Weekend’s Top 8 roundup – 19th Dec

The week before Christmas and we have lots of self-driving stories making the headlines, Apple finally releases the AirPods in time for Santa’s stockings, Uber makes a massive loss, lasers help kill cancer and we are finally shown how to eat chicken wings properly.

The week before Christmas and we have lots of self-driving stories making the headlines, Apple finally releases the AirPods in time for Santa’s stockings, Uber makes a massive loss, lasers help kill cancer and we are finally shown how to eat chicken wings properly.

  1. Google’s Waymo, car driving company, releases its first car
    chrome_2016-12-24_12-48-23Waymo, Google’s self driving company (I hadn’t heard of it either), has released its first vehicle in partnership with Fiat.  A mini-van souped up with the latest technology to make it see through the streets.

    This is sort of thing that could make mini-vans sexy again.  Remember that infamous scene from Get Shorty?

  2. Apple’s new found AirPods are available to purchase
    chrome_2016-12-24_12-50-36.pngApple finally announced that AirPods are available for purchase and at a $159 for a pair, this is not an impulse buy.   Apple drew a lot of criticism when it released the latest iPhone without the traditional 3.5mm audio jack; relying purely on BlueTooth technology.  Being someone that uses BlueTooth all the time, not a major upset that the manufacturers are taking away this port; Samsung is rumored to be removing it from their next Galaxy.

    Though the issue with the AirPods is the fragility of losing $159 worth of headphones by simply walking or moving your head.  Can you imagine the panic when you lose them inflight and they fall?!?!  We’ll have AirRage I tells ya.

  3. Blackberry is back; this time as self-driving company
    chrome_2016-12-25_06-20-00.pngSo you may not be able to make a call with the once dominant handset manufacturer, but you could let it drive you to the shops or work.   Blackberry has rebranded itself and launched into the self-driving market space, positioning it’s powerful QNX operating system at the heart.

    This is a bold move and it will be interesting to see if the market will tolerate the branding to stretch this far.  Once again, Blackberry is going into a very tough market, positioning its QNX up against the likes of Linux, Android and Java.

  4. Uber net income over $5.6B, but on track for a $3.3B loss for 2016
    chrome_2016-12-25_06-23-59.pngThe size of Uber cannot be underestimated.   It is a company that is innovating on so many fronts than simply democratizing ride sharing.  Uber, while private, is thought to be valued at around the $68B space, making it larger than even GM.

    However, it is still struggling to make money, as the amount of legal challenges mount and it finds increasing competition from the likes of Lyft (who incidentally GM investor in).

  5. 20 years ago this week, Steve Jobs came back to rescue Apple
    chrome_2016-12-25_06-32-16.pngWe live in Internet years, which each year feels like a few.  It was only 20 years ago that Apple was really struggling both financially and innovatively.  Hard to believe considering the powerhouse the company is today, which its huge stockpile of sheer raw cash at hand.  But one man was all it took to turn the fortunes around, through the launch for the iPod and then the iPhone.

    The question many investors have been asking today though, who is there to rescue Apple today?  With Microsoft taking the lead in releasing sexy and desirable products, anything can and will change in our industry.

  6. Prostate cancer gets the laser and deep-sea bacteria treatment
    chrome_2016-12-25_06-39-53.pngAs I approach that time of life when the body can’t take the same level of abuse it once could, and every ache and pain lasts for weeks instead of hours, I get a huge amount of faith in the advances in medical science.

    This week in the UK successful trials in treating prostate cancer using lasers and bacteria found at the bottom of the ocean.  Though the article was a little light on detail on exactly where the laser would be shot!

  7. Sleeping on planes just got a little easier and quicker
    chrome_2016-12-25_06-45-06.pngAny warrior of the sky knows that a good sleep on a plane is a hard thing to obtain. The company PowerSiesta has come up with a rather ingenious $17 product that is a flat pack cardboard pillow, that once erected creates a nice shelf for your head to rest on.

    We’ve seen this before, and as a homage, to the man we’ve all seen for over 20 years in the SkyMall magazine.  Though in all my air travels, never once have I seen anyone use one.

  8. Finally, how to eat chicken wings
    chrome_2016-12-25_06-49-10.pngThere are some viral videos that make you laugh, make you cringe, make you cry, but every so often one comes along that truly changes your life.  This week, with the help of BD Wong, this one teaches us how to eat chicken wings.

    You wouldn’t think it would be too difficult, but I have always felt I leave way too much meat behind in my fumbles with knives and forks.


