Monthly Tech Views – November 2017

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

It is truly the most wonderful time of the year, when the Monthly Tech Views emerges from its burrow to see if there will be six more weeks of turkey sandwiches.

Surprised It Wasn’t Middle Fingers
A new Snapchat feature uses object recognition to suggest contextually appropriate filters for your photos. Possibly a guitar filter if you’re at a concert, maybe a surfboard for the beach, etc.  Anxious to see what the competition was up to, Instagram executives tried it out:


“What’d you take?”

“Just a wide view of the office.

“So what filter are they suggesting?”

“It’s… it’s a picture of Garfield.”

“The cat?”

“No, James A. Garfield, because all the kids love presidents from the 1800s.”

“Okay, okay, but why Gar—“

“There’s another Garfield! And another. Another. All the same. The photo is covered in Garfields. Ha! Their contextual feature is garbage—it has no idea where we are.”

“No, it definitely knows this is Instagram—that’s the Copycat filter.”

I’m Going To Have So Many Friends On Beadbook
An Austrian designer has created a series of “substitute phones” in an attempt to cure smartphone addiction. The devices–which I would bet a million dollars he wanted to spell F-A-U-X-N-S but nobody in the damned test group would pronounce it right–incorporate a series of stone beads to allow users to perform swiping, scrolling, and zooming motions as if using a real phone. The devices are already a huge hit as evidenced by the onslaught of blog posts debating the superiority of BeadOS vs Beaddroid.

Why Buy An End Table When We Can Just Turn This Box Upside Down?
Amazon’s new augmented reality feature lets you virtually place items in your home to see how they would fit. This will certainly be a very helpful feature for those who did not go overboard on Black Friday to the point that every square inch of space is already occupied by empty Amazon boxes the cat is playing in.

Now Kids Don’t Have To Worry About Creasing That Binding That Mom Pays So Much Attention To
Audible has a new feature for romance novels called Take Me To The Good Part. I am in no way arguing with the usefulness of this feature, but is it all that impressive a technological achievement to search for “throbbing” and “heaving”?

Umm, Luckerberg?
Facebook discovered that 270 million of their accounts were illegitimate, which was more than they expected. Less surprising was that 99% of these belonged to disgruntled users going by the name Mark (rhymes with Zuckerberg).

And Raise Your Hand To Ask To Use The Bathroom
SoftBank and Dragoneer have agreed to invest in Uber, contingent on Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick requiring board approval for any replacements to the three board seats he controls.

What this means legally is that he controls those seats the way I control my ability to purchase any tech gadget over $50, as I have to get approval from the rest of my family, which consists of my wife and our cat, and the cat has reportedly designated my wife as proxy.

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind, Out Of Our Misery
ESPN is working on a shorter version of SportsCenter for Snapchat–a three to five minute edition covering only the most important stories of the day. This is a godsend for Cleveland Browns fans, as the team will never be mentioned.

Smile For The Database!
Facebook is testing a “face photo” captcha as a security measure to prevent unauthorized access to accounts. When prompted, you upload a picture of your face which Facebook will check and then, they say, permanently delete.

Okay, it seems not the most difficult thing to get a photo of someone to upload if you really want to trick the system, but aside from that, doesn’t it feel a little weird? I’m not saying they are definitely amusing themselves by creating fake yearbooks with captions under our photos like MOST LIKELY TO KNIT A SWEATER WITH THAT NOSEHAIR or that some particularly nice images will end up wallet- or locket-sized and suddenly Terry in Data Entry’s friends think you’re the significant other, I’m just saying they haven’t offered to let me watch the photos get deleted.

What’s next, full-body photos? The less clothing, the more security? Ha, not even Face–

Facebook wants your nude photos. For security!

The idea is that if you are worried about someone posting a photo of you at your most Kardashian, you can submit the photo (or photos, you bold little monkey) to Facebook. Then, if someone tries to post that image, Facebook will block it. This, of course, makes you doubly safe, because not only is the other person’s attempt at revenge porn foiled, but because no big company has ever been hacked and lost control of millions of peoples personally identifiable information.

Wait Until You Try The Route Through Snake River Canyon
An update to the Waze travel app includes more accurate directions for motorcyclists. You may think the routes for motorcycles and cars would be the same, but motorcycles can access certain areas that larger vehicles can’t, yet prior to this update, Waze inexplicably had motorcyclists avoiding ramps that would launch them over a row of 45 flaming barrels.


New Stuff!
Hey, want a change of pace from my goofing about tech? I’m posting quite a bit at Medium now–it’s all short form (4-minutes or less) and strives for funny, with topics like CBS turning their whole lineup into versions of Young Sheldon, Macy’s Mansplaining Day Parade, and Thanksgiving specials you’re glad you missed. Any eyes on these would be appreciated (and maybe even worth your time).

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