All posts by MovieLeagueMike

Weekly Tech Views 9 – Sept 12, 2015

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

Give me five minutes and I’ll give you the week in tech, without the annoying facts or common sense.

For the week of September 7 – September 11, 2015

We start, of course, with news from the Apple Press Event…

You Can’t Spell Tablet Without Table

Apple is expanding their tablet line with the iPad Pro, which, despite being nearly twice the size of the iPad Air, actually conserves space in your home by converting, with the optional fold-out legs, into a dining room table.

Hard Core Star Wars Fans Rebel Against Force Touch

An angry mob of Star Wars fans gathered outside this week’s Apple event to protest the company’s Force Touch feature, claiming it was intentionally deceptive. “They have shown with the Apple Watch that Force Touch does not mean you can control your device with your mind,” said Tommy McCourty, raising and shaking his left arm, where a space black stainless steel Apple Watch rattled against the gold plastic of his C-3PO costume. “And just try to return it because of that. I’m pretty sure…” He turned to face the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, where Apple executives were, after eight hours, guiding the press event toward its halfway point, “…YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO LAUGH AT CUSTOMERS!

“And now they want to claim the iPhone will have Force Touch? Enough is enough.”

Just then, word reached the crowd that Apple was not, in fact, using the term Force Touch for iPhone interaction, but rather 3-D Touch. There was a momentary silence, and then a 250-pound man wearing a Princess Leia slave costume shouted, “We won!” and the air was filled with jubilant droid screams and Wookie bellows.

At last report, the vigilant crusaders were headed for the Glad company to demand the dismissal and possible execution of the creator of the ForceFlex garbage bags, which, it turns out, have to be tied by hand.

A Rose Gold By Any Other Name…

Of course, Apple’s most anticipated announcement came when Tim Cook unveiled this year’s wacky, made-up color option for devices. The winner, as we all know now, was “Rose Gold,” which, according to insiders, narrowly edged out “Chrysanthemum Platinum” and “Fuchsia.”

And, in non-Apple news…


In one of mankind’s most vital experiments, a Scottish distillery sent whisky to the International Space Station for three years to find out what effect microgravity would have on flavor. The control sample kept on Earth had hints of raisins, toffee, vanilla, and creamy fudge, while tasters found the “space whisky” to have aromas and flavors of smoke, violet perfume, and antiseptic lozenges, a combination classified by whiskey aficionados as “My Grandmother’s Purse.”

Say Cheese

Canon is introducing a 247-megapixel image sensor that they say can make out the lettering on a plane eleven miles away. If my calculations are correct–try and follow my logic here–that means someone on a plane eleven miles away could capture images on the ground. Which is bad news for our neighbors, Ed and Judy. They just dropped five grand on a community-mandated eight-foot privacy fence after a dozen seven-year-olds at Tina Nelson’s birthday party paused festivities (according to reports, this was a spirited game of Who Can Wear the Most Cake Frosting?) to watch Ed, Judy, and their Labor Day picnic guests playing a spirited game of their own–Nude Bocce. “It’s the way God intended bocce to be played,” Judy told them, just before the kids’ horrified parents yanked them into the Nelson’s house, a process that took longer than expected, because frosting is slippery.

It seems Ed and Judy, following their recent retirement, had pledged to avoid “growing old” by living life “unconventionally,” or, “in a creepy and obscene manner” as the Neighborhood Association put it in the complaint filed with the city.

“Now what, does this camera mean we have to put up a dome because some kid in a window seat on his way to Disney World might snap a photo of our backyard on badminton night? I’m telling you, Thoreau had the right idea; if we could find a nice, secluded, away-from-uptight-humanity spot in the woods we would go full-on Walden Pond, right now. I mean, if it got at least twelve meg internet access. Jude and I have to have our Netflix. Catching up on True Blood, you know.” He nudged me and said, “We watch an episode, then play act it. Getting me some Sookie nookie, right?”

There is no fence tall enough to keep that image from my mind. Thanks, Canon.

Say, I’ve Been Looking for a New Way to Look Like an Idiot in Public

Nintendo is preparing to release Pokemon Go, an augmented reality game for smartphones that has you chasing the game’s characters in the real world. It looks interesting, but the promotional video’s scene of Pokemon characters running through Times Square is nothing new. If you don’t see a sprinting Pikachu carrying an Elmo head and being chased by a cop (and the rest of Elmo) on a Thursday afternoon, you’re not paying attention.

That’s Exactly What He Wants Us to Think

The latest car hack comes from a scientist who claims that, using a low power laser and pulse generator, he can make a self-driving car think there is an obstacle present when there isn’t.

Or is there?

Did anybody stop to think that maybe this guy is an evil genius who has developed an Invisible Obstacle-inator which is placing all too real hazards in the car’s path, and the car is correctly identifying them? Huh? As usual, nobody is going to believe the poor car, the Haley Joel Osment of the vehicle world, that sees things nobody else does. “Just another run-of-the-mill car hack,” the media says. And nobody questions it, because these days, apparently, anyone with a Raspberry Pi and a garage door opener can hack a car. So the mad scientist gets to test his dastardly invention without anyone catching on. Then, when it’s too late, he takes over the world by–

Hey, here’s a question: is it possible to take too much cough syrup?


Thanks again for stopping by the Weekly Tech Views Blog. If you enjoyed it, feel free to send a friend or five this way. If you weren’t so crazy about it, we’ll just pretend this never happened.

Mike Range


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

Weekly Tech Views 8 – Sept 5, 2015

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Real tech news. Really shaky analysis.

Give me five minutes and I’ll give you the week in tech, without the annoying facts or common sense.

For the week of August 31 – September 4, 2015

Hooray for Applewood
Apple may be looking to compete with Netflix, as Apple executives have reportedly been in touch with Hollywood, seeking the production of original video content. Talks were delayed when Hollywood movie executives doubled over, laughed for half an hour, and finally gasped, “Original? Did you hear that? They want original content!” After another spasm of laughter, during which three more Paranormal Activity sequels were greenlighted, they wiped their eyes and said, “You guys are looking for TV; they’re next door.”

Don’t Let the Door Hit You…
Stanford, MIT, and Toyota are teaming to create “intelligent”, rather than self-driving, cars, with artificial intelligence that will make people better drivers. That’s cool, as long as they come up with what the industry calls a TAW function (“the industry” being Weekly Tech Views writers) that works like this: if a driver cuts someone off three times in a month or stays ten miles per hour below the speed limit for over ten minutes or leaves their left turn signal on from Cleveland to Indianapolis, the dashboard flashes “THIS AIN’T WORKING” while the car pulls over and the seat tips the driver out onto the sidewalk. Then it dispenses cab fare, and lists itself on Craigslist.

I’m Just Saying, Get a Receipt
Nextbit is Kickstarting a new phone called Robin that would automatically store your lesser used apps and data in the cloud to save space on the phone. Sweet. Why not store what you’re not using somewhere else? When you need it, you just bring it back. A fine idea. Except, I’ve kind of been through this before.

It starts out, “You haven’t looked at these comic books in a while, let’s make some space in your closet and store these in the attic.” You say, “Whatever.” They weren’t bothering you in the closet, but if it’s that big a deal to your mom, fine, it’s not battle-worthy.

Then, a year later, in eighth grade homeroom, you meet a cute girl who is actually into Marvel Comics. So you race home from school to prepare your collection to show her the next day. You perform the Olympic-level gymnastics necessary to hoist yourself through the ladderless two-foot square opening in the ceiling. It’s early September, so the attic has maintained its customary 197 degrees and your new school clothes are plastered to your body, including the sweater-vest, for god’s sake, that your mom made you wear, despite the fact that it was still officially summer, so you’d be a “handsome young man” for the first day of school.

But none of that matters, because you’ve reached the box that’s going to let you impress Cindy Stewart before any of the other guys have a chance. You throw open the slimy-yet-sticky, perpetually-on-the-verge-of-melting lid to the Rubbermaid container, and gaze upon six cubic feet of… tiny plastic pilgrims. And Indians. And turkeys. All slightly warped, losing their own non-air conditioned battle with the Cleveland summer. What you don’t see are four neatly-wrapped and bound packages of Marvel comics.

You have the wrong bin. Easy mistake.

You look at the side of the container and see the curling masking tape… Mike’s Comic Books is crossed off, Thanksgiving Decorations is squeezed underneath in your mom’s neat cursive.

You interrupt your mother’s viewing of General Hospital with a scream that convinces her you’ve finally impaled yourself on one of “those damned lightsabers scattered all over your room.” And when you try to explain that she has ruined any chance you ever had at being happy, she responds, with the same tone she might use to say she cleaned up an accident the dog had in the living room, “Oh, you hadn’t looked at those in forever, I got rid of them.”

Careful, Nextbit. Be very careful.

The Battery’s Just Showing Off
Runtastic introduced the Orbit, a fitness-tracking smartwatch which stores a week’s worth of data, is waterproof, and contains a lifetime battery. Technically, it’s a six-month battery, but, after completing an in-depth study consisting of flipping through my workout journals of the last five years, I’ve determined that nobody has ever used a fitness tracker long enough to know the difference.

What’s In a Name?
Wikipedia banned nearly 400 accounts for targeting users who’d had a requested article change declined, and offering to publish them for a fee. Then they would require as much as $30 per month to “protect” the article. Yes, that’s extortion, and sure, it’s unethical, but looking at it from a purely financial standpoint, at thirty bucks a month, was I paying too much to have my entry read “Lord High Tech Blogger of the Entire Tri-State Area”?

Global IQ Reaches All-Time Low as Throngs Join Hacked Adultery Site
A funny thing happened while Ashley Madison employees were cleaning out their desks and sneaking mouse pads, staplers, and pads of Post-It notes into their briefcases–the business didn’t die. According to Ashley Madison (slogan: “Sure your data is vulnerable; it’s the risk of getting caught that makes it exciting.”), hundreds of thousands of new users signed up in just the last week. Apparently, the recent deluge of news stories has served as effective advertising, despite that recent news being, essentially, “if you sign up for Ashley Madison, there is a good chance your name will be published as a client, your spouse, family, and friends will find out, you will be ridiculed, sued for divorce, and possibly lose half your net worth.” Which, as ad copy goes, is not CLIO Award-winning stuff. Asked to explain the surge in business despite the horrible publicity, an Ashley Madison spokesperson said, “We’ve found that the demographic least swayed by news is humanity’s impulsive, wandering loins.”

OK, Google…Find Hair Plugs
Following last month’s major reorganization, Google has now changed its logo. The new font is  sans serif (from the French, meaning “without a particularly good reason”), which some say looks “more modern and playful.” Industry insiders predict this isn’t the last of Google’s changes, and expect the internet giant to start shopping at Aeropostale, driving a Jaguar, and dating search engines half their age.

Thanks again for stopping by the Weekly Tech Views Blog. If you enjoyed it, feel free to send a friend or five this way. If you weren’t so crazy about it, we’ll just pretend this never happened.

Mike Range

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

Weekly Tech Views 7 – Aug 29, 2015

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Real Tech News. Really Shaky Analysis.

Thanks for visiting the Weekly Tech Views Blog. Give me five minutes and I’ll give you the week in tech, without the annoying facts or common sense.

For the week of August 24 – 28, 2015

AT&T–Advertising Through & Through
AT&T was discovered to be sending ads to users of one of their free wifi hotspots, even if the web sites being visited were ad-free. If this initiative goes well, AT&T plans to expand the program:


“Hey, Bob. I’ve got tickets to a game this week, thought you’d like to go.”

“Sounds good, Joe. When is it?”


Got a ticket? Don’t just blindly pay it–fight it! We here at Schlichter, Schefter, and Shyster have never, in our fifty-five years of practice, seen a ticket issued that was justified. Most lawyers won’t handle traffic tickets, claiming there’s no real money to made, but we care about the little guy, and nobody is hiring us for anything else these days, so just buy us lunch and sit there and talk to us while we eat and we’ll fight to have that ridiculous going-seventy-five-in-a-school-zone charge disappear!

“What the heck was that?”

“I don’t know, Bob; I thought it on your end.”

“Weird. So, when’s the game? I’m going to be out of town a few days this week.”

“It’s a one o’clock start on–”

Love to travel, but hotels are too expensive? Motels seem pretty pricey, too? Hostels… that’s more like it, but still think you’ve got better things to do with that ten bucks a night? You need to get to your App Store and download Hobo-ocity. Get reviews of the most comfortable, least police-patrolled park benches in over thirty major cities.

“Send me an email, Joe.”

My Weekend is Now Booked
The battery in the new LG Gpad 2 tablet promises two days worth of constant use, which is great; we all want more power and efficiency from our devices, but I have to admit that I’m going to kind of miss my wife and I looking each other in the face every ten hours or so.

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Cheater Whose Identity Has Been Revealed
Not surprisingly, hacked affair-promoting website Ashley Madison has been sued by multiple people for breach of contract and violation of privacy laws. Ashley Madison quickly filed a response, reading, “C’mon, baby, why you gotta be like that? I made a mistake; I didn’t mean anything by it. What about the good times? Remember how I helped you get some strange and you gave me a lot of money? That was fun, right? Can’t we go back to that?”

Laid Off Worker Regrets Joining Angry Birds Pharmaceuticals Division
Angry Birds creator Rovio is laying off 260 employees, citing that the company tried to do too many things and will now scale back. The fear is that this could jeopardize their latest game, Angry Trump, as the development team had completed only two levels: launching reporters out of press conferences and slingshotting anyone with an accent over a twenty-foot U.S. border wall.

“Welcome to printer technical support. Do you agree to the $4.95 per minute charge?”

“Yes, sure, this should only take a couple seconds. I just need to find an updated driver for my printer.”

“Yes, sir. That’s on the web site. Just go to–”

Golfers! Looking to be longer off the tee? Gary’s Golf World has the drivers you need! We’ve got Calloway, Cleveland, Cobra, Ping, TaylorMade, Bridgestone, Nike, Mizuno, Titleist…

“Hey! What is this crap?”

…on sale this week is the Calloway Alpha 815 Double Black Diamond Driver. It’s forged composite crown, lively titanium face, and adjustable OptiFit hosel will have you playing like a pro. And it’s a steal at $450! Isn’t it worth the kids wearing last year’s school clothes to add ten yards to your drive?

“I’m not paying for this!”

Sometimes You Really Have to Squint for That Silver Lining
Amazon has reportedly laid off dozens of engineers involved in the creation of the Fire Phone. While the loss of a paycheck will certainly be a tough financial hit, this does, at least, provide a much-needed respite from Amazon’s grueling schedule. Say what you want about how hard Amazon drives their people, they have a strict policy that once an employee is laid off, they are not to work more than forty hours per week.

I’d Have Preferred a GIF of Kevin Bacon Screaming, “Remain Calm! All is Well!”
Apple’s Tim Cook sent an email to financial analyst/TV personality Jim Cramer to allay fears about Apple’s stock and iPhone sales in China. Inspired by this, Denver Broncos GM John Elway, after watching quarterback Payton Manning throw three consecutive incomplete passes during a morning practice,  emailed ESPN’s John Clayton and told him to “chillax.”

“9-1-1. What is your emergency?”

“Someone just broke into my house! They picked the lock and ripped out the screen and now they’re coming up the stairs!”

“What is your address, sir?”

“It’s 24–”

Lock screen problems? We can take care of those and just about any other issues you’re having with your smartphone here at Phone Phixers. Same day service for half what the manufacturer charges. Remember, your phone’s not dead, it just needs Phone Phixed.

“Sorry about that, sir. Your address?…. Sir?……..”

OK, I’ve had my fun. AT&T inserting ads into web sites via a wifi hotspot may be annoying, but what real harm is being done?

Web Site Ads Can Kill Your Computer!
According to a recent study, malware delivered via ads tripled in the eight months between June 2014 and February 2015. At this rate, it’s possible that by the end of the year, in the U.S. alone, we will actually have more computers infected with malware than we have Marvel movies.

Waiter, There’s a Six-Millimeter Countersunk-Head Stainless Steel Rivet in My Pizza
The RoboHow project demonstrated two robots working together to make a pizza, the first delivering the ingredients to the second, which assembled the pie. Stories like this have prompted the ABC television network to capitalize on the public’s increasing fascination with robots, perhaps by replicating the tone Fox used with last year’s Cosmos and launching a program where the tremendous, mind-bending advances in robotic technology and artificial intelligence can be seriously analyzed, and its future repercussions discussed by leaders from every scientific field, or they could do a reboot called Two Robots, a Droid, and a Pizza Place.

Thanks again for stopping by the Weekly Tech Views Blog. If you enjoyed it, feel free to send a friend or five this way. If you weren’t so crazy about it, we’ll just pretend this never happened.

Mike Range

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

Weekly Tech Views 6 – Aug 22, 2015

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Real Tech News. Really Shaky Analysis.

Thanks for visiting the Weekly Tech Views Blog. Give me five minutes and I’ll give you the week in tech, without the annoying intrusion of facts or common sense.

For the week of August 17 – 21, 2015

They’ve Got Their Spotif-Eye on You

Spotify’s new Terms of Service allows the company, which, you may recall, is a music-streaming service, to access your phone’s sensor to determine your GPS coordinates, whether you’re walking, running, or standing still, access your photos and examine your contacts, all of which it may share with their partners. “Wow. I’m not sure we’ve ever seen anything that invasive,” said a proctologists convention.

The Other Shoe Has Dropped. The Shoe She Never Wears for Her Husband, But Just For This Guy She Met Online. The Sexy, Strappy, Three-Inch-Heeled Shoe That’s the Same Shade of Red as the Slinky–Uh, Sorry, Where Were We?

Now that The Impact Team has publicly released the data they hacked from adultery web site Ashley Madison, clients are scouring the list, all with the same simple thought: If the Oculus Rift people had their act together and I had a Star Trek-like holodeck in my basement where I could order up an imaginary but very lifelike mistress like choosing a candy bar from a vending machine then I wouldn’t be in this mess it’s not my fault I was born fifty years too soon stupid 2015 aaahhhhhh there’s my name!

Amazon: River of Tears?

Based on comments by some former Amazon employees, we envision this typical Tuesday morning:

“Well, Janet, I really hate to do this, but we have to let you go. This is the second time in the last 24 months you’ve been late.”

“But, it was only three minutes. And I was in a bad car accident.”

“Well, that may be so, but you know our philosophy here at Amazon: Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable.”

“But I live only fifteen minutes away and still I leave home an hour-and-a-half early to make sure I’m on time every day. It was the accident. It was an Amazon truck that hit me; it wasn’t my fault. The paramedic said I should be in the hospital; he said I broke my leg in two places and there’s a good chance I ‘dented my brain’ but I came to work instead.”

“That’s all well and good, Janet; I’m not saying I don’t believe you–say, could you grab those? I think a few of your teeth landed on the corner of my desk… and here, have a couple more Kleenex, that nosebleed doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon.”

“It’s broken.”

“Yes, I would have guessed, the angle it’s at. Anyway, I’m sure you think you tried your best, but like our twelve-inch plush Talking Yoda–a Lightning Deal today at $16.99, with free two-day shipping for Prime members–would say, ‘Do or do not. There is no try.’ So, thanks for coming by; we’ve cleaned out your desk and Security will escort you to your car–or, I guess it’s the bus stop, now, isn’t it? And on your way, could you send Mr. Hibberd in? Guy’s been here sixteen years; you’d think he’d know better than to put a photo of his kid up on his cubicle wall during work time. It’s ironic, too–you’ll find this funny, Janet–he gets fired just minutes after getting the $19.84 bonus for turning you in for being late.”

Does a Bear Twitch in the Woods?

A study indicates that bears show signs of stress when drones are around, evidenced by a rise in heart rate. Now, I’m no bearologist, but wouldn’t that also be true when a plane, car, axe-wielding lumberjack, or another attractive bear were around? And I’m almost positive I’ve seen a documentary about a bear that actually piloted a drone in his attempt to steal a picnic basket. Sure, his little bear friend was pretty freaked, but I got the impression he was naturally nervous, drone or no.

Would You Like Fries With That?

iPods, once the glamour boys of Apple technology, have been relegated to the accessories shelves in Apple Stores. The next step is that all iPods remaining in two years get painted yellow and included with the Minions 2 Happy Meals at McDonald’s.

Sprint: It’s the Lease We Can Do

Sprint is getting rid of contracts and leasing their phones. And we all know what the best part of leases are–lease commercials!

“You want yourself a new smartphone, but you sure don’t want to get tied down with some loooong two-year contract, like they do at… well, I don’t want to say their name, but their initials are A-T-T. Well that’s not the way we do things here at Honest Earl’s Sprint Phones and Pawn Shop. No sir, we will lease you a brand new iPhone for just $22 per month. Verizon on your horizon? You best turn yourself around, you’re goin’ the wrong way; get on over to Honest Earl’s. T-Mobile? B-real! You need to Sprint on in to Earl’s! No credit? No problem! Lucky for you, Earl’s Pawn is right next door, and we take just about anything at the Pawn–guitars, firearms, jewelry–what kind of data plan you gettin’ with grandma’s old ring? I didn’t think so. Say goodbye to Nana’s wedding ring, and hello to 20 gigs a month on Sprint’s Over-Half-of-the-Country network!

“Vaio” Better Mean “Keyboard of Diamonds”

The Vaio, formerly owned by Sony, is slated to return to the U.S. later this year in Microsoft retail stores, the laptops starting at $2,199. The Vaio brings back memories of myself as a younger, naive computer shopper who thought “I’m never buying a Vaio; Sony makes TVs, what do they know about computers?” Now, as a seasoned laptop buyer, I’ve come around to the more rational viewpoint of “I’m never buying a Vaio; who pays $2,200 for a laptop?”

Orwell That Ends Well

In the UK, Google was ordered to remove links to current stories about Google being ordered to remove links to an older story. I think that’s what happened. Very soon, when they’re ordered to remove links to the coming stories about removing links to the stories about removing links to the original stories, this is going to become the mental version of looking at a reflection of a reflection into infinity. This is all a result of a ruling in Europe allowing people to have outdated information about them removed from search engines. This Right to be Forgotten ruling currently applies to the EU, or Eurasian Union Eastasian Union European Union.

It Was Here a Second Ago

Google permanently lost a small amount of data when the power grid that Google’s data center in Belgium was connected to was struck repeatedly by lightning. Just moments afterward, the lightning bolt was adopted as the logo for the Right to be Forgotten proponents.

It’s Been a While Since I Mentioned Ashley Madison, So…

Up to 10,000 of the email addresses listed in the Ashley Madison hack belong to government accounts. And the flood of U.S. Right to be Forgotten legislation begins in 3… 2… 1…

Call During the Next Ten Minutes and We’ll Include This Industrial Plant Emission Bracelet

Scientists have reportedly developed a method for removing excess carbon from the air and turning it into carbon fibers, which could be used in the production of things like cars and artificial diamonds. Estimates are that a sufficiently large facility, running for just half an hour in Los Angeles, could fill four car dealerships and stock QVC for a decade.

You’ll Update What We Tell You to Update and You’ll Like It

Apparently, while security updates to Windows 10 are explained in detail by Microsoft, descriptions of additional updates are vague. I’d like to get worked up over this, but I do pretty much the same thing. If I do something I’m proud of, like patch a hole in the wall, my wife will hear every damned detail about it, from how many ounces of spackle I applied and at what angle I held the putty knife, to the grit of the sandpaper used to finish it off. On the other hand, if I call DIRECTV to correct a billing error and impulsively order the NFL Sunday Ticket–after said wife and I had just agreed to watch our budget more closely–then she gets “I took care of the TV.”

Yeah, Well, In Four Years I Got a Couple Three Percent Raises and an Extra Personal Day

Uber, in four years since its official launch as an app-based alternative to taxis, has reportedly become valued by investors at fifty billion dollars. In a related story, the world’s leading lawn-care company is run by Jeremy, the kid who was walking around the neighborhood last fall with a rake over his shoulder asking if he could rake our leaves for ten bucks.

Thanks again for stopping by the Weekly Tech Views Blog. If you enjoyed it, feel free to send a friend or five this way. If you weren’t so crazy about it, we’ll just pretend this never happened.

Mike Range

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

Weekly Tech Views 5 – Aug 15, 2015

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Real tech news. Really shaky analysis.

Thanks for visiting the Weekly Tech Views Blog. Give me five minutes and I’ll bring you the week in tech, without the annoying intrusion of facts or common sense.

For the week of August 10 – 14, 2015

Phone Maker Finds Silver Lining in Security Foul Up

Phone maker HTC was found to be storing users fingerprints in an unencrypted image file. Said an HTC spokesman, “On the bright side, this report does indicate that we sold a phone, so that’s a nice surprise. And while we will certainly be reviewing our protocols, I am frankly stunned that security was a problem, considering I need signatures from two supervisors and a week’s notice to get a stupid Sharpie from the supply room.”


Obscure Processor Flaw Convinces Gamer He’s Not So Pathetic

It was found that all Intel X86 processors since 1997 contain an exploitable flaw that could allow access to System Management Mode. I don’t really know what that means, but my take is that I finally have an excuse for never beating Quake 3.


Probably No Meal Service Either

A Dutch engineer is working on a self-flying quadcopter named Quadro (Dutch for “big-ass drone”) capable of carrying passengers. While he has so far been able to keep a rider in the air for only ten seconds, he has decided to continue development to extend the time aloft, rather than marketing Quadro as a really expensive way to cross a busy street.


Twitter to Popular People: Take That

Twitter removed the 140 character limit on Direct Messages, now accepting up to 10,000 characters. This is big news for anyone in the publishing industry who has accidentally set their Twitter settings to accept DMs from all users, as they will soon be receiving the first fifty pages of my novel Chrysanthemums in Winter, the story of a plucky young girl, who, after her negligent teenage parents left her in the woods in deepest rural Alabama at the age of three, grew up alone in a tiny abandoned shed, surviving on pine cones and iffy plants. Yet she was able to harness the never-say-die determination, that, as a young lady, led her back to civilization, where her “Gee, isn’t every day a glorious gift to be treasured and how could you complain about anything when you get to live in a big beautiful world like this” attitude… really got on people’s nerves. So she went back to her shed in the woods to grow old and die. Though “old” is overstating it; I mean, living on pine cones and iffy plants can only take you so far. Probably made it to her early thirties.

Hello, best-seller lists.


Card Game Wins the Internet

Reports have the digital card game Hearthstone making $20 million per month. In other news, I’m excited to announce Stonehearth, my wildly addictive build-your-own fireplace app. Imagine the thrill of playing a run of cards like FireBrick – Refractory Mortar – Fontainebleau Marble. Hoo-boy! Plus, choose from over 150 pokers (only 99 cents each), available in each of Crayola’s 120 colors, and select NFL, MLB, and NHL team colors.


Racing Drones Look to Nab NASCAR’s “Do You Think He’s Dead?” Fan Base

While the Drone Racing League is getting significant financial support, there is concern over how viewer-friendly the sport can be in person. Realizing that many NASCAR fans show up in hopes of seeing crashes, the DRL fears that unmanned drones may not provide high enough stakes, so when a drone does crash, the pilot on the ground–his or her image projected on a 400-foot Jumbotron–will be beaten around the head and shoulders with a bag of nickels.


From the Home Office in Mountain View, California

Google restructured this week, creating a new parent company named Alphabet. Publicly, this is being presented as the brainchild of Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, but when you read the new essay by Dan Brown (author of The DaVinci Code), it becomes clear that someone behind the scenes is pulling the strings. That’s why I’m proud to present an exclusive, world premiere excerpt from The Dave-inci Code: David Letterman’s Quest to Own the Internet:

The creation of Alphabet was no simple restructuring on Google’s part. No, this was another step in a mission for one man to rule the online world. A man who spent 33 years in a position that allowed him to not only amass a vast, mid-tier-Kardashian-level personal fortune, but to simultaneously form relationships with the most powerful entities in show business, politics, sports, and zoo administration, not to mention ingratiating himself to generations of the world’s future leaders as they reclined on ratty sofas, eating pizza and drinking beer, in college dorm lounges across America.

If you are looking for it, the evidence of Mr. Letterman’s influence is almost comically obvious.

– Having existed for seventeen years, Google suddenly decides to “restructure” two months after Letterman “retires,” and chooses the name Alphabet. Why Alphabet? What sense does that make? Plenty, if the person making that decision is named LETTERman! Boom!

Did Letterman have a part in not just the formation of Alphabet, but in the creation of Google itself? It’s unproven, but consider…

– In a pre-Google era, Letterman, with millions of viewers as witnesses, dropped a computer from the top of a tall building just to watch it shatter on the pavement below, obviously symbolizing his disgust with, and his intent to revolutionize, the existing state of technology (he also seemed none to happy with the watermelon and guacamole-filled-balloon industries).

– Hinting at the world’s coming paranoia over Google trying to learn everything about everyone, Letterman subtly promoted a kindred philosophy via the antics of The Guy Under the Seats. This unsettling character was portrayed by prominent early member of the secret inner circle known as the Letterati, Chris Elliott, who would creepily peek out from beneath a trap door and proclaim, “I’m watching you… I’m always watching you.”

– Google, with its myriad ventures—self-driving cars, home automation, health research–has been seen as a company willing to throw ideas against the wall to see what will stick. Would it surprise you if, inside the those very walls at Google, this attitude was called Is This Anything? Or maybe Will it Float? No, I don’t have any proof that this was the case, but it sure wouldn’t surprise me, because both of these phrases were titles of regular segments on Letterman’s show! Hah! And, of course, Letterman, donning a Velcro suit, launched himself via trampoline at a Velcro wall to see if he would stick. Check-freaking-mate!

– What is YouTube if not a collection of Stupid Pet Tricks, Stupid Human Tricks, and Letterman’s pre-recorded remote bits? It then obviously follows that Viewer Mail was the comments section. Let me check my notes here… who owns YouTube?… Oh yeah–Google! Have you ever seen a puzzle fit together so perfectly?!

Basically, Letterman’s show was the internet before there was an internet, and now he wants to stake his rightful claim. And why? To what end? I think that should be obvious to everyone at this point. It is so that any time anyone Googles “Jay Leno,” the only result is a video of a monkey washing a cat.

I rest my case.

Thanks again for stopping by the Weekly Tech Views Blog. If you enjoyed it, feel free to send a friend or five this way. If you weren’t so crazy about it, we’ll just pretend this never happened.

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

Weekly Tech Views 4 – Aug 8, 2015

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“Real Tech News. Really Shaky Analysis.”

For the week of August 3 – 7, 2015

Another week, and the tech news keeps coming. But not, I’m proud to say, any faster than I can ruin it.

More Things Got Hacked

In other news:

Philadelphia Delinquent Apologizes for Killing Robot: “I Thought It Was Human”

Hitchbot, the hitchhiking robot that traversed Canada via the kindness of passing motorists, had less luck in the U.S., its travels coming to a violent end in Philadelphia, the town known for hundreds of years as The City of Brotherly Throwing of Ice Balls at Santa Claus During Eagles Games, at the hand of local thug Brucie Peterson.

“I was really drunk,” said Mr. Peterson. “I saw this little dude standing on the corner, and I asked if he had a smoke. He ignored me, like he was better’n me, so I beat the crap out of him with the tire iron I carry. But, I swear, if I’d known it wasn’t alive, I wouldn’t have did it. I’m not a monster.”

Facebook: Facilitating Dialogue Between You and the One You Hold Dear–Your Department Store

Facebook is adding a Send Message button to ads, allowing you to contact the business directly. Businesses that reply to messages within five minutes will get a badge declaring them “Very Responsive to Messages.” You may be familiar with an earlier incarnation of the Very Responsive badge known as the “Tramp Stamp.”

Apple Says You Probably Shouldn’t Text and Drive, But if You Do, They Can Help

Reports surfaced that Apple is testing a service in which Siri transcribes your voice mail and sends it to you as a text. Critics claim that Siri’s combo of sending texts while simultaneously providing turn-by-turn driving directions makes her a texting-while-driving enabler. “Not at all,” claims Bill Furman, an Apple spokesman. “Would you call Ford and Chevy enablers? Can’t text and drive without a car, can you? Huh? Well, can you?” Mr. Furman paused here for approximately ninety seconds. “We are innovating for the responsible user. We can’t control everyone. We could attach a rat trap to iPhones that crushed your fingers if you tried to text while driving, and the weak-minded losers who fear that their friends will abandon them if they don’t instantly acknowledge the most trivial of messages will still find a way to do it. Let there be no doubt, we here at Apple take safe driving… Siri-ously.”

Then he shouted, “See what I did there?” and performed five rapid fist pumps before being triumphantly escorted from the room on the shoulders of the entire PR team.

Braille Watch Provides Visually-Impaired Further Opportunity to Awe

The technology behind Dot–a smartwatch that uses Braille to provide much of the functionality of other smartwatches–is impressive, but the ability of the wearer to actually read Braille borders on freaking magical. As a kid, our teacher gave us a card with the Braille alphabet on it, and told us to try and identify the letters. I may as well have been trying to read coarse sandpaper. Or the bottom of my shoe. There were bumps, but how many? Was that two, then one? Or was it three? And even if I had been confident in what I was feeling, I’m then supposed to, what, memorize 26 subtly different patterns? Can’t I just check the reference card? Oh, wait, it’s in Braille!

The ability to learn Braille, or for the deaf, to read lips (which I’ve also tried by turning the TV down–everyone on Arrested Development looked to me like fish gasping for breath), amazes me. The amount of work that must go into that is beyond my comprehension. Partially because I have the laser-like focus of a month-old beagle–this green squeaky ball is great, I’m going to play with it forev–a red squeaky ball! who thought of this! my favorite thing in the–hey, what do you got in your crotch there?–but mostly because it’s just got to be a really hard thing to do.

So when technology gets it right and helps put those hard-earned skills to use, you hold out some hope for society. It almost makes up for fart apps.

Company Old-Timers Welcome Fantasy Sales Game With Violent Head-Banging Against Break Room Wall

Microsoft has acquired Fantasy Sales Team, a program that gamifies the productivity of a company’s sales force, a la fantasy football. Many veteran salespeople, like Vern Dobson, are not impressed.

“It’s bad enough I have to listen to these snot-nosed punks go on about their pretend football teams,” Mr. Dobson stated. “At least that didn’t affect me. But this,” he waved toward the front of the office, where a cluster of twenty-something’s chattered excitedly around a computer, “does, damn it. Hey, here’s an idea: how about–like we’ve done since caveman times–whoever makes the most money, wins? That’s sales. Sure, we made side bets–what’s the most extravagant thing we could sneak through on our expense accounts–but nothing topped sales.”

“Alec Baldwin had it right in Glenngary Glen–” Mr. Dobson suddenly turned and yelled, “Hey–my team is Coffee For Closers!”

Robots 1 Humans 0
The Robocup World Championship, a tournament featuring autonomous soccer-playing robots, was won 3-1 by New South Wales. Unsurprisingly, robot soccer immediately surpassed human soccer in popularity amongst American sports fans, based on the robots scoring four times the goals of the average human soccer match, while containing 100% fewer faked injuries.

Epson Employees Split Over New Printer

Just hours after announcing their new EcoTank printers, which hold two years worth of ink, members of Epson’s printer division returned from lunch to find their offices had been egged. They shook their heads and said, “Inkers.”

“The Ink division is upset because they won’t be the golden boys any more,” said Sarah Goodwin. “We always did the hard work, designing and innovating the printers, while the Inkers sold replacement cartridges at ridiculous prices and got all the glory. They couldn’t do anything without us, but they strut around here in their We’re Ink-credible t-shirts, bragging about how they can sell an ink cartridge for as much as we charge for some printers, how the country screams at the thought of four-dollar-a-gallon gas but barely bats an eye at $5,000-a-gallon ink. So now they’re a little mad. Plus, we hung a sign in their office suggesting they use some of that ink for new resumes.”

U.S. Commerce Department Puts Hands in Pockets, Whistles, and Slowly Backs Away From Internet Naming Responsibility

Handing over control to ICANN and an oversight committee, the U.S. Commerce Department breathed a sigh of relief after divesting themselves of the stress of dealing with internet naming conventions. “There are only so many viable names, and, apparently, everybody who can reach a keyboard has to have half a dozen websites these days, so we add .biz and .info and .me and probably .kardashian soon, but it’s all just delaying the inevitable, and we don’t want to be around when the world starts to burn,” said Paula Schwarz. Prompted for details on the internet Armageddon she foresees, Ms. Schwarz blurted, “Emojis! Do you want to live in a world where exists? Well it’s coming! And we won’t be held responsible!”

That’s another week of news the liberal/conservative/libertarian media has been hiding from you. Your welcome.

Mike Range

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

Weekly Tech Views Blog – 3


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“Real Tech News. Really Shaky Analysis”

For the week of July 27 – July 31, 2015

The nation’s focus may have been on Nerdtacular 2015 this week, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of tech news. Let’s butcher some.

Windows 10 was released on Wednesday. In other news, Winfan4ever’s eBay store still has plenty of “Life is fine with Windows 9” t-shirts and mouse pads available.

Google Translate can now translate 27 languages. Their goal is to have the next update, a video camera filter, available in time for the first Republican primary debate so we’ll know what the hell Donald Trump is talking about.

Amazon is proposing a multi-tiered super highway in the sky for drones (Amazon–Making Your Jetson’s Dreams Come True!). It’s going to be novel and exciting the first time we point to the sky and say, “Look, a delivery drone!” and admire the technology that resulted in that lone electronic marvel silhouetted against the bright blue sky.

Then, as they become more commonplace, we’ll barely notice them, like traffic on a nearby street. As prices fall and everyone can utilize them–thanks for ordering the raw opal/organic hemp koala brooch from our Etsy shop; our hand-crafted drone will have it to you this afternoon–“Sky Neutrality” debates over who gets the fastest lanes and most direct routes will ensue.

Meanwhile, tanning salons abandon strip malls and move into luxury office buildings as the industry booms due to the lack of natural sunlight available through the drone-clogged atmosphere. On rare occasions, when drone traffic aligns just right, we’ll point to the sky and say, “Look, the sun!”

But I will get my 100-count box of sandwich bags a day quicker.

You can now mute Periscope broadcasters. “Finally! I can barely hear myself think with everybody Periscoping this, and Periscoping that,” said Meerkat.

The Apple Watch is going on sale at 100 Best Buy stores, to be expanded to 300 stores by the holidays. Critics question diluting the exclusivity factor, saying that being able to get one while grabbing printer ink and a ream of paper lessens the perceived value of the watch. But they also say that the weakest part of the strategy is Apple’s belief that 300 Best Buy stores will exist by the holidays.

Nintendo sold its 10 millionth Wii U last week. Elsewhere, as its bar code was scanned in a Des Moines area Wal-Mart, the 25 millionth PS4 to be sold said, “That’s cute.”

It came to light this week that the Motion Picture Association of America had devised a campaign to discredit Google, calling them an enabler of movie piracy. According to emails, the campaign would allegedly include paying for false anti-Google research and a story on the Today Show. We’re not sure The MPAA had their heart in it though, as unconfirmed reports indicate the fake research was just a Silicon Valley script where the name Google was substituted for Hooli and the Today Show story was being assigned to Hoda and Kathie Lee. There was a brief scare when a Google exec woke up to find the head of an Oscar statue in her bed, but it turned out to only be one of her daughter’s stuffed Minions.

The Shield tablet was recalled due to the threat that the battery could overheat and pose a fire hazard. “If nothing else, we dodged that bullet,” said the Amazon Fire Phone PR team.

Chrysler is mailing out 1.4 million USB drives, in order to update customers’ vehicles and protect them from the exploit that allowed hackers to remotely control their car. The company reportedly deemed it unnecessary to accept an offer from a former AOL marketing executive who promised to “have half a dozen of those suckers in every mailbox in America by lunchtime.”

A recent survey states that 15% of U.S. adults don’t use the internet; and of these net-abstainers, 21% say the reason is that they’re just not interested in doing so.

What?… I… that’s… you mean………

Okay, I think I’ve figured it out. There are three possible reasons for this response:

1) They misheard, and thought the question was “Do you use Tinder yet?” and answered “No” because a) they belong to a demographic that isn’t quite sure what an app is, let alone Tinder, or b) the fallout from the Ashley Madison adultery web site hack is hanging over their head and they’ll be damned if they’re also going to admit to being familiar with Tinder.

2) They belong to a generation that grew up without the internet, “and I’m doing just fine, so why should I waste my time with it?”

And while there’s no denying a certain correlation between wasted time and the internet, this demographic would likely have the same reaction if you substituted “internet” with computers, smart phones, cordless phones, fax machines, DVRs, VCRs, ATMs, microwaves, video games, sushi, or Whole Foods.

3) They are genuinely part of the .000001% of the population that has no interest in porn or kittens.

That’s it. Thanks for joining me for Wordtacular 2015. Or Wordiocre 2015. We’ll leave that to the historians. Either way, words were used; thanks for reading them.

Mike Range

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

Weekly Tech Views Blog – 2


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“Real Tech News. Really Shaky Analysis”

For the week of July 20 – 24, 2015

In this second issue of WTVB, we are proud to announce that we have doubled the projected number of issues we thought we’d be permitted to post. From here on, it’s all gravy.

Earlier this week, Target and Home Depot shook their heads pityingly and said, “At least we aren’t those guys,” crooking their thumbs at Ashley Madison, an adultery-promoting web site that was hacked this week. The group claiming responsibility for the hack has demanded the site be taken down, threatening to publicize the data they have obtained on the site’s 37 million clients. If they do release the information, we expect to learn that:

1) The most requested username is Phil Landers.

2) The top reasons for joining are a) “He doesn’t understand me,” b) “She’s frigid,” and c) the classic, “Defiling the holy sanctity of my marriage vows is the only thing that makes me feel alive anymore.”

3) Upwards of 60% of member bios include the phrase “I like pina coladas.”

Aside from the lascivious curiosity a story like this engenders, there are important issues that we need to take pains to understand–the vulnerability of data, the ethics of “good” hacks–but the most vital takeaway, the one thing we all need to comprehend–and this is especially true for anyone related to me by marriage–is that I had never heard of this site before this week.

Asked if he had any advice for the Ashley Madison management team, having gone through a serious hacking incident of his own, a Sony Pictures executive responded with, “Ashley Madison was hacked?” Then he repeatedly hit his head on his desk and shouted, “Oh, come on!”

Breakthrough: A project designed to search for alien life was announced on July 20, the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The big question seems to be, if we do find life, should we contact it?

While there are very smart people on both sides of the debate, I find myself leaning toward the argument that says HAVE YOU SEEN THE COMMERCIALS FOR PIXELS?! The Twilight Zone episode To Serve Man? If pop culture has taught us anything, it’s that the odds of Independence Day aliens showing up are much greater than that of E.T. dropping by.
But suppose we get a best-case scenario. Say we’re the advanced race. We somehow pick up a stray transmission of their version of I Love Lucy (loosely translated, I assume, as Ahd Vhrdaqqz Vggzzp). That’s where they are technologically–TV’s infancy. We contact them, and they’re ecstatic to hear from us. “Come visit. Share your technology.” And we go, with the best of intentions. But our nature being what it is, eventually there are a couple of superpowers battling to rule this planet, power and domination their only goals. And no matter which of these evil empires wins, be it Comcast or Time-Warner, this naively innocent planet will be subjected to customer service atrocities that they simply can not endure, lacking the decades of escalating inhumanities that have thickened our skins.

Ebay and Paypal officially split this week when Paypal’s name was leaked as a client of Ashley Madison. Ha! No, it was just a business restructuring. Paypal management was quick to assure users that the change would be seamless, with absolutely no reduction in email offers to apply for a Paypal credit card.

Apple hired the former head of global quality at Fiat Chrysler, leading to speculation that an Apple car is in the works. It will undoubtedly be one of the best-looking cars on the market, but each time the autOS (Automotive User Technology Operating System) is updated, service centers will be flooded with complaints that battery life has decreased by half and iTunes libraries can only be accessed via the horn.

Twitter removed background wallpaper from user’s timelines and notification pages. The angry response to this wallpaper change, however, pales in comparison to the Great Wallpaper Conflict of the previous millennium. A five-year-old child, who, let’s just stipulate right now, certainly didn’t know any better at that age, and was, on balance, a really good kid, found a tiny, loose corner of wallpaper sticking out from behind the baseboard in his bedroom. The five-year-old did what a five-year-old does when presented with such an opportunity, and pulled on the wallpaper. As the perfectly straight, two-inch wide column of previously-hidden turquoise paint appeared and seemed to climb the wall, the precocious child became invested in whether it could actually reach the ceiling. It could. The reaction of the child’s father, who had finished applying said wallpaper one day earlier, would put that of the most vocal Twitter trolls to shame.

In addition to requirements that drone pilots keep their drones safe distances from airports and aircraft, The UK’s Drone Code specifies that drones with cameras must remain at least 150 meters from groups of people. This will be easy for me to remember, as it is the exact same restriction my wife places on me after we eat at Taco Bell.

It had to happen. eSports (known to your mother as “people win money for playing a video game?”) has initiated drug testing. That crash you heard was a DualShock 4 controller striking the wall in Barry Bonds’ basement.
There has always been a segment of sports fans who say, “Let ’em take drugs. If they’re roided up and hitting 95 homers a year, great; it’s fun to watch.” In that spirit, we welcome the Adderall or Nothing Tour, where between each round of Heroes of the Storm, contestants are not only encouraged, but required, to wash down an ADHD pill with a full Monster energy drink. This will be a boon for TV coverage, as complete sixty-four-team tournaments, which formerly lasted for days, can be completed in forty-five minutes.

There were multiple stories this week about cars being hacked via the entertainment system. Not to claim that I was ahead of the curve, but years ago I successfully hacked the entertainment system of my friend’s 2002 Chevy Prizm. We were listening to Metallica when he stopped for gas. When he was paying, I swapped in a Carpenters CD! It was priceless! He was like, “What the…?” Boy, did I laugh.

That’s another WTVB in the vault. If you read the first issue, thanks for coming back. If this is your first time here, you’ll probably be more careful where you click in the future.

Mike Range

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

Weekly Tech Views Blog – 1


Untitled drawing (1)On DTNS, you hear in-depth, reasoned discussion of the day’s most interesting tech stories from Tom Merritt and his esteemed guests. You get research, insight, and analysis.

Now, finally, there’s equal time for the other side.

That’s right, this is your stop for shallow, reckless rambling on a selection of those same stories. Welcome to the Weekly Tech Views Blog, where, at times, up to 12% of what you read could be factual. No, WTVB doesn’t roll off the tongue like DTNS; frankly, it sounds like the call letters for a 5,000 watt radio station in Tateville, Kentucky (WTVB – We’re Tateville’s Best!). If I gave it some more thought, I could probably come up with something better. But, as you’ll discover should you decide to read on, “more thought” is not my highest priority.

For the Week of July 13 – 17, 2015 – And, as a premiere issue bonus, some of the previous week as well. Huzzah.

For much of their product line, Logitech is changing their name to Logi, which is huge news, in that it provides new, exciting territory to be explored by those who love to debate the pronunciation of GIF.

Amazon celebrated their 20th anniversary with Prime Day, a day they claimed would have more discounts than Black Friday. I assume this means customers were able to relive the treasured Black Friday tradition of–for the rare worthwhile item–starting to click their mouse three minutes before the scheduled sale start time so that when the precise second strikes, they may, if the gods are smiling on them, be informed that the item has sold out but they have been granted a coveted spot on the Wait List. Certainly, like waiting for a lottery drawing, half the fun is the exciting anticipation, the “what-if?”, the dreams you dream while your constantly clicking finger cramps and gnarls like that of a fairy tale witch.

Facebook‘s head of security called for Adobe to announce an end-of-life date for Flash. An Adobe representative reportedly responded by saying Flash is still extremely functional, a valued and vital part of our internet lives, and how about you guys at Facebook just worry about why the sea lion in the photo my wife posted from our trip to the zoo keeps getting tagged as me?

Comcast is starting a streaming game service with Electronic Arts. How enjoyable an experience this will be–using phones or tablets as controllers–is up in the air, but what is certain is that I would pay significant money to watch former Comcast customer Veronica Belmont Twitch stream Cable Crush Saga, where points are awarded for lining up matching customer service reps. Get five in a row and their headsets tighten until their heads explode, at which point they are replaced by Tier 2 reps. There are infinite levels, and you do not, of course, ever win the game.

A Saudi computer–the Shaheen II–entered the Top 500 Supercomputer list at #7, the first time a Middle East computer has been in the top ten. If you stop to think about this, one point in particular really jumps out at you: THERE’S A TOP 500 SUPERCOMPUTER LIST! This list has existed for twenty-two years, apparently, and this is the first I’m hearing about it. Is the AP involved? A committee of former supercomputer programmers? Have I been missing playoffs, bowl games… The International Supercomputing Conference Championship Game Sponsored by Tostitos (“Tostitos–Not silicon-germanium, but still a great chip!”)?

Look, DTNS is a great show, but obviously a format change is in order. I have heard ZERO listeners call in to complain about the Cray Titan XK7 Opteron 6274 being ranked ahead of the IBM Sequoia BlueGene/Q Power BQC, claiming that the Titan’s narrow half a petaflop win was definitely a result of an easier number-crunching schedule.

One feature of the wearable Kickstarter product Doppel is to keep you focused at times you might be inclined to doze off–boring meetings, dinner with your spouse’s friends, an opera–by issuing rapid taps to your arm. This could replace the less-portable, occasion-specific device many of us have–the CINDY (Constantly Interrupting Niece Disturbing You). CINDY is typically triggered after Thanksgiving dinner, once you position yourself on a recliner in front of the Cowboys blowout. As your eyes begin to close and sleep threatens, CINDY, like the Doppel, initiates an insistent tapping on your arm. If this fails to rouse you, audio prompts are activated: “Hey, guess what?… Hey guess what?…Hey, Uncle Mike, guess what?” I have not fallen asleep at a family gathering in three years.

A study claims that Twitter and Facebook are used as news sources by 63% of their users. I’m inclined to buy that, but then I remember that I know people who consider “one of the girls who sang the Nicki Minaj song on Ellen just had a birthday” as news.

Microsoft will be throwing Windows 10 launch parties in thirteen major cities around the world, so expect Harry Potter book release-levels of excitement–parents letting their kids stay up late to be one of the first to claim one of the OS-wielding USB drives piled high on folding tables, spirited discussions of which new desktop themes will be available, and of course everyone will be dressed as their favorite Microsoft icon, presumably 99% Satya Nadellas, and, off in a corner, drinking fruit punch, a subdued handful of Clippies. Refreshments will be provided, and in keeping with the spirit of the new mandatory Windows updates, attendees will eat a slice of pizza and drink a cup of punch whether they want them or not.

And finally, Apple announced the new iPod Touch this week at an event featuring appearances by Pete from PR and a Whole Foods veggie tray.

There you have it. One down. Back next week with more of… this.

(And I say it’s pronounced “lodgy.”)

Mike Range

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