Home > Uncategorized > Farhad and Mike’s Week in Tech: The Technology We Love to Hate

Farhad and Mike’s Week in Tech: The Technology We Love to Hate

imgres.png

The “rugged” Bluetooth speaker, designed to clip to one’s belt loop, can evoke comparisons to a boombox, above.
The “rugged” Bluetooth speaker, designed to clip to one’s belt loop, can evoke comparisons to a boombox, above. Brian Harkin for The New York Times

Farhad and Mike’s Week in Tech: The Technology We Love to Hate

Each Saturday, Farhad Manjoo and Mike Isaac, technology reporters at The New York Times, review the week’s news, offering analysis and maybe a joke or two about the most important developments in the tech industry.
Mike: Good morning, Farhad! I’m gearing up and researching my route to start delivering food for the Times’s new meal kit service. Can you help strap a few more foie gras packets to my back?
Farhad: Mike, I know you’re really passionate about getting traffic to your stories, but I’ve warned you before — our readers do not want you showing up to their homes with food.
Mike: I’m still trying to pitch my “cook-and-eat mayonnaise sandwiches just like the ace reporter Mike Isaac” marketing campaign. No response yet, but fingers crossed.
Anyway, on with the show. Let’s do a superquick rundown of the week in tech.
This week, you argue in your column that Apple should fail more to ultimately win, a professional tactic that seems to have suited you quite well.
And Google is teaming up with Fiat-Chrysler to equip a fleet of minivans with self-driving technology, making this the most dad-core rollout of autonomous vehicles in the history of Silicon Valley.
Farhad: Finally, a tech company is thinking of fathers. I hope this sets off a trend. Maybe Spotify will offer a music subscription plan that plays only Billy Joel, Coldplay, U2 and Foo Fighters? Or maybe Twitter will roll out a feed of the best dad jokes? Oh, wait, never mind — that already exists.
Mike: Thank you, resident dad. And lastly, a bunch of ex-journalists turned Facebook employees turned ex-Facebook employees leaked just how questionable Facebook’s practices around selecting trending content seem to be, which was not a good look for Facebook. Gizmodo’s scoop is well worth the read.
But this week we wanted to try something new, right? Instead of a deep dive into one tech topic, we’re going to do a short list, mostly because millennials love lists.
Farhad: Yup, exactly. I know that we planned to do a list called “14 Reasons Mike Looks Up to Farhad,” but I actually worried we’d run out of space. So I had another idea. We both encounter a lot of technology in our daily lives — for me during the course of reporting, for you to escape bounty hunters. So I was thinking that we could both list a couple of our most-hated products or services in tech. What gadget gets you really steamed, Mike?
Mike: My most-hated tech product has to be the popularization of the “rugged” Bluetooth speaker designed to clip to one’s belt loop, essentially a modern take on the boombox, but 10 times more obnoxious.
It’s marketed as an outdoorsy-type thing, something to take to the beach, or camping or, in your case, glamping. “Imagine yourself scaling Mount Everest and listening to Sugar Ray at the peak!” the ad copy (probably) goes. The tunes stream from your iPhone to the speaker, which sounds just as tinny and terrible as you would think.
I never really saw them around on the street until I moved to San Francisco. Now I mostly see them on cyclist dudes, at least two of whom were smoking pot and blazing through stop signs, I kid you not. I’m walking down the sidewalk and all of a sudden I’m getting low-quality audio blared at me. It’s like being accosted by a drive-by Sublime album.
Farhad: I guess I agree, except when those dudes are blasting some sweet dad tunes. Like imagine if that guy was playing the Eagles? I’d stop him, shake his hand, put my lighter in the air and wave my arms gently back and forth, marveling at the wonders of the universe.
Anyway, you know what I hate? The iPhone charging cable. It’s called Lightning, though a better name would be Fraying. I’m lucky if I get six months out of these cables before they start acting up — usually the connector begins separating from the cable or you get a kink in the line that begins to crack, and soon your phone stops charging. I hate it. Will someone please make a superstrong charging cable, please?
Mike: I am totally with you there. I have a drawer full of cheap Chinese knock-off Lightning cables, and they all work for a day and then bust. If I buy the real $30 one from Apple, it still goes bad in less than a year. Forget the annual new iPhone events, I want the company to hold an ultimate, indestructible Lightning cable event.
Here’s something else that I wanted to like, but actually hate: streaming, stationary digital cameras like those offered by Nest for the home.
I really liked the whole safety and security pitch at first. When I lived in New York, the editors unfortunately wanted me to leave my house and go into the office to work — something I’m pretty sure you have never done in the San Francisco bureau. So setting up a Nest cam to watch my dog while I’m gone seemed like a nice idea.
Instead, I felt like a creepy voyeur. My dog sat and slept by the door, and watching her made me feel sad. Then when my dog walker — whom I trust and like — came in, I saw him pet my dog and be supersweet with her and do what I always assumed he did normally, which was walk my dog. But not telling him that I was watching him felt like a strange breach of trust, as if I suspected him of something that wasn’t ever really warranted.
It made me realize how prevalent these cameras are now, and how violated I would feel were I being recorded in, say, my friends’ homes. My “hatred,” I guess, is that it’s so mainstream and there’s little I can do to stop it.
But at my house, at least, I let my dog have her privacy when I’m gone. It’s better that way.
Farhad: Huh. You seem to be a much bigger hater than me.
Let’s see, what else do I hate? I hate most hashtags. I can see their value as part of a political campaign or meme — like, #oscarsowhite or #blacklivesmatter — but I hate when people add useless hashtags to their most banal posts. On Instagram, people will post photos of their trendy brunch and then clog it up with a barrage of idiotic hashtags: #brunch #sundayfun #sleepinglate #ihavenolife #pleasehelp. That kind of thing.
Look, you’re not a marketing campaign. Your brunch is not searchworthy. Don’t hashtag your life.
Mike: #Iagree.
Farhad: Also, I hate writing this newsl — yeah, anyway, that’s all I hate.
Mike: You know what I hate the most? Saying goodbye to you every week, Farhad. #goodbye
More From The Times
Chris Morrow, chief executive of the Loud Speakers Podcast Network, said, “I think everyone who’s seriously involved in this space, they’d at least like to know what the endgame is.”

