Weekly Tech Views (The Tech-No Logic Blog) – May 14, 2016

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Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

Tech companies keep making news, despite knowing darned well how it’s going to get treated here.

For the week of May 9-13, 2016…

But Ours Uses 100% More Words
Facebook won a trademark infringement case against a Chinese company who registered the name “face book.” “Damn, that’s not good,” said the CEO of binocular manufacturer Go Ogle.

You Play The Game Once And Thankfully It Goes Away
Apple’s app approval time for submissions to the App Store decreased from a mean of nine days to just two days over the past year. This story is interesting for two reasons: 1) how often do you get to start a sentence with three words starting with “app”? and 2) how come it’s been a month and I have yet to hear a peep about my Flappy Bird/Snapchat mashup, FlappyChat?

Get Your $4.99 Ready
Amazon launched Amazon Video Direct, which allows creators to submit video to sell, rent or stream at Amazon Video. AVD is expected to be a home less for hastily-shot pet and prank clips and more for polished, “professionally produced video.” Finally! Imagine, if you will…

We open on a young social commentary blogger. Well, it’s not actually called blogging in this pre-internet era–what he does is write completely-justified, hate-filled diatribes on notebook paper and then stuff them into the lockers of the jerks who dragged him to the middle of the basketball court during the Lunch/Rec hour the day before and administered a painful and embarrassing “pink belly” (the pinkness of the belly a result of four or five ninth-graders grabbing the seventh-grader, pulling up his shirt, and smacking the hell out of his stomach until the desired hue was achieved–a time-honored junior high tradition maybe not exactly endorsed, but certainly ignored by the lunch monitor/gym teacher).

Anyhow, our hero goes to college where he pulls mostly Bs in his English classes, but remains convinced that one day his writing will be important, and following graduation he continues to write, unknowingly preparing for the vital blogging career awaiting him. Mostly, this is by submitting letters to the editor of the local newspaper, sometimes criticizing the government’s policy on foreign affairs, but more often going off on why the potholes on his street haven’t been fixed or whether the police are ever going to do something about the neighbors who think it’s fine to have parties on Tuesday nights and won’t turn down the Metallica no matter how many times you ask even though some people have to work the next morning.

Then, the internet arrives. And eventually, our protagonist begins to shape public opinion with his snarky comments about technology in his wildly popular blog–let’s call it The Weekly Tech Spews–and this, of course, makes him a target for the tech industry, who rightly fear the impact a blogger of such renown and influence could have on their profits.

Naturally, their first move is to send one assassin after another to take him out, but our hero (okay, it’s me) reveals heretofore hidden martial art and weaponry skills that defeat the forces of corporate evil in an 90-minute, action-packed bloodbath (all that backstory stuff is covered in a 30-second flashback). We’ll call it Blog Hard. Well, that might have issues. How about Blog Day Afternoon? Marvel’s Blog-Man? The Bloginator!

I Might Reach Forty If I Can Choose The Word
Google is hiring “drivers” to collect data while riding in self-driving SUVs. The company will pay $20 per hour for a 6-8 hour workday, provided you have a clean driving record and can type 40 words per minute. So taking the pointless Ethics and Philosophy elective in high school instead of Typing bites me in the ass once again.

A Neural Network Framework By Any Other Name…
Google’s SyntaxNet is “a neural network framework… that provides a foundation for Natural Language Understanding systems.” This is important in that it demonstrates Google’s ability to string together a lot of words that make me feel stupid. Okay, apparently, this means it can help computers understand the structure of sentences.

More interesting is their SyntaxNet companion, designed specifically for parsing the English language–Parsey McParseface. This is important in that it demonstrates Google’s ability to be cute little buggers. Not everyone is happy about the name, though, as it was chosen only after Google executives vetoed the controversial company-wide vote that dubbed it David Attenborough.

Beyond Cabledome
The California Public Utilities Commission has approved the Charter acquisition of Time Warner Cable, leaving only the final step of the merger to be completed, the Redundant Customer Service Rep Showdown. Individual CSRs from Charter and TWC will be pitted against each other, with each receiving a customer service call at the exact same moment. The first to make their customer cry keeps their job. While rare, a match lasting longer than thirty seconds means both are fired.

And the new bonus clause has really raised morale: “Should any contestant break the 2004 record set by Charter legend Anson “Asshat” Andrews, who had Lafayette, Louisiana customer Edna Bertrand–a customer who had called to notify the company that they had neglected to charge her for HBO the previous month–sobbing in just 5.6 seconds, they receive an extra half hour for lunch. Once, not every day. And you supply your own lunch. This isn’t freaking Google, damn it.”

The Sincerest Form Of Patent Infringement
Many are accusing Huawei of blatantly copying Apple’s iPhone design for their P9 phone, down to the same type of screws. Said a Huawei executive, “Nonsense. Why would we copy anybody when we do such brilliant work of our own? Just watch this demonstration of our new voice-activated personal assistant. It does such a great job of helping you explore the internet, we named it after famed explorer Sir Edmund Hillary–Hey, Sir E, where can I buy proprietary star-shaped screws? In bulk.”

Also, The Ability To Rewind And Fast Forward Makes You Weak
Streaming music became Warner Music Group’s biggest source of income in the first quarter of this year, surpassing physical media and downloads revenue for the first time. Look, I don’t want to play the “in my day” card, but you’ll never convince me the convenience of streaming trumps things like the one-of-a-kind mashups you can only get when you pop in Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell 8-track and Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad from Program 3 bleeds over and plays simultaneously with Program 4’s Heaven Can Wait.

Or the cool, ahead-of-its-time techno-club-DJ-like altering of a song by allowing the loud ka-chunk! of changing programs to occur mid-song. Sometimes mid-lyric! That right there was art. Imagine the building anticipation as your favorite part of For Crying Out Loud approaches, then, suddenly, three seconds of hiss, KA-CHUNK!, another three seconds of hiss, and then the song resumes. You appreciate that next line like you never will with Spotify and its boring, constant delivery of entire songs. But go ahead and listen to your streaming service. While putting ketchup on your steak. Heathens.

That Means I’m Better Than An Amateur Crastinator
The free upgrade to Windows 10 ends July 29, which means it’s a good time for people like me to start planning their July 30 email to Microsoft begging for an extension because we planned to upgrade but things came up and we thought we might be getting a new computer and we accidentally turned off upgrade notifications and come on we promise not to borrow our neighbor’s copy of Word any more just give us one more day!


Over at the Night Attack Movie Draft, as of Monday, Tom and Jennie had drawn tantalizingly close to first place. You can see that (and what the future may hold) in the CRUMDUM. And if you check the latest standings HERE, you just may see even better news.

Mike Range

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Weekly Tech Views (The Tech-No Logic Blog) by Mike Range is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.