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
@MovieLeagueMike

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

DTNS 2564 – Sorrify

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.com Darren Kitchen, Shannon Morse, Justin Robert Young, and Len Peralta are filling in for Tom, who is out on assignment. What the Ashley Madison leak says about the state of internet security, an update on Spotify’s controversial new privacy policy, and quantum computing-powered cryptography.

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Show Notes
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Continue reading DTNS 2564 – Sorrify

DTNS 2563 – Don’t You Forget About Me

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.com Justin and Andrew Mayne fill in for Tom, who is on assignment. New hardware from Microsoft, the insistence to be forgotten, and diamonds in the sky

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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
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Continue reading DTNS 2563 – Don’t You Forget About Me

DTNS 2562 – Binders Full of MapQuest

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.com Scott Johnson and Jon Strickland filling in for Tom, who is on assignment. A film for your subconscious, emoji overload, and more Apple rumors

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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
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Continue reading DTNS 2562 – Binders Full of MapQuest

DTNS 2561 – That Old Shoe Facebook

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comPatrick Beja and Allison Sheridan filling in for Tom who is on assignment. Facebook’s overhaul of Notes, more AppleTV rumors, and Google’s new wifi router

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

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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!

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Show Notes
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Continue reading DTNS 2561 – That Old Shoe Facebook

DTNS 2560 – Slamazon

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comVeronica Belmont and Roger Chang fill in for Tom who is on assignment. Amazon and Android will most certainly be discussed.

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

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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 2560 – Slamazon

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.

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!

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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.

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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
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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.

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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
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Continue reading DTNS 2557 – Lenovo always has your back… door access

Helping each other understand.