Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.
Welcome to this holiday season edition of the Weekly Tech Views, where the stories focus on technology’s ability to bring humanity together in a spirit of love and sharing. Ha. No, it’s pretty much a greedfest. Enjoy.
AI: Assisting Impulses
Amazon unveiled a new AI platform, including Rekognition, which can “look” at things and recognize, for instance, the difference between breeds of dogs or the emotion conveyed by a person’s facial expression.
Fine. But I can do that. Let me know when it can read the emotions on the face of different breeds of dogs. Or better yet, our cat. Build that into a pair of glasses and then you’re talking. I know she feels different emotions, but it’s 50/50 whether her current look means “pet me” or “put your hands within three feet of me and I will shred those furless paws to the bone and you’ll be typing your stupid blog with your nose.”
Still, Amazon sees real value in Rekognition, aside from giving the under-used eleventh letter of the alphabet some love. “Just think how convenient this will be for you as a consumer,” said a spokesperson, “when we recognize the delight on your face as you check out a $2,000 gaming computer and we automatically place it in your cart for you, saving you the unnecessary effort of clicking ‘Add to cart.’ What a relief, right?
“Oh, don’t worry, you won’t automatically buy it. Haha. Although… what if we said you could return it for free? How many would, do you think? I mean, once you have something you really want on your doorstep? I bet enough of you would keep–well, haha, that’s a discussion for another time, I suppose. A discussion worthy of a hefty bonus, I bet.
“Anyhow… for now, if at some point you go to your cart and survey what’s there and we recognize doubt or trepidation has crept into your expression as you consider checking out, don’t worry, because we will, of course–immediately and without any questions–suggest some other cool accessories to go with the rig. And we will continue to do so until that greedy gleam has been restored to your eye and thoughts of financial responsibility are just a silly memory.”
Why Don’t I Learn And Stick To Campaign Mode?
Sony has launched the PlayStation Communities app, allowing players to interact with fellow PS4 gamers right from their phones. Finally. This kind of thing has been long-awaited because it makes it so much more convenient–even while you aren’t playing the game–for an eleven-year-old to tell you how much you suck at Battlefield, in case it slipped your mind WHILE WORKING TEN HOURS A DAY INSTEAD OF SITTING IN A BEANBAG CHAIR THE WHOLE FOUR-DAY HOLIDAY WEEKEND WITH A DUALSHOCK 4 PRACTICALLY WELDED TO YOUR HAND, YOU LITTLE PUNK!
Hakuna View Nada
While Netflix announced the welcome feature of being able to download programming for offline viewing, Disney properties will be a notable exception.
“Yeah, like we’re going to let people watch our stuff whenever they want,” said one Disney executive. “Hell, we don’t even let the poor shlubs buy it whenever they want. You’ve heard of the Disney Vault? We actually yank movies off shelves and refuse to take your money for them for seven years!
“We know there’s a downside–your six-year-old saw The Lion King at a neighbor’s house and won’t stop crying because you don’t own it and, in her eyes, you apparently don’t love her enough to get it. I’m sure that’s rough. Your kid’s tears are like little daggers to your heart. You want to cry along with them. But on the bright side, how fast will you open your wallet when we release the “Diamond Edition” for thirty bucks? Or fifty? Surely there’s no limit to what your kid’s happiness is worth? Seriously, it would be really helpful to us pricing-wise if you could ballpark a number.”
U-S-A! You Must Pay!
The United States saw record online sales over the holiday weekend, thanks to $3.34 billion on Black Friday and $3.45 billion on Cyber Monday, pushing the five-day total to $12.8 billion, a 16% increase over last year. Still, this pales next to China’s Singles Day, where sales hit $18 billion in just 24 hours.
It’s one thing to be behind other countries in broadband speed or the education of our kids, but consumerism? How much we can spend in a day on frivolous items? The America I know is second to nobody when it comes to scraping together every last nickel to buy the new shiny must-have at the holidays. What, we’re suddenly a people worried about what we can afford? Why do you think credit card debt was invented? So we could be number two? Hell no!
Is it possible that some of you don’t know you can borrow from your 401k? Great, you’ll have an extra $250 in your account when you retire(1), but that doesn’t get you an Xbox One today, does it? Or help us look China in the eye.
Do you think our retailers stock their stores for Christmas in mid-October for nothing? Do you think they cram Big Bang Theory nativity sets onto shelves already crowded with decapitated zombie heads singing the Monster Mash because it’s fun? No, they do it so we can spend more money than any country on Earth!
It’s the shopping Olympics, people, and we are supposed to be the Dream Team. I hope you all think about that during your Happy Spartan Holidays.
You Got Your Dual Passive Subwoofers In My ARM Cortex-A53 CPU
Amazon may be working on a new version of the Echo, this one with a 7-inch screen and better speakers. This decision came after a research and development phase consisting of a warehouse worker stubbing his toe and crying out in pain, causing him to drop, in order, the Fire tablet he was carrying in his right hand, the gum he was chewing, and the bluetooth speaker in his left hand.
Had You Guys Going There, Didn’t I?
The hacker of the San Francisco Metro Transit Agency demanded a ransom of 100 bitcoins to not expose information they had obtained. Everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief and chuckled as they looked around for the hidden cameras. Bitcoins, you’ll recall, are a fictional currency like Klingon darseks or Harry Potter-universe knuts. After intense “negotiations,” the SFMTA and the hacker settled on 75 Flanian pobble beads and the two parties shared a good laugh.
Does This Bezel Make My Glass Look Big?
Apple’s next iPad could have a one-inch larger screen in the same sized device. This sounds rather remarkable until you remember we do exactly the same thing about this time every year if you substitute “waistline” for “screen” and “pants” for “device.”
(1) Yeah, I know–compound interest. Maybe the $250 is $1,000 when you retire. Still a cheap sticker price for your patriotism, Scrooge.
No, the greed isn’t over yet. There’s still a Kickstarter to fund! Five days left to reach our goal. If you’d like to be the proud owner of Tech, Please!–a year’s worth of the Weekly Tech Views, now in book form!–you can visit the Kickstarter HERE. Watch a banana get sacrificed in the name of weird technology news!
Weekly Tech Views: The Tech, No Logic Blog by Mike Range is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.