Weekly Tech Views – 10

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

The week in tech, without the annoying facts or common sense.

For the week of September 14 – September 18, 2015

And the First Game Will be Called Game 1
Sony has officially changed the name of their virtual reality initiative from Project Morpheus to PlayStation VR, in an attempt to ward off any dangerous excess excitement a cool name might produce.

Now I Can Really Let You Know What I Think of Your Cat
Facebook is talking about adding a Dislike button. CEO Mark Zuckerberg tried to explain that the purpose would be to show empathy, not disagreement, but many Facebook users still see this as the first step toward the Holy Grail of web site commenters, the Burn In Hell, You Stupid A-Hole button.

I Remember When Bad News Was Losing in the Playoffs
Apple said they are on pace to set a new first-weekend iPhone sales record. Of course, “on pace” can be misleading. The Cleveland Browns lost their first game, so, technically, they are on pace to go 0-16, but the odds of that actually…

Okay, Apple, congratulations.

Buckle Up
Intel launched the Automotive Security Review Board to improve cybersecurity in cars and reduce the chances of vehicles being hacked, after a recent study stated: HOLY CRAP, CARS CAN BE HACKED! I can hardly wait for the fast-approaching day when some bored eighth-grader finds an exploit in all mid-sized sedans and we find ourselves in the middle of a rush hour Mario Kart game.

German auto manufacturer Porsche (pronounced “gif”) introduced the Mission E, an electric concept car with 590 horsepower, a 311-mile range, and a battery that can recharge to 80% in fifteen minutes. Automotive reporters present at the Frankfurt Motor Show for the unveiling were unanimous in commenting, “I remember when I could recharge in fifteen minutes.”

That’s So Old School
Apple released iOS 9 this week, and after thoroughly examining the features and performance of their competitor’s updated operating system, Microsoft executives said, “Nine? Who names their OS with a ‘nine’”?”

Good Thing Nobody’s Heard of That Amazon Store
Sharp plans to start selling an 85-inch, 8K TV in Japan next month. “Best news ever,” shouted Bert Naughton, Senior Vice President at Monster–the company best known for selling wildly overpriced electronics cables–from a raucous, company-wide celebration. “Getting 8K video is going to require four HDMI cables! Is Marketing on the phone yet? We need new packaging; call them Mega Super Ultra HD, 8K certified by the Professional Pixel Panel, with, I don’t know, Platinomium-coated contacts or something. And anyone that sells a cable for less than $200 is fired!”

But, Mom, That’s Not…
Android devices using the current Lollipop operating system were shown to be hackable by entering abnormally long passwords, though this exploit did not work on devices protected with a short pin code. “What’s that you were saying about not using 1-2-3-4?” asked everyone’s mother, smiling smugly.

Why Couldn’t I Have Gotten Arrested?
Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old in Irving, Texas, built a homemade clock, brought it to school, and was, naturally, arrested, handcuffed, and taken to a juvenile detention center. The claim was that he had built a “hoax bomb” to scare his classmates and teachers. No charges were filed, and the aftermath resulted in invitations to visit the White House, Facebook, and Google.

This was a nice turn of events for Ahmed, but I can’t help being a little bitter. It sounds like his clock was not even part of a competition, just something he did on his own, whereas my second grade Science Fair entry Fun With Static Electricity won first place (not just balloons–balloon animals!), but I didn’t get so much as a letter from the city councilman who lived on our street.

To-may-to, To-mah-to
Microsoft sent out media invites for next months briefing about new Windows 10 devices, including the updated Surface Pro, or, as it’s referred to by NFL television announcers–after Microsoft paid the NFL $400 million to make the Surface Pro the official tablet of the NFL–“the iPad.”

Do I Not Bleed?
Facebook is working with the German government to prevent xenophobic and racist comments from being posted. OK, but what’s being done to crack down on the guy who, with no regard for the fact that I’m a real person with actual, human emotions, viciously and hatefully lashed out by referring to this blog as “meh?”

Frankly, I Don’t Trust the Coffee Maker Either
The new Roomba 980 vacuum cleaner will allegedly keep working until it has cleaned every possible spot on your floor. It is able to do this by mapping your whole house with the use of a camera. Oh, and military robotics technology.

No thanks. I’ve seen this movie. It was called Maximum Overdrive. It was based on a Stephen King story in which machines come to life and help us lead more efficient, fulfilling lives. Ha! As if! No, they want us dead, of course. And you know what the ability to map my whole house means? The ability to find me wherever the hell I hide, that’s what.

“Oh, what’s a Roomba going to do to you?” you ask. “Clean you to death?”

You don’t watch horror movies, do you?

All you have to do is trip once (guess what trips you?), and the Roomba accelerates, gets hold of your hair, and, without being too graphic, let’s just say you aren’t standing up again with your scalp and brain intact.

So I think we’ll keep pushing around our twelve-year-old, non-military grade Dirt Devil. (My wife would like me to clarify that, by “we,” I mean “she.” This is true, but only because I have an old Frisbee-related wrist injury that could flare up at any time, especially with the way that vacuum cleaner lurches to one side, being on only three wheels–it’s a real bear to manage, let me tell you–and I wouldn’t want my ability to type up this blog and deliver it to the readers (both of you) to be affected.)

Thanks again for stopping by the Weekly Tech Views Blog. If you enjoyed it, feel free to send a friend or five this way. If you weren’t so crazy about it, we’ll just pretend this never happened.

Mike Range

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