Weekly Tech Views (The Tech – No Logic Blog) – May 21, 2016

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

For the week of May 17-21, 2016… 

Style For The Camera!
Google introduced Duo, a one-on-one video calling app. It includes a feature called Knock Knock which allows you to see the caller before you answer, an entertainment feature providing laughs you can only get by watching someone suddenly remember it’s a video call and frantically try to rub away whatever that is they feel at the edge of their left nostril.

Mmmmm, Dark Arts
Google is taking submissions for “N” names for the latest version of Android. Two near-certainties: First, 85% of the suggestions will be some variation of Boaty McBoatface. The guess here is a whole lot of Nerdy McNerdfaces. Second, failing a marketing partnership with Nutella or Nutter Butter, I think we can all agree that the obvious choice will be Necromancy. I mean Nougat. Nougat. Necromancy would just be weird. There’s nothing sweet about the black magic used to communicate with the dead. If that’s even what it means. I guess I saw it in a movie once. So yeah, Nougat.

We Said We’d Recognize It, Not Read It
Android Wear 2.0 will include handwriting recognition. Wait, they’re going to recognize my handwriting? On a watch face? Challenge accepted. During the week, I take notes on tech stories. Doing the Weekly Tech Views takes about three hours longer than it should because I can’t recognize my handwriting. When I sign the credit card display at the grocery store, the resultant squiggles could be interpreted as “Mike Range,” assuming you knew my name ahead of time and that my goal was to impart that information to the screen. Still, you could be forgiven for guessing “Nirk Puljz.” Or “a three-year-old’s drawing of an unraveled ball of yarn.” And that’s on a, what, six-inch screen? And Android Wear is going to read what I write on a watch? Good luck, Carnac.

Contact Your Doctor For Critical Vulnerabilities Lasting Over Four Hours
Google is making HTML5 the default in Chrome instead of Flash. Sites using Flash will cause a prompt to appear asking the user if they want to enable Flash. If the user answers “yes,” another popup appears–a three-page treatise on the possible side effects of running Flash, which is just a magazine ad in which “Flash” is substituted for “Cialis.”

I Even Get The First One Free
Amazon is expected to expand their selection of private label brands to include things like baby food, nuts, vitamins, coffee, tea and more, under brand names like Happy Belly and Wickedly Prime. I think I wait for the bus each morning with an Amazon executive, because he keeps trying to sell me vitamins that he insists are Wickedly Prime. He makes that finger quote gesture when he says “vitamins” and it might actually be “wicked primo” he says, but still, maybe I should give them a shot.

Try Not To Sweat, It Voids The Warranty
Samsung has acquired a patent for a small projector that can display user interface elements on your skin. Like Carnegie Mellon’s SkinTrack, it essentially turns your arm into a touch screen. It’s being marketed as The coward’s alternative to just getting a real touch screen imbedded in your arm already, you whiny little baby.

Maybe You’re Bitter About Being 4-22 Against Them
Uber’s Pittsburgh-based Advanced Technology Center is testing self-driving cars on the city’s streets. The autonomous vehicles use 22 camera lenses, lasers and other sensors to see as far as 100 meters in any direction, enhancing safety and, even more importantly, giving them every opportunity to find their way out of Pittsburgh.*

I Swear We Were In Ferris Wheel – Green – 6A!
Starbreeze and Acer are teaming up to make the StarVR headset, a high-end virtual reality device designed for places like amusement parks. They expect the most popular experience to be VR Amusement Park Parking Lot, where you can stand motionless and still cover the entire 300-acre main lot and locate your car without actually wandering aimlessly for an hour, herding three cranky kids, carrying the one that fell asleep, worrying that the fourth funnel cake had been a mistake, and cursing every other family that just had to show up here in another white minivan.

No, How Would I Know What Happened To Your SIM Card?
Facebook and Instagram were blocked in Vietnam during environmental protests, Iraq shut down the internet during student exams, and Uganda blocked social media access during the presidential oath of office. You’ll hear a lot of justifiably angry talk about depriving citizens of free speech and the heavy-handedness of government in these far-reaching actions that affect hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. Hypothetically, however, it wouldn’t be the same if someone unplugged their router for a while after losing a game tournament to his wife, right? I mean, if she was going to really make fun of him on Twitter?


* You know, as a Clevelander, these jokes were funnier when the Browns actually beat the Steelers once in a while.


In the Movie Draft, it’s been an eight-week climb for Team DTNS, but they’ve made it to the summit! Read all about it in the CRUMDUM.


Mike Range

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Weekly Tech Views (The Tech – No Logic Blog) by Mike Range is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.