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

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

DTNS 2578 – It’s An App App App App World

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comPrint is dying. Music is dying. TV is dying. App use is on the rise. Is all this true or just a clever shell game? Ewen Rankin, from British Tech Network, and Tom Merritt discuss.

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Continue reading DTNS 2578 – It’s An App App App App World

DTNS 2577 – Don’t Punch the Monkey, Instagram!

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comApple announced a big iPad, a touched iPhone, an Apple TV you can gesture at and talk to and a rose gold Apple Watch. Scott Johnson Adam Christianson from Mac Cast and Tom Merritt discuss.

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Continue reading DTNS 2577 – Don’t Punch the Monkey, Instagram!

DTNS 2576 – Space Whisky

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comCan anybody replicate Xiaomi’s success in China/ And will their budget approach ruing them in the end? Patrick Beja and Tom Merritt discuss that, space whisky and more.

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DTNS 2575 – Headlines

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comIt’s the Labour Day holiday so Tom reads some headlines about a wealth of new phones coming to India, a new top phone maker in the US, and why eBook sales are declining.

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Continue reading DTNS 2575 – Headlines

Weekly Tech Views 8 – Sept 5, 2015

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Real tech news. 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 August 31 – September 4, 2015

Hooray for Applewood
Apple may be looking to compete with Netflix, as Apple executives have reportedly been in touch with Hollywood, seeking the production of original video content. Talks were delayed when Hollywood movie executives doubled over, laughed for half an hour, and finally gasped, “Original? Did you hear that? They want original content!” After another spasm of laughter, during which three more Paranormal Activity sequels were greenlighted, they wiped their eyes and said, “You guys are looking for TV; they’re next door.”

Don’t Let the Door Hit You…
Stanford, MIT, and Toyota are teaming to create “intelligent”, rather than self-driving, cars, with artificial intelligence that will make people better drivers. That’s cool, as long as they come up with what the industry calls a TAW function (“the industry” being Weekly Tech Views writers) that works like this: if a driver cuts someone off three times in a month or stays ten miles per hour below the speed limit for over ten minutes or leaves their left turn signal on from Cleveland to Indianapolis, the dashboard flashes “THIS AIN’T WORKING” while the car pulls over and the seat tips the driver out onto the sidewalk. Then it dispenses cab fare, and lists itself on Craigslist.

I’m Just Saying, Get a Receipt
Nextbit is Kickstarting a new phone called Robin that would automatically store your lesser used apps and data in the cloud to save space on the phone. Sweet. Why not store what you’re not using somewhere else? When you need it, you just bring it back. A fine idea. Except, I’ve kind of been through this before.

It starts out, “You haven’t looked at these comic books in a while, let’s make some space in your closet and store these in the attic.” You say, “Whatever.” They weren’t bothering you in the closet, but if it’s that big a deal to your mom, fine, it’s not battle-worthy.

Then, a year later, in eighth grade homeroom, you meet a cute girl who is actually into Marvel Comics. So you race home from school to prepare your collection to show her the next day. You perform the Olympic-level gymnastics necessary to hoist yourself through the ladderless two-foot square opening in the ceiling. It’s early September, so the attic has maintained its customary 197 degrees and your new school clothes are plastered to your body, including the sweater-vest, for god’s sake, that your mom made you wear, despite the fact that it was still officially summer, so you’d be a “handsome young man” for the first day of school.

But none of that matters, because you’ve reached the box that’s going to let you impress Cindy Stewart before any of the other guys have a chance. You throw open the slimy-yet-sticky, perpetually-on-the-verge-of-melting lid to the Rubbermaid container, and gaze upon six cubic feet of… tiny plastic pilgrims. And Indians. And turkeys. All slightly warped, losing their own non-air conditioned battle with the Cleveland summer. What you don’t see are four neatly-wrapped and bound packages of Marvel comics.

You have the wrong bin. Easy mistake.

You look at the side of the container and see the curling masking tape… Mike’s Comic Books is crossed off, Thanksgiving Decorations is squeezed underneath in your mom’s neat cursive.

You interrupt your mother’s viewing of General Hospital with a scream that convinces her you’ve finally impaled yourself on one of “those damned lightsabers scattered all over your room.” And when you try to explain that she has ruined any chance you ever had at being happy, she responds, with the same tone she might use to say she cleaned up an accident the dog had in the living room, “Oh, you hadn’t looked at those in forever, I got rid of them.”

Careful, Nextbit. Be very careful.

The Battery’s Just Showing Off
Runtastic introduced the Orbit, a fitness-tracking smartwatch which stores a week’s worth of data, is waterproof, and contains a lifetime battery. Technically, it’s a six-month battery, but, after completing an in-depth study consisting of flipping through my workout journals of the last five years, I’ve determined that nobody has ever used a fitness tracker long enough to know the difference.

What’s In a Name?
Wikipedia banned nearly 400 accounts for targeting users who’d had a requested article change declined, and offering to publish them for a fee. Then they would require as much as $30 per month to “protect” the article. Yes, that’s extortion, and sure, it’s unethical, but looking at it from a purely financial standpoint, at thirty bucks a month, was I paying too much to have my entry read “Lord High Tech Blogger of the Entire Tri-State Area”?

Global IQ Reaches All-Time Low as Throngs Join Hacked Adultery Site
A funny thing happened while Ashley Madison employees were cleaning out their desks and sneaking mouse pads, staplers, and pads of Post-It notes into their briefcases–the business didn’t die. According to Ashley Madison (slogan: “Sure your data is vulnerable; it’s the risk of getting caught that makes it exciting.”), hundreds of thousands of new users signed up in just the last week. Apparently, the recent deluge of news stories has served as effective advertising, despite that recent news being, essentially, “if you sign up for Ashley Madison, there is a good chance your name will be published as a client, your spouse, family, and friends will find out, you will be ridiculed, sued for divorce, and possibly lose half your net worth.” Which, as ad copy goes, is not CLIO Award-winning stuff. Asked to explain the surge in business despite the horrible publicity, an Ashley Madison spokesperson said, “We’ve found that the demographic least swayed by news is humanity’s impulsive, wandering loins.”

OK, Google…Find Hair Plugs
Following last month’s major reorganization, Google has now changed its logo. The new font is  sans serif (from the French, meaning “without a particularly good reason”), which some say looks “more modern and playful.” Industry insiders predict this isn’t the last of Google’s changes, and expect the internet giant to start shopping at Aeropostale, driving a Jaguar, and dating search engines half their age.

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.

Helping each other understand.