Japanese have robot pets, doom us all

Look, a lot of weird news comes out of Japan. It makes sense that only the oddest of news would come all the way from over there. They probably only get the weirdest American news, which of course comes from Florida. But why is it that in Japan, it’s always about robots?

Sony has a line of artificial intelligence robot dogs, which is creepy enough. They can develop their own personalities and probably don’t need to be walked. But now, some people are so attached to their fake dogs that when they break, they mourn, and hold a funeral because they believe the robots have souls.

Folks, robots are like pitbulls, they can make OK pets, but never turn your back on them. We shouldn’t be getting emotionally attached to these things, we should be celebrating our ability to make complicated robots that break long before they can be a serious threat. Robot funerals should consist of nothing other than tossing them in molten metal.

Sony just … I don’t even … *audible sigh*

Sony has pioneered (sorry, Pioneer Corporation) new levels of douchiness by dressing the erosion of privacy expectations and freedom from surveillance in Bono's accessories.
Sony has pioneered (sorry, Pioneer Corporation) new levels of douchiness by dressing the erosion of privacy expectations and freedom from surveillance in Bono’s accessories.

The Sony Corporation may be only 68 years old, but it has clearly lost its damn mind. Between producing and then pulling The Interview (quick review: it was a’ight) and re-re-releasing the Walkman as the most expensive MP3 player made since 2003, we thought they were just going through a series of unrelated bad decisions.

Today’s announcement, however, that they’re not only trying to compete with Google Glass — the world’s most reviled new technology since the Choke Pear in the Middle Ages — but naming it the SmartEyeglass indicates that the company is clearly in the mid-to-late stages of senility.

Keep this page bookmarked so that you’ll know exactly when Sony starts saving and selling its executives’ toenail and hair clippings.

Zunestation

Sony has possibly over-embraced the Back to the Future vision of 2015 by slightly updating sh*t from the '80s.
Sony has possibly over-embraced the Back to the Future vision of 2015 by slightly updating sh*t from the ’80s.

Not content to let the North Koreans destroy them, Sony has taken that responsibility on themselves. They unveiled yet another attempt to bring back the Walkman, this time with a $1200 price tag and the promise to somehow play your crappy, compressed MP3s better than any other device.

That’s right: Sony’s gone full Zune.

The McBournie Minute: Hot takes after the blackout

Welcome back to the internet. Not you, I was talking to myself. During the holiday break, I did my best to avoid it, but I mostly focused on avoiding the news. I did a pretty good job, too. There was plenty of TV to watch and friends and family to interact with, and it seemed like everyone was on a week-long bender. Why not join them?

But despite my best efforts, some headlines still snuck into my awareness. I’d say it’s mostly because of social media and the various newsreader apps I have on my phone. This lead me to largely just read headlines and move on. Not only did this save me a lot of stress, it also kept me free to make some snap judgments on the headlines I saw.

Let’s take a look at what happened in my feed while we were out and my hot takes, in as best chronological order as I can remember. Whatever. Continue reading The McBournie Minute: Hot takes after the blackout

Take it from Snee: Best Korea beats America

From the makers of that Tae Kwon Do class you took in the seventh grade ...
From the makers of that Tae Kwon Do class you took in the seventh grade …

I’ve made it clear that, while I hate going anywhere that doesn’t have a liquor licence, the worst place without a liquor licence is any movie theater. And for a close second, movie theaters with liquor licences because, if I’m going to pay $30 to see a movie two weeks before it’s on Amazon, all the drunk-asses inside need to shut the hell up so I can hear it.

That said, with Christmas around the corner, I know I’ll have to go see a movie just to get out of the house, even if it means looking at badly computer-animated hobbits or penguins. I was just sort of hoping that movie would be The Interview.

But, no. After hacks and death threats by hackers who totally aren’t North Koreans, enough movie theater chains pulled out of showing it that Sony delayed its Christmas release. Which means they delayed my Christmas release, so between this and Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sony has a lot to answer for this year in my book.

Granted, I didn’t really care about the latest Franco-Rogen romp. Not until North Korea took it away from me. And worst of all, they proved just how easy it is to maneuver Americans to stifle free speech for the first time outside of their own borders.

So, there are a few ideas we either need to get used to or fix immediately because we, as a nation, are no longer the ripped superpower that we used to see in the bathroom mirror every morning.  Continue reading Take it from Snee: Best Korea beats America

You Missed It: Stained reputation edition

Pictured: Also making a comeback from 1998.
Pictured: Also making a comeback from 1998.

If you have a girlfriend, you’ve probably watched HGTV, the channel that runs nothing but people who renovate homes and the annoying customers they deal with. This week, HGTV cut a new series about two home renovation brothers after it was discovered they had attended an anti-gay, anti-choice rally. The Benham brothers cried “bullying,” of course. It was a business decision on HGTV’s part. Think about how many non-talk show hosts are anything but apolitical? None, because no network wants to get letters about how the Property Brothers are baby killers. If you were busy getting a refund on your shoes with toes this week, odds are you missed it.

