Weekly Tech Views 21 – Dec 5, 2015


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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

December. The holiday season is in full swing—parties, gift buying, TV specials, caroling (do people still carol? seems there’s been a steep decline in fa-la-la-ing recently). If only there was a way to take a short break and be misinformed about the week’s tech news…

Or—Just Spitballing Here, Dad—You Could Buy Me A Couple Islands
Mark Zuckerberg pledged to his daughter—via a Facebook post, the way all dads first communicate with their newborns–that he and his wife would give away 99% of their $45 billion net worth. That’s right, give it away. Giving away $44.5 billion.

And that makes it official! Somewhere, the Winklevoss twins’ life-sized Mark Zuckerberg voodoo doll has run out of room for more pins.

Mark, Buddy, How About An Xbox One For Everybody?
Black Friday online sales in the U.S. for Thanksgiving were reportedly up nearly 21% compared to last year at $2.7 billion. Some of the more popular items were—

Wait a minute. Mark Zuckerberg and his wife have a net worth almost 17 times what the whole country spent on Black Friday? That means they could do the Black Friday shopping for the entire United States until 2032. Hold on… Tyler Winklevoss is looking things over… seems to be focusing on a spot near the left elbow… and…yes!… with the use of a small hammer, he has wedged in one more pin!

Uh-oh, I Think I Forgot Batteries—Better Log Back On
Anyhow, online sales also increased on Thanksgiving Day, and they’re going to keep right on increasing, because with the Cowboys losing by thirty and Aunt Becky relating, for the thirty-second Thanksgiving in a row, her glory days as Harvestdale High’s head cheerleader (the Harvestdale graduating class of 1983 was twelve strong, so Becky didn’t have a lot of competition. The cheerleader pyramid consisted of Becky kneeling on another girl’s back, and Uncle Gus swears the closest she ever came to completing a back flip was in the back seat of his ’81 Toyota Cressida), buying yourself a monogrammed Fallout 4 Pip Boy seems like a worthwhile distraction.

We Also Notice You’ve Been To The Library, Where There Are Books On The Holocaust—What Do You Have To Say For Yourself, Hitler?
A Los Angeles councilwoman is proposing that the city access a database of license plates captured on cameras in locations known for prostitution, and sending letters to the owners of those cars mentioning that the vehicle was seen in said area. The obvious implication is that the city thinks the owner just may be a solicitor of prostitutes. Which is ridiculous; does the fact that I drove by Cleveland Browns Stadium mean that I’m a superstar athlete?

Okay, bad example.

Russ, We Checked Every Bulb, Didn’t We?
It turns out electrical interference from holiday lights could negatively affect your WiFi reception. This is why, in Christmas Vacation, you never saw the Griswolds watch Netflix. That, and it was 1989.

On the Bright Side, They Can Put Up All The Christmas Lights They Want
The town of Stewart, British Columbia, already without cell phone service, has now lost their primary internet access provider. Their only remaining options are dial-up and satellite (slogan: almost as fast as DSL!). They hope to have a new provider by the year’s end, but until then they are changing the signs at the city limits to read “Welcome to Stewart—the friendliness of a small town with all the conveniences of a much smaller town!

I Probably Didn’t Need The Unlimited Data Plan
Google has updated their Data Saver feature, which will remove most images from a web page, making a slow internet connection more useful. For a moment, excitement surged through the town of Stewart, BC, but when they found out the feature was only for phones, they all returned to the town charade tournament.

It’s Called “Live,” Do Something
Facebook’s Live streaming video feature is being made available to a selection of general users, having previously been the domain of celebrities and journalists. We all know what this means. Everyone already gets tons of really cute or funny pet videos that have been shared all over Facebook and gotten millions of views. Why do they get millions of views? Because, dear recently-added Live user, THEY ARE REALLY CUTE OR FUNNY! They have a point! Though I haven’t seen this publicized, I have to assume, if there’s a god in heaven, access to this Periscope-like feature will be contingent on adherence to one simple, guiding principle: film a pet that does nothing for three seconds and you’re banned.

(Only Nick Offerman gets away with doing nothing on video, and he gets to do so for 45 minutes: https://youtu.be/LS-ErOKpO4E.)

Service With A Smile. And A Drone. And This Guy
Yudala, a Nigerian retail chain, has made their first drone-delivery of a customer order. Yes, a Yudala representative was on hand to process the invoice and hand over the purchased phone to the customer, and sure, that rep could have just as easily delivered the phone while the drone hung out at the warehouse, but the technological achievement should not be overshadowed by the packed 18-foot trailer the Yudala employee brought along to set up a counter, cash register, a rack of impulse buy flash drives, phone chargers, etc for the customer to look at while the invoice was processed, and a second employee to up-sell her on an extended warranty.

Well, that’s all for this week. It’s time to get back to celebrating the holiday season. By which, of course, I mean, “hey, here’s something you can buy!”

All of the year’s Weekly Tech Views (including the unpublished trial balloon edition) have been compiled into an ebook called The Internet is Like a Snowblower (And 200 Other Things I Got Wrong About Tech This Year).

Sure, it would make a fine gift for anyone interested in technology; that goes without saying, though I’ll probably say it repeatedly. But it’s also not a bad way to kill a few minutes while in line at the mall or enduring the five-minute commercial breaks throughout It’s a Wonderful Life. Who doesn’t want to relive landmark tech moments like finding out what proctologists think about Spotify or learning the plan that will allow us to rule other planets with our cable companies?

So if you have $2.99 sitting around annoying you because it’s not doing anything productive, why not get yourself 200 examples of me being wrong about things? Plus, it has cover art by Daily Tech News Show contributor Len Peralta! If you’re not crazy about one of the stories, just go back and look at the cover. You’ll feel better in no time.

It’s available for the Kindle or the Kindle app at http://www.amazon.com/dp/ B018ZQQ7UM.

Commercial over. Thanks, as always, for reading the Weekly Tech Views. See you next week.

Mike Range


Snowblower Cover - Original - Final

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