Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.
It’s starting to snow here in Cleveland, Christmas cookies are being baked not ten feet from me, and Christmas music (currently Pentatonix) is playing on the Amazon Prime Music machine. All of which naturally puts one in the mind of gift-giving. But more on that, ahem, later. For now… to the nonsense!
For the week of November 14 – 18, 2016…
Facebook has acquired a company that specializes in providing facial analysis in real time for smartphones. A Facebook spokesman said this “will help bring more fun effects to photos and videos.” Then, after pausing a moment while employees started fourteen blenders, nine vacuum cleaners, a half-dozen chainsaws, thirty-three leaf blowers, and a garbage disposal packed with silverware, he whispered, “And it can measure reactions which could, theoretically, if we ever decided to go in that direction with it, be helpful in advertising.”
“FanKings” Was Ruled Out When An Intern Said “FanKing Awesome”
Fantasy sports sites DraftKings and FanDuel are merging. I would have bet a lot of money that the new name would be DraftDuel, but there are rumblings that, in order to better reflect their new monopolistic market dominance, they are going to go with Comcast.
Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Not Having To Be Creative Ourselves
Twitter is now letting users to add friends via QR codes, a feature very similar to Snapchat’s.
Asked just how important this ability was, a Twitter spokesman replied, “Are you kidding? This is huge! Look around, what do companies that are really thriving right now–Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp–all have in common?”
“Um, they don’t take forever to implement changes their customers want cough edit tweets cough?
“Hahaha no. They steal from Snapchat! I don’t know how Snapchat does it without a Snapchat to steal from. Hey, if you close one eye and tilt your head, doesn’t our bird look like a ghost?”
It’s Got 560 Under The Hood. No, Not Horsepower, Degrees
Samsung is buying Harman International for $8 billion. The maker of Harmon/Kardan and JBL audio products, Harman also produces infotainment, safety, and security electronics for vehicles. According to Samsung’s Chief Strategy Officer, this does not mean they will begin manufacturing cars.
“Whew,” said everyone familiar with the size of a car battery.
And Just Turn Your Phone Off If You Get Within Ten Feet Of The Supply Closet
Google’s updated Google Play Music app can now recommend music based on a user’s location and activities, presenting playlists you most often use in different situations. Google thinks this will be appreciated in most circumstances, but they do suggest that if you get to work and accidentally hit “play” on the app-suggested Barry White Sexy Time Mood Music playlist, whatever you do, you and Beth in Accounts Payable shouldn’t make eye contact.
One Potato, Eww Potato
Following the plot of the movie The Martian, The Martian VR Experience became available this week for the HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. I definitely want to try this puzzle game out, provided it realistically replicates every aspect of Mark Whatley’s challenges on Mars. Except the potato-growing part. Specifically, the fertilizing part. That can be crayon drawings. Actually, a skip button would be cool.
There’s Always A Catch
The Google PhotoScan app will let you capture physical photos and convert them to digital versions. The process requires you taking five photos of the original photo, which the app analyzes to remove glare, reflections, and shadows before stitching the best aspects together in a high-resolution image.
No thanks. This taking five shots of the same thing feels suspiciously excessive–too much of a Candyman vibe, right? Say his name five times and end up on the business end of a hook? So, what, you take the photo five times and get sucked into the picture for all time? And it’s the photo of the cramped area under your porch that you photographed for Animal Control so they could see the family of rabid skunks living there? And you’re stuck for eternity in the dark being bitten by diseased skunks and you scream with every bite and every time you scream they spray their skunky smell into your gaping mouth?
Wait, I know–take the five photos of that beach you loved in Hawaii! How great would that be? Living on that beach forever, where the setting sun makes the sky an eternal, spectacularly beautiful reddish-orange, and where all your worries melt away until you realize the only thing you have to eat is sand that falls far shy of your recommended daily allowance of everything but sand and it’s a race to see whether starvation or the ironic dehydration of drinking ocean water gets you first.
I’ll live with a little glare, PhotoScan.**
I Didn’t Actually See The Last Driver Do It, But He Had That Look In His Eye
Domino’s has begun delivering pizza via drone in New Zealand. This is great news for customers, because not only will the drone get their order to them inside of ten minutes, but it won’t spit on their pizza because they tipped it only fifty cents last time.
Old Buddy, Old Pal
412 million user accounts were accessed in a hack of the Friend Finder Network, including 339 million from AdultFriendFinder.com. The question, of course, is why? Why add to the problems of people who are obviously so overwhelmed with job and family responsibilities that they don’t have time to make friends in their daily life and are willing to pay hard-earned money to find comradeship from… “the world’s largest sex and swinger community.”
Hmm. Okay, in my defense, Friend Finder Network is not as descriptive as it could be.
What Would That Even Be?
Barnes and Noble is releasing a new fifty-dollar Nook tablet to compete with Amazon’s cheapest Kindle. Initial excitement waned, however, when the Fifty Shades of Grey crowd listened closer and discovered it was a Nook e-reader and not, in fact, a nookie* reader.
Maybe They Can Hold The Phone
A recent Google AI experiment features a phone app that can rap about what it sees, which, unfortunately, will soon take jobs from elderly white actresses in bad comedies.
* Do people still say “nookie”? Try it, it’s fun.
** Did you know if you rearrange the letters in PhotoScan you get Nacho Stop? No, it doesn’t have anything to do with what we were talking about. Some things are just interesting, okay?
What else? I feel like there was something else. Nacho Stop was big, but there was something… I want to say… Kickstartery?…
Yes, the Kickstarter for Tech, Please!, my collection of the year’s Weekly Tech Views, is LIVE. What a great gift idea! The chance to read over 500 stories recapping 2016’s tech news without the burden of wondering if the author is qualified to put the news in perspective. He isn’t! Never has been! Isn’t that freeing? One way or another, you end up laughing–either with me or at me. A no-lose proposition! Check it out RIGHT HERE!
(I’m not saying you necessarily need to drop everything and go right away, but the campaign is only three weeks long, so if you aren’t holding anything breakable…)
Weekly Tech Views: The Tech, No Logic Blog by Mike Range is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.