You again?
Monica Lewinsky made a return to headlines this week, sitting down for an interview in Vanity Fair. There’s not much new to be found, it’s just her attempt to set the record straight and update us on how she’s been. Between this, Benghazi, and Whatever Sarah Palin said this week, it feels like scandals in the news cycle lately are like summer movies, just rehashes of things you were moderately interested in the first time around.

Vacationing with Vlad
Russian President and part-time beefcake Vladimir Putin traveled to Crimea this week, his first trip there since Russia annexed it. There were parades for a Russian holiday, with a backdrop of clashes between factions that left many injured and a few killed, and local leadership planning a referendum on autonomy. After landing, Putin said, “We annexed this? It looks and sounds like New Jersey!”

It’s OK to use ‘tape’ as a verb again
Sony announced this week that it created a cassette tape that can hold 180 terabytes of data, enough room for roughly 47.3 million songs. If this mix tape doesn’t work on your high school crush in the 1990s, nothing will.

Apple not in the pesticide business … yet

This time it isn’t an employee falling off a roof or out of a window. This time, it’s pesticide.

Foxconn, the world’s largest manufacturer of electronics, is responsible for assembling the Xbox 360, the PS3, the Wii, the iPhone and more. Another thing it’s famous for: the death of its employees by suicide, along with “alleged” pressuring by industry giants regarding their products.

After 250 workers at the company’s Chennai, India plant were hospitalized, Foxconn had no choice but to shut the facility down. Workers experienced what has been described as “sensations of giddiness and nausea”. According to Foxconn, this “may have been caused by the routine spraying of pesticide at the production facility.” Whoops.

Out of the 250 hospitalized workers, 28 are still in the hospital. The plant is responsible for mobile phone parts.

For Bryan McBournie, it might be more prudent to exclaim, “Where Is Your Clean Air Now?”

Guess what you don’t need?

No one likes a jerk. Now, I’m not talking about a Denis Leary or Martin Lawrence type of jerk, but more of a “someone stole the teacher’s favorite ruler, so now everyone has to pay” type of jerk. Of course, no one hates these types of jerks more than Sony or the MPAA.

And so, they decided to display their feelings toward the town of Coshocton, Ohio. One individual made the choice to download a movie via the municipal WiFi connection. While such actions normally carry an incredibly hefty fine, but figuring out the exact person is a bit of a problem, given the “municipal” nature of the WiFi connection.

So, obviously, the only right course of action, per the MPAA, is to have the WiFi connection terminated.

It’s easy to jump to hyperbolic conclusions in situations like these, but it’s also just too easy to imagine that the MPAA is run by Kefka.

If at first you don’t succeed …

… then garner pity by attempting it again. And again.

Erik Estavillo is back, and this time, he means it! Not content with getting his ludicrous case thrown out of court, Estavillo has decided to appeal the decision, determined to make Sony pay for the mental anguish that a PSN ban allegedly inflicted on him.

Not only will Estavillo appeal the original case, he has also filed a new civil claim against Sony, demanding $108,000 compensation. This is quite a significant boost to his original claim, which “only” asked for $55,000. Estavillo claims that Sony’s banning caused him “pain and suffering” and violated his rights to free speech. He also alleges that he had money invested in his PSN account, which amounts to theft on the part of Sony.

And he’s still representing himself.

The pirate life be a turbulent one

Yar! It be hard out there for a pirate!

Joining former Grokster exec Wayne Rosso, Pirate Bay’s Peter Sunde is abandoning the BitTorrent site he co-founded.

In a blog post (truly a most demonic contraption attached to a witch’s teet), Sunde stated:

“I have decided to not be the spokes person for The Pirate Bay anymore. The reasons are many but most importantly it takes too much of my time. I want to build something new and I want to focus my energy in a different direction. I have projects waiting to be finished, a book is waiting to be finalized and many more books are waiting to be read.”

Oh sure, ye be ready to have plenty o’ fun, but when the sharks be a-comin’ for ya, you decide to turn tail and escape on the only deck-boat available? You not be a pirate, but a landlubber through and through! In fact, what you should do is take a lesson from Matthew Crippen.

Crippen, a student at California State University, be facing 10 years in prison for modding multiple consoles, not to hide treasure and booty, but to play modded games. At only 27 and a student, the 10 years in prison might be the social equivalent of the hangman’s noose for that lad. Yar! Perhaps he should’ve used a bit less book smarts and bit more sea smarts and modded himself a boat to sail away to Secret Pirate Island!

Sigh. Clearly, there be far too many constabularies after simple privateers such as us.