Weekly Tech Views – Jan 30, 2016

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

Another month comes to an end, but the Weekly Tech Views rolls on.

But Do You “Like” Like It?
Facebook is adding companions to the Like button, called Reactions. You can now also choose from Ha-ha, Wow, Love, Sad, and Angry (which, coincidentally, is the outline for every reality show, ever). This is the second go-round at fame for these five reactions, who originally anticipated movie stardom years ago, before Disney’s Snow White and the Twelve Dwarfs ran into budget cuts.

As a warm up for the arrival of Reactions, how about a quiz? Which reaction would you choose for each of today’s Weekly Tech Views stories? Keep track, and we’ll see if you’ve gotten the hang of it at the end of this post. Good luck!

So You’re Saying People Buy Some Of The Stuff We Make?
Sony is merging Sony Computer Entertainment with their PlayStation businesses to form a new company called Sony Interactive Entertainment. The move doesn’t officially take effect until April 1, giving the company time to put the employees of the computer branch through an intensive eight-week program designed to acclimate them to the concept of being part of a profitable company.

And That’s Without The Pencil
Apple is recalling some wall plug adapters because, in rare cases, the adapter could break and cause a shock. Apple has not identified the degree of shock, but electricians estimate it could range from “shaking hands with someone on shag carpeting” to “learning the price of an iPad Pro.”

Tuesday, 6PM: Come And Knock On Our Door
Microsoft’s virtual personal assistant, Cortana, will soon be able to automatically create reminders for you, based on information in your emails and calendar. For more on this story, we take you to 1977 and an episode of Three’s Company

Stanley Roper: “So it’s going to constantly nag me to do something without me telling it to? You sure it’s not named Helen?”

(Mr. Roper spends a full ten seconds smiling a very self-satisfied smile directly into the camera)

Helen Roper: “Maybe if you had some initiative and did something on your own, I wouldn’t have to nag.”

Stanley: “I do plenty! I just fixed their sink!”

Chrissy: “It’s true. It looked like real good duct tape, too.”

Stanley: “Never mind that. (To Helen): “And what have you ever done on your own?”

(It’s Helen’s turn to stare at the camera, eyebrows arched, and the audience snickers, knowing damned well what’s coming)

Helen: “Believe me, I have to do something on my own every night.”

(Audience howls)

Stanley: “I wish you were Cortana so I could push your button to make you be quiet.”

Helen: “If you would push my buttons I’d let you call me Cortana or Wonder Woman or whatever you want!”

(Huge, ridiculously long laughter from the audience, during which Jack does three double-takes, a spit take, and falls over six separate pieces of furniture.)

Want Some Pants With Those Pockets?
Apple is rumored to be introducing a new phone in March, the iPhone 5se. It will be a return to the four-inch form factor, which comes as a blow to a fashion industry that was finally coming to grips with the needs of the 6 Plus. You can bet they are scrambling now at Oscar de la Renta, desperately trying to decide whether to go ahead with their Prodigious Pockets line of ladies evening wear.

There was an exodus at Twitter this week as the heads of Media, Product, Engineering, and Human Resources all left the company, just days before Twitter’s two-day leadership summit. Also, panels at the summit covering leadership in Media, Product, Engineering, and Human Resources have been cancelled due to irony.

Check It–A Triple Popcorn Combo!
Periscope is integrating with the GoPro Hero 4, allowing users to stream and record video through the app. I’m sure there will be plenty of X-Games types sharing adrenaline-fueled, death-defying exploits with live Periscope audiences. For viewers who think athletes performing back-to-back-double-cork-1260s off of 22-foot walls of ice are just showing off and would rather find some cultural use for this technology, you are welcome to check out our stream, where you get to see which snack my wife and I have chosen for each episode of Jessica Jones.

A Phone In The Hand Is Worth Hours Of Laughs
Microsoft is beta testing the Word Flow keyboard, which is designed to make one-handed typing more convenient. Finally, our national nightmare is over! No longer will I have to put down my hot wings in order to tweet that I’m enjoying hot wings! And I’ll have plenty to watch while tweeting and eating, with YouTube executives projecting–during just the first month of widespread Word Flow use–a 350% increase in “Texters Obliviously Walking Into A Large, Immovable Object” videos.

I Love The Smell Of Union Strife In The Morning
French taxi drivers took to the ring road around Paris and burned tires to protest Uber’s continued operation under different rules than those governing taxis. This was a stroke of strategic genius, because, as history has shown time and again, nothing unites a divided public behind your cause like filling their city and lungs with the world’s most toxic potpourri.

Live Lint Look-In
Facebook has made live streaming available in the U.S. to iPhone users. Friends will be notified that your video is available and the feature will allow unlimited replays of all videos, including what is sure to become the platform’s most frequent post, “Inside of Pants Pocket.”

Grab On To Something
Asian Uber competitor GrabTaxi is changing its name to simply Grab, because they are no longer just a taxi service. There is the private car service GrabCar, motorbike taxis GrabBike, delivery service GrabExpress, and carpooling GrabHitch. They have even made their first foray into the U.S., providing tourists donkey rides in the Grand Canyon via GrabAss…

[Bells ring, a marching band begins playing, confetti falls from the rafters…]

“I’m humbled to accept, on behalf of the Weekly Tech Views, this Low Hanging Fruit Award for making the 10,000th GrabAss joke in response to this story. I guess, contrary to the doomsaying of my high school guidance counselor, a sense of humor that stagnated at the seventh grade level is good for something. Bless you all.”

Facebook Reactions Quiz Answers:

They’re all Ha-Ha. If you didn’t answer Ha-Ha to all of them, you’re doing it wrong. You shouldn’t even be allowed near Facebook, since you’re obviously a liar looking to hurt people’s feelings. Not that I care what you think.*

* Also would have accepted Love.

Remember 2015? Of course not, nobody does. Oh, some of your finer colleges may offer history classes that cover it, but those cost thousands of dollars and require getting out of bed. Instead, for the next week (through February 6), you can relive that bygone year’s biggest tech stories and their accompanying severely flawed analysis for only 99 cents! That’s right, the Weekly Tech Views compilation The Internet is Like a Snowblower (And 200 Other Things I Got Wrong About Tech This Year) is 67% off for one week!

That’s just half a cent per inaccuracy! You won’t find that kind of value outside of a presidential debate.

Amazon, here I come!

Snowblower Cover - Original - Final

Back next week with a special February issue that will be… pretty much like the January issues.

Mike Range

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Weekly Tech Views by Mike Range is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.