Weekly Tech Views 12 – Oct 3, 2015

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

October–a time of cider, pumpkins, and bogus tech analysis.

For the week of September 28 – October 2, 2015

I’m Going Viral
Sony is releasing an update for the PS4 which includes the ability to send 10 second gameplay clips to Twitter, which couldn’t be a better idea, because I was just saying how my social media experience would be enhanced if only my Twitter feed was filled with video of my nephews making me look like an idiot in NBA 2K15.

I’d Like To Say It Only Happened Once
And hey, more good news, Twitter is apparently working on ways to expand the 140-character limit on tweets, so my brother-in-law’s kids can publish a veritable treatise accompanying the gameplay clips, explaining how I hit myself in the face with my controller trying to execute a simple crossover dribble.

How About I Just Keep Some Febreeze In The Glove Compartment?
Tesla introduced the Model X SUV, a $132,000 all-wheel drive vehicle that can go zero-to-sixty in 3.8 seconds, has a range of 250 miles, reaches a top speed of 155mph, and includes, as a standard feature, whereas I’m pretty sure it is only available with the heated leather seats in the luxury upgrade package from most manufacturers, a BIO-WEAPON DEFENSE MODE!

Presumably, the button that activates the super-duper HEPA filter (probably even more powerful than the one my neighbors won’t shut up about in their fancy vacuum cleaner) is supposed to provide peace of mind in instances when you’ll have forewarning that a biological weapon attack is imminent, like, you know, those times when a truck labeled ANTHRAX is in front of you on the freeway and the back doors open and a couple guys in hazmat suits start throwing shovelfuls of powder at your car.

I think I’ll pass.* I’m pretty sure I’d get more peace of mind by not seeing that sinister quad-circled bio-hazard symbol light up for a couple seconds along with the “check engine” and “tire pressure” lights every time I start the car. (“Man, have I been looking forward to this vacation. C’mon, babe, time to hit the road for a week of sun-drenched relaxation. Myrtle Beach, here we [starts car] oh, yeah, I hope we don’t get doused with mustard gas.”)

The Dark Side Of Twitter
Edward Snowden, leaker of National Security Agency documents and current fugitive resident of Russia, is now on Twitter. His first tweet–“Can you hear me now?”–was innocuous enough, but he then put stunned government officials on alert worldwide, wondering what bizarre and unbalanced move he might make next, when he followed up by live-tweeting Dancing With The Stars.

Ladder Sold Separately
Google’s new tablet, the Pixel C, has an optional magnetic bluetooth keyboard, making it ridiculously easy to convert from tablet to laptop when you need to do something typing-intensive. Unless you’re in college. In that case, prior to clicking the keyboard and tablet together, you have the one additional step of walking over to the phys-ed fieldhouse and retrieving the magnetic keyboard from the rim of the retractable auxiliary basketball hoop where your moron friends keep putting it.

Why? Because It’s There
Google is producing a new Chromecast, this model available in a variety of colors. A colorful object plugged into the back of TVs, where we’ll never see it, combined with the new flexible HDMI cable, was obviously designed for the lucrative market consisting of our cat, who’s always looking for new incentives to jump up and drive us crazy by trying to scale the back of the TV. I’m sure she’d find a bright red, round Chromecast to be thirty-five dollars well-spent as an enticing new foothold on her personal indoor rock wall.

Friendly Fire
Logitech is coming out with a new mechanical gaming keyboard which you can customize by assigning different colored lights to individual keys. You press a key and it lights for a second. I’m not sure how much enjoyment I’ll get from the lighting effect, as my attention tends to be on the screen during games, but I do anticipate countless moments of reaching a critical juncture in a game, initiating a precise, choreographed move of split-second timing between mouse clicks and keystrokes–a move I’d always had trouble executing with my old, standard keyboard–and feeling with certainty that, this time, our cat has enthusiastically launched herself onto the desk and attacked the colorfully flickering, rhythmically clicking keyboard (this and the Chromecast thing? what is this, Christmas?), and, by extension, my left hand, causing my character to drop a grenade at his feet and frag himself.

