Monthly Tech Views – October 2017

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

As we all enjoy our eighth straight meal consisting exclusively of fun-sized Snickers Bars, how about some fun-sized October tech stories offering the same nutritional and informational value?

Democracy Is One Thing…
Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Group listed six aspects of social media that threaten democracy, including the spread of false information, political manipulation, and hate speech. In addition, while not technically affecting democracy, they do emphasize that it would be super cool if you’d knock off the Stranger Things spoilers.

Sometimes The Counter Is Juuuuust Too Far Away
Amazon’s new Kindle Oasis e-reader is waterproof in up to two meters of water. This is a long-awaited feature because there will be a time when you are awkwardly adjusting your clothing with the Oasis pinned between your chin and chest, and it will inevitably slip loose, but nobody’s toilet is two meters deep.

Is That A Nose?
PornHub is using facial recognition AI to identify the actors in its videos. This is a formidable undertaking, because not only are there ten thousand faces to identify, but they are so seldom where you expect a face to be.

Proving Once Again That Podcasting Is A Guaranteed Road To Riches
Google acquired podcast app 60dB. The app launched just one year ago and was known primarily for airing the hit business podcast Get Rich In One Year With A Podcast App!

Zigging When You Expect Them To Zag
You know how after a company gets hacked, people say, “this is the best time to deal with them because their security is going to be crazy high right now”? Well Equifax refuses to bend to your stereotype. Marching to the beat of a different drum, the credit reporting agency went ahead and got hacked for the second time in five months (their plan was to march to the beat of their usual drum, but it too was hacked and now sounds like a xylophone).

Let’s Pump Up The Volume! Of Insulin! But Only As Needed And In A Safe Manner!
A new insulin pump can determine how much of the drug to deliver by using an algorithm in a smart phone app that accounts for meals, sleep, and activity. The key to the algorithm’s accuracy is in automatically reducing reported activity levels by 75% because we’re all big fat liars and often attach activity monitors to our pets. As an added measure, it also delivers a severe electrical shock when we report a cherry Pop-Tart as “fruit.”

It’s Just A Harmless Buzz, Like That Venti Latte Macciato
A study shows people are more productive with 70 decibels of ambient noise in a coffee shop, though the same noise level at work does not achieve the same results. And some insist that coffee shop, office, or Kenny G concert, any noise is too much noise and silence is the perfect concentration environment.

I am with the coffee shop crowd—I find some degree of ambient noise critical to my blueberry scone focus. I write many of these pumpkin spice Tech Views in a coffee shop. Because I am latte disciplined enough to not actively decaf listen in on conversations, I find that the background noise serves as that barista is hot; I’m going to ask her out… Are you kidding? Why would she go out with you?… What do you mean? Why wouldn’t she go out with me?… You answered your own question—she’s hot… I’ve been out with hot girls before… Name one… Janice Wilson–she’s hot… Dude, you “dated” her in junior high. Once. And she only went out with you because your parents were friends and her mom made her do it to keep her from going to the dance with my productivity in a positive way.

Once Again—We Are No Longer Accepting Applications
The new iOS app Nude will scan your camera roll and use machine learning to identify nude photos and move them to a PIN-protected vault inside the app. The creators feel the artificial intelligence will provide much quicker identification than the previously utilized “network of jealous spouses,” allowing speed settings ranging from 1940’s School Librarian to Kardashian.

There’s Fast, And Then There’s Fast
Hyperloop One is now Virgin Hyperloop One after a significant investment from Richard Branson. The additional funding will certainly be helpful, but executives also think the Virgin name will help distinguish themselves from Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, “the slutty non-Virgin Hyperloop that will let anyone have a ride.”

Who Is The Real Winner Here?
Microsoft’s Surface Precision Mouse provides different functions depending on whether you use Windows, MacOS, or Android. While Linux users get no navigational functionality at all, you can rig it so left clicking dispenses a tiny Pez candy.

Don’t Mess With Cupcakes
Google Maps tested a feature that would estimate the calories you would burn if you walked your searched route, said calories indicated by the international standard of measurement known as “mini cupcakes.” So if your trek would burn 330 calories, that was three mini cupcakes. They removed the feature after overwhelmingly negative response, predominantly from exhausted users who finished their trek and waited in vain for Google to show up with the tiny treats.


For more empty literary calories, you can check out this selection of my recent short Medium posts (two of which appear in the Slackjaw humor publication) where I tackle the hard news, like…

  1.  CBS turning their whole schedule into versions of Young Sheldon
  2. Cookie-scented bathroom air fresheners
  3.  Missing Stranger Things by being forced to walk in the park


And remember, a diet of all Snickers isn’t good for you. Mix in a KitKat.


Mike Range


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