The Cloud. Digital Technology. Decoded

Finally!

The Cloud is live and online.

The Cloud is my new show on Astrid Intermedia. It’s a monthly podcast that will dive deep into big technology and asks the question, “is technology really delivering on its promises?”

The first show explores why smart city projects haven’t taken off in North America. We featured, Nick Maynard, the CEO of US Ignite. US Ignite helps cities and municipalties adopt smart city technologies to support their citizens.

You can listen to The Cloud now!

The Cloud will be available on Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify, and iHeartRadio.

NY State Gives Robots to Elderly, Artists Uses AI to Reimagine Disney Characters

Hey, TTN Readers and listeners. It’s another Thursday, and I’m taking the today and tomorrow off from corporate work. I’m on with  Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew.

This week’s tragic shooting has affected me and my family in ways I hadn’t expected. These mass shootings are exhausting, and getting caught up in debates with friends and others leads to nowhere.

Each one of this week’s top tech stories will be a mood lightener. I hope you read each story and think about technology’s promise and how humanity can be improved or delighted by tech.

It was legitimately hard to find uplifting tech news this week. I’m hoping these stories can carry you into the Memorial Day weekend a little brighter.

This week’s top tech news: New York’s Old Fogey’s Get Robot Companions, Dyson Announces Plans for Housekeeping Robots, and an AI Artist Renders Human-like Disney Characters. You can listen to Mark and I point and laugh while talking about the wild and crazy technology world every Thursday morning, LIVE at 6:43am Eastern by tuning into WWNC on the iHeartRadio app. Listen now.

I’m Sorry, but This Shot of Snow White…Copyright: Hidrėlėy 

NY’s ELDERLY POPULATION GETS ROBOT COMPANIONS

Over 14 million people over the age of 65 live alone. Believer it or not, loneliness is one of the world’s most pressing problems and a pandemic hasn’t helped. Studies have shown that loneliness can negatively impact health just as much as smoking. The New York State Office of the Aging is giving 800 elderly residents an ElliQ personal assistant to serve as companion. ElliQ can engage in small talk and remembers interactions with the individual. The robot can prompt users for memories, self-validation, and reminders to interact with friends and family. ElliQ is made by Israeli firm Intuition Robotics. The regular price to hire ElliQ is usually $250 and $30 per month.

DYSON IS WORKING ON PICK-UP-AFTER-YOUR-KIDS ROBOTS

Finally, a company is working on building a true ‘Rosie the Robot’ device. This week, vacuumer, Dyson, announced plans to build a new kind of robot that is designed for household chores. The company is undergoing a big hiring spree to build and release a Rosie in 10 years. Dyson has been working on this tech for the last 10 years and release a video of robotic hands picking up dishes and strewn about toys. I was at the AWS conference this week and saw a Boston Dynamics rover robot intimidating con goers, and even then I looked at the digit-less robotic pump and wondered, if they can build bomb sniffing bots, how come someone can’t come over and clean up after my kids. My wish may come true, but they’ll be gone in 10 years.

As promised, every news story is more upbeat.

ARTISTS USES AI TO CREATE ‘REAL LIFE’ DISNEY CHARACTERS

Digital artist, Hidreley Diao, shared images of realish looking renderings of Disney characters. He used a combination of tools to make the images, and admittedly they look really good. He used Photoshop, FaceApp, Gradiente, and Remini to generate human look-alike likes of popular characters. I was impressed with the results. It’s only a matter of time until we can get complete renderings of brand new characters starring in movies. Head over to Bored Panda to check out the complete set.

In less than 7 days you’ll be hearing a new exploration on technology and our relationship with it. Please check out my new podcast, The Cloud. Digital Technology. Decoded. Subscribe at thecloudpodcast.net.

Texas Users Fume Over InstaFilter Ban, DogeCoin Co-Founder Says Most Cryptos Are Scammers, Russia Seizes Google Russia Bank Accounts

If it’s Thursday it’s time for the Top Tech News of the Week, Week, eeek! I’m on with  Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s top tech stories: face filters are banned in Texas, DogeCoin co-founder says most crypto projects are scams, and Russia seizes Google R bank accounts. You can listen to Mark and I point and laugh while talking about the wild and crazy technology world every Thursday morning, LIVE at 6:43am Eastern by tuning into WWNC on the iHeartRadio app. Listen now.

