Weekly Tech Views (The Tech – No Logic Blog) – May 28, 2016

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

Ah, Memorial Day Weekend. The unofficial kickoff to summer, when the weather is finally nice enough to open the windows while spending three days on the couch watching The Simpsons Marathon.

For the week of May 23 – 27, 2016…

They Are Kind Of Catchy
Google is launching Magenta, a project that will use “deep learning” to allow artificial intelligence to create art, starting with music. Its first efforts are a little derivative, like the obviously R.E.M.-inspired It’s the End of Insignificant Humans as We Know Them. And you can hardly ignore the Springsteen influences in Born to Run Insignificant Humans Off the Face of the Earth. Katy Perry’s team is actually considering legal action to collect anticipated profits from I Killed an Insignificant Human and I Liked It. Yes, the unwavering theme is a bit disturbing, but the videos are really kick-ass.

What, I Let Him Borrow A Rake Once
Microsoft is rumored to be releasing a streaming stick that would allow you to stream games from your Xbox One to another TV. It’s a nice idea, but my concern is with the range. If the Xbox is in an upstairs bedroom, will it stream to a TV in the basement? Or what if the other room is separated by the kitchen, then a bedroom, then, say, a fifteen-foot strip of lawn, then the neighbor’s kitchen, a small hallway, and most of the living room where the Xbox you’d like to stream from is located? Asking for a friend.

You Don’t Know Until You Listen An Hour In Their Earbuds
Spotify is allowing an additional person on family plans, upping the total to six, while also lowering the monthly price to $15. So the Big Family lobby wins again. While couples with no kids are paying $7.50 each, two-parent, four-kid tribes are only dropping $2.50 apiece. Is there any break big families don’t get? Lower Spotify costs, higher tax deductions, fewer household chores per person, it’s ridiculously unfair. Sure, the parents in big families may sacrifice “free time” to cart their kids all over town, and when one person gets sick everyone gets sick, and the washer and dryer and shower are always running and jacking up utility bills, and they might fix five different dinners each night because no kid likes what anybody else likes… you know what, where can I donate to the six-family-member Spotify accounts?

It’s Better To Look Good Than To Feel Good
HP is introducing the Omen line of gaming laptops. They contain some serious specs–configurable to i7 processors, 16 gigs of RAM, a GTX 965M graphics card, and a 4K display–and look pretty stylish, with red highlights on the lid and around the keys. Which is cool, I guess, though a real gamer earns the red outlines the old school way–by playing Doom until your fingers bleed.

Even Worse, There Are No Scheduled Patches
The US Government Accountability Office would like to scare the crap out of you by reporting that the unit in charge of nuclear weapons uses an IBM computer from 1976. That uses floppy disks. Eight-inch floppy disks, that are, apparently, an actual thing. Said one government official, “Yes, we’ve had these computers a long time. You know why? Because they work. They might have a few quirks, but we know how to handle them. If you want to worry about the deployment of nuclear arms, I suggest you concern yourself with the potential installation of a 69-year-old piece of bloated software that shows no signs of stability, that seems likely to send nukes at Quebec because it didn’t like the maple syrup on its pancakes.” He lowered his voice and said, “You get what I’m saying, right? About the software? Orange-skinned, baseball cap-wearing software? Rhymes with Ronald Dump?”

I Saw It On Monsters & Myths On Some Cable Channel And It Was Late And I’d Had A Couple Drinks But I’m Pretty Sure It Was In The Monster Part
Microsoft and Facebook are helping to build the transatlantic MAREA cable, capable of 160 terabits per second. Great. Technology trumps safety once again. How many more innocent ocean floor visitors have to lose their lives because they confused the Giant Ocean Snake Monster for a transatlantic cable?

“Don’t worry, I’ve heard about these. It’s just a cable to increase bandwidth–OH MY GOD!”


Happens all the time. But you go ahead and enjoy your faster-loading cute panda video on Facebook.

Could It Finally Be?
The tech press has been speculating for years that Apple would not only produce their own television but include their own content-providing service, though the rumors never panned out. Now, sources have indicated that Apple has been in talks to possibly acquire Time Warner (owner of HBO, TBS, and TNT), which has had its own talks about buying a stake in Hulu. Apple is also said to be interested in acquiring a streaming service, possibly even Netflix. After weighing the pros and cons of various options, buying Hulu and its existing relationships with broadcast networks versus forging their own deals, buying Netflix and its library of content versus obtaining a smaller company for the streaming infrastructure and producing their own content, Apple is finally ready to announce that the iPhone 7 will be available in Primrose Lavender!

Take That, Robot
Scientists are trying to devise ways for robots to feel pain, primarily as a deterrent from doing things that could damage them. The scientists are presenting “nervous robot-tissue models inspired by human skin structure,” but already there are competitors promising a cheaper, more effective alternative–if the robot does something dangerous, a quick clip from ESPN’s latest 30 For 30 documentary, Believeland, chronicling the history of Cleveland sports, is uploaded to their memory, and the dangerous action is never, ever repeated.

Also, it turns out their robots can cry.


* Shhhh. It involves a sex tape.


Mike Range

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