Technology Jones and the Temple of Pwnage

“Nice try Lao Che!” Technology Jones cried while closing the door to the passenger drone. They narrowly had escaped death after an unfortunate augmented reality misunderstanding the Shanghai Electronics Conference. Technology and his crew, a pint sized robot, named Short-Circuit, and an young female American cosplay model dressed as a “Sexy Pikachu“, were finally able to relax while the drone piloted them to New Delhi.

Hours later the crew found themselves crash landed near a desolate Indian village after the drone pilot’s GPS was hacked by Lao Che. Technology made sure everything was OK – his phones, fitness trackers, and Google Glasses were all miraculously undamaged! Techy breathed a sign of relief. “If you’re done checking your gadgets, do you want to help me out over here?” Pikachu yelled while trying to climb the banks of the river. “Shorty, get our stuff.” Technology said smiling, abandoning the screaming woman.

As they arrived in the village, the poor villagers began pawing at Technology, in awe of his gear. “I know I’m facinating!” Techy said. “Look I’ve got 3 phones! Aw hell! Only one bar? The signal here is terrible!”

The villagers said that they had a wifi hotspot he could use but it was turned off since this tall bald guy, named Mola Ram, came into their village and stole their iPod Touch. With the village iPod gone, all of the village children had followed Mola Ram back to the palace where they were promised more iPods and other technology! The villagers were sure that Siri had sent Technology to get their iPod Touch and children back.

Technology, Shorty, and Pikachu arrived at the palace and were treated like royalty and invited to stay as guests. Their hosts even allowed them to sit and the table with the Maharaja. They had a lot of trouble deciding if the Maharaja was a girl or a boy. Technology sneaked a peak at the him with his Google Glasses to make sure he was a guy and read his Facebook page. The Maharaja yawned a lot during their exotic dinner and told Technology that he was very insulted at the suggestion that a palace would steal a village’s iPod Touch because they could buy as many as they wanted.

After eating an exotic meal, they were sent to their rooms since Pikachu screamed for the entire dinner. Technology was trying to decide what he wanted to do. He could have simply given the village his extra iPhone but he wasn’t sure if the factory reset would detach from the cloud and there were some pictures he didn’t want them to see from Shanghai. He wasn’t sure if his old phone was as new a generation as the Touch so it might not bring the kids back if there was something newer here at the palace. He cleared his mind and starting dictating a negative Yelp! review to Short-Circuit about the chilled monkey brains they had for dessert.

As soon as he posted the review, a guy, attacked him from the shadows. The assailant turned out to be the chilled monkey brain chef. “OK, I’m sorry! I’ll take down the review!” Techy cried. But the chef kept hitting him and trying to take his phone. “You’re going to break it! I don’t have my Otterbox on it!” whined Techy. Meanwhile Pikachu was outside of his door yelling some nonsense about getting her regular clothes back. The noise powered up Shorty who stopped everything by hacking into Yelp! and deleting the review.

The crew then got together in Pikachu’s room started complaining about how over sensitive the staff was at this palace. “This is definitely going on TripAdvisor.” said Pikachu. So they were all kind of mad and started looking for other things to complain about when Techy found a hidden tunnel.

The crew was in awe of the temple they found. All of their palace hosts were there dancing and chanting before the tall bald guy, Mola Ram, who Techy quickly identified with his AR glasses. They watched in horror as he reached into the chest and removed the heart of a very frightened man and replaced it with a robot heart. Pikachu tried to scream through Technology’s hand. “They’re turning them into robots!” said Shorty.

In the temple scene a trio of robot men came out holding iPod Touches over their heads. The crowd went crazy while the robots placed them on an inductive charging mat. Techy scoffed, “All this for for iPods? And they aren’t even running iOS7! I can tell from the passcode screen!”

Technology and Short-Circuit began unboxing their quadricopter to fly down and grab the iPods. Techy sent Pikachu to get his GoPro camera to record an unboxing video so they could put it on YouTube, but she couldn’t help but scream and got caught by the guards.

The robot guards brought Technology to Molo Ram, who explained to Techy that he was interfering with their goal to gain world power. He showed a room where all of the village kids were being force to mine bitcoins. “We’re going to corner the market! Bitcoins are the next generation currency. Robot people are the next generation of human! We’re going to control it all! Oh and our chef was very displeased with your yelp review posted behind our backs. Where has courtesy gone that we can’t talk to each other? Must we find the need to passively aggressively complain about one another on the internet?”

