Weekly Tech Views Blog – 8

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Real tech news. Really shaky analysis.

Give me five minutes and I’ll give you the week in tech, without the annoying facts or common sense.

For the week of August 31 – September 4, 2015

Hooray for Applewood
Apple may be looking to compete with Netflix, as Apple executives have reportedly been in touch with Hollywood, seeking the production of original video content. Talks were delayed when Hollywood movie executives doubled over, laughed for half an hour, and finally gasped, “Original? Did you hear that? They want original content!” After another spasm of laughter, during which three more Paranormal Activity sequels were greenlighted, they wiped their eyes and said, “You guys are looking for TV; they’re next door.”

Don’t Let the Door Hit You…
Stanford, MIT, and Toyota are teaming to create “intelligent”, rather than self-driving, cars, with artificial intelligence that will make people better drivers. That’s cool, as long as they come up with what the industry calls a TAW function (“the industry” being Weekly Tech Views writers) that works like this: if a driver cuts someone off three times in a month or stays ten miles per hour below the speed limit for over ten minutes or leaves their left turn signal on from Cleveland to Indianapolis, the dashboard flashes “THIS AIN’T WORKING” while the car pulls over and the seat tips the driver out onto the sidewalk, dispenses cab fare, and lists itself on Craigslist.

I’m Just Saying, Get a Receipt
Nextbit is Kickstarting a new phone called Robin that would automatically store your lesser used apps and data in the cloud to save space on the phone. Sweet. Why not store what you’re not using somewhere else? When you need it, you just bring it back. A fine idea. Except, I’ve kind of been through this before.

It starts out, “You haven’t looked at these comic books in a while, let’s make some space in your closet and store these in the attic.” You say, “Whatever.” They weren’t bothering you in the closet, but if it’s that big a deal to your mom, fine, it’s not battle-worthy.

Then, a year later, in eighth grade homeroom, you meet a cute girl who is actually into Marvel Comics. So you race home from school to prepare your collection to show her the next day. You perform the Olympic-level gymnastics necessary to hoist yourself through the ladderless two-foot square opening in the ceiling. It’s early September, so the attic has maintained its customary 197 degrees and your new school clothes are plastered to your body, including the sweater-vest, for god’s sake, that your mom made you wear, despite the fact that it was still officially summer, so you’d be a “handsome young man” for the first day of school.

But none of that matters, because you’ve reached the box that’s going to let you impress Cindy Stewart before any of the other guys have a chance. You throw open the slimy-yet-sticky, perpetually-on-the-verge-of-melting lid to the Rubbermaid container, and gaze upon six cubic feet of… tiny plastic pilgrims. And Indians. And turkeys. All slightly warped, losing their own non-air conditioned battle with the Cleveland summer. What you don’t see are four neatly-wrapped and bound packages of Marvel comics.

You have the wrong bin. Easy mistake.

You look at the side of the container and see the curling masking tape… Mike’s Comic Books is crossed off, Thanksgiving Decorations is squeezed underneath in your mom’s neat cursive.

You interrupt your mother’s viewing of General Hospital with a scream that convinces her you’ve finally impaled yourself on one of “those damned light sabers scattered all over your room.” And when you try to explain that she has ruined any chance you ever had at being happy, she responds, with the same tone she might use to say she cleaned up an accident the dog had in the living room, “Oh, you hadn’t looked at those in forever, I got rid of them.”

Careful, Nextbit. Be very careful.

The Battery’s Just Showing Off
Runtastic introduced the Orbit, a fitness-tracking smartwatch which stores a week’s worth of data, is waterproof, and contains a lifetime battery. Technically, it’s a six-month battery, but, after completing an in-depth study consisting of flipping through my workout journals of the last five years, I’ve determined that nobody has ever used a fitness tracker long enough to know the difference.

What’s In a Name?
Wikipedia banned nearly 400 accounts for targeting users who’d had a requested article change declined, and offering to publish them for a fee. Then they would require as much as $30 per month to “protect” the article. Yes, that’s extortion, and sure, it’s unethical, but looking at it from a purely financial standpoint, at thirty bucks a month, was I paying too much to have my entry read “Lord High Tech Blogger of the Entire Tri-State Area”?

Global IQ Reaches All-Time Low as Throngs Join Hacked Adultery Site
A funny thing happened while Ashley Madison employees were cleaning out their desks and sneaking mouse pads, staplers, and pads of Post-It notes into their briefcases–the business didn’t die. According to Ashley Madison (slogan: “Sure your data is vulnerable; it’s the risk of getting caught that makes it exciting.”), hundreds of thousands of new users signed up in just the last week. Apparently, the recent deluge of news stories has served as effective advertising, despite that recent news being, essentially, “if you sign up for Ashley Madison, there is a good chance your name will be published as a client, your spouse, family, and friends will find out, you will be ridiculed, sued for divorce, and possibly lose half your net worth.” Which, as ad copy goes, is not CLIO Award-winning stuff. Asked to explain the surge in business despite the horrible publicity, an Ashley Madison spokesperson said, “We’ve found that the demographic least swayed by news is humanity’s impulsive, wandering loins.”

OK, Google…Find Hair Plugs
Following last month’s major reorganization, Google has now changed its logo. The new font is  sans serif (from the French, meaning “without a particularly good reason”), which some say looks “more modern and playful.” Industry insiders predict this isn’t the last of Google’s changes, and expect the internet giant to start shopping at Aeropostale, driving a Jaguar, and dating search engines half their age.

Thanks again for stopping by the Weekly Tech Views Blog. If you enjoyed it, feel free to send a friend or five this way. If you weren’t so crazy about it, we’ll just pretend this never happened.

Mike Range

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