 

* This implies that I have the option of buying a $132,000 car. See–this blog can be funny.

 

Okay, you got through another Weekly Tech Views. If I were you, I’d tell someone else they should read this, too. Nobody likes to suffer alone.

 

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

DTNS 2594 – Rock Me AmaZeus

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comIt’s Fanmail Friday. We touch on more from the Patreon data dump, get a good insight on why Amazon dumped Chromecast and why you might still want to hold off on a 4K TV. Darren Kitche, Justin Robert Young and Tom Merritt discuss while Len Peralta draws.

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DTNS 2593 – House of Clouds

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comHow reliable is the cloud? Is the Internet even reliable? +Derek Colanduno joins the show to talk about when to trust the cloud and when not to.

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Continue reading DTNS 2593 – House of Clouds

DTNS 2592 – Schrödinger’s Television

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comOLED, 4K and quantum dots got your head spinning? Robert Heron talks TV tech and the best buys out there with Scott Johnson and Tom Merritt .

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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!

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Show Notes
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Continue reading DTNS 2592 – Schrödinger’s Television

DTNS 2591 – Magnets! They Work Like This.

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comGoogle announces new Nexus phones, new Chromecasts for video and audio and an enticing convertible Android tablet. Tom Merritt and Patrick Beja 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 2591 – Magnets! They Work Like This.

DTNS 2590 – The Unbearable Politeness of Being Disconnected

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comAre we too obsessed with our phones? Studies suggest they may make us less empathetic and prevent substantive conversation. Tom Merritt and Veronica Belmont talk about how to maintain a smart balance with your smart phone.

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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 2590 – The Unbearable Politeness of Being Disconnected

Weekly Tech Views 11 – Sept 26, 2015

 

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Real tech stories. Really Shaky Analysis.

Welcome to early fall, that magical time of year when many of us get to both rake leaves and mow the lawn! Take a well-deserved break with a few minutes of pseudo-technology nonsense.

For the week of September 21 – September 25, 2015

 

It’s All About That Face, ‘Bout That Face, New Pebble
Pebble announced the Pebble Time Round, its first smartwatch with a round face. This is how I hope the press conference went:

[A round stage is designed to mimic a watch face and at each hour sits a two-year-old dressed like Fred and Wilma Flintstone’s kid. Center stage, Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky takes questions]

“Why does the new watch have a shorter battery life than previous versions?”

“It’s round.”

“Do you think the smaller display will hinder it’s functionality?”

“It’s round!”

“What’s that smell?”

“Three o’clock Pebbles peed.”

“Why wasn’t the $249 price rounded to $250?”

“We’re done here.”

Starbucks Makes it Easier Than Ever to Spend Seven Bucks on a 900-Calorie, Nutrition-Free Breakfast
The Starbucks app is now available for Android, providing the ability to order and pay with your mobile device. This will work in 7,000 U.S. locations, which, according to the most recent census, covers nearly three-quarters of the stores in eastern Connecticut. The next update to the app is expected to include the Digital Barista, a feature that lets you speak your order into your phone–“a Venti Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino and a Pumpkin Scone, for Charles”–and then, at the very moment your order is ready, you will get a voice message stating “Your order is ready, Caramels.”

And While You’re At It, Tattoo Your Bank Account Info on Your Forehead
The Indian government had proposed a law requiring smartphone users to keep any encrypted information stored on their phone, in plain text, for ninety days, so the government could have a little look-see if they felt like it. Thankfully, this provision was removed in a later draft, along with the less-publicized requirement that citizens keep all web site passwords written on a piece of paper and kept in their sock drawer.

At Least There Was No Vomit Involved
When Amazon Web Services went down over the weekend, writer David Gerwitz reported that his Echo–Amazon’s personal assistant device–didn’t take it well. When he spoke requests such as “turn on the lights” or “turn off the alarm,” the only response from Alexa–the Echo’s “brain”–was to initiate a spinning red light (a light that is normally blue) and slowly speak a series of meaningless words. Analysts expect Mr. Gerwitz to add some levitation and a swarm of flies and get cracking on a first draft of The Alexorcist.

