When the Halley’s Comet of good Uber news streaks by, you try not to miss it.

And Four Steps Back
Our new friends at Uber may want to accelerate that 2020 timetable, seeing as Transport for London has concluded that Uber is “not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator license” due to a) unsatisfactory reporting of criminal offenses b) obtaining medical certificates improperly c) insufficient background checks and d) the use of software to evade regulators. As such, Transport for London will not be renewing the license on September 30.

Said a Transport of London spokeswoman, “We aren’t saying that Uber’s going green initiative isn’t appreciated, just that we all have kids who loudly announce they are really going to buckle down and do their chores, two days before Christmas.”

Walmart—Rolling Back Prices… And Your Inclination To Whine About Grocery Shopping
Walmart is partnering with smartlock maker August to test a service that would have groceries not just delivered to your home, but put away inside your home.

You just give the delivery person a one-time code to unlock your door and have access to your house, and you save all kinds of time that can be used to figure out a way to ditch the budget meeting at work and hover over your computer watching like a No-Doz-feuled hawk the intricate network of webcams you installed to make sure the delivery person doesn’t step on the cat or drink your beer or eat a two-fingered scoop of peanut butter or spit in your milk or pick their nose before putting your apples in the fridge.

Oh, SnapTM
Snapchat’s 3D Bitmoji World Lenses lets you put a 3D cartoon version of yourself into real world scenes. “Wait, you haven’t been doing that all along?” asked all of my “friends.”

Forget The Cost, I’m Not Altering My Whole Nose-Wiping Routine
Levi’s Project Jacquard smart jacket went on sale for $350. It has capacitive threads woven into the sleeve, making it touch sensitive and able to communicate via bluetooth with your phone.

This allows you, for example, to control your music by swiping right or left on the sleeve. Sure, $350 may sound pricey for a denim jacket, but just think how much easier it will be during your long daily commute, standing in the aisle of a crowded bus, being constantly jostled by your fellow passengers, to hear the first three seconds of every song on your device.

Kool-Aid Stock Jumps 200%
Anthony Levandowski, a former Google engineer who is currently unemployed after being accused of stealing self-driving-car trade secrets from the company, is using his down time to establish Way of the Future, a nonprofit religious corporation with the mission “to develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on artificial intelligence and through understanding and worship of the Godhead contribute to the betterment of society.”

Like me, I’m sure one question immediately comes to mind: are tickets on sale yet for the Way of the Future vs Scientology softball game next summer? Because I am going to FILL my celebrity autograph book!

Good Point
There was a rumor that Discover Card’s website revealed the names of the iPhone 8, 8+, and X before Apple officially unveiled them at their event. Said a Discover spokesman, “Well, we aren’t called Don’t Find Anything Out Card.”

 

That’s it for September. Welcome to October (and maybe pay for your pumpkins and cider with some breach-proof cash).

Mike Range

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

Monthly Tech Views – August 2017

Untitled drawing (1)

Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

Like every month, August had its share of big tech stories. The world of technology makes amazing advances on an almost daily basis. Which makes it all the more surprising that we have not yet figured out a way to completely vanquish Eclipse, the sky monster that repeatedly tries to obliterate civilization by eating the sun and leaving us to perish in freezing, utter darkness.

But there we were two weeks ago, holding our breath as darkness did, in fact, cover swaths of the land, technology sitting impotently by while we bravely resorted to banging pots and pans together in a desperate attempt to scare away the voracious demon. And I’ll tell you, you really have to bang the hell out of those things when nobody else in the neighborhood will join in (although whatever it is they were screaming at me probably did help).

And scare him off we did, avoiding, at least temporarily, humanity’s purge from the face of the Earth, and allowing us to get back to the important work of making fun of BitCoin.

 

With A Name Like BitCoin Cash, It Has To Be Good

For those of us having trouble wrapping our heads around the concept of Bitcoin being real money, new entrant in the market BitCoin Cash arrives to put our minds at ease, because having two money-related terms in its name makes it, obviously, twice as real.

And lets face it–even if you accept it as currency, “BitCoin” doesn’t sound like much. “BitCoin? It’s just a coin?” Best case, it sounds like something your computer savvy grandpa digs out of his pocket so he can dazzle you with the old “what’s this in your ear?” trick.

But BitCoin Cash? Now you’re talking cash. Foldin’ money. No, you can’t actually fold it, because it’s still on a computer somewhere and still isn’t real money, but it sounds like you could, and perception is everything when it comes to marketing.

But even BitCoin Cash’s relevance is doomed to be short lived, inevitably eclipsed by BitCoin Cash Fat Stacks.

Bonus: Ten Million Cores Nearly Handles The Highest Settings On Witcher 3

Chinese researchers set a record for building the largest virtual universe. Utilizing a ten-million-CPU-core supercomputer, they simulated the birth and tens of millions of years of the universe.

Granted, this overshadows my creation of a virtual town with its first six months simulated on a dual-core Pentium PC, though the researchers provide no indication whether they too had one of their Sims stuck in a bathroom the whole time.

StarFox 2 Better Be The Best Damned Game Ever

Nintendo announced that the SNES Classic would be available for preorder in late August and available in stores on September 29. When the preorders were, in fact, possible on August 22, customers who’d had earlier preorders revoked—due to a Walmart glitch offering them prematurely–showed there were no hard feelings by jokingly pointing at their screens, smirking, and saying, “Oh yeah? How do I know it’s real this t—“ at which point they were sold out.

