Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.
Welcome to the 13th issue of The Weekly Tech Views Blog. Is that lucky or unlucky for you? You’ll have to risk wasting the next five minutes of your life to find out.
Next Year, They Add Corkscrews And Nail Files
Following Apple, Microsoft, HTC, HP, Google, and Samsung, Dell became the latest in the parade of tech companies introducing new products, the highlight being the XPS12, a tablet that–stop me if you’ve heard this before–converts into a laptop by attaching a keyboard.
And we think that does it! That’s the last of the world’s flat, rectangular surfaces that can convert–hang on… we’ve just learned that Just Like Mom’s Diner in Bentonsport, Iowa, has added a bluetooth keyboard to work in conjunction with their children’s activity paper placemat, replacing the traditional complimentary crayon.
He’s Got A Face That Could Start A Phone
Microsoft’s new Lumia phones allow you to log in with your face. Which would be a nice security feature if soap operas, from what I learned from my mom and sisters while growing up, hadn’t taught us that eighty percent of all wrongdoing is perpetrated by evil twins.*
“My Platform Is Based On Secur–Damn It.”
Credit card information may have been stolen from Trump hotels. Said Donald Trump, “Our dedication to security is yuge. The only thing bigger is the jackpot you can win on our new Mexican Border Wall slot machines–payouts so big you can’t get over it. Heh-heh.”
Can You Track Me Now?
Verizon is going to share customer’s browsing habits with AOL’s ad network. They will do this by sharing the “super cookie”–an ID number they attach to each user’s browsing activity–that tracks every site a customer visits. While the privacy concerns are serious (I like to imagine Verizon bought AOL mainly to be able to use the classic voice to announce to advertisers, “He’s got mail! And two kids, Diana and Timothy! And he’s thinking about a vacation in November, somewhere warm, possibly Florida or The Bahamas! And he spent ten minutes today at Victoria’s Secret looking for a birthday present for his wife, Kelly! And four hours at ESPN’s fantasy football site!”) But far more importantly, they’re bastardizing the term “super cookie,” which should be reserved for those 12-inch diameter, frosted chocolate chip wonders they used to sell at the mall, that, on more than one occasion, served as dinner in college.
Can You Gouge Me Now?
Non-contract users of Verizon’s unlimited plan will be getting a $20 per line, per month price hike next month. (Verizon’s motto: We may track everything you do and give that data to advertisers, but at least we’re raising your rates.)
Hey, That’s Our Thing
The Federal Aviation Administration is going to test technology that would allow them to detect and track drones that fly into unauthorized areas. “Tracking?” said Verizon. “Can we get in on that?”
A Small Part Of The TV Service We’ve All Been Dreaming Of Might Be Coming, Someday
According to unidentified sources claiming to be familiar with the matter, Amazon could be looking into the possibility of maybe considering the exploration of the prospect of potentially contemplating the feasibility of launching a live TV service. It’s said that they have been in talks with CBS Corp. and NBCUniversal about carrying their channels. According to a source completely unfamiliar with the matter (me), “their channels” sounds suspiciously like “not all of their channels, but all the E! Network’s Keeping Up With the Kardashians you can handle, and not so much Modern Family.”
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand “Why Don’t You Bureaucrats Get Off Your Asses and Fix Things Out Here” Emails
Qlue is an app used by Indonesians to post photos of road problems online to spur city authorities to remedy the issue more promptly. It seems to be working, as ninety percent of complaints are followed up on now, compared to thirty percent when Qlue launched. There was talk of initiating a similar program here in Cleveland, but liability insurance proved prohibitive for the shrapnel injuries certain to occur each March when the servers used to store the photos exploded during pothole season.
Everyone That Unfollowed Me In 2008, In My Office–Now
Jack Dorsey was named CEO of Twitter for the second time.
New Shuttle Gets You There Four Times As Fast As Leisurely Stroll
The Netherlands will commence operation of a driverless shuttle called the WEpod on public roads next month. It will be monitored from a control room, which may have you wondering what the benefit is to paying a remote human monitor instead of an in-vehicle human driver. First, the shuttle will travel no faster than 25 kilometers per hour (15 miles per hour), and numerous studies have shown that the only people psychologically capable of driving at that speed for an extended period of time are over 75 years old and are a) living in Florida or b) operating the Santa’s Express in a shopping mall. Also, one assumes that eventually the off-site controller will be handling more than one shuttle at a time, like an air traffic controller, but with the stress of juggling the flight patterns of dozens of 200-ton vehicles moving at 600mph ratcheted down to something closer to manning a county fair bumper car ride.
But Will It Know To Blow The Horn When Kids In The Car Ahead Of It Make The “Blow The Horn” Motion?
Daimler is also in on the autonomous vehicle act, testing a driverless Mercedes-Benz big rig on the Autobahn (presumably faster than the WEpod’s 15mph, because, the way I understand it, traveling slower than 100mph on the Autobahn is grounds for execution). Though navigation was handled by radar, a camera array, and cruise control, there was a human crew on board to monitor the test and ward off the “Scooby Doo Effect” of other drivers pointing at the empty cab, yelling “G-g-g-ghost!” and accelerating straight into a guard rail.
Wait, We’ve Been Trying To Get Five Bucks A Month When We Could Be Doing This?
Pandora purchased concert ticket-seller Ticketfly. They will undoubtedly merge this into the Pandora app, allowing you to enter the last concert for which you bought tickets online, and then using their proprietary algorithm to determine just the right ridiculous “convenience fee” to charge you next time.
* You’re going to say, “Mike, this is ‘iris scanning’**, and twins don’t have the same iris texture, so an evil twin isn’t a threat.” My obvious rebuttal is, “You’re right, but that ruins the joke.”
** Speaking of soap operas, doesn’t “iris scanning” sound like a soap opera character? “Iris Canning, matriarch of the Canning dynasty, and ruler of the vast Canning estate; nothing happens in the Canning family–or in the whole, deceptively peaceful town of Eden’s Cove–without Iris Canning’s say-so.”***
*** Look, I really never watched soap operas. I overheard others watching, that’s all. Really.
That’s that. 13 issues means three months in the can and a quarterly report due for the ruthless Weekly Tech View shareholders. They want to see numbers, so if reading these doesn’t upset you too violently, I’d appreciate you mentioning this bit of harmless babble to your friends.
Weekly Tech Views Blog by Mike Range is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.