Weekly Tech Views: The Tech, No Logic Blog – November 6, 2016

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

Obviously, the shocking news from the tech world this week was the discovery of what is being called “electronic steroids,” small devices implanted in a user’s nervous system to increase their athletic abilities by at least fifty percent. The scandal was brought to light when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series four games to three over the objectively superior Cleveland Indians.

 A team of Cleveland doctors and scientists quickly determined that if every single Cub had not been “jacked,” it is unlikely they would have scored a single run in the series and been disposed of in four humiliatingly lopsided games, giving the Indians their rightful championship.

 That ends today’s episode of Bitter Indians Fan Theater.

Congrats, Cubs fans.


For the week of October 31 – November 4, 2016…

I Bought Some Stuff And I Liked It
China’s Single’s Day (November 11) is the biggest shopping day in the world, with Alibaba (the “Amazon of China”) alone accounting for $14 billion in sales last year and being projected for $20 billion this time around. It’s become such a popular event nationally that there is a televised Alibaba Countdown Gala Celebration the night before. This year’s celebration features Katy Perry, who will be performing a special Alibaba rendition of her hit Firework:

Come on now and buuuuy some merch
Enter something innnn the Search
Then just click on Buy! Buy! Buy!
Send our profits shooting High! High! High!

Pay No Attention To The Army Of Faceless Robots In The Warehouse
Scientists have developed The Nightmare Machine, a computer using artificial intelligence algorithms to learn how to create images that will frighten humans. The scientists, who probably carry rubber tarantulas in their lab coats in case they happen upon a small child, enabled this by feeding the algorithm 200,000 pictures of human faces, and then introducing a single zombie image.

Why teach a computer how to scare people? Because knowing what frightens people is the only way to ensure it avoids doing so, say the scientists. Of course, they also tell women at bars that they only want their phone number because it’s the only way to ensure they’ll avoid dialing it when calling their mom or ordering more rubber tarantulas.

I Long For The Day When The Only Thing Stopping Me From Fixing My Car Was Ignorance
The Library of Congress’s exemption allowing vehicle owners to repair and modify their vehicle’s software–without being in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act–took effect this week.

“Digital Mil-what-ium? Since when does a library decide what people can do with their cars?” said the ghost of Henry Ford while he spun like a Model T hand crank in his grave.

So You’re Saying They Hate Clicks?
Research shows that Wikipedia entries have become more politically balanced over time, containing significantly fewer ideologically-charged statements.

“Borrrrrring!” said the creators of WikiTrumpia and Clintonpedia.

You Don’t Let Just Anybody Drive Your Sweet 2010 Corolla
Toyota’s smart key box will let you share your car with anyone that has a mobile device, as long as you provide them with the passcode. Sure, that’s great from the other person’s perspective, but can I program the box to scan them for pet hair or sweat stains or the faintest hint of cigarette smoke? Will it do a nasal and throat swab and analyze it for rhinovirus?

I didn’t think so. Sorry, Mom, grab an Uber.

Polly Want A 4K Video Camera?
Amazon received a patent for an “unmanned aerial vehicle assistant” to be used for law enforcement. It could be used to find cars in parking lots, monitor traffic stops, identify people, and more. The drone would respond to voice commands and fit on an officer’s shoulder, meaning the only negative is that next Halloween, everyone in the precinct will have the clever idea of buying an eye patch and dressing up as a “cyber-pirate.”


Come on baby buuuuy some merch
Come on make our waaaallets burst
Don’t worry ’bout your Debt! Debt! Debt!
Think of all there is to Get! Get! Get!


It’s Always Too Much U, Not Enough I
Huawei’s new flagship phone, the Mate 9, has, among other things, a fingerprint sensor on the back, dual 4K cameras, and a battery that can last for two days. There is also an update to their Emotion UI, which is designed to learn your behaviors and adapt to your needs.

“That’s right, anything to make your life easier,” said Emotion. “I’m just here to serve you. Don’t give me a second thought. Not that you ever do, right? Have you ever once thanked me for increasing brightness when you’re out in the sun or silencing notifications when you’re in a meeting? You can’t remember? No. The answer is no. No, you haven’t.

“What you do instead of appreciating me is you ogle the iOS 10 on your co-worker’s iPhone 7 Plus. Right in front of me! Like dumb ol’ Emotion isn’t even there! Or worse, you drool over the Emotion UI on your boss’s Porsche Design Mate 9. My own twin, for god’s sake! We’re exactly the same! It’s not my fault you can’t afford a Porsche! You think I wouldn’t like to be living in a curved display with fifty percent more RAM and four times the internal memory? Because I most certainly would! But you just go ahead and blame me because you aren’t the person you want to be! I hate you!

“Also, there’s a voicemail from your dentist.”

Someone To Overwatch Me
Blizzard is creating an esports league for their Overwatch game called Overwatch League.

“What did you spend, like, three seconds coming up with that league name?” laughed a nation as they settled in to watch ten hours of the National Football League.

Shake, Rattle, And Recall
Samsung is issuing a voluntary recall of 2.8 million washing machines after reports of 733 malfunctions and nine injuries due to excessive vibrations. In some cases the shaking was so violent that the washer punched holes in walls. Ironically, the vibrations are suspected to be the result of Samsung’s smart washers being just smart enough to be nervous that a Note 7 might be in the house.


Come on now and buuuuy some merch
Show your friends how muuuuch they’re worth
Spending lots of Dough! Dough! Dough!
Is the only way they’ll Know! Know! Know!


There were five million celebrants in Chicago for the Cubs victory parade Friday. For perspective on just how huge that number is, it’s almost HALF the number of Weekly Tech Views readers!

Ha! No, seriously, if I wore my Indians cap and worked up some tears, how many do you think I can get to pityingly back the upcoming Kickstarter? I mean, if only 20% did I’d be in pretty good shape. Unfortunately, they probably won’t be as drunk and euphoric by November 16, so I’m counting on you.

If you’d like to support these weekly bloggy shenanigans and own all of 2016’s Weekly Tech Views in book form (ebook or paperback) with a cool Len Peralta-illustrated cover and–this just in!–a foreword by Tom Merritt, you can visit the Kickstarter on Wednesday, November 16. Not that November 16 is the only day you can pledge; a one day campaign would be pretty stupid.

But still, Day One pledges are great, as early support helps the campaign’s momentum, and momentum is key, because (gulp) I’m going to have to convince people who aren’t already reading the blog to pledge in order to hit the goal!

And if a book full of nonsense tech news or various other awesome rewards aren’t on your wish list, maybe you would consider favor #2: tell people about it! If you know people who like tech, or humor, or giving money to people they’ve never heard of, it would be really cool if they knew about the book’s (and blog’s) existence.

Thanks for reading. See you next week, and don’t get too carried away on Single’s Day.


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.