Podcasts Surge, but Producers Fear Apple Isn’t Listening

By JOHN HERRMAN

The podcast has soared in popularity. But there’s not much money in it for Apple, the genre’s creator, leaving many in the community feeling neglected.

Just How Much Power Do Your Electronics Use When They Are ‘Off’?

By TATIANA SCHLOSSBERG

About a quarter of most people’s energy bills come from devices in idle mode. A reporter took a power meter around with her to locate the hidden power drains.

Sergio Marchionne, chief of Fiat Chrysler, said of the Google self-driving car, “It isn’t pie in the sky. People are talking about 20 years. I think we will have it in five years.” Fiat Chrysler will provide 100 minivans to collaborate with Google on the project.

Fiat Chrysler Chief Sees Self-Driving Technology in Five Years

By NEAL BOUDETTE AND MIKE ISAAC

Sergio Marchionne, chief of Fiat Chrysler, was discussing the company’s partnership with Google to make an autonomous car.

In Case You Missed It
COMMON SENSE
Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, at a presentation in Barcelona in February. Last month, he said that the average person spent 50 minutes a day on the company’s Facebook, Instagram and Messenger platforms.

Facebook Has 50 Minutes of Your Time Each Day. It Wants More.

By JAMES B. STEWART

The average person spends more time on Facebook than any other leisure activity surveyed by the government except watching TV and movies.

STATE OF THE ART
Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, speaking at the company’s headquarters in March.

Apple, Set to Move to Its Spaceship, Should Try More Moonshots

By FARHAD MANJOO

To thrive in the next era of tech, one likely to be driven by data-rich online services, Apple needs to take a series of bigger, bolder risks.

