Weekly Tech Views – April 16, 2016

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

I feel like I have a fresh outlook on things today, as I view the new coat of paint on the dining room walls that surround me as I type this. It’s amazing how something as simple as a new color and the accompanying fumes can alter your perspective. Hope you enjoy it!

 I’ll Read When My Rexxar Is Level 60
An accidentally published page showed us the new Amazon Kindle Oasis. It will weigh less than a third of a pound, have better backlighting, and have an available battery case allowing 20 months of standby time. Of course, if you’re going to take advantage of the 20 month standby time, you may not need a new Kindle as badly as you thought. Still, there is peace of mind knowing you can excitedly load the Oasis with a bunch of new books, set it on your nightstand, and, without once charging it, play Hearthstone on your iPad instead of reading for the next year and a half until the even newer Kindle comes out.

A promotional video of the HTC 10 leaked a day ahead of its official unveiling, showing a design change including chamfered (from the French, meaning “transferred from the Champagne region” or “artsy-fartsy“)* edges, and–

Okay, look, can we stop calling these “leaks”? Tech companies, step up and call them what they are–teaser trailers. Hollywood does it, admits it, and we’re all okay with it. You’re trying to build buzz. Go for it. You don’t have to play the Victorian damsel, “accidentally” dropping your lace, perfumed hanky at the feet of an eligible bachelor. “Oh, thank you. How terribly careless of me. I declare, I am ever so grateful, not to mention flattered that you noticed my front-facing 5-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization.”

Bring On Castlevania 2!
A visual clue was recently discovered in 1987’s Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! for the NES,** helping players to get past foes Piston Honda and Bald Bull. A face in the crowd ducks when it’s time to throw a punch that will knock out either opponent. Welcome to this week’s edition of Having Fun at Mike’s Expense! I’m sure this is a handy tip for those who couldn’t quite get past Bald Bull, but for me, it’s like giving a hacking technique that thwarts one of the final layers of security at the NSA to someone stumped by the intricacies of hooking up their router. Just help me beat Glass Joe!

Blackberry will be launching two mid-range phones this year. By “launching,” one presumes they mean skeet-like, for the tech press–who last complimented a Blackberry phone in 2006–to blow to pieces.

I’m Going To Need You To Type The Alphabet Backwards
New York lawmakers are considering requiring drivers, after being in an accident, to submit their phone for testing by a “textalyzer,” a device that could tell whether a text was being sent during the crash. Okay, “textalyzer” is a clever name, but if it’s supposed to be the equivalent of a breathalyzer, that would mean the breathalyzer was only testing whether or not you were breathing when you got pulled over, which would be silly, because the answer is yes in well over 90% of cases. Or, on the other hand, the textalyzer should be analyzing the quality of your texts:

“Sir, you apparently used five commas in your last three texts–it’s not likely you were paying enough attention to the road to pull that off; I’m inclined to–a semi-colon! On the ground, dirtbag!

Another Quarterback? Seriously?
Microsoft has filed suit for the right to let customers know when the government requests access to their emails. They say that they have received 2,576 legal orders which required secrecy over the last 18 months. All right, let’s clear this up–I may have gotten a little carried away with my suggestions to the Cleveland Browns front office regarding who they should or shouldn’t draft later this month. I get it. I wasn’t really threatening anybody, and I’ve already apologized. There, that’s out in the open. It’s up to Microsoft whether they go to court over the remaining twelve legal orders.

Of Course I Didn’t Mean To. But Now That It’s Here…
The Sharp company’s RoBoHoN, a robot that–besides making annoying use of capitalization–sings, dances, and, oh yeah, is a cell phone, goes on sale next month in Japan. Some people are sure to have awkward conversations in their future explaining to their spouse why they dropped $1,800 on the cute little bugger, but not as awkward as those who accidentally order the RoboHoney. She also sings and dances, as well as moans, writhes and… other things.

Tech Lends A Hand
Doctors implanted a chip in the brain of a man paralyzed from the chest down, allowing him to control the movement in his right hand and fingers. The chip sends signal to a computer which sends the signals to a sleeve that stimulates the muscles necessary to carry out the action. He can, incredibly, pour from a bottle, pick up a straw and stir, and even play Guitar Hero.

This is, obviously, amazing technology that can’t help but make you think we are living in the future. And what it portends for, well, the future’s future, when components are smaller and allow mobility for the paralyzed outside of the lab, is exciting and, frankly, mind-boggling. It’s almost enough to distract you from the main takeaway of this achievement from a present day perspective–that there is now one more person who can kick my ass at Guitar Hero.

More Like Cruelest Cooler, Am I Right?
The Coolest Cooler is available on Amazon for $399 with two-day delivery. However, the two-thirds of 2014 Kickstarter backers who have yet to receive their cooler–thanks to higher-than-expected manufacturing costs–can get delivery in about two months–if they pay $97 for expedited shipping. There was an understandable uproar at this announcement, and to make amends the creators have now offered, for only $50, six of those foam can koozies.


*   Probably.

** Nintendo Entertainment System, kids–Nintendo was around before the WiiU. Oh… well, the WiiU is like an Xbox One or PS4. Allegedly. Not many have seen one in the wild.


The Summer Movie Draft moves along, with Tom and Jennie’s Team DTNS… still at zero. If you want to see how much ground they have to make up (which they start doing with this week’s Jungle Book), you can check out the latest CRUMDUM.


Thanks for stopping by the Weekly Tech Fumes for–wait, did I write Fumes? Ha! That’s weird. I meant something else, but I can’t remember exactly what right now. Anyhow, I have to go–the paint is starting to drip, but–get this–it’s dripping up. Can things drip up? Hey–they drup! Yeah! It’s drupping up the wall! I gotta go before it hits the ceiling. Later!

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