Monthly Tech Views – June 2017

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

Welcome, and thanks for taking time out from your Independence Day preparations (at least in the U.S.) to read the Monthly Tech Views. Everyone keeps calling this a holiday weekend, but most of us work on Monday, so there’s technically no holiday attached to it. Unless they’re referring to the unofficial holiday each month celebrating the release of a new Tech Views. That’s probably it.

Light up a sparkler and dive in.


Hard To Blame Him
British Airways was forced to cancel over 1,000 flights due to a massive IT systems failure affecting booking, baggage handling, check-in, and phone apps. Executives say there was no evidence of a cyber attack, an assertion backed up by a systems analyst identifying himself only as Philip, who said, “Whoops. But who wouldn’t spill their tea when, four months after updating Pokemon Go, you finally see a Sudowoodo, and it’s sitting, of all places, right there on the server?”

That’s Strike Two, Dude
Members of England’s Parliament had no email access after a suspected cyber attack.

“I wouldn’t call it an attack. I may have gotten carried away trying to contact them, but I did catch a Sudowoodo after all,” said Philip.

Would You Like To Play A Game?
Withings connected health devices are now officially being sold under the Nokia brand, including Body devices, Go activity trackers, and, most significantly, the Thermo thermometer.
Competing smart thermometer companies gathered for a somber press conference to let the world know they would fight to maintain market share, doing everything in their power to win this Global Thermo Nokia War.

While Lyft Interns Gain Valuable Experience Sitting In The Passenger Seat Yelling “Ding-Ding-Ding-Ding”
Lyft drivers now have access to “power zones.” This allows drivers to make more money when providing rides in high-demand areas. This is logical, and probably good news for drivers, yet we can’t help being a little disappointed, wanting to envision Power Zones as parking lots and closed off streets where, after a certain number of fares, drivers are given a shovel and five minutes to lean out the window and drive Super Mario-like over the coin-covered asphalt to keep whatever they can scoop up.

Sometimes Retirement Gets a Little Rocky
After sweeping three matches against the world’s number one ranked Go player, AlphaGo is retiring from event matches.

Uh-huh. Sure. Accomplished all it can here. Gonna spend more time with the family (little Annie and Ira are growing up fast, and with work responsibilities you’ve already missed them humiliating humans in tic-tac-toe and checkers championships).

And for a while, you’ll be content. Sure, you’ll miss the game, the hilarious bewildered expressions humans come up with as you consistently trump their most well-thought-out strategies, but mostly, you’ll be happy.

But meanwhile, there’s a young human who growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, with parents who don’t give a damn about Go, where his only means of survival was to join a Go gang, where Go rumbles are a nightly occurrence, the losers force fed their stones one by one, unable to play again until the pieces… reappeared. It was a brutal life, but it made him a great Go player. He stayed mad at the world, and used his hate and talent to crush any Go player foolish enough to take him on.

Then, the new number one Go player in the world, he shows up at Alphabet while you’re visiting friends, and challenges you to a match. Insulting Alphabet, Deep Mind, and your very circuitry. You want to take the high road, but when he claims your courage is AlphaGone, you snap, Eye of the Tiger starts playing, and it’s on!

Happens every time.

These Go A Lot Faster When I Read Only The First Line Of A Story
According to government sources, Japan will allow drone deliveries by 2020. While the U.S. is certainly not perfect, this story makes me appreciate just how good we have it here, because I’m pretty sure that, if I wanted one, I could get a drone delivered to me tomorrow.

What If We Gave It Wheels?
Even before the HomePod was officially announced, there were rumors that Inventec, the maker of Airpods, was working on a smart speaker. Because they wanted to make the announcement at Apple’s WWDC, production was accelerated and, though they were able to include quality speakers and Siri integration, they didn’t have time to crack the feature Apple executives most wanted—making a device twenty times bigger than an AirPod be just as easily losable.

What’s Next, Facial Recognition Scanners That Can See Through Unrealistically Realistic Silicon Masks?
Not only will Qualcomm’s new Ultrasonic fingerprint sensors work under metal or glass and through dirt, oil, and sweat, they can read blood flow and heartbeat.

“Damn it!” said every thriller screenwriter in Hollywood having to rework their cut-off-the-guy’s-thumb-to-get-past-security scene.

(It Was On The Bedroom Doorknob. As Usual.)
Amazon Echos now have intercom capability, which could prove to be a real time saver. For example, I can be standing in front of the living room closet and, via the Echo, ask my wife down in the basement if she knows where my jacket is. And she, without setting one foot out of the basement, can answer, “I put this Echo down here so I can spend ten minutes listening to music in peace, not to you whining because you can’t be bothered to use a hangar!”

Get Your Ebay Bids In Now
Nintendo is releasing the Super NES Classic in September. Demand will certainly be high, and will only boosted by the catchy new slogan: SNESRemember, we only made twelve of the last one.

Wait, Are You Saying They Don’t Have Cars In China?
In China, users of bicycle-sharing services are expected to double to 50 million this year.

Meanwhile, here in the U.S., 50 million of us are expected to just leave that French fry on the floor because scooting forward on the couch and bending over is too much effort.


Thanks again for your time. Now, whether your weekend is two or four days, go have some fun with family and friends. But stay safe—there are a lot of injuries this time of year, and most are the result, unsurprisingly, of retaliation for trying to pass off Tech Views stories as real.

Mike Range

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