 

The “rugged” Bluetooth speaker, designed to clip to one’s belt loop, can evoke comparisons to a boombox, above.
The “rugged” Bluetooth speaker, designed to clip to one’s belt loop, can evoke comparisons to a boombox, above. Brian Harkin for The New York Times

Farhad and Mike’s Week in Tech: The Technology We Love to Hate

Each Saturday, Farhad Manjoo and Mike Isaac, technology reporters at The New York Times, review the week’s news, offering analysis and maybe a joke or two about the most important developments in the tech industry.
Mike: Good morning, Farhad! I’m gearing up and researching my route to start delivering food for the Times’s new meal kit service. Can you help strap a few more foie gras packets to my back?
Farhad: Mike, I know you’re really passionate about getting traffic to your stories, but I’ve warned you before — our readers do not want you showing up to their homes with food.
Mike: I’m still trying to pitch my “cook-and-eat mayonnaise sandwiches just like the ace reporter Mike Isaac” marketing campaign. No response yet, but fingers crossed.
Anyway, on with the show. Let’s do a superquick rundown of the week in tech.
This week, you argue in your column that Apple should fail more to ultimately win, a professional tactic that seems to have suited you quite well.
And Google is teaming up with Fiat-Chrysler to equip a fleet of minivans with self-driving technology, making this the most dad-core rollout of autonomous vehicles in the history of Silicon Valley.
Farhad: Finally, a tech company is thinking of fathers. I hope this sets off a trend. Maybe Spotify will offer a music subscription plan that plays only Billy Joel, Coldplay, U2 and Foo Fighters? Or maybe Twitter will roll out a feed of the best dad jokes? Oh, wait, never mind — that already exists.
Mike: Thank you, resident dad. And lastly, a bunch of ex-journalists turned Facebook employees turned ex-Facebook employees leaked just how questionable Facebook’s practices around selecting trending content seem to be, which was not a good look for Facebook. Gizmodo’s scoop is well worth the read.
But this week we wanted to try something new, right? Instead of a deep dive into one tech topic, we’re going to do a short list, mostly because millennials love lists.
Farhad: Yup, exactly. I know that we planned to do a list called “14 Reasons Mike Looks Up to Farhad,” but I actually worried we’d run out of space. So I had another idea. We both encounter a lot of technology in our daily lives — for me during the course of reporting, for you to escape bounty hunters. So I was thinking that we could both list a couple of our most-hated products or services in tech. What gadget gets you really steamed, Mike?
Mike: My most-hated tech product has to be the popularization of the “rugged” Bluetooth speaker designed to clip to one’s belt loop, essentially a modern take on the boombox, but 10 times more obnoxious.
It’s marketed as an outdoorsy-type thing, something to take to the beach, or camping or, in your case, glamping. “Imagine yourself scaling Mount Everest and listening to Sugar Ray at the peak!” the ad copy (probably) goes. The tunes stream from your iPhone to the speaker, which sounds just as tinny and terrible as you would think.
I never really saw them around on the street until I moved to San Francisco. Now I mostly see them on cyclist dudes, at least two of whom were smoking pot and blazing through stop signs, I kid you not. I’m walking down the sidewalk and all of a sudden I’m getting low-quality audio blared at me. It’s like being accosted by a drive-by Sublime album.
Farhad: I guess I agree, except when those dudes are blasting some sweet dad tunes. Like imagine if that guy was playing the Eagles? I’d stop him, shake his hand, put my lighter in the air and wave my arms gently back and forth, marveling at the wonders of the universe.
Anyway, you know what I hate? The iPhone charging cable. It’s called Lightning, though a better name would be Fraying. I’m lucky if I get six months out of these cables before they start acting up — usually the connector begins separating from the cable or you get a kink in the line that begins to crack, and soon your phone stops charging. I hate it. Will someone please make a superstrong charging cable, please?
Mike: I am totally with you there. I have a drawer full of cheap Chinese knock-off Lightning cables, and they all work for a day and then bust. If I buy the real $30 one from Apple, it still goes bad in less than a year. Forget the annual new iPhone events, I want the company to hold an ultimate, indestructible Lightning cable event.
Here’s something else that I wanted to like, but actually hate: streaming, stationary digital cameras like those offered by Nest for the home.
I really liked the whole safety and security pitch at first. When I lived in New York, the editors unfortunately wanted me to leave my house and go into the office to work — something I’m pretty sure you have never done in the San Francisco bureau. So setting up a Nest cam to watch my dog while I’m gone seemed like a nice idea.
Instead, I felt like a creepy voyeur. My dog sat and slept by the door, and watching her made me feel sad. Then when my dog walker — whom I trust and like — came in, I saw him pet my dog and be supersweet with her and do what I always assumed he did normally, which was walk my dog. But not telling him that I was watching him felt like a strange breach of trust, as if I suspected him of something that wasn’t ever really warranted.
It made me realize how prevalent these cameras are now, and how violated I would feel were I being recorded in, say, my friends’ homes. My “hatred,” I guess, is that it’s so mainstream and there’s little I can do to stop it.
But at my house, at least, I let my dog have her privacy when I’m gone. It’s better that way.
Farhad: Huh. You seem to be a much bigger hater than me.
Let’s see, what else do I hate? I hate most hashtags. I can see their value as part of a political campaign or meme — like, #oscarsowhite or #blacklivesmatter — but I hate when people add useless hashtags to their most banal posts. On Instagram, people will post photos of their trendy brunch and then clog it up with a barrage of idiotic hashtags: #brunch #sundayfun #sleepinglate #ihavenolife #pleasehelp. That kind of thing.
Look, you’re not a marketing campaign. Your brunch is not searchworthy. Don’t hashtag your life.
Mike: #Iagree.
Farhad: Also, I hate writing this newsl — yeah, anyway, that’s all I hate.
Mike: You know what I hate the most? Saying goodbye to you every week, Farhad. #goodbye
More From The Times
Chris Morrow, chief executive of the Loud Speakers Podcast Network, said, “I think everyone who’s seriously involved in this space, they’d at least like to know what the endgame is.”

