Weekly Tech Views 5 – Aug 15, 2015

Untitled drawing (1)

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.

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

DTNS 2559 – Robots– get ON my lawn!

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comTom Merritt welcomes Darren Kitchen, fresh from Defcon and Black Hat, to tell us why we should stop worrying and learn to love the hacks. Plus Len Peralta illustrates the show!

MP3


Using a Screen Reader? Click here

Multiple versions (ogg, video etc.) from Archive.org.

Please SUBSCRIBE HERE.

A special thanks to all our supporters–without you, none of this would be possible.

If you enjoy the show, please consider supporting the show here or giving 5 cents a day on Patreon. Thank you!

Big thanks to Dan Lueders for the headlines music and Martin Bell for the opening theme!

Big thanks to Mustafa A. from thepolarcat.com for the logo!

Thanks to our mods, Kylde, TomGehrke, sebgonz and scottierowland on the subreddit

Show Notes
Continue reading DTNS 2559 – Robots– get ON my lawn!

DTNS 2558 – One Range to Rule Them All

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comSmart kitchens are finally moving past putting Internet connections in a refrigerator. Michael Wolf talks with Tom Merritt and Justin Young about whether tech can help you cook.

MP3


Using a Screen Reader? Click here for YouTube video.

Multiple versions (ogg, video etc.) from Archive.org.

Please SUBSCRIBE HERE.

A special thanks to all our Patreon supporters–without you, none of this would be possible.

If you enjoy the show, please consider supporting the show here at the low, low cost of a nickel a day on Patreon. Thank you!

Big thanks to Dan Lueders for the headlines music and Martin Bell for the opening theme!

Big thanks to Mustafa A. from thepolarcat.com for the logo!

Thanks to our mods, Kylde, TomGehrke, sebgonz and scottierowland on the subreddit

Show Notes
To read the show notes in a separate page click here

Continue reading DTNS 2558 – One Range to Rule Them All

DTNS 2557 – Lenovo always has your back… door access

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comTwitter needs a permanent CEO. Doresey buys more stock. Twitter needs more monetization. API fpr brands to access tweet archive. Twitter needs more monthly active users. Limit lifted on DMs. What is Twitter good for? Scott Johnson, Anthony Carboni and Tom Merritt discuss.

MP3


Using a Screen Reader? Click here

Multiple versions (ogg, video etc.) from Archive.org

Please SUBSCRIBE HERE.

A special thanks to all our supporters–without you, none of this would be possible.

If you enjoy the show, please consider supporting the show here or giving 5 cents a day on Patreon. Thank you!

Big thanks to Dan Lueders for the headlines music and Martin Bell for the opening theme!

Big thanks to Mustafa A. from thepolarcat.com for the logo!

Thanks to our mods, Kylde, TomGehrke, sebgonz and scottierowland on the subreddit

Show Notes
To read the show notes in a separate page click here!
Continue reading DTNS 2557 – Lenovo always has your back… door access

DTNS 2556 – CEOs Just Wanna Have Fun

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comA self-flying quadcopter taxi, the next great hope for smartphones and what Alphabet and Google mean now. Patrick Beja and Tom Merritt break it all down for you.

MP3


Using a Screen Reader? Click here for YouTube video.

Multiple versions (ogg, video etc.) from Archive.org.

Please SUBSCRIBE HERE.

A special thanks to all our Patreon supporters–without you, none of this would be possible.

If you enjoy the show, please consider supporting the show here at the low, low cost of a nickel a day on Patreon. Thank you!

Big thanks to Dan Lueders for the headlines music and Martin Bell for the opening theme!

Big thanks to Mustafa A. from thepolarcat.com for the logo!

Thanks to our mods, Kylde, TomGehrke, sebgonz and scottierowland on the subreddit

Show Notes
Continue reading DTNS 2556 – CEOs Just Wanna Have Fun

DTNS 2555 – And You Thought Google Was a Stupid Name

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comHow many more ‘Uber-like’ services can we stand, and do they actually make your life better? Plus Google changes its name mid-show! Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt discuss.

MP3


Using a Screen Reader? Click here

Multiple versions (ogg, video etc.) from Archive.org

Please SUBSCRIBE HERE.

A special thanks to all our supporters–without you, none of this would be possible.

If you enjoy the show, please consider supporting the show here or giving 5 cents a day on Patreon. Thank you!

Big thanks to Dan Lueders for the headlines music and Martin Bell for the opening theme!

Big thanks to Mustafa A. from thepolarcat.com for the logo!

Thanks to our mods, Kylde, TomGehrke, sebgonz and scottierowland on the subreddit

Show Notes
Continue reading DTNS 2555 – And You Thought Google Was a Stupid Name

Weekly Tech Views 4 – Aug 8, 2015

Untitled drawing (1)

“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 www.pawprints-thumbsup-hourglass-musicalnote-smilingfacewithheartshapedeyes.com 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
@MovieLeagueMike

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

DTNS 2554 – Fanmail Friday (Now with Less Suggestive Typos)

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comIt’s Fanmail Friday. +Lamarr Wilson and +Tom Merritt will read selected great message from the week including the possibility of ever verifying software is bug-free before it’s released.

MP3


Using a Screen Reader? Click here for YouTube video.

Multiple versions (ogg, video etc.) from Archive.org.

Please SUBSCRIBE HERE.

A special thanks to all our Patreon supporters–without you, none of this would be possible.

If you enjoy the show, please consider supporting the show here at the low, low cost of a nickel a day on Patreon. Thank you!

Big thanks to Dan Lueders for the headlines music and Martin Bell for the opening theme!

Big thanks to Mustafa A. from thepolarcat.com for the logo!

Thanks to our mods, Kylde, TomGehrke, sebgonz and scottierowland on the subreddit

Show Notes
Continue reading DTNS 2554 – Fanmail Friday (Now with Less Suggestive Typos)

DTNS 2553 – Dont let the cows kill the Internet

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comJustin Young and Tom Merritt talk about Jennifer Granick’s Black Hat keynote speech. is the dream of Internet freedom dead?

MP3


Using a Screen Reader? Click here

Multiple versions (ogg, video etc.) from Archive.org.

Please SUBSCRIBE HERE.

A special thanks to all our supporters–without you, none of this would be possible.

If you enjoy the show, please consider supporting the show here or giving 5 cents a day on Patreon. Thank you!

Big thanks to Dan Lueders for the headlines music and Martin Bell for the opening theme!

Big thanks to Mustafa A. from thepolarcat.com for the logo!

Thanks to our mods, Kylde, TomGehrke, sebgonz and scottierowland on the subreddit

Show Notes
Continue reading DTNS 2553 – Dont let the cows kill the Internet

DTNS 2552 – Teach a Kid to Mouse

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comAre mobile devices and apps killing computer literacy? Does it matter? Scott Johnson and Tom Merritt discuss.

MP3


Using a Screen Reader? Click here for YouTube video.

Multiple versions (ogg, video etc.) from Archive.org.

Please SUBSCRIBE HERE.

A special thanks to all our Patreon supporters–without you, none of this would be possible.

If you enjoy the show, please consider supporting the show here at the low, low cost of a nickel a day on Patreon. Thank you!

Big thanks to Dan Lueders for the headlines music and Martin Bell for the opening theme!

Big thanks to Mustafa A. from thepolarcat.com for the logo!

Thanks to our mods, Kylde, TomGehrke, sebgonz and scottierowland on the subreddit

Show Notes
Continue reading DTNS 2552 – Teach a Kid to Mouse

Helping each other understand.