… and given that this is the week of Christmas, I give you a wonderful Christmas tune from fellow atheist Tim Minchin, who sings a beautiful song about simply being together at this time of the year.  So whatever denomination you are, at the very least, enjoy your weekend.

Weekend’s Top 8 roundup – 5th Dec

First week of the last month, we see BMW locking bad people up, Apple Watch sales fall dead, Amazon legalizes shoplifting, Bluetooth gets faster, Canada gets a data center, Java 9 may slip, clues to how Samsung built a fire starter and a true legion is no longer in this world.

First week of the last month, we see BMW locking bad people up, Apple Watch sales fall dead, Amazon legalizes shoplifting, Bluetooth gets faster, Canada gets a data center, Java 9 may slip, clues to how Samsung built a fire starter and a true legion is no longer in this world.

  1. BMW remotely locked a thief in the car until the fuzz came
    2016-12-09_14h38_00Finally a great story about why connected cars matters to everyone.  Seattle Police were helped by BMW when it was reported that someone had taken the opportunity of the owners carelessness with their key vob to drive off with the car.

    Unlucky for him though, it was a high-end BMW that could remotely be controlled and the car was locked from the outside, trapping the light finger bugger inside until PSA (Police Side Assistance) came!

  2. Sales of Apple watches plunge; down 71% from last year
    2016-12-09_14h41_48While we have the likes of FitBit buying up Pebble for $40M last week, we see that Apple is not having a great time of it with its range of wearables.  Sales are down a whopping 71% compared to the same quarter last year.

    You would think maybe the market for wearables is showing signs of weakness, but you would be wrong, everyone else’s shipping is up.  Guess Apple just can’t compete with the competition/value.

  3. Amazon Go, launches the mother of all big brother shops
    2016-12-09_14h46_07Picture a futuristic shop, where you walk in, browse around looking at merchandise and then if you want it, you simply take it and as soon as you walk out the door, you are billed for.

    No waiting in line, no handling of cash, no annoying bagger asking if you want your bags carried (well that bit may still be there).  This is Amazon Go, a new grocery shop opening in Seattle next year. Register on your phone, then boom as soon as you walk out you are billed.  It is like legal shoplifting! 

  4. It’s a go, Bluetooth 5 finally launches and it’s even more powerful
    2016-12-09_14h51_01.pngBluetooth, the favourite short range network that connects your headphones and car to your phone (and also a great way to spam out obscene messages to anyone that tries to search for open networks).Bluetooth 5 has 4 times the range and more bandwidth, meaning you can walk further away from your phone and stream more data!

    New phones will start supporting this very soon.  I just want it to work from my jean pocket to my headphone, not a huge ask.

  5. Amazon Web Services opens its first Canadian region
    2016-12-09_14h55_05.pngThe world’s largest cloud provider has opened its first region north of the border, namely in Canada – you know the unofficial 51st state.   The Canadian region supports all the big services of AWS and will be a boom for any company operating up there, as well as being able to keep the data out of the hands of the American government.

    AWS has a huge footprint, with pretty much every major region in the world covered with a data center – Canada is a little late to the party considering how close it is.

  6. Java 9 looks to slip release date of the July 2017
    screenshot-2016-12-11-at-08-13-42One of Java’s biggest releases to date, may be at risk of slipping a few months from its target release date of July 2017.  Java 9 has many big features coming in, with one of the biggest ones Jigsaw.  Jigsaw is the modular run time to make it easier to ship Java into smaller and more manageable pieces.

    This one shouldn’t concern the masses at all.  Java is such a key component of our eco-system it is vital they get it right, not get it on time.

  7. Clues are emerging on why the Samsung kept catching fire
    screenshot-2016-12-11-at-08-14-46A manufacturing company has made a claim that the Note 7’s internal layout and design maybe fundamentally flawed as it has attempted to cram too much into a small space and not left the usual 10% gap between battery.  Thus when compressed, for example, by heat expansion or someone’s fat arse sitting on the phone, two points touch that shouldn’t be touched, and boom!

    It is yet to be seen whether Samsung will ever officially release a reason as to why its flagship phone burst into flames.  But until then, this is the most credible scientific one to date.

  8. A true space hero dies, John Glenn departs this world for the last time
    screenshot-2016-12-11-at-08-24-59John Glenn, a pioneer of the space race, has sadly died this week at the ripe old age of 95 years.   Glenn was the first American to fully orbit the earth, and also, the oldest many to travel to space at 77 years.