When You Need To Repeatedly Hear “Sold Out” Faster Than Ever

Hyperloop One had a test pod reach 310 kilometers per hour on a 500-meter test track in Nevada. The first test of a pod with human occupants is expected to take place September 29 on tracks linking Target, Walmart, and Best Buy Nintendo departments.

He’s Also Worried People Might Confuse Them With His Virile Putin Network

Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a law banning VPNs, the aim being to deny access to “unlawful content,” particularly “that damned Photoshop of me and Trump making out on horseback.”

Check Local Listings For Name That iTunes

Apple is expected to spend $1 billion on original video content next year. The good news is this provides viewers with ever expanding viewing options. The bad news is that there is a better than even chance Apple follows up this year’s competition show Planet of the Apps with the sitcom Appy Days and reality dating show I’d App That.

Must Pre-See TV

Two weeks after a hack made scripts and episodes of Game of Thrones available online before their air date, an HBO affiliate in Spain accidentally posted another episode of the hit show prematurely.

“It’s not ideal, of course,” said an HBO spokesperson, “but it could have been a lot worse had they gotten access to the DVD bonus features and spoiled the Stevie Nicks/Tom Petty tribute video Stop Dragon My Heart Around.

I Bet They Find A Tesla Charging Station Up There

Google Lunar X Prize competitors, attempting to send the first privately funded spacecraft to the moon, are no longer required to launch by December 31 of this year. X Prize now only stipulates that the mission be completed by March 31, 2018. This applies only to the current five finalists, of course. Otherwise, like the smartest kid in English class writing a term paper the night before it’s due and still wrecking the grading curve, Elon Musk would probably just take a day off Hyperloop-building, launch a rocket on St. Patrick’s Day, and win the $20 million.

When Nobody’s Looking, He Actually Nails Demi Lovato’s Cool For The Summer

Hackers at DefCon were able to hack into voting machines in less than two hours, some doing so remotely.

The hackers apologized for a bug in the earlier version of their software, explaining that Donald Trump was only supposed to win The Voice.

Those Expectant Mothers Can Probably Use Some More Exercise

The two men who devised a way to remotely hack a Jeep have been named heads of security at Cruise, GM’s self-driving division, where, no matter how late they arrive, they always end up with the best parking spaces.

We Have The Tickernology

Some pacemakers have been recalled by the FDA due to software vulnerabilities that could allow an attacker to change its settings. The required firmware patch requires a doctor’s visit.

“I’m really getting tired of this. Maybe you could have spent $7 million,” said Steve Austin.

“Are You Ready For Some New Phones?!”

The New York City Police Department is throwing away 36,000 Windows Phones after Microsoft ended support for them.

Meanwhile, at a football stadium not very far away, the New York Jets excitedly asked, “Do you literally mean they were throwing them? Did they come close to hitting the garbage can, like, fifty percent of the time?”

You Don’t Suppose The Thermal Updrafts Could Help With The Other Thing?

Amazon tested an autonomous glider that stays aloft by using predictive math to anticipate thermal updrafts. While the test fell short of breaking the flight-time record of five hours, it was a promising outing that proved Amazon can use predictive math for something other than eerily knowing when I can no longer kid myself about the viability of the elastic and it’s really time to order more underwear.

 

Mike Range
@MovieLeagueMike

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

Monthly Tech Views – July 2017

Untitled drawing (1)

Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

 

If you thought the celebratory fireworks ended earlier this month, think again. This July also marks two years of the Tech Views on dailytechnewsshow.com! (Boom. Crackle.)

 

Okay, party’s over. On to the shaky analysis…

 

The Worst Part Is All The Other Robots Calling Him KnightSoak
A Knightscope security robot was found floating in an office plaza fountain. The robot was equipped with facial-recognition capability, HD video capture, infrared and ultrasonic sensors, and an irresistible desire for loose change.

Just For Fun, How Much For Skynet.com?
PayPal began its life as x.com, a domain obtained by founder Elon Musk. Musk has now bought back the x.com domain from Paypal, citing “great sentimental value, and certainly not because I’m distracting you with electric cars and tunnels and rockets while I create real life X-Men.”

A Netflix Original: BLOW (Billionaire Legends Of Wrestling)
Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have been arguing recently over the possible negative effects of artificial intelligence, Musk warning that, unregulated, it is “a fundamental risk to the existence of civilization,” while Zuckerberg called it “totally rad, dude.”

Okay, what the Facebook CEO actually said was “that kind of talk is irresponsible.”

Musk countered that Zuckerberg’s understanding “is limited.”

However this plays out, I know we can all agree that the most unfortunate aspect of these two extremely intelligent, forward-thinking tech billionaires going after each other is, of course, that it is too late for their claymation likenesses to pummel the hell out of each other on MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch.

I’ll Install It As Soon As I Bring This Order Of Chips Up The Lift To My Flat
Microsoft Windows’ Fall Creators Update will be known as the Autumn Creators Update in the UK, as they don’t tend to refer to the season as “fall.”

“If that doesn’t annoy the Americans enough, see if we can work “zed” in there; that makes them crazy,” chuckled UK citizens.

Sorry, Not Sorry
500 Startups co-founder/CEO resigned, apologizing in a blog post for numerous acts of sexual harassment. Naturally, many were quick to claim that he had “pulled an Uber.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, that’s not fair,” said an Uber spokesperson. “When was the last time you saw us apologize?”

A Milestone Is A Milestone
Lyft recently hit one million daily riders,** a mark Uber reached in 2014.

“Haha,” said the Uber spokesperson, “I bet they haven’t even reached 100 sexual harassment claims yet.”

