Real tech news. Really shaky analysis.
Thanks for visiting the Weekly Tech Views Blog. Give me five minutes and I’ll bring you the week in tech, without the annoying intrusion of facts or common sense.
For the week of August 10 – 14, 2015
Phone Maker Finds Silver Lining in Security Foul Up
Phone maker HTC was found to be storing users fingerprints in an unencrypted image file. Said an HTC spokesman, “On the bright side, this report does indicate that we sold a phone, so that’s a nice surprise. And while we will certainly be reviewing our protocols, I am frankly stunned that security was a problem, considering I need signatures from two supervisors and a week’s notice to get a stupid Sharpie from the supply room.”
Obscure Processor Flaw Convinces Gamer He’s Not So Pathetic
It was found that all Intel X86 processors since 1997 contain an exploitable flaw that could allow access to System Management Mode. I don’t really know what that means, but my take is that I finally have an excuse for never beating Quake 3.
Probably No Meal Service Either
A Dutch engineer is working on a self-flying quadcopter named Quadro (Dutch for “big-ass drone”) capable of carrying passengers. While he has so far been able to keep a rider in the air for only ten seconds, he has decided to continue development to extend the time aloft, rather than marketing Quadro as a really expensive way to cross a busy street.
Twitter to Popular People: Take That
Twitter removed the 140 character limit on Direct Messages, now accepting up to 10,000 characters. This is big news for anyone in the publishing industry who has accidentally set their Twitter settings to accept DMs from all users, as they will soon be receiving the first fifty pages of my novel Chrysanthemums in Winter, the story of a plucky young girl, who, after her negligent teenage parents left her in the woods in deepest rural Alabama at the age of three, grew up alone in a tiny abandoned shed, surviving on pine cones and iffy plants. Yet she was able to harness the never-say-die determination, that, as a young lady, led her back to civilization, where her “Gee, isn’t every day a glorious gift to be treasured and how could you complain about anything when you get to live in a big beautiful world like this” attitude… really got on people’s nerves. So she went back to her shed in the woods to grow old and die. Though “old” is overstating it; I mean, living on pine cones and iffy plants can only take you so far. Probably made it to her early thirties.
Hello, best-seller lists.
Card Game Wins the Internet
Reports have the digital card game Hearthstone making $20 million per month. In other news, I’m excited to announce Stonehearth, my wildly addictive build-your-own fireplace app. Imagine the thrill of playing a run of cards like FireBrick – Refractory Mortar – Fontainebleau Marble. Hoo-boy! Plus, choose from over 150 pokers (only 99 cents each), available in each of Crayola’s 120 colors, and select NFL, MLB, and NHL team colors.
Racing Drones Look to Nab NASCAR’s “Do You Think He’s Dead?” Fan Base
While the Drone Racing League is getting significant financial support, there is concern over how viewer-friendly the sport can be in person. Realizing that many NASCAR fans show up in hopes of seeing crashes, the DRL fears that unmanned drones may not provide high enough stakes, so when a drone does crash, the pilot on the ground–his or her image projected on a 400-foot Jumbotron–will be beaten around the head and shoulders with a bag of nickels.
From the Home Office in Mountain View, California
Google restructured this week, creating a new parent company named Alphabet. Publicly, this is being presented as the brainchild of Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, but when you read the new essay by Dan Brown (author of The DaVinci Code), it becomes clear that someone behind the scenes is pulling the strings. That’s why I’m proud to present an exclusive, world premiere excerpt from The Dave-inci Code: David Letterman’s Quest to Own the Internet:
The creation of Alphabet was no simple restructuring on Google’s part. No, this was another step in a mission for one man to rule the online world. A man who spent 33 years in a position that allowed him to not only amass a vast, mid-tier-Kardashian-level personal fortune, but to simultaneously form relationships with the most powerful entities in show business, politics, sports, and zoo administration, not to mention ingratiating himself to generations of the world’s future leaders as they reclined on ratty sofas, eating pizza and drinking beer, in college dorm lounges across America.
If you are looking for it, the evidence of Mr. Letterman’s influence is almost comically obvious.
– Having existed for seventeen years, Google suddenly decides to “restructure” two months after Letterman “retires,” and chooses the name Alphabet. Why Alphabet? What sense does that make? Plenty, if the person making that decision is named LETTERman! Boom!
Did Letterman have a part in not just the formation of Alphabet, but in the creation of Google itself? It’s unproven, but consider…
– In a pre-Google era, Letterman, with millions of viewers as witnesses, dropped a computer from the top of a tall building just to watch it shatter on the pavement below, obviously symbolizing his disgust with, and his intent to revolutionize, the existing state of technology (he also seemed none to happy with the watermelon and guacamole-filled-balloon industries).
– Hinting at the world’s coming paranoia over Google trying to learn everything about everyone, Letterman subtly promoted a kindred philosophy via the antics of The Guy Under the Seats. This unsettling character was portrayed by prominent early member of the secret inner circle known as the Letterati, Chris Elliott, who would creepily peek out from beneath a trap door and proclaim, “I’m watching you… I’m always watching you.”
– Google, with its myriad ventures—self-driving cars, home automation, health research–has been seen as a company willing to throw ideas against the wall to see what will stick. Would it surprise you if, inside the those very walls at Google, this attitude was called Is This Anything? Or maybe Will it Float? No, I don’t have any proof that this was the case, but it sure wouldn’t surprise me, because both of these phrases were titles of regular segments on Letterman’s show! Hah! And, of course, Letterman, donning a Velcro suit, launched himself via trampoline at a Velcro wall to see if he would stick. Check-freaking-mate!
– What is YouTube if not a collection of Stupid Pet Tricks, Stupid Human Tricks, and Letterman’s pre-recorded remote bits? It then obviously follows that Viewer Mail was the comments section. Let me check my notes here… who owns YouTube?… Oh yeah–Google! Have you ever seen a puzzle fit together so perfectly?!
Basically, Letterman’s show was the internet before there was an internet, and now he wants to stake his rightful claim. And why? To what end? I think that should be obvious to everyone at this point. It is so that any time anyone Googles “Jay Leno,” the only result is a video of a monkey washing a cat.
I rest my case.
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.
Weekly Tech Views Blog by Mike Range is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.