    But his notable records aside, Glenn was part of that era that took humans off this planet and gave us the inspiration and stepping stone to explore further.  This generation of people, hold a very dear place in my heart.


… and this week’s soundtrack is dedicated to the excellent HBO’s Westworld that officially ended its first season run this week.  Every so often a TV show comes along that is so well written, produced and acted that each episode is simply a piece of art to be enjoyed.  If you haven’t watched it yet, then please treat yourself.  Now for the bad news- season 2 won’t be here until 2018.

Weekly Top 8 Tech Stories – 17th October

This weeks top tech stories for the week of the 17th Oct. Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Tesla, IoT and Indiana Jones.

For those that missed out this week, here are the stories in the tech world that was making the headlines in the week of the 17th October.

  1. Apple iCar isn’t going to happen
    chrome_2016-10-22_10-11-56It was a long standing rumor for many years that Apple was getting into the electric car business, competing head on with Tesla.  Bloomberg announced this week that the project that headed up this initiative has been dismantled with many lay-offs coming.

    One wonders if Tesla/Ford/Mercedes will welcome back those that defected.  Oops.

  2. Tesla announces cars rolling off their production line can self-drive
    chrome_2016-09-24_05-21-25While we are on the subject of electric cars, Elon Musk teased the internet for a week about a big announcement and this Wednesday he held a press conference and demonstrated a Model X driving by itself from home to the office.  The video is extremely impressive and worth the watch, complete with Rolling Stones theme.

    This in the same week that Germany have asked Tesla to stop using the term Auto Pilot as it is confusing the poor Germans drivers.

  3. First it was Samsung’s Note 7; now Apple’s iPhone 7 bursts into flames
    chrome_2016-10-22_10-25-13While Samsung are figuring out how to rebuild its reputation Apple’s latest flagship handset, the iPhone 7, has had a couple of reports of it bursting into the flames.   They haven’t officially commented on this, only to say they are investigating this thoroughly.

    This could seriously rock the high end handset market if both market leaders turn out to have handsets that can light a campfire quicker than Bear Grylls!

  4. Nintendo announce its new handset, the Switch
    chrome_2016-10-22_10-31-16The king of gamers for the masses have set the standard again with its latest Switch device. Just as the Wii appealed to everyone, Nintendo are hoping to capture that same family appeal with the Switch.  Think of the Wii and the 3DS and then put that in a portable, multi-player handset and you have something that could catch on.

    Nintendo are entering a very competitive space now, with smartphones accounting for a large amount of mobile gaming (assuming they don’t catch fire!).  They are missing the Christmas buying period by launching it March 2017.

  5. Internet for North America goes offline this Friday, due to IoT devices
    chrome_2016-10-22_10-42-35The previous week, we had DNS provider, hover.com, go offline due to a massive DoS attack on its servers.  This week it was the turn of Dyn who were the target of the same attack that knocked out many of the big players, including Twitter, Amazon and Spotify.

    Insecure IoT devices such as routers, printers, cameras, etc were at fault again.  These devices are very easy to take over due to default username/passwords that most people don’t even know to change, though some can’t be changed anyway.  This problem is not going away anytime soon.  The ISP’s may have to step up and start firewalling these devices.

  6. Amazon looking to provide you with Internet
    chrome_2016-09-24_05-16-50Amazon is looking to become an ISP, in Europe initially, and start to offer that as part of its Prime service.  This may not be as big a leap considering how big and expansive their AWS cloud computing is.

    Amazon have repeatedly said that their Prime membership is where they make their money as members are more likely to buy from Amazon.com instead of going elsewhere.

  7. Microsoft’s SalesForce competitor, Dynamics is selling very well
    chrome_2016-10-22_10-56-16This week Microsoft’s stock was at its highest after a very good earnings call this week detailing that all its subscription services are way above expectations, with the enterprise suite Dynamics getting most of that attention.

    Microsoft have successfully redefined itself away from relying on just Office and Windows revenue as it looks to things like Azure, Dynamics and Office 365 (an online subscription service).

  8. Indiana Jones, Ark of the Covenant, now on display
    chrome_2016-10-22_11-00-51The real big news of the week, was that a real piece of movie history, the Ark of the Covenant, went on display at Walt Disney World Hollywood in Orlando.   You can view this legendary prop while you are queuing for the Great Hollywood Movie Ride, though you will be forgiven for just queuing and not making it to the ride.

    Hurry before Disney decide to put it back into the huge warehouse!


… and this week’s soundtrack was provided by Norah Jones new album Day Break released this month.  Good to see her back to releasing under her name.