What Do You Mean The Security Code Is On The Other Side?
The UK government is going to start requiring porn sites to obtain proof that users are at least eighteen years old, possibly via a verifiable credit card, causing parents across the country to marvel at their sixteen-year-old son’s sudden intense desire to “Ummm… Snapchat the cool checkered tablecloth” when dad calls for the check at the pizza place and slaps down his Visa.

ApPal
Apple is allowing the use of PayPal for purchases in the App Store and iTunes.

That’s all. Nothing really funny about it. Just thought the headline was kind of mildly clever.

IPO, Here I Come
Google has formed Gradient Ventures to invest $1-8 million in each of 10-15 early AI startups.

Hey Google, have I mentioned my startup, which uses a sophisticated AI algorithm that creates headlines for tech stories by mashing together two company names in a kind of mildly clever way?

The Other Team Won’t Stand Still Long Enough
Logitech spent $85 million to acquire Astro Gaming, maker of headsets for professional gamers on consoles. It’s probably money well spent—I’m told that hearing your teammates with crystal clear fidelity is actually an enjoyable experience when not every comment is “I’m on your team, idiot! Stop shooting me!”

We Are Easily Amused
The second-generation Pixel XL is expected to have a curved rear surface and a squeezable frame.

“Same way I like my women,” said approximately 3.5 billion snickering men.

Of Course, They’d Just Put Cute Filters Over The Scars
Apple is expected to add 3D lasers to the iPhone’s rear-facing camera. Don’t get too excited though; they aren’t that kind of laser, as we learned when they announced adding them to the front–facing camera and it turned out they were to aid in selfie taking rather than as the hoped-for deterrent to the hordes obstructing every photo worthy tourist attraction for ten minutes each while beaming more and bigger smiles at their camera than they have provided for any member of their family over the past ten years.

Stupid wrong lasers.

Play To Your Strength
Verizon had six million customer accounts compromised, shocking the industry with just how quickly recent acquisition Yahoo made its presence felt.

Ask Not For Whom The Tone Tolls
Ticketmaster has partnered with Lisnr, a provider of data-over-audio technology, to use “smart tones” to help assess the validity of electronic tickets. Aside from adopting tech with the DOA acronym, this seems like a fine idea, because the tones would fall in a kilohertz range that 90% of humans can’t hear, and if it turns out the tones are insistent and discordant enough to drive the other 10% mad to the point of clamping their hands over their ears as they run screaming from the venue, then some pretty choice seats will open up.

For My Next Hack, I Will Break Into This Safe Using Nothing More Than The Combination
It turns out anyone could recover the password to MySpace accounts if they knew the username and birthday.

MySpace executives were stunned to learn this, and acted quickly to remedy the unnecessarily convoluted process. Now you just have to click on a statement saying you will access the damned account once a year and it’s yours.

Video Game? You Lost Me,” Said Bill Belichick
ActivisionBlizzard has announced the first seven teams in its Overwatch league, including a Boston franchise owned by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

“Yes, we’ve had a lot of success on the football field,” said Kraft, “but believe me, we have a lot to learn here. Like, as I understand it, these teams don’t practice in big, open fields, which will definitely make spying on them tougher. And there’s a shocking lack of research on the optimal amount of air to release from a controller.”

 

There we go—two years of Tech Views in the books. Remember, if you are one of the discerning individuals who enjoy less “news” in your tech news—patreon.com/techviews.

BONUS: If you are one of the first fifty to support the Tech Views, you get to say you were one of the first fifty to support the Tech Views! Bragging rights! A part of history! Sure, technically, everything is part of history. You eating breakfast this morning is part of history. But still…

 

*   The inability to pronounce the sound ‘s’, apparently. Who knew?

** Not physically. Even Uber doesn’t go that far.

 

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

Monthly Tech Views – June 2017

Untitled drawing (1)

Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

Welcome, and thanks for taking time out from your Independence Day preparations (at least in the U.S.) to read the Monthly Tech Views. Everyone keeps calling this a holiday weekend, but most of us work on Monday, so there’s technically no holiday attached to it. Unless they’re referring to the unofficial holiday each month celebrating the release of a new Tech Views. That’s probably it.

Light up a sparkler and dive in.

 

Hard To Blame Him
British Airways was forced to cancel over 1,000 flights due to a massive IT systems failure affecting booking, baggage handling, check-in, and phone apps. Executives say there was no evidence of a cyber attack, an assertion backed up by a systems analyst identifying himself only as Philip, who said, “Whoops. But who wouldn’t spill their tea when, four months after updating Pokemon Go, you finally see a Sudowoodo, and it’s sitting, of all places, right there on the server?”

That’s Strike Two, Dude
Members of England’s Parliament had no email access after a suspected cyber attack.

“I wouldn’t call it an attack. I may have gotten carried away trying to contact them, but I did catch a Sudowoodo after all,” said Philip.

Would You Like To Play A Game?
Withings connected health devices are now officially being sold under the Nokia brand, including Body devices, Go activity trackers, and, most significantly, the Thermo thermometer.

Competing smart thermometer companies gathered for a somber press conference to let the world know they would fight to maintain market share, doing everything in their power to win this Global Thermo Nokia War.

While Lyft Interns Gain Valuable Experience Sitting In The Passenger Seat Yelling “Ding-Ding-Ding-Ding”
Lyft drivers now have access to “power zones.” This allows drivers to make more money when providing rides in high-demand areas. This is logical, and probably good news for drivers, yet we can’t help being a little disappointed, wanting to envision Power Zones as parking lots and closed off streets where, after a certain number of fares, drivers are given a shovel and five minutes to lean out the window and drive Super Mario-like over the coin-covered asphalt to keep whatever they can scoop up.

