Weekly Tech Views (The Tech–No Logic Blog) – May 7, 2016

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.


Every Mother’s Day, I’m reminded of Captain Penny, a show I watched as a kid. The Captain was a railroad engineer who talked to us kids between cartoons and Little Rascals and Three Stooges shorts. He would close each show by saying “You can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool Mom.” Still true today. Unless Mom’s not that into tech. In which case you can set all the system sounds on her computer to fart noises, which you can call a “Windows glitch” and which she’ll be stuck with until the next time you come visit.

For the week of May 2 – 6, 2016…

To Be Fair, Some Of It Was Just ‘N Sync
There are claims that Apple is deleting music from people’s devices without asking or even notifying the person. Some Apple Music users allege to have lost as many as 20,000 songs. Now I feel like I may have overreacted by yelling at my nephew for accidentally scratching my 45 of The Night Chicago Died.

Not All Lessons Are Learned In The Classroom
Not all the Apple news is negative, though. Apple Music is now available at 50% off the regular monthly subscription rate for college students in seven countries. This is a nice gesture on Apple’s part, allowing hard-working college students, many with extremely limited budgets, the chance to lose all their music at half the price.

C’mon, Take My Word For It
Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright announced that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, creator of digital currency Bitcoin. Many doubted his proclamation, but, despite first saying he was not “going to keep jumping through hoops,” Wright assured doubters that he would provide “extraordinary proof” to back his claim. Then, instead of doing so, he deleted his original claims from his website, and stated he could not face the attention and scrutiny involved.

Which made it all the more surprising when he called a press conference at a small farm to announce that he had also invented unicorns. “I am not yet ready to put Rainbow on display to the public, but as proof, I submit these.” He held up a handful of long, white hairs. “These unicorn tail hairs will be available for each of you to see and touch, but there will be no DNA testing; I’m still not jumping through hoops for you people. Also, stop staring at that white horse over there; he certainly has just as many tail hairs as he had five minutes ago.”

You Guys Made This All Possible, Now Get To The Back Of The Line
Despite not yet having shipped to all Kickstarter backers, some Oculus Rifts are now for sale in Best Buy stores. In addition to the VR devices themselves, Best Buy will also provide demo stations, allowing customers to experience the immersiveness of the device, enticing them with fantastical scenarios like walking around inside a Salvador Dali painting or having a UPS driver drop off your Kickstarter-backed, preordered Rift at your house before any schmuck off the street can grab one at Best Buy.

Let’s Count Our Blessings
Messaging app WhatsApp was banned in Brazil for 72 hours as a penalty for not helping police access messages. The ban, however, was overturned the next day by another judge. You’ll hear a lot of discussion regarding security and privacy and what information law enforcement should have access to, but I think we can all agree that the biggest takeaway from this situation is that we should all be grateful that WhatsApp did not exist fifteen years ago. Yes, the issues would have been just as complicated, but discussing them would have been an infinitely more annoying process, as the messaging app would have been referred to–every single time, thanks to Budweiser commercials–as Whaaaaatssssssaaaaaaaaaaaaaap.

At Least The Satellite Bastards Had The Decency To Lock People In For A Couple Years
Following the lead of live-streaming TV services SlingTV and PlayStation Vue, Hulu and YouTube are both expected to announce their own live-streaming TV options, packaging a selection of network and cable channels for $35-$40 per month. This news prompted Cable TV to call for an informal get-together in Cable’s office:

Cable: So you’re all getting in on the live TV game, huh?

Hulu: Yep, can’t wait.

You Tube: A whole new world. Gonna be exciting.

Cable: Uh-huh. It certainly is. But good luck finding markets, guys.

Sling: Markets?

Cable: Yeah, markets. Who’s gonna use your service? Us cable companies have the country pretty well divvied up amongst ourselves.

Vue: You mean, like who gets the eastern suburbs of, uh, Fort Worth, and who gets the west? That kind of thing?

(The streaming services look at each other, then back at Cable, and laugh heartily)

Hulu: Oh, wow, that’s a good one, old-timer! It did used to work like that, didn’t it?

(Cable stares at them, silent)

YouTube: Oh, gee, it’s still like that for you, isn’t it? Gosh, sorry. See, we can sell our service everywhere in the country.

Cable (beginning to sweat): I have no idea what you’re saying.

Sling: There are no markets. Or, rather, every household with an internet connection is our market.

Vue, Hulu, YouTube: And ours!

Cable: But… but you can’t all…

Sling: We compete.

Cable (putting a finger in each ear): I don’t want to hear any more.

Vue: We each put together the best packages we can–

Cable: La-la-la-la-la-la…

Hulu: At the best prices we can–


YouTube: And the consumer chooses the one they want.

Cable: LA!-LA!-LA!-LA!-LA!-LA!..

(A minute of silence passes; Cable slowly removes his fingers from his ears)

Sling: And they quit whenever they want.

Cable: Agggghhhhh!

(Then, panting heavily): But.. the whole country… you’d have to have thousands and thousands of installers…

Vue (turning to Sling, Hulu, and YouTube): Hey guys…heh-heh… guys… ha-ha… have you… ha-ha-ha… have you hired all your installers yet?

(The office fills with raucous laughter)

Sling (wiping tears away): Oh yeah! All set to go! We can have one at your house Thursday!

(More laughter)

Hulu: Yeah… between noon and five!

(The laughter now verges on hysteria, leaving the streamers clutching their sides and leaning on each other for support)

Sling: Oh, man, Cable, this is great. Thanks for calling us together… (gasping) …but I have to get out of here before I pee myself–(points at magazines next to him on the couch)–I wouldn’t want to ruin your stack of TV Guides here!

The streamers stagger out of the office, and Cable hears them talking in the hallway, but the conversation is muffled and indistinct. Then one of them–Hulu, Cable thinks–clearly shouts “markets!” and they ride a fresh wave of laughter out the front door.

Cable opens his top desk drawer and withdraws a standard two-year-commitment contract–brimming with Activation fees, DVR fees, Additional Set-Top Box fees, HD fees, Remote Control fees, and Installation fees–and holds it gently, lovingly, to his cheek. His eyes glaze over as he stares into the distance at nothing in particular. He remains there for days, refusing to eat, sleep, or speak, save for the occasional, wistfully-muttered “monopoly.”


Not only is it Mother’s Day weekend, but it’s also Derby Day, where the Kentucky Derby is celebrated with large bets, funny hats, and mint juleps. My wife called today’s Weekly Tech Views “the mint julep of tech blogs,” and so, inspired, I Googled the recipe and made us a pitcher. It was my first mint julep ever, and tasted, to my refined palate, like antifreeze cut with Listerine.

I asked her what I did wrong, and she said, “Nothing, that’s how they taste.”

“But you said the Tech Views…”

She smiled sweetly and poured her drink down the sink.

Man, does she hate when her horse loses.


(And in Night Attack Movie League news, Team DTNS is rapidly closing in on first place. Read all about it in the CRUMDUM.)


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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.