Podcasts Surge, but Producers Fear Apple Isn’t Listening

By JOHN HERRMAN

The podcast has soared in popularity. But there’s not much money in it for Apple, the genre’s creator, leaving many in the community feeling neglected.

Just How Much Power Do Your Electronics Use When They Are ‘Off’?

By TATIANA SCHLOSSBERG

About a quarter of most people’s energy bills come from devices in idle mode. A reporter took a power meter around with her to locate the hidden power drains.

Sergio Marchionne, chief of Fiat Chrysler, said of the Google self-driving car, “It isn’t pie in the sky. People are talking about 20 years. I think we will have it in five years.” Fiat Chrysler will provide 100 minivans to collaborate with Google on the project.

Fiat Chrysler Chief Sees Self-Driving Technology in Five Years

By NEAL BOUDETTE AND MIKE ISAAC

Sergio Marchionne, chief of Fiat Chrysler, was discussing the company’s partnership with Google to make an autonomous car.

In Case You Missed It
COMMON SENSE
Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, at a presentation in Barcelona in February. Last month, he said that the average person spent 50 minutes a day on the company’s Facebook, Instagram and Messenger platforms.

Facebook Has 50 Minutes of Your Time Each Day. It Wants More.

By JAMES B. STEWART

The average person spends more time on Facebook than any other leisure activity surveyed by the government except watching TV and movies.

STATE OF THE ART
Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, speaking at the company’s headquarters in March.

Apple, Set to Move to Its Spaceship, Should Try More Moonshots

By FARHAD MANJOO

To thrive in the next era of tech, one likely to be driven by data-rich online services, Apple needs to take a series of bigger, bolder risks.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: