Monthly Tech Views – Best of 2017, and Signing Off

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

Can you think of a better way to end 2017 than with some fake news?

Yes, of course you can, but at least this news is admittedly fake. And possibly funny. Possibly.

So here is what I consider the best of 2017’s Monthly Tech Views. Enjoy. Or don’t—who am I to tell you what to do?

 

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

I don’t know. I’m not saying they are definitely amusing themselves creating fake yearbooks with captions like MOST LIKELY TO KNIT A SWEATER OUT OF THAT NOSEHAIR or that your image will end up wallet-sized and suddenly everyone in Data Entry thinks you are Terry’s significant other, I’m just saying they haven’t offered to let me watch the photos get deleted.

So what’s next? Full-body photos? The less clothing, the more security? Haha, not even Faceb–

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 also no big company has ever been hacked and lost control of millions of peoples personally identifiable information.

Sometimes The Counter Is A Little 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 everyone faces a time when they are awkwardly adjusting their clothing with a Kindle pinned between their chin and chest, and it inevitably slips loose, but nobody’s toilet is two meters deep.

Surprised It Wasn’t Middle Fingers
A new Snapchat feature recognizes where your photo was taken and suggests appropriate filters. A guitar 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:

“What’s the photo?”

“Our office.

“And?”

“The filter is… a picture of Garfield.”

“The cat?”

“No, James A. Garfield, because presidents from the 1800s are all the rage right now.”

“Oh, like Garf—“

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

“No, damn it, it knows—that’s the Copycat filter.”

Blame It On The Mainframe
Not wanting to be left out this year, accounting firm Deloitte announced its own security breach. The attack exposed 5 million emails and possibly usernames and passwords. 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.

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 have access to your house, and you save all that grocery shopping time that can now be put productively to use figuring out a way to ditch the budget meeting at work and hovering 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.

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 with your phone via bluetooth, allowing 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

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 the Don’t Find Anything Out Card.”

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.”

Coming Soon To Netflix: 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 that it is too late for their claymation likenesses to pummel the hell out of each other on MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch.

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 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 makes sense, I guess, but when I start my ride-sharing service, Power Zones are going to be areas where drivers are given a shovel and five minutes to lean out the window and drive Sonic the Hedgehog-like over the coin-covered asphalt to keep whatever they can scoop up.

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.

I Don’t Know Lint Art, But I Know What I Like
HTC’s U-11 phone will contain Edge Sense, allowing you, for example, to launch the camera by squeezing the phone. The feature is highlighted in HTC’s exciting new slogan: You can never have too many photos of your pocket!

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 blank 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.

It’s An Honor Just To Be Dominated
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.”

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.

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

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

It’s Called An Homage — A Desperate, Frantic Homage
Jerry Seinfeld got himself a $100 million deal to bring Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee from Crackle to Netflix. “Yeah, so, what do we care? We’ll be f-f-fine,” said Crackle executives as they hurriedly ramped up production on their hot new show Teachers in Toyotas Getting Tea.

We Apologize… For Overestimating How Hard They Were Willing To Work
Uber reached a $20 million settlement with the FTC for exaggerating drivers’ potential income, quoting a “median” annual income that only 10% of drivers reached.

“Okay, maybe we rounded up a bit, but don’t forget the importance of schedule flexibility. We still say our drivers can make a pretty penny, no matter which eighteen hours of the day they choose to work.

I’ll Sleep When I’m Rich
An MIT study found that 3,000 ride-hailing vehicles could meet 94% of the demand currently handled by 14,000 taxis in New York City, though the simulation required self-driving vehicles running continuously for extended hours.

“Who says they have to be self-driving?” said sub-median-earning Uber drivers as they hunted for the accelerator through a clattering, calf-deep sea of Red Bull cans.

Buy High, Sell High. Or At Least Really Drunk.
The value of the digital currency Bitcoin surpassed $1,000 for the first time in three years on the Bitstamp exchange. In other fake currency news, the magic beans I got for the family cow are now worth 14 flippityzillion dibzerts on the Beanstamp exchange.

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!

 

And on that musical note, it’s a wrap for the Weekly/Monthly Tech Views for 2017. And a wrap in general.

Thanks to those of you who have read my nonsensical spouting the last two-and-a-half years, and to Tom Merritt for letting me contaminate the respected Daily Tech News Show website. I’ve had a great time making fun of technology and those who provide it to us. Or inflict it on us. Hopefully you’ve gotten a few laughs along the way.

This is not to say I’m done making fun of things, I’m just doing so in a more general interest manner. I would love to have you take a look at my takes on movies, tv, Christmas napkins, parades, public bathrooms—you know, the classics—at medium.com/@movieleaguemike.

Thanks again for reading. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Happy New Year,

Mike Range
@MovieLeagueMike

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

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