DTNS 2586 – Of Bionic Mice and Men

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comYou can now 3D print a sciatic nerve guide to replace damaged nerves. How far are we from printing all our organs? Neuroscientist and host of This Week in Science, Dr. Kiki Sanford talks with Patrick Beja and Tom Merritt about that very thing.

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DTNS 2585 – Periscope is a Turkish Delight

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comPeriscope is taking Turkey by storm. Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt discuss why and also figure out why Kickstarter became a Public Benefit Company.

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Weekly Tech Views 10 – Sept 19, 2015

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

The week in tech, without the annoying facts or common sense.

For the week of September 14 – September 18, 2015

And the First Game Will be Called Game 1
Sony has officially changed the name of their virtual reality initiative from Project Morpheus to PlayStation VR, in an attempt to ward off any dangerous excess excitement a cool name might produce.

Now I Can Really Let You Know What I Think of Your Cat
Facebook is talking about adding a Dislike button. CEO Mark Zuckerberg tried to explain that the purpose would be to show empathy, not disagreement, but many Facebook users still see this as the first step toward the Holy Grail of web site commenters, the Burn In Hell, You Stupid A-Hole button.

I Remember When Bad News Was Losing in the Playoffs
Apple said they are on pace to set a new first-weekend iPhone sales record. Of course, “on pace” can be misleading. The Cleveland Browns lost their first game, so, technically, they are on pace to go 0-16, but the odds of that actually…

Okay, Apple, congratulations.

Buckle Up
Intel launched the Automotive Security Review Board to improve cybersecurity in cars and reduce the chances of vehicles being hacked, after a recent study stated: HOLY CRAP, CARS CAN BE HACKED! I can hardly wait for the fast-approaching day when some bored eighth-grader finds an exploit in all mid-sized sedans and we find ourselves in the middle of a rush hour Mario Kart game.

Technostalgia
German auto manufacturer Porsche (pronounced “gif”) introduced the Mission E, an electric concept car with 590 horsepower, a 311-mile range, and a battery that can recharge to 80% in fifteen minutes. Automotive reporters present at the Frankfurt Motor Show for the unveiling were unanimous in commenting, “I remember when I could recharge in fifteen minutes.”

That’s So Old School
Apple released iOS 9 this week, and after thoroughly examining the features and performance of their competitor’s updated operating system, Microsoft executives said, “Nine? Who names their OS with a ‘nine'”?”

Good Thing Nobody’s Heard of That Amazon Store
Sharp plans to start selling an 85-inch, 8K TV in Japan next month. “Best news ever,” shouted Bert Naughton, Senior Vice President at Monster–the company best known for selling wildly overpriced electronics cables–from a raucous, company-wide celebration. “Getting 8K video is going to require four HDMI cables! Is Marketing on the phone yet? We need new packaging; call them Mega Super Ultra HD, 8K certified by the Professional Pixel Panel, with, I don’t know, Platinomium-coated contacts or something. And anyone that sells a cable for less than $200 is fired!”

But, Mom, That’s Not…
Android devices using the current Lollipop operating system were shown to be hackable by entering abnormally long passwords, though this exploit did not work on devices protected with a short pin code. “What’s that you were saying about not using 1-2-3-4?” asked everyone’s mother, smiling smugly.

Why Couldn’t I Have Gotten Arrested?
Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old in Irving, Texas, built a homemade clock, brought it to school, and was, naturally, arrested, handcuffed, and taken to a juvenile detention center. The claim was that he had built a “hoax bomb” to scare his classmates and teachers. No charges were filed, and the aftermath resulted in invitations to visit the White House, Facebook, and Google.

This was a nice turn of events for Ahmed, but I can’t help being a little bitter. It sounds like his clock was not even part of a competition, just something he did on his own, whereas my second grade Science Fair entry Fun With Static Electricity won first place (not just balloons–balloon animals!), but I didn’t get so much as a letter from the city councilman who lived on our street.

To-may-to, To-mah-to
Microsoft sent out media invites for next months briefing about new Windows 10 devices, including the updated Surface Pro, or, as it’s referred to by NFL television announcers–after Microsoft paid the NFL $400 million to make the Surface Pro the official tablet of the NFL–“the iPad.”

Do I Not Bleed?
Facebook is working with the German government to prevent xenophobic and racist comments from being posted. OK, but what’s being done to crack down on the guy who, with no regard for the fact that I’m a real person with actual, human emotions, viciously and hatefully lashed out by referring to this blog as “meh?”

Frankly, I Don’t Trust the Coffee Maker Either
The new Roomba 980 vacuum cleaner will allegedly keep working until it has cleaned every possible spot on your floor. It is able to do this by mapping your whole house with the use of a camera. Oh, and military robotics technology.

No thanks. I’ve seen this movie. It was called Maximum Overdrive. It was based on a Stephen King story in which machines come to life and help us lead more efficient, fulfilling lives. Ha! As if! No, they want us dead, of course. And you know what the ability to map my whole house means? The ability to find me wherever the hell I hide, that’s what.

“Oh, what’s a Roomba going to do to you?” you ask. “Clean you to death?”

You don’t watch horror movies, do you?

All you have to do is trip once (guess what trips you?), and the Roomba accelerates, gets hold of your hair, and, without being too graphic, let’s just say you aren’t standing up again with your scalp and brain intact.

So I think we’ll keep pushing around our twelve-year-old, non-military grade Dirt Devil. (My wife would like me to clarify that, by “we,” I mean “she.” This is true, but only because I have an old Frisbee-related wrist injury that could flare up at any time, especially with the way that vacuum cleaner lurches to one side, being on only three wheels–it’s a real bear to manage, let me tell you–and I wouldn’t want my ability to type up this blog and deliver it to the readers (both of you) to be affected.)

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
@MovieLeagueMike

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DTNS 2584 – To Virtually Go Where No One Has Gone Before

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comNASA has been working on virtual reality for 20 years. Erin Carson talks with Tom Merritt and Jennie Josephson about what she learned touring NASA’s lab and why lag was never the big issue.

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DTNS 2583 – To Google Glass– and Beyond!

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comGoogle Glass is apparently now part of Project Aura which is not Project Ara and also not Google X. Confused? Robb Dunewood and Tom Merritt will attempt to clear it up for you.

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DTNS 2582 – Clock Blocked

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comWhat Apple giveth, Apple taketh away and what Tom Merritt and Scott Johnson think of the Texas high schooler’s controversial clock and what it means for tech education.

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DTNS 2581 – 99 Googballons

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comCould virtual assistants replace search or even our UI? Tom Merritt and Patrick Beja discuss.

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DTNS 2580 – I choose you, Kimishima!

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comMicrosoft has new hardware coming, Google’s getting serious about cars and Nintendo has a new President. Plus, Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt talk with +Kevin Purdy about the best Android-compatible watches.

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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…

Whisky-A-No-No

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

@MovieLeagueMike

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DTNS 2579 – One More Ad, With Feeling

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comStartups are beginning to do emotion detection on video and even offer “emotion as a service.” Do we want advertisers to know how we feel? Natali Morris and Tom Merritt discuss, while Len Peralta draws live.

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Continue reading DTNS 2579 – One More Ad, With Feeling

Helping each other understand.