Surprising nobody, the top New Year’s resolutions for 2016 are 1) getting in shape, 2) getting organized, and 3) reading more bastardized tech news. Showing up today for the Weekly Tech Views is a great first step. Congratulations on your commitment!
For the week of January 4 - 8, 2016...
You Don’t Often See Accountants Cry Like That
Speaking of New Year’s resolutions, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg made his. In a post to Facebook, he challenged himself “to build a simple artificial intelligence to run my home and help me with my work.” He declined to add the statement prepared by his accountant, which announced that “any bold proclamations made more than thirty days prior to January 1, like, say, pledging, on the day my daughter was born, to give away $44.5 billion of my personal fortune to charity, do not qualify as New Year’s resolutions and are not binding in any other respect. I mean, I’m still gonna to donate to charity, but $44 billion? You can’t hold me to that. I was high on new baby fumes.”
Do You Know How Many F-Bombs That Is?
There is talk that Twitter will be doing away with its 140 character limit, possibly expanding to as many as 10,000 characters. That deafening rustling sound you hear is thousands of customer service reps, tasked with fielding Twitter complaints, hurling resignation letters onto their bosses desks.
The Tweet Awakens
On the plus side, 10,000 characters means it will only take me two or three tweets to fully express my “compare and contrast” theories about BB8 and R2D2.
Yeah, Well, My Wife Keeps Saying I Should Get That Tattoo Anyway
Microsoft’s fitness tracker, the Band 2, can integrate with automaker Volvo’s On Call app, allowing users to remotely start, heat, or lock their vehicle (should that vehicle, of course, be a Volvo). On the fitness side, future updates are expected to record how far you drive, and if the round trip is less than two miles the Band 2 will submit an entry to your workout log reading “Tsk-tsk-tsk.” If the Band’s GPS indicates the trip was to the corner convenience store and you spent time in the potato chip aisle (it’s a really good GPS) the Band 2 will burn I’M NOT WORTHY into your wrist and disintegrate.
It Leaves Their Hands Free For Texting
Faraday Future introduced a concept car featuring, among other things, a helmet that delivers oxygen and water to the driver. Sure, this starts out as a boon to racecar drivers dealing with 120-degree temperatures inside their car, but before you know it, it’s coming standard in the family minivan, the tech has improved to include a food delivery system, and suddenly thousands of people with I’M NOT WORTHY burned into their wrist are getting Red Bull and Cheetos pumped down their throat without the third world inconvenience of having to reach over to the gaping Extended-Family Size snack bag seat-belted on the passenger seat.
Why I Won’t Be Wearing The Microsoft Band 2
In even more fitness tracking news, Fitbit now has a smartwatch, the Blaze, which can automatically recognize the activity you are performing and record it. It also claims battery life of five days, but if it’s dependent on how much activity it has to track, I’ll bet I can go Thanksgiving through Super Bowl Sunday without recharging. Unless the software has to work particularly hard to record the “eating cookies” activity.
New Tech, Same As The Old Tech
One of CES’s biggest surprises was the absence of Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd for the announcement that–at this Mecca for cutting-edge technology–Panasonic and Kodak presented brand new, mind-blowing devices called, respectively, a turntable and a Super-8 video camera!* What times we live in!
Guess It’s Back To Far Cry 2
Oculus started taking preorders for the Oculus Rift VR system, setting a $599 price tag. There is also a package which includes the Rift and an “Oculus-ready” computer for $1499. This does not bode well for my hopes of getting a truly immersive virtual reality experience from the integrated graphics in my six-year-old Compaq laptop.
“Making A Murderer” Sounds Legit
Netflix launched in 130 additional countries, leaving only China, Syria, Crimea, and North Korea on the outside looking in. This, of course, is contrary to reports out of North Korea which insist that not only does Netflix exist there, but that the Supreme Leader invented it and stars in House of Cards, Wet Hot American Summer, and The Unbreakable Kimmy Jong-un.
* A turntable is a music playing device, like your phone, but instead of the inconvenience of tapping a button on your phone’s screen to get one of your stored 3,000 songs to play, all you have to do with a turntable is place a large grooved vinyl disc (a record) onto a spindle, start the turntable spinning, then carefully (so as not to scratch the record and ruin it) place a needle on the vinyl’s surface. With expert placement, you can choose any of up to six songs per side!
What a turntable lacks in portability (the clothing industry has not yet cracked the manufacturing process necessary to create pockets that will comfortably hold even the smallest of record players), it makes up for in crackle, clicks, and hiss!
Similarly, a Super 8 camera is a video recording device, like your phone, but instead of having to remember to switch your camera app from “photo” to “video,” all you have to do with a Super 8 is insert a film cartridge (read your manual for specific loading instructions), remove the lens cap, manually focus, and pull the trigger to capture up to two-and-a-half minutes of memories per 50-foot roll of film! To view your artistry, simply set up a film developing lab at home, or take the modern no-hassle route and send your film to a developer. You and your friends will be enjoying the results in just a matter of days!**
** Odds-on favorite for longest footnote of 2016.