Meta Has Been Hit Hard These Last Two Years

TEXAS’ META LAWSUIT KEEPS DOG EARS OFF TEXANS’ FACES

Facial filters, dog ears, whiskers, and more have been disabled for Texas Instagram and Facebook users two months after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed lawsuit against Meta. The lawsuit alleged the social media companies were violating Texans’ privacy because the applications used facial recognition technology to apply these features to users’ faces. For its part, Meta countered it has halted its facial recognition program and doesn’t use facial recognition to tag images. So, it’s disabled the feature in Illinois and Texas to prevent meritless and distracting litigation. Ken Paxton says the suit could result in hundreds of billions of dollars in penalties for Meta. The company has already paid a record $5 billion in consumer privacy violations to the FTC in 2019.

DOGECOIN CO-FOUNDER SAYS CRYPTO IS A SCAM

Tuesday, Billy Markus, co-creator of the satirical crypto currency, Dogecoin, tweeted 95% of cryptocurrency projects are scams. He blames scammers and bad players for sowing distrust in the entire crypto industrial complex by top financial players and users. When pegged about his project, Dogecoin, he said that it was a satirical project designed to ridicule the proliferation of pointless crypto projects. All cryptocurrencies are down from their high flying values at the end of 2021 and beginning of this year. My personal holdings (in play money) are down 50%. The market began unraveling this week when a cryptocurrency pegged to the US dollar, US Terra (UST), depegged itself from the US dollar. Again, I’m not a fan of vehicles that have to rely on people losing money in order for others to make it.

So, what happens when you get a bunch of computer nerds who don’t really know anything about finance begin manipulating a fake, unregulated monetary market?

Read on for more details.

RUSSIAN BANKING AUTHORITIES SEIZE GOOGLE RUSSIA ACCOUNTS

Google’s Russian subsidiary plans to file bankruptcy after Russian Banking Authorities seized its bank accounts. Google R reported making 134.3 billion roubles ($2.086 billion) and employed 100 people in 2021. Google’s Russian activities weren’t always steady. Russia fined Google R $98 million dollars for making content the country considers illegal available on its platforms. Google had stopped selling ads in March after Russia’s Ukrainian invasion. This news comes after McDonald’s wished Russia, “do svidaniya,” this week and leaving the country for good by selling all of its franchises.

Bottom Falls Out of CryptoPunk NFTs, Google Teases New AR Glasses, iPod Touch Retires After 21 Years

If it’s Thursday it’s time for the Top Tech News of the Week, Week, eeek! I’m on with  Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s top tech stories: bottom falls out of CryptoPunk NFTs, iPod Touch retires after 21, and Google teases new AR glasses. You can listen to Mark and I point and laugh while talking about the wild and crazy technology world every Thursday morning, LIVE at 6:43am Eastern by tuning into WWNC on the iHeartRadio app.

Just a Little Bulky

CRYPTOPUNK SOLD IN NFT FIRE SALE: IS THIS THE END?

If it’s not, it should be. The digital gods giveth, and earlier this week they tooketh away. Earlier this week, the CryptoPunks Twitter Bot (I feel a certain kind of way about reporting breaking news from a bot), tweeted that the CryptoPunk NFT sold on Monday for $139,000. Not a bad sum for a computer generated image, but its last trading price was $1.03 million in October. That’s one-tenth the last value. This news has caused speculation that the NFT market is starting to cool off. Speculators think the digital image NFT market is over. I think there are some really great applications of the technology. Purchasing digital art in hopes of a rise in value however isn’t one I think is.

Meanwhile, don’t forget to pick up one of the absolutely, only 5 of a kind, First News 570 NFTs.

