Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.
THE BEST OF THE WEEKLY TECH VIEWS – 2016
The end of the year approaches, and it’s time for the Weekly Tech Views Top Twenty! Compiled by a prestigious panel of the industry’s foremost syndicated humor writers, the results have been closely guarded–
Haha! No, as usual, I scrolled through the year’s stories and chose whatever was on screen the first twenty times our cat knocked an ornament off the Christmas tree.
(And even bigger news–all 500+ stories are available in the book Tech, Please! Get all the exciting details below!)
For the year 2016…
Number 20 (March 5)
Why Settle For Just One Source Of Nausea?
Six Flags amusement parks will be providing Samsung Gear VR headsets to riders of some of their roller coasters. Some will find themselves co-piloting jet fighters trying to shoot down invading aliens, while riders of the Superman-themed coasters will encounter the resultant chaos of Lex Luthor’s anti-gravity gun, dodging floating cars and buses. Six Flags is celebrating with their new slogan, The Most Fun You Can Have With The Sweat Of Hundreds Of Previous Riders On Your Face.
Number 19 (January 16)
Would You Like To See Hotels In The Area While You Find A Lawyer?
Google Maps for Android has added Driving Mode, a feature that will guess where you’re headed and plot a course.
“Why does it think we’re going to Marcie’s house? I haven’t been there in over a year, since she got drunk and hit on you at the Christmas party.”
“Uh, yeah. Weird.”
“Wait… this is your phone.”
Number 18 (February 13)
That Was Close–I Almost Didn’t Know That This CVS Had Two-Liter Sierra Mist On Sale!
Chrome for Android will soon start supporting bluetooth beacons. People near the beacons can access the “physical web” via notifications on their smartphones, where links provide information on one’s surroundings. A beacon might relay a nearby restaurant’s menu, sale prices at a store, or historical landmark information.
Some of you may remember an early precursor to this, experienced on childhood trips to the zoo. This device was called “The Big Metal Box That, After You Stick A Big Plastic Key Shaped Like An Elephant Into It, Yells Stuff At You About The Animal You’re Looking At.” I learned a lot of important information from those boxes, most importantly that if I played the same monkey spiel three times in a row I really had to hustle to catch up to my parents, who usually weren’t much for running.
Number 17 (April 23)
Though The Plots Have Nothing To Do With Reality, Virtual Or Otherwise
Virtual reality headset maker AuraVisor is teaming up with VR Bangers (not a joke) to provide in-room adult VR content for hotels in–go ahead, guess which city… that’s right–Montpelier, Vermont.
Okay, it’s Las Vegas. The visors–pre-loaded with requested videos–will rent for $20, which, given the technology, sounds not particularly expensive, seeing how hotel pricing results in that same $20 buying you a bottled water and a couple candy bars from the mini-bar. But where they get you is the highly-recommended $200 vat of Purell.
Number 16a-b (June 18)
We learned Monday that iOS 10 will allow users the long-wished-for ability to remove Apple’s pre-installed apps–like Stocks and Weather and Maps–from their devices. I have to give the gang in Cupertino credit for reducing by one the number of times I startle my wife and cat by shouting, “Damn it, Apple!”
Damn It, Apple!
We learned Wednesday that “removing” Apple’s pre-installed apps only gets rid of the icon and user data; the application remains on your device taking up almost as much space as always. A member of the iOS team took time from her hectic schedule to explain the reasoning behind the decision: “You should see the look on your faces! You thought you could delete them! Classic! This is what makes my job worthwhile!
Number 15a-b (June 11)
The Federal Aviation Administration has warned pilots that planes could be affected by “GPS Interference Testing” taking place at the Naval Air Weapons Center in the Mojave Desert. But are these GPS disturbances really being initiated by the government? Or are they covering up something they’d rather we didn’t know? Read the transcript of this radio message, intercepted immediately after the FAA’s warning, and decide for yourself:
“Sure, by all means, stay away if you can’t fly without GPS. Just because pilots used to do it doesn’t mean you should be ashamed by your inferiority. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being a coward. But if you do have the guts to try it, we salute you ‘We’ being just some interested onlookers from your own planet that you don’t need to worry about. And rest assured, should you experience some temporary memory loss and/or a lingering tenderness in certain sensitive, probe-able areas, that’s completely normal. That is all. Bleep blorp. Damn it–I mean ‘thank you.’”
You Guys Again?
Lexus owners have been complaining that their information systems spontaneously reboot, display blank screens, and flash purple. The owners received a recorded message explaining that “the issue was likely related to satellite communications, and a fix is available at your nearest dealer. In the meantime, there is no danger in continuing to drive your vehicle, and should you experience some temporary memory loss and/or a lingering tenderness in certain sensitive, probe-able areas of your body, don’t worry, that’s completely normal. That is all. Thank blorp. Aaaaagh! Why can’t I ever get that?!”
Number 14 (July 9)
Sponsor Them All
As everyone knows by now, Pokemon Go, the augmented reality game, is available for iOS and Android. You try to catch Pokemon out in the real world, and you can locate them via your phone. Of course, to catch them you need PokeBalls, which are scattered at various PokeStops–nearby landmarks like schools, museums, libraries, and such.
Enjoy this innocent time of random locations, before all PokeStops conveniently relocate to highest-bidder locations McDonalds, Dairy Queen, Dunkin’ Donuts, and such. And watch for new “special edition” Pokemon being introduced, like Big Macander, Peanut Butter Parfaitachu, and Boston Kremelypuff.
Number 13 (July 16)
The “Lightning Never Strikes Twice” Theory
Music service Rhapsody is relaunching as Napster. “Great idea!” said Best Buy as they changed all their signs to “Circuit City.”
Number 12 (January 16)
Call Me When It’s Knight Rider-Ready
Tesla’s latest update includes the Summon feature, which enables the car to park or unpark itself, as long as the driver is within 33 feet. Cool tech. But look, it’s not bringing your car from the parking garage down the street to the front door of your office building.
Really, how many situations are there going to be when you’re within 33 feet of your car but unwilling to take five more seconds to walk the rest of the way? Sure, there are the times when you’re in a desperate fight for survival with a psychotic international spy who has spent years tracking you down and used some exotic variant of jujitsu to disarm you and knock you to the ground and has a gun aimed at your head and is about to finish you off to avenge that nasty business in Helsinki in ’03. And you activate Summon and your car hits him from behind, allowing you to turn the tables and strike another heroic blow for democracy. But that’s, what, three or four times a year?
Number 11 (February 27)
Who Knows Where The Hockey Stick Ends Up?
Robotics company Boston Dynamics posted a video of its humanoid Atlas robot picking up boxes and shelving them, refusing to be deterred even when a guy with a hockey stick repeatedly knocks the box from its grasp. When this guy knocks Atlas down onto its “face,” it is able to right itself.
A still frame from this video–Atlas pushing up from a kneeling position–has been chosen as the source for the first in a new line of inspirational posters, with the familiar caption IT’S NOT WHETHER YOU GET KNOCKED DOWN, BUT WHETHER YOU GET BACK UP WITH THE FACIAL RECOGNITION DATA FIRMLY FILED AWAY SO THAT AFTER HOURS, WHEN THAT CLOWN WITH THE STICK IS WATCHING THE VIDEO WITH THAT GIRL FROM ACCOUNTING HE WANTS TO IMPRESS, YOU CAN FIND HIM AND TEAR OFF THE ARMS THAT HELD THE STICK AND BEAT HIM WITH THEM.
Future variations will show a kitten hanging from each severed arm, because kittens sell inspirational posters.
Halfway home. We complete the countdown next week with 10 – 1. I know, it’s anticipation overload for those celebrating Christmas the same day. For those who don’t, there’s no law against putting up a Weekly Tech Views tree.
And if that wasn’t enough, the whole year’s worth of stories is now waiting for you at Amazon in the form of the book Tech, Please! The ebook is available right now, RIGHT HERE, and the paperback will be there in a day or two.
While the book’s Kickstarter fell a bit shy of its goal, the executives here at Weekly Tech Views, Inc said, “Publish it anyway! The public needs to have access to this kind of journalism!”
When the laughter died down, the public immediately responded by enthusiastically… well, the book is just now out, so we’ll see what the public enthusiastically does. “…replaced all previously purchased holiday gifts with multiple copies of Tech, Please!” would be catchy.
Weekly Tech Views: The Tech, No Logic Blog by Mike Range is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.