Monthly Tech Views – Jan 29, 2017

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

Welcome to the first Monthly Tech Views of 2017! This will be very similar to the beloved* Weekly Tech Views, though it will appear, as you calendar aficionados have guessed, approximately 25% as often.

I would like to start by addressing the concern I’m sure most of you have–rest assured that, although I will now have four times as many stories to choose from, I will not be saddling you with a blog post four times as long. No, I see no point in annoying you with a twenty-minute read when I have every confidence I can annoy you in five minutes.


Do We Really Need An Accountant?
The Right to Disconnect Law went into effect in France, requiring companies of more than 50 employees to establish hours when work email is not to be sent or received. The hope is for less stress and burnout among workers, while some experts go so far as to predict that this will result in France leading the world in companies of exactly 50 employees.

It Depends On What Angle You Look At The Subscribers From
Sprint has purchased 33% of artist-owned (well, 67% artist-owned, apparently) music service Tidal. Tidal claims 3 million subscribers, though there are reports that this total is inflated and is actually closer to 1.1 million. Even if that is true, it’s tough to come down too hard on them with the double duty they were pulling estimating inauguration crowds.

I’d Hate To Have To Raid The Emergency Bags In The Panic Room
Amazon has begun placing virtual Dash buttons on shoppers’ home screens. On the plus side, you don’t have to pay the initial five dollars required for the physical button, but the obvious drawback is what if I run out of Doritos while sitting on the couch in the living room and my laptop is way the hell over on the dining room table? I’m supposed to get up and walk to the computer, boot up, log in to Amazon and click on the button? Instead of the reliable, instant method of manically mashing the real-life button on the nearest end table (I always run out of Doritos on the couch) with my Jacked-Smoky-Chipotle-BBQ-cheese-dust-caked hand? Okay, sure. And why don’t I just use smoke signals from now on to call 911?

We Apologize For Overestimating How Hard They Were Willing To Work
Uber reached a $20 million settlement with the FTC for exaggerating drivers’ potential income, quoting a “median” annual income that only 10% of drivers reached.

“Okay, maybe we shot a little high on how much most drivers would make, but still, there’s no denying that our drivers can make decent money while having the freedom to work any hours they choose. They are their own boss! I mean, they can bring in a pretty respectable chunk of change whether they decide to work 6am to midnight or noon to 6am!”

You Can Sleep When You’re Rich
An MIT study found that 3,000 ride-hailing vehicles could meet 94% of the demand currently handled by 14,000 taxis in New York City, though the simulation indicated the requirement of autonomous vehicles running continuously for extended hours.

“Who said they have to be self-driving?” yelled underpaid Uber drivers as they hunted for the accelerator through a clattering, calf-deep sea of Red Bull cans.

It’s Called An Homage. A Desperate, Frantic Homage.
Jerry Seinfeld received a $100 million deal to bring Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee from Crackle to Netflix. “Yeah, so, what do we care? We’ll be… just… fine,” said Crackle executives as they hurriedly ramped up production on their hot new show Teachers in Trucks Getting Tang.

There’s Always A Catch
Ford has a device called SmartLink that can be added to 2010-and-newer Ford and Lincoln vehicles, adding not only remote start, lock, and unlock capabilities, but also providing a WiFi hotspot for up to eight devices.

“Sweet!” said teenagers who use the family car to cruise around town, envisioning the hero they’ll be to all their friends on limited data plans.

Plus, the accompanying app will track driving habits and alert the car’s owner if preset speed limits and geographical boundaries are exceeded.

“Why you gotta ruin everything, Ford?” said teenagers.

You’re Saying My Oven Will Never Be On For More Than Ten Consecutive Minutes?
GE WiFi ovens now integrate with Nest Protect smoke detectors so that if smoke is detected, the detector will shut down the oven.

“That’s all well and good, but where is something like that for phone batteries?” asked Samsung.

All You Had To Do Was Ask
Stanford researchers have invented a lithium-ion battery that, should it overheat, melts its fire-retardant shell and stops a fire in less than half a second.

“That’s all well and good, but can you stop marketing it as Samsung-proofed?” asked Samsung.

Buy High, Sell High. Or At Least Really Drunk.
The value of alleged digital currency Bitcoin surpassed $1,000 for the first time in three years on the Bitstamp exchange. In other fake currency news, the magic beans I got for the family cow are now worth 14 flippityzillion dibzerts on the Beanstamp exchange.

The Public Will Forgive An Honest Mistake
Reacting to a story, a San Diego news anchor said, “I love the little girl saying ‘Alexa ordered me a dollhouse’,” thus activating many viewers’ Amazon Echoes, prompting them to order dollhouses.

Hopefully this will serve as an important lesson to other newscasters, who should realize that doing something like that–except substituting “dollhouse” with “the really funny book, Tech, Please!”–is a good way to earn a quick fifty bucks.


Speaking of books filled with humorous tech stories, sales of Tech, Please are going so well that the New York Times called me “the Stephen King of tech humor.” Wait, no… it wasn’t in the Times, it was in my daydream journal. Still, it was nice to see in writing.

You can get your hands on your own copy of Tech, Please!, the book Publishers Weekly is calling–

Nope, that was in my journal, too. Damn, I could have sworn there was a real one–

Ah-ha! Even better!–the book Tom Merritt and Justin Robert Young called “Hilarious… clever… amazing” on DTNS. Take that, periodicals!

Anyhow, you can find it at Amazon RIGHT HERE.


Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you in February, when we’ll hear Crackle say, “Bookkeepers on Boats Getting Beer?”


* My wife said she liked it once.


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