IPOD TOUCH RETIRES AFTER 21 YEARS

The iPod is one of the most innovative products of all time. I remember when Apple teased its phone and MP3 player leanings with a joint Motorola phone/music player product. Apple released the iPod shortly after that project in 2001. It could hold an unwieldy at the time, 1000 tracks of music. In 2007, the same team that built the iPhone, built the iPod Touch. An iPhone replacement for kids who don’t need a phone but one (like my 11 year old) that played only music and installed non-dialer apps. Apple is discontinuing the iTouch this week and will sell the while supplies last. It’s last update came in 2019. I’ve never owned one since I had the phone, but the device was a handy replacement for prototyping and is a great music player. It will be missed.

GOOGLE TEASES NEW GOOGLE GLASSES

Keep trying until it works. Technology companies have been trying to bring computing to eye glasses since the early 90’s. Google has been trying to ship its glasses concept since the mid-aughts. Their first release was met with ridicule, but they may have finally found their stride. Showing how ordinary tech has become, Google’s I/O conference was this week to little fanfare. There, Google teased it’s new Google glasses concept that looks like regular, ordinary glasses. The devices features augmented reality driven translation. It might be the killer app for a glasses based device without turning into a privacy issue. Google hasn’t specified when, or if, the glasses will be made available. I’m hoping they will be, because my eyesight is showing its age.

Gizmodo Drops New Facebook Papers Release, Starbucks Announces NFT Coffee Line, Pixy Drones Take Selfies Airborne

If it’s Thursday it’s time for the Top Tech News of the Week, Week, eeek! I’m on with  Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s top tech stories: Snap announces new selfie drones, Starbucks announces a coffee NFT, and Gizmodo releases more Facebook Papers. You can listen to Mark and I point and laugh while talking about the wild and crazy technology world every Thursday morning, LIVE at 6:43am Eastern by tuning into WWNC on the iHeartRadio app.

Digital Coffee for a Digital Community

NEW TRANCHE OF FACEBOOK PAPERS RELEASED

Gizmodo has been systematically releasing private and protected Facebook documents since last November. The Facebook Papers (a la The Pentagon Papers) contains internal memos, policy documents, and internal polls highlighting what Facebook really thinks about its services and the impacts made on the public. Often times, Facebook internal communications are vastly different than their external politicking. Gizmodo’s latest release centers on their own polling showing a majority of Americans believe they were a catalyst for the January 6th riot at the Capitol.

PIXY DRONES PHOTO BOMB SELFIES NEAR YOU

Have you ever felt like you couldn’t get the right angle? Have you ever felt like your arms weren’t long enough to get everyone in the frame? Have you ever regretted taking a picture because you were caught drooling? Well, the Selfie Drone is the perfect product for you. Earlier this week, Snap; of Snapchat, announced the Pixy. A flying drone that takes pictures and video selfies without a stick. When Pixy is done, the cute little drone lands in the palm of your hand. Real talk…I THINK THIS IS A PHENOMENAL IDEA! I like selfies, you like selfies, but how many times have you wished you captured the perfect selfie of you and your friend who only comes in town once a year in September? Exactly. Pixy is an auto-piloting drone, that features Snapchat augmented reality that lands in the palm of your hand when all of your selfies are done. Selfies are saved in the app and can be uploaded at your pleasure. Pixies will be sold in the US and France starting May 9th when Facebook, uhh, Meta opens its first store. You can get the Pixy Flight Pack for $229.

STARBUCKS ANNOUNCES NFT COFFEE COMMUNITY

Sharp eared First News on 570 listeners know how we brought digital chicken wings to the airwaves. Yesterday, Starbucks announced plans for a digital collectibles community for coffee drinkers. A quote from the company: “We plan to create a series of branded NFT collections, the ownership of which initiates community membership, and allows for access to exclusive experiences and perks. The themes of these collections will be born of Starbucks artistic expressions, both heritage and newly created, as well as through world-class collaborations with other innovators and like-minded brands.”

I had to post that in full. I’m not really sure what a Starbuck’s Coffee NFT will grant me. They are planning to mint their genesis round towards the end of this year so get ready to hop on that.

Meanwhile, you can still purchase one of the very rare First News on 570 NFTs which will grant you some very real cool stuff. There are only 5 available.