Mola Ram made Technology drink nanobot blood from a robot skull. The blood entered his brain and fused his mind to the robot network, enslaving him to their will. Mola Ram decided that they also needed a Sexy Pikachu robot so they decided to hold an extra robot heart replacement ceremony for her that night. Technology, controlled by the robot mind, quickly complied and began to remove Pikachu’s heart. She was screaming her head off. Short-Circuit hacked the robot network in the nick of time releasing all of the robot minds fused to the network. Chaos ensued.

Technology, still groggy from the mind control, grabbed the 3 iPods from the temple charging mat and the whole crew jumped into a bitcoin mine cart out of the temple. Mola Ram was furious and dumped a pot of water out of the temple tunnels in hopes of damaging the iPods and all of Technology’s gadgets. He also sent the last of his robot army to chase them.

Technology escaped out on to a rope bridge, surprisingly unharmed by the robots’ lasers.The army of robots closed in from both sides. Technology talked robot language to Short Circuit to warn him of his plan. Then he cut the bridge in half, knocking most of the robots into the river.

Technology began climbing up the now-rope ladder while Mola Ram climbed down from the top in a last ditch attempt to get the iPods. Mola Ram reached into Techy’s bandolier and tried to grab an iPod. Technology knew Mola Ram was after the iPods so he invoked Siri on each one. “You betrayed Siri! You shall pay!” Techy repeated through gritted teeth.

Siri responded by asking, “Would you like to me search the web for… ‘You betrayed Siri you shall pay’?” Siri piped up on each of the iPods and started talking one after another. Each iPod started listening and talking in a round so each Siri started answering the other Siri’s questions. The feedback loop caused the iPods to overheat so when Mola Ram reached into Techy’s bandolier it burned his hand and he fell to his death in the river, eaten by an alligator (robot). Techy climbed back to the top of the ladder/bridge, dramatically reaching his hand over the last rung.

The village was overjoyed to have their iPod Touch returned and were flush with a trove of bitcoins which they could use to finally buy the Striper upgrade and extra lives on Candy Crush. Oh, they were also happy to have their children returned.

Thanks to Technology Jones and Short-Circuit’s gadgets, the day was saved.

Robo-Wonka and the Utah Data Center

My computer locked up and flashed to a bright gold color. “Gold Screen of Death?” I asked the computer screen.

Then this message appeared on my screen.

Golden Ticket

Seconds later my door was kicked in and I was dragged out to a helicopter that was sitting in the middle of my suburban street. I didn’t even have time to put on pants.

The helicopter took off immediately, flying high enough that my house seemed a tiny speck on the ground. I was blindfolded and the guards would not speak to me.

After a few hours we finally landed. They removed my blindfold and I saw number of other helicopters were landing at the same time. We were standing near the front of a gigantic facility. The guards coaxed us towards an elaborate entrance door. As we waited for the greeting committee, I looked around. There were 8 other people standing around, looking as confused as me. While everything was pretty frightening, I felt safe inside of the 10 rows of razor wire fence keeping us clearly separated from the scant few protestors in the distance, weakly waiving their fists at the facility. The guards also looked friendly.

Suddenly we heard the electronic door swoop open and felt a slug of cold air roll out from the facility. An important looking man slowly walked out of the door, grasping a cane. He was walking really slow and had a strange limp on both legs. It wasn’t until he go closer that we could hear the servo motors whirring in his legs. The man actually wasn’t a man; at least most of him wasn’t. He had two robot legs, one robot arm and one pale human arm. His face was covered with a mask, but he weakly held on to his humanity and sense of humor by wearing a top hat.

A gassy deep breath passed through his helmet and a booming voice welcomed us to the facility.

Then we followed the loping cyborg into a great hall. We were given augmented reality glasses and haptic gloves which we put on immediately. Once we had our gear on, the cyborg started to talk.

“You lucky 9 humans have been given special access as members of the NSA Surveillance Review Panel at the Utah Data Center! Your feedback is needed to prove that there is no harm in our wholesale collection of everything that happens on the internet.” He boomed. “Upon successful completion of this tour and positive feedback on your personal blog sites, you will be given unlimited free internet for life!” We all looked at each other, trying to hold back our smiles. “I am Robo-Wonka and I am charged with the upkeep of this facility. But before we start the tour, you must first agree to the Terms and Conditions.”

Each of our glasses