Yeah, But How About the Fun We Had With Fahrvergnugen?
The Environmental Protection Agency sent a notice of violation (known in official government parlance as “calling shenanigans”) to Volkswagen after discovering that some of their diesel vehicles were cheating emissions tests. The German auto manufacturer had installed software to determine if testing was being done, and only under those conditions would emissions be scaled back.

No question, Volkswagen (motto: “If the car doesn’t emit, you must issue a permit“) did a lousy thing. They duped the EPA and screwed their customers by taking an axe to their car’s resale value. But I think we can all agree the big picture takeaway is this: machines continue to become more like us every day.

As anthropologists have said for centuries, the ability to control when we emit gasses is what separates us from the animals.* Which of us hasn’t, when being “tested”–at a job interview, on a date, sitting through the third hour of a play you didn’t want to go to in the first place and has you questioning whether it was really worth promising this to be able to go to the Browns game with your friends last week–altered our natural tendencies and contained emissions that would put us in a bad light in the eyes of others, and then, once free of the testing scenario, emitted something not only harmful to the immediate environment, but capable of jiggling the needle on a nearby seismograph?

Fingerprints Are Like Snowflakes–Neither Is Safe Inside a Federal Government Building
Previously, The U.S. Office of Personnel Management stated that the fingerprints of 1.1 million government employees were accessed during a data breach this summer. That number has now been updated to 5.6 million. Demoralized by the extent of this hack, officials performed an extensive cost/benefit analysis and decided they could save taxpayers millions of dollars and be nearly as secure by uninstalling all computer security software and asking the world to go on the honor system.

If It Wasn’t Important, It Wouldn’t Be On Twitter
On this episode of Priorities Playhouse, we eavesdrop on a technology conversation taking place in thousands of homes, workplaces, dorms, and coffeeshops between two web surfers:

Web Surfer A: “Wow, listen to this–a paraplegic was able to walk by wearing a cap that sent signals from his brain–bypassing his severed spinal cord!–to his leg muscles via electrodes around his kn–”

Web Surfer B: “Hey–you can get your selfie printed on a pancake!”**

There Ought to Be a Law
A U.S. District Judge ruled that the Fifth Amendment prevents someone from having to divulge their mobile phone passcode to provide authorities access to the contents. It turns out, however, that it does nothing to prevent your fantasy football leaguemates, after listening to you brag all off-season about going 12-1-1 and winning the league championship, from guessing that your passcode is 1211 and leaving images on your camera roll of the trophy you bought to commemorate your accomplishment being subjected to contact with parts of their bodies that only the most intimate of medical specialists would normally see.

 

* Journal of Obnoxious Smells (June, 1981)

** Yes, it’s true: http://laist.com/2015/09/24/pancake_selfies_are_the_future.php

 

Thanks for spending some of your non-yard work time with the Weekly Tech Views. If you know someone else who needs an excuse to put the rake down for a few minutes, send them by.

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 2589 – You Go, Constitution!

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comA US judge rules the 5th amendment protects two defendants from revealing their passwords. Is your password safe from a government warrant or subpoena? Tom Merritt and Darren Kitchen discuss while Len Peralta illustrates the episode.

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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!

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Show Notes
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Continue reading DTNS 2589 – You Go, Constitution!

DTNS 2588 – Boom, Headshot!

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comUS cable TV network TBS will create its own esports league around Counter-Strike in conjunction with talent agency WME/IMG. Is this good for esports? Tom Merritt and Justin Young discuss with Garrett Weinzierl from Amove.tv.

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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 2588 – Boom, Headshot!

DTNS 2587 – Pebble Is Coming ‘Round

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comHappy Birthday may enter the public domain now while data may not be allowed to leave Europe for the US. Plus, Tom Merritt and Scott Johnson look over the upcoming Amazon TV pilots.

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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
To read the show notes in a separate page click here!
Continue reading DTNS 2587 – Pebble Is Coming ‘Round

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