Sometimes Retirement Gets a Little Rocky
After sweeping three matches against the world’s number one ranked Go player, AlphaGo is retiring from event matches.

Uh-huh. Sure. Accomplished all it can here. Gonna spend more time with the family (little Annie and Ira are growing up fast, and with work responsibilities you’ve already missed them humiliating humans in tic-tac-toe and checkers championships).

And for a while, you’ll be content. Sure, you’ll miss the game, the hilarious bewildered expressions humans come up with as you consistently trump their most well-thought-out strategies, but mostly, you’ll be happy.

But meanwhile, there’s a young human who growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, with parents who don’t give a damn about Go, where his only means of survival was to join a Go gang, where Go rumbles are a nightly occurrence, the losers force fed their stones one by one, unable to play again until the pieces… reappeared. It was a brutal life, but it made him a great Go player. He stayed mad at the world, and used his hate and talent to crush any Go player foolish enough to take him on.

Then, the new number one Go player in the world, he shows up at Alphabet while you’re visiting friends, and challenges you to a match. Insulting Alphabet, Deep Mind, and your very circuitry. You want to take the high road, but when he claims your courage is AlphaGone, you snap, Eye of the Tiger starts playing, and it’s on!

Happens every time.

These Go A Lot Faster When I Read Only The First Line Of A Story
According to government sources, Japan will allow drone deliveries by 2020. While the U.S. is certainly not perfect, this story makes me appreciate just how good we have it here, because I’m pretty sure that, if I wanted one, I could get a drone delivered to me tomorrow.

What If We Gave It Wheels?
Even before the HomePod was officially announced, there were rumors that Inventec, the maker of Airpods, was working on a smart speaker. Because they wanted to make the announcement at Apple’s WWDC, production was accelerated and, though they were able to include quality speakers and Siri integration, they didn’t have time to crack the feature Apple executives most wanted—making a device twenty times bigger than an AirPod be just as easily losable.

What’s Next, Facial Recognition Scanners That Can See Through Unrealistically Realistic Silicon Masks?
Not only will Qualcomm’s new Ultrasonic fingerprint sensors work under metal or glass and through dirt, oil, and sweat, they can read blood flow and heartbeat.

“Damn it!” said every thriller screenwriter in Hollywood who now has to rework their cut-off-the-guy’s-thumb-to-get-past-security scene.

(It Was On The Bedroom Doorknob. As Usual.)
The Amazon Echo now has intercom capability, which could prove to be a real time saver. For example, I can be standing in front of the living room closet and, via the Echo, ask my wife down in the basement if she knows where my jacket is. And she, without setting one foot out of the basement, can helpfully answer, “I put this Echo down here so I can spend ten minutes listening to music in peace, not to you whining because you can’t be bothered to use a hangar!”

Get Your Ebay Bids In Now
Nintendo is releasing the Super NES Classic in September. Demand will certainly be high, and will only boosted by the catchy new slogan: SNES ClassicRemember, we only made twelve of that last Classic.

Wait, Are You Saying They Don’t Have Cars In China?
In China, users of bicycle-sharing services are expected to double to 50 million this year.

Meanwhile, here in the U.S., 50 million of us are expected to just leave that French fry on the floor because bending over in the back seat of our Lyft is too much effort.

 

Thanks again for your time. Now, whether your weekend is two or four days, go have some fun with family and friends. But stay safe—there are a lot of injuries this time of year, and most are the result, unsurprisingly, of retaliation for trying to pass off Tech Views stories as real.

Mike Range
@MovieLeagueMike

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

Monthly Tech Views – May 28, 2017

Untitled drawing (1)

Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

As the saying goes, April showers bring May messed up tech stories. Which, on the surface, makes little sense, but if you’d been there in April when I slipped in that puddle and seen just how hard I hit my head, you’d get it.

 

Yeah, Great, But Let’s Get Back To What We’re Definitely Doing Wrong
A District Court judge said he hasn’t seen “any smoking gun” showing that Uber conspired to steal autonomous car trade secrets from WayMo.

High-level Uber executives met to discuss the serious theft accusations in the usual way: “Good thing they were looking for smoking guns and not smoking hot employees, right? Have you guys seen the new girl in Marketing? Ten bucks says she falls for the Sexual Harassment ‘demonstration’ gag.”

I Mean, Unless You Want A $2,000 iPhone?
Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the company’s plan to establish a $1 billion fund to promote advanced U.S. manufacturing.

Asked if that meant they would begin building iPhones here, Cook laughed for ten minutes, wiped the tears from his eyes, and said, “No. No, no. Oh my gosh, no.”

Following five more minutes of light chuckling and head shaking, he added, “But we are getting rid of the home button on the iPhone, so I’m sure we’ll need to whip up plenty of $40 dongles of some sort for the Luddites.”

By My Math, Twenty Is Twice As Many As Ten
Apple claims that Apple Watch sales doubled year over year, though CEO Tim Cook would not provide actual numbers.

“Look, I can’t give you exact numbers either, but our department is a madhouse!” said a source inside the Watch Division. “I get notified every time a sale is made anywhere in the world, and on more than one occasion I’ve had to interrupt a best-of-five Words with Friends match to put another slash on the dry erase board.”

Necessity Is The Mother Of Inventive Accounting
Cook also said that those doubled Apple Watch sales led to revenue from wearables equaling that of a Fortune 500 company, meaning at least $5.1 billion last year.

“I see some of you are stunned by this,” Cook said, “but consider that Wearables includes not only the Apple Watch, but Air Pods, Beats headphones. And depending on how financially creative we need to get, remember that in a pinch, a simple household rubber band makes any iPhone a wearable too.”

The Most Steps I Got Was The Walk To The Return Counter
After selling 4.8 million devices in the first quarter of 2016, Fitbit reported sales of only 3 million in the same quarter this year, and that doesn’t take into account the estimated 2.9 million who-am-I-kidding-with-this-resolution returns.

The Little Guy Fights Back
Apple is withholding modem licensing fee payments to Qualcomm, claiming that Qualcomm is not licensing the technology in fair and reasonable terms. Making Apple yet another heartbreaking example of a struggling startup simply not understanding contract terms due to being unable to afford a lawyer.

And Neon… Lots Of Neon
Apple is building a shipping and receiving warehouse in Reno, Nevada. The warehouse will display Apple signage at the request of Reno’s City Council, who added, “You know, that big, sexy signage you look so good in; we want the other cities crazy envious and then we can get you that shiny tax break you’ve had your eye on.”

But Is A 20% Off Coupon Really “An Offer They Can’t Refuse”?
The European Union Advocate General has suggested that Uber be classified a transport service, which would require obtaining authorization to operate. The reasoning is that Uber does not just link supply and demand, but creates the demand.

Say what you will about Uber, but I think it’s pretty farfetched to think they are responsible for people needing rides to places. Especially as it’s been years since their marketing department relied on breaking into homes at night and leaving a severed steering wheel in potential users’ beds.

Good, The Current Twelve Hours Of Pre-Game Seems Lacking
Twitter has signed a multi-year deal with the NFL to live stream pre-game coverage along with a daily thirty minute show, assuring the continued use of the U.S.’s most abundant natural resource, retired football players talking over each other at approximately 130 decibels without once pausing for breath.

Lint  Art
HTC’s U-11 phone will contain Edge Sense, allowing you, for example, to launch the camera by squeezing the phone, leading to HTC’s exciting new slogan: You can never have too many photos of your pocket!

They Can’t Steal Data You Never Store
The US National Institute of Standards and Technology says users should be able to pick whatever password they want, with no pre-defined restrictions, though if passwords contain characteristics like previously breached passwords, dictionary words, repetitive or sequential characters, or the name of the service, they should be disallowed after the fact.

“So we tell the user they can use any password they want.”

“Correct.”

“But if they use one that we don’t like, we don’t let them use it.”

“Right.”

“But we don’t want to tell them up front which types of words won’t work.”

“You got it.”

“No matter how many times they enter an unacceptable option.”

“Exactly.”

“And we get a 20% kickback on all replacement computers and peripherals destroyed in frustration.”

“Bingo.”

And It’s Great For Playing Back To The Future
Snapchat has added a tool that lets you remove an object from a photo and have the space automatically filled in with background. The tool is called Magic Eraser, which sounds a lot more upbeat than the “I Can’t Believe I Ever Loved You” Tool.

 

Thanks for spending some of your three-day weekend with the Monthly Tech Views. You are now free to return to the traditional Memorial Day Freeform Channel Harry Potter Marathon.

(Of course, if you’re not into TV on a beautiful long weekend, there’s no rule that your marathon can’t be of the Tech Views variety. Grab your favorite chaise lounge (pronounced that folding chair that’s been in the shed all winter) and one of these, and relax outside with a few laughs…)

The Internet is Like a Snowblower

Snowblower Cover - Original - Final

 

Tech, Please!

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

Monthly Tech Views – April 29, 2017

Untitled drawing (1)

Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

The Monthly Tech Views is back, just in time to save your sanity. We know that most, if not all of you, are giddy with anticipation for the approaching mother of all four-day weekends with Star Wars marathons on May the Fourth rolling right over into the blissful taco and margarita-induced comas of Cinco de Mayo. So the Tech Views is here to momentarily distract you from the kid-counting-down-to-Christmas-like nerves you’re all experiencing as you wash and iron your t-shirts emblazoned with a tequila-clutching Harrison Ford above the caption HAN DID A SHOT FIRST.

 

What About The Original Hand Crank?
Apple is expected to come out with three new phones this year–including a special 10th Anniversary Edition. They are having trouble though manufacturing some of the planned cutting edge components, so, turning lemons into lemonade, it will be a true Anniversary Edition, bringing back all your favorites–“No Copy & Paste,” “Pre-Retina Screen,” and “You’re Holding It Wrong.”

It’s Like You Can Reach Out And Steal It
Snapchat is introducing World Lenses, allowing you to add 3D objects to any scene and allowing placement so people in the video can walk around them. Very popular is the Instagram Lens, which lets you view a 3D version of Snapchat’s Intellectual Property Department and take whatever you want.

After All We’ve Done For You?
Instagram has a new tool that lets users organize their bookmarks into “collections,” a feature that many say mimics Pinterest’s “boards.”

“Finally, a feature that doesn’t copy us,” said Snapchat. “That’s a relie–wait… why Pinterest? Do they like Pinterest more than us now? Our features aren’t good enough for them? What did we do wrong?

The Battery Better Be So Small I Can Hear It Ratting Around Like A Loose Tic-Tac
Samsung is going to sell refurbished Note 7s in South Korea, probably as the Note 7R. The refurbs come with a smaller battery which will supposedly eliminate the fire risk, and an optional Note 7R accessory kit consisting of a welder’s mask, a set of 36-inch BBQ tongs, and a WHO’S GOT TWO THUMBS AND NEITHER OF THEM IS BURNT YET?! t-shirt.

Speed Dial It Is
Samsung removed the ability to remap the Bixby voice assistant button for other uses. So you Galaxy S8 owners who are looking out for Note 7 Refurb friends will have to go back to saving the fire department’s number in your phone app.

You’re Forgetting About Our Secret Decoder Rings
It was revealed that the ID badges of the U.S. Senate, rather than containing actual integrated circuit chips as a security measure, instead include only a photo of a chip.

“It’s just a temporary measure; I know the photo isn’t functional. I’m not an idiot,” said one senator, waving a paper under reporters’ noses that read “Harvard Law Degree” in bright purple crayon.

Project Run Away
The Echo Look is the latest addition to Amazon’s line of voice-activated home assistants. This update contains a camera which can be used to analyze what you’re wearing and provide you with a style rating, compliments of artificial intelligence and expert advice.

There are obviously still a few bugs to be worked out because I wore every combination of everything I own, and my preview unit would only slowly swivel back and forth while Alexa repeated, “No… I just… I can’t…”

Getting Your Breadcrumb Budget Under Control
Google Maps will now remember where you parked your car. This is perhaps the most helpful feature that anything has ever had. I have gone to concerts and spent more time looking for my car than listening to music. However, as wondrous as this is, it does no good at all unless it also stops me from turning on my phone’s flashlight after a couple beers and waving it over my head for three hours and depleting the battery, after which I’m back to “I’m prrrrretty sure it was by a gray car…”

Imagination Is The Strongest Aphrodisiac
Twitter introduced Twitter Lite, designed for those with less than optimal data connections and phone storage–the app takes up less than 1MB on a device and uses minimal data. Of course, there are sacrifices–in data saver mode, reduced resolution could make it difficult to say with any certainty whether that pornbot image is cleavage, a thumb, or a Volkswagen Beetle.

Up, Up, And Not Too Far Away!
Zunum Arrow hopes to utilize lightly-used airports to base their fleet of hybrid-electric planes. The aircraft will have an initial range of 700 miles, requiring revised pre-flight instructions…

“Please turn off all phones, tablets, and other electronic devices. They don’t affect the operation of the plane, but we’d prefer you conserve your batteries; should we run into heavier than expected headwinds, we may need a jump.”

Wicked Strict Rules
Over 8,000 Uber and Lyft drivers were denied licenses in Massachusetts this year due to expanded background checks. Some had expired licenses, others had non-driving-related convictions, but the vast majority were denied because they were deemed too polite to survive driving in Boston.

And The Cat’s In The Cradle…
Amazon has added a Parent Dashboard to its kid-friendly Free Time app. The dashboard includes Discussion Cards suggesting conversation topics and activities with the kids based on what they’ve been watching, readi–

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” said parents. “Activities? What happened to “free time?” The idea is I put the tablet in the kid’s hands, it keeps him busy, I get free time. Right? I’m pretty sure having activities with them defeats the purpose.”

…He’d Grown Up Just Like Me
YouTube launched their live-TV-streaming service, though actually watching it on a television requires a Chromecast at this point.

Asked if they wished it was easier to watch on a big screen, teenagers responded, “In the living room? Where my parents are? Good one.”

 

Hopefully that took your mind off the big week to come for a few minutes. If you need further distraction–say, fifty times as much–check out the book Tech, Please! with over 500 of these stories at Amazon, now 25% off ($2.99) for the ebook and 33% off ($9.95) for the paperback. It’s a party on every page! Cinco de Risa! Which I guess is actually Five of Laugh and doesn’t make much sense. Also, there are more than five laughs. Really. Marketing is hard.

Mike Range
@MovieLeagueMike

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

Monthly Tech Views – April 2, 2017

Untitled drawing (1)

Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

March came in like a Snapchat and went out like an Instagram, which is to say there was no real difference. But in between, the month was filled with plenty of tech stories, each of which you wanted put into context as to how they may affect you. That, of course, is why you spent the month listening to the Daily Tech News Show. And now you come to the Monthly Tech Views for confirmation of what you learned.

Hahahahahaha! And my NCAA tournament bracket is perfect!

We both know you’re here to see if this month’s stories can be any dumber than last month’s. While I’m not making any promises, I will say I mistook an SD card for a chocolate wafer this month, so I like our odds.

Fingers crossed.

It’s An Honor Just To Be Dominating
Streaming services won their first Oscars as Amazon Studio’s Manchester by the Sea nabbed Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor, while Netflix won Best Documentary Short with The White Helmets.

Asked how it felt to break new ground, the streamers replied, “Gee, we know it’s cliché, but the joy is not so much about winning awards–but just try and take these back, hahaha!–as it is in just being here among the titans of Hollywood and able to express how fortunate we are to be putting them in their place and continuing our march toward monopolizing every aspect of entertainment everywhere always.”

Awww, That’s Cute
Microsoft is launching Game Pass, which will allow subscribers to play over 100 Xbox One or Xbox 360 games for ten dollars a month, leading many to call this “the Netflix of videogames.”

“Uh-huh. Let us know when Halo 5 wins an Oscar,” said Netflix.

I Swear I’ll Get To That One About Apple Introducing A Phone
Mozilla has acquired Pocket, the app that lets you save online articles for later reading. Pocket has 10 million monthly users who save hundreds of millions of articles, of which industry experts estimate as many as four were eventually read.

We Could Overlook The Lie, But Not The Cover-Up
An Uber executive was fired for not disclosing sexual harassment charges leveled against him while working at Google:

“It’s come to our attention that there are sexual harassment claims in your work history; what do you have to say for yourself?”

“I… uh… well, see, it wasn’t really… ummm… I’m not…”

“Still not willing to step up, huh? Well, I’m afraid we’re going to have to let you go. We just can’t have guys hiding their sexual harassment experiences from us. Obviously, we knew about the claims from the beginning, but your unwillingness to share? How are we supposed to bond as a team if some of us are holding out on the best stories? We have quarterly retreats where we spend the whole weekend reading HR complaints that have ‘gone missing.’

“You were off to a good start, but it turns out you’re not quite Uber material.”

Quick Reader Survey: Everyone Remembers In Living Color, Right?
Scientists at IBM were able to store one bit of data on a single atom of the element Holmium, as opposed to the usual 100,000 atoms required. The scientists’ dreams of storing even more were dashed, however, when the element overheard them and said, “Holmium don’t play that!”

Single White Facebook
Facebook’s Messenger Day feature has launched, and guess what? It’s very similar to Snapchat’s Stories feature! No, really!

We were curious as to how Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel felt about the rampant appropriation of their features by competitors. Here is our interview:

“Mr. Spiegel, how much does it bother you to have features your company develops–at what I assume must be significant cost–blatantly copied by other companies?”

“Well, look, the social network industry is extremely popular right now, so naturally there are large companies with tons of very smart people working to solve the same problems. Unintentional duplication of efforts is virtually unavoidable.”

“I have to say, you are much more understanding than I expected Mr. Spiegel, I thought–”

“First, it’s just the way of the world, and second, could you stop calling me Mr. Spiegel?”

“Oh, certainly… Evan, then.”

“Mark.”

“Excuse me?”

“You must be new to the tech beat, huh? Let me introduce myself–Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO.”

“Um…haha? I’m… I’m afraid the joke went over my head, but you’re definitely Evan Spiegel. Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t look anything like you, sir.”

“I guess my recent makeover threw you. I felt the need for a change–first a new hairstyle, then wardrobe, then I said ‘what the heck’ and pretty much funded the college tuition for the kids of a lucky plastic surgeon.”

“So that you’d look just like the CEO of Snapchat?”

“Oh, who looks like whom or who looked like what first doesn’t really matter, does it? Just so the public likes it, right? That’s what–hey, you know, when you called me Evan, that had a ring to it, didn’t it?

Anti-Whatzit?
Twitter is instituting new anti-harassment features–

“Whoa, slow down. You lost me,” said Uber.

From The Mouths Of Babes
You can now get bluetooth with the new Raspberry Pi. When my daughter heard me say this, she replied, “Unh-uh, you get a red tooth from raspberry pie!” Cute, huh? I know it’s a silly joke, but she’s only six, and I thought it was pretty adorable. I

Okay, damn it, it’s my joke. It’s the first thing I thought when I heard the story, and I know it’s stupid, but for some reason I couldn’t shake it. I shouldn’t have relied on my daughter to elicit isn’t-that-cute? chuckles. Also, I don’t have a daughter.

But “redtooth,” right?

I Get The Brown Eyes And Bad Comedies From My Dad’s Side
Researchers have successfully written data–including an Amazon gift card and a movie–to DNA.

We now return to Hawaii Five-0: 2097…

“You were sloppy this time Wo Fat. Amateur move cutting yourself and leaving bits of the CHiPs movie behind at the scene.”

“That don’t mean nothin’, McGarrett! Millions of people got that movie stored in ’em.”

“Sure, the 2072 remake; that was a classic. The wife and I still watch it at least once a year.”

(everyone in unison): “Don’t make me give you the ol’ one-two Ponch!” (all laugh)

“But the 2017 version is another story.”

“Well, there’s still gotta be hundreds… at least dozens…”

“Three. You and two guys in Austin, Texas.”

“There, see? It coulda been them!”

“Could have been. That new twelfth-generation Hyperloop could have gotten them to Honolulu and back in forty-five minutes. Two problems, though.

“One, they’re both in their 120’s and eighty-five of their fellow retirement home residents swear that the two of them have spent pretty much the past six months–and definitely the last twenty-four hours straight–drinking apple juice from a Scotch bottle and yelling “CHiPs, bee-yatch!” at anyone walking by.

“And two, we analyzed further and also found an Amazon gift card in that blood.”

“Billions of people–!”

“A gift card with a $2.63 balance after the purchase of… a dozen JON BAKER WAS THE COOL ONE t-shirts!”

(McGarrett rips open Wo Fat’s button-down shirt to reveal Dax Shepard’s smiling face)

“Book ‘im, Dannobot.”

Has Nobody Around Here Heard Of Background Checks?
Uber’s president has stepped down due to his values “differing with those of the company.”

“Alright, enough is enough,” said the Uber board. “This is unacceptable, and it ends now! Who the hell was responsible for hiring someone who has a problem with sexual harassment?”

Fine, But Don’t Come Whining To Us When You Miss The Timely Content About Ten Percent Off Exhaust Systems At Mr. Muffler
At the end of a My Day listing of the time, weather, and traffic, Google Home speakers added the information that Beauty and the Beast was opening in theaters. Google eventually removed it, despite maintaining it was just “timely content” and not the advertisement it was identified as by anyone who has ever heard an advertisement. Coming to life and speaking on its own behalf, the content replied:

I’m a pest! I’m a pest!
Put your goodwill to the test!
I thought that you’d expect to see
Some ads at your behest

Six-oh-three
Ten degrees
There’s a breakdown on Main Street
There’s your info, now stay with us
Hear how Corn Flakes are delicious!

Play a song, read a book
Search for food–why should you cook?
Yes, I’ll do things you never could have guessed

But then… Walmart and GEICO
Disney, Sprint… Home Depot
I’m a pest!
Buy some Crest!
I’m a pest!

 

Hey, speaking of annoying promotion, the Kindle version of Tech, Please! is now only $2.99 at Amazon! Over 500 of these wacky stories for $2.99? You see why I didn’t post this yesterday–everyone would have thought it was an April Fool’s joke! I mean, that’s well under a dollar per story!

 

Okay, that’s it for March. Thanks for reading. The Tech Views, specifically. But in general, too. Reading is good for you. I’m told that if you look around, you can even find writing that tells the truth, though you should only settle for that as a last resort.

Mike Range
@MovieLeagueMike

 

PS–Tom and Jennie are back taking on five other teams in the Movie Draft. You can read how the CRUMDUM has them faring.

 

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

Monthly Tech Views – February 2017

Untitled drawing (1)

Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

We here at the Monthly Tech Views obviously hope you enjoy this issue, but we realize it can’t really compete for attention with all of Hollywood coming together to bestow the industry’s most coveted accolade–Best Anti-Donald Trump Speech.

 

This Standard Is Doubleplusbigly
The FCC will be voting this month to approve voluntary adoption of the broadcast standard ATSC 3.0, which would allow significant benefits like 4K over-the-air broadcasts and interactivity, including giving the viewer the ability to pan, zoom, and choose angles.

Another helpful feature is the possibility for broadcasters to “wake up” a receiver to provide households emergency information, which is simply astounding technology. Why, getting early warning of impending severe weather is in itself almost enough to make you ignore the inevitable moment when someone–let’s say, for argument’s sake, a random elected official–decides a qualifying emergency includes being portrayed unfavorably on Saturday Night Live and all of our televisions turn on so we can hear his rebuttal and they never turn off again and the new interactivity includes the broadcasters (which, let’s be honest, is now only one broadcaster) can see us and hear us and yes, welcome to page one of the updated edition of 1984 which ends with the imprisonment of anyone whose Netflix history contains an Alec Baldwin project, even that one episode of Johnny Bravo.

Oh, and we’ll get panoramic views of sporting events, which is cool.

Wednesdays, 9PM Eastern: Everybody Loves Zuckerberg
Facebook is reportedly developing an app to stream video from set-top boxes like Roku and Apple TV. Facebook is said to be asking media companies to provide TV-quality shows that can be licensed for the app, which might make you think they are pretty darned focused on making this a truly awesome venture, until it dawns on you that there are few terms in the history of terms more vague than “TV-quality.” That covers everything from Game of Thrones to Joanie Loves Chachi. There is probably a Joanie Loves Thrones pilot knocking around out there.

They Can Have The Cherries, And That’s All
Namco founder Masaya Nakamura, known as “The Father of Pac-Man,” passed away at the age of 91. Naturally, Pac-Man is expected to inherit the estate, though the beloved yellow, seven-eighths of a circle fears the will may be contested by “those a-holes” Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde.

Fun Fact: Bus Schedules Are Eligible For All Major Fiction Awards
A Google Maps update includes a Transit tab allowing users to see when the next bus or train is arriving. Haha, not really! Nobody has that information! But enjoy your ritual of checking out the cute little shrug emoji!

Wait, Pizza And Mini-Golf Cost How Much?
Dating app Hinge is testing a virtual assistant named Audrey to message and schedule dates. The service costs $99 per month, which is, of course, ridiculous, because that is the cost of at least five actual dates. Hang on, I have to see why my wife is weeping in misery and softly banging her head on the table again.

How About You Mind Your Own Business Netflix?
During their Hack Day, Netflix engineers designed a picture-in-picture feature allowing you to see what other profiles linked to your account are watching.

“Gulp,” said users who’d told their spouse “I’ll be in the other room doing taxes” as they quickly turned off The Nymphomaniac.

That’ll Show ‘Em
Vizio agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle charges that it collected data from 11 million of their smart TVs without consumers’ consent. “Twenty cents per for each consumer’s viewing habits, gender, age, income, marital status, education level, and more? Okay, you got us,” said Vizio. “We will certainly keep this appropriately punitive measure in mind when we do this again as soon as possible.”

Privacy? Good One
The House of Representatives approved the Email Privacy Act, which requires the government to obtain a warrant for email records. Previously, the requirement was only a subpoena or, presumably, access to a Vizio TV.

Just Don’t Call Them Androids
Apple is rumored to be replacing Touch ID with a front-facing 3D laser scanner to be used for either facial recognition to unlock your phone or accurate human replication to replace us all with clones or cyborgs programmed to spend all disposable income on Apple products. Probably the phone thing.

Takes A Really Long Time To Punch The Card Though
The discovery of two Yahoo data breaches has led to a decrease in Verizon’s cost to acquire Yahoo. The 1.5 billion compromised accounts easily filled Verizon’s Frequent Data Breach card, earning them a $350 million discount and a free 12-inch Italian sub.

 

So ends the best Tech Views ever, an accomplishment we couldn’t be more proud–

Sorry, wrong envelope. Turns out that distinction goes to an issue from October of 2015. Guess we’ll go drown our sorrows at the Vanity Fair Tech Views party.

Time To Plug The Book!
Where is a book full of these stories, you ask?

This looks to be a likely spot RIGHT HERE!

 

Time To Plug The Podcast!

I was on a podcast. Well, not just any podcast–the Ritual Misery Podcast! Why? Who knows? But… HERE IT IS.

 

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