Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.
I’ve been really engrossed all this week in the concept of live-streamed, virtual reality chess. No time for any non-tech news. Hope I didn’t miss anything.
For the week of November 7 – 11, 2016…
Pawn (To Queen’s Bishop 4) Stars
Organizers of the World Chess Championship are suing to stop websites from broadcasting the moves of the 12-game championship contest. I was all set to make a joke about how the organizers had to do this to protect their sweet 75-cent pay-per-view on the Chess Network. But it turns out they stream it at $15 per viewer, and the contests are presented in VR.
So they aren’t fooling around. And I respect people that can play chess well–I personally can’t plan more than two moves ahead and get most of my fun by jumping a knight with my pawn and yelling, “KING ME!” I’m not the target market. Paying $15 to watch chess, even in VR, is not going to happen until the contestants are forced to hang Ron Weasley-like on to giant, weapon-wielding bishops and knights intent on the player’s demise.
In the meantime, my fifteen bucks is going toward a pizza to be eaten during a game of checkers, which my wife will tolerate until I start saying, “what’s that behind you?” and replacing random checkers with pepperoni.
Gotta Catch ‘Em All
The latest U.S. Roadmap for Robotics was published recently. In it, experts recommend focusing on things like a robot’s ability to estimate a doctor’s intent in surgical situations and matching human mobility in navigating obstacles like stairs and cluttered environments. It’s extremely important to attain both goals, because what good is giving our overlords the ability to surgically torture us if we don’t also guarantee that they can catch us?
Now That I Think About It, I Would Like A Pair
Snapchat has started selling Spectacles, their new video-recording sunglasses, in vending machines. For now, you can make the $129 purchase via credit or debit card, but soon, the company hopes that the vending machines, called Snapbots, will actually be able to chase down non-buyers and surgically torture them.
Pairing Hillary With James Comey In The Three-Legged Race Didn’t Help
Mark Zuckerberg does not think fake news stories on Facebook influenced the U.S. presidential election, stating that “voters make decisions based on their lived experience.”
Makes sense. Why would what we read or hear from any news outlet affect our decisions when we all have the lived experience of talking one-on-one with ol’ Don and Hill? Remember last summer at the neighborhood cookout? Trump almost certainly won the election because of the cool way he would chug a beer and then explain his plan for neutralizing ISIS while barreling head-first down the Slip N Slide.
Six Seconds In Heaven
Having announced that they were shutting down Vine, Twitter suddenly finds themselves fielding quite a few offers to purchase the micro video app. After narrowing the field from ten to five,* Twitter considered the widespread interest, sidled up to Vine and said, “You know Vine, you are looking good, baby. Could be I was a little hasty about the whole selling you idea… I guess I was just feeling down because nobody wanted to buy me… I forgot what a good thing I had with you… Hey, I was thinking we could maybe sneak off and you could do that thing I like so much… What do you say? Are you up for showing me Chris Christie standing behind Donald Trump and looking befuddled while the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme plays?
Spend It Like Beckham
China’s Singles Day–the biggest shopping day in the world–set a new record this year with online retailer Alibaba claiming sales of $18 billion, including $1.4 billion in the first seven minutes and $5 billion in the first hour.
A huge success, though there was some disappointment over Katy Perry canceling her appearance on the event’s televised kickoff celebration. David Beckham stepped in to fill the void, and while he did his best, many viewers–and Beckham himself–felt his performance of California Gurls suffered by not having time to retrieve his own custom-fitted, frosting-cannon bra.
Probably A Coincidence
The Spotify app has been writing gigabytes of junk data to many user’s hard drives with no apparent purpose. I’m now reevaluating everyone’s sudden “You’re the Spotify of technology writing” comments.
Repeat After Me
In response to German officials asking Tesla to stop using the term “Autopilot,” Tesla had a third party survey owners in Germany to get their interpretation of the term.
Said users, “Autopilot does not mean the car does everything. The driver is expected to maintain control of the vehicle at all times. Just like it says in the fourteen emails we got this week.”
On The Bright Side, The Newspapers Survived The Ads
Samsung bought full page ads in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post to apologize to customers for their Note 7 and washing machine recalls. Said a spokesperson, “We feel it’s very important to be heard and to come clean. Two things, ironically, for which you may want to avoid our products. Haha! Say, have our TVs started emitting weird flashes and blinding people yet? Hahaha! You’d figure they were due, right? (snort) How about Crock-Pots spewing boiling baked beans into people’s faces? I have that one in the office pool. Hahahaha! I sure do love my job!”
That’s Exactly What I Said–Progress Ding
Alphabet is scaling back Project Wing, their experimental delivery-by-drone initiative. This includes, after completing some initial tests, calling off a pending partnership with Starbucks. “Too bad, I’m really gonna miss Project Ring,” said a Starbucks barista.
We Interrupt This Tirade For A Word From Our Sponsor
Facebook is now allowing ads to appear in Messenger, as long as you are already in a conversation with the advertiser. I question the effectiveness of these ads, seeing as how approximately 100% of my online conversations with companies consist of “Why the *$!% are you trying to ruin my life!” How likely will I be to leap at an offer to upgrade to my cable company’s Ultra Super Mega Veg Out Package while in the midst of a six-hour “conversation” to get them to stop charging me every month for the DAMNED CINEMAX I NEVER ORDERED!
You Must Be Hot Because I’m Sensing 360 Degrees
Oculus users will be able to create VR avatars beginning December 6. In other news, all dating sites are going to have a new Super Premium membership level on December 7.
* There really should be seven finalists, resulting in one winner and a tie consisting of… that’s right…six seconds.
Attention Weekly Tech Views Nation!
Weekly Tech Views City?
Weekly Tech Views Cul de Sac In A Fairly Nice Neighborhood?
Whoever’s out there, the Kickstarter is nearly upon us! I can imagine the thought racing through your mind, because it’s the same as mine: “Wait, he was serious about that?”
Turns out I was.
On Wednesday, November 16, the campaign to fund an ebook and paperback version of the book Tech, Please! commences. This will be a collection of the year’s Weekly Tech Views–a chance to relive making fun of things we…okay, I don’t fully understand!
If you’d like to support the blog, this is the way to do it. There’s no Patreon, no rich uncle, no government funding (their mocking laughter is getting tiresome), just the book. Am I going to say it’s a great gift for the tech lover in your life? No. It’s the PERFECT gift! Tech lover or not! Heck, if they aren’t into tech they won’t know how much of the book is nonsense. They might think this stuff is real. Wouldn’t that be fun?
But if buying a book is not for you, you could spread the word amongst those book buyers you know. Or strangers. They might like to buy funny tech books, who can tell? Better to not take any chances.
November 16… Wednesday… You know how to set reminders on your phone, right? Good. In order to have the book deliverable by Christmas, it will be a short Kickstarter campaign–three weeks. With Thanksgiving in the middle of it. I am quite possibly insane. So if you are interested, the earlier you check out Kickstarter.com and search Tech, Please!, the better. At least for me.
As always, thanks for reading.
Weekly Tech Views: The Tech, No Logic Blog by Mike Range is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.