Monthly Tech Views – February 2017

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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.

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