Weekly Tech Views – April 30, 2016

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

First lawn mowing of the season today, thanks to the yearly tradition of a panicked neighbor thinking their pet has run away only to realize it had been standing in the middle of our back yard the whole time. I end up getting a dirty look, like it was me that made them get an easily-hidden pet like a cocker spaniel. But yard work wasn’t going to keep me from bringing you tech news as mangled as the sprinkler I ran over.

For the week of April 25-29, 2016…

 You Can’t Spell “No Expectations” Without NX
Nintendo announced that their new console will be available in March of 2017. They stated that the NX, as it is currently codenamed, is being developed “with a brand-new concept.” There was no explanation as to what the new concept might be, but industry insiders believe it will involve either a new type of controller or, more radically, getting people to buy a Nintendo console.

 So Why Not $1989 Million?
Hackers broke into the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) software to steal $81 million from Bangladesh’s central bank. There was no evidence leading to the perpetrators, but eventually they came forward voluntarily to be interviewed, saying, “Ask us how we did it. Don’t you want to know how we did it? Look, we’ll just tell how we did it–we were able to… oh, man, this is so good… seriously, I just love this… okay, here it is–we were able to tailor SWIFT to our needs. Ha! How good is that? Right? Here, you can have the money back, I really just wanted to say that. Hey Taylor! I hope you’re watching; I love you!”

A Smashing Success
Microsoft’s Word Flow keyboard, whose fanning design allows for one-handed typing, is now available for the iPhone. “Great,” said YouTube executives. “If you thought our walking-and-texting fails were funny before, just wait until people are able to carry things at the same time! The Waiter/Waitress category alone will be a gold mine!

We’re About A Year From These LEDs Becoming EMPs
In other news for those of us who see the “real” world as just a set of annoying distractions interfering with our desire to perambulate* with our eyes glued to our phones, the city of Augsburg, Germany has embedded LEDs in the street that flash red when you shouldn’t walk, BECAUSE PEOPLE CAN’T BE TROUBLED TO LOOK UP LONG ENOUGH TO SEE IF TWO THOUSAND POUNDS OF METAL IS ABOUT TO PUNT THEM ACROSS THE ROAD! Security camera footage will be analyzed by Germany’s Department of Irony to see how many phone users are watching YouTube walking-and-texting fails while crossing the street.

I’m Starting To Think Multiple Football Stadiums Shouldn’t Be My First Purchase
At gaming convention PAX East, Logitech constructed a wall of 160 gaming keyboards that displayed messages and images, with each backlit key serving as a pixel. The display capabilities are certainly impressive, but 160 keyboards on a wall is, frankly, minor league. I have a whole room covered in keyboards because I think it looks cool, and because what else am I going to do with them? Throw them out? Seems a waste since they tend to be less than a month old when they stop functioning as a result of my swinging them against my desk after my latest Mikeville goes bankrupt in SimCity. I buy them in bulk now and keep them in a giant tissue-like dispenser.

Can’t Argue With His Ground Game
It was discovered that a database containing information on 87 million Mexican voters was somehow left unprotected. These voters are understandably upset to have their personal information exposed, but not nearly as upset as Donald Trump when he found out that Ted Cruz somehow picked up 23 delegates from the group.

Do Promoted Tweets Count?
YouTube is introducing six-second long “bumper” ads that will be non-skippable. This will finally provide the data necessary to answer the question How many tweets can I read in six seconds?

This Just In: Social Networking App Delusional
Twitter is now categorizing itself as News rather than Social Networking in the iOS App Store. I’ll admit to hearing about news stories on Twitter, but I’m not a hundred percent sure that makes them a news app. Like when Ted Cruz named Carly Fiorina as his running mate. I was on Twitter, where first I saw a joke about it, then a Boris/Natasha meme, then a Donald Trump reaction GIF. Then, naturally, I went to CNN to see if it was true.

It kind of feels like saying my uncle, who usually spends the first hour we’re together telling dirty jokes, can claim to be ESPN because he took a second to tell me the Indians lost last night.

Know Your Strengths
Google, Ford, Volvo, Uber, and Lyft are part of The Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, a group lobbying for a standardized set of rules governing autonomous cars. Asked why they were not part of the coalition, a Volkswagen executive glanced up from one of the lawsuits filed against them for faking emission testing results and said, “Yeahhhhh, rules aren’t really our thing.”

Quid Pro No
The FBI said it will not disclose to Apple the flaw that allowed access to the iPhone 5c used by a San Bernardino shooter. The FBI insists this is because they do not know the method used to crack the phone, and not to spite Apple for refusing to help access it themselves. This veracity of this claim came into question moments later, however, when the FBI grabbed Apple’s favorite stuffed animal, held it by the ear between their thumb and index finger, and waved it above Apple’s head, chanting, “Nyah-nyah, mine now.”

How Many Quatloos For Battleborn?
Valve says it will allow Steam users to pay for purchases with Bitcoin. Oh, so we’re still pretending Bitcoin is a thing, huh? That it’s not just a digital version of Monopoly money? Don’t tell me… I can buy Half-Life 3 with it, right? I think they meant to say Bitcoin can be used in some Steam games, like “I demand 38 Bitcoins for the antidote to the Wart of Death.”**

Like I’m Not Going To Buy Her Daring Mistake, The Latest In The Dare To Love Series
Amazon dramatically exceeded analysts expectations in their latest earnings report, thanks primarily to the success of Amazon Web Services and my inability to know when enough $1.99 Kindle books are enough.


*   I win this round, Word-A-Day calendar.

** Burning, redness, and peeling may occur. If signs of infection result, see your Wizard immediately.


In the Night Attack Movie Draft League, Jennie and Tom continue to rake in cash as if they’d hacked a Bangladeshian bank. Second place and gaining on the leaders. You can follow the chase with the CRUMDUM.


Feels good to be able to kick back and not have to worry about the lawn for another eight weeks or so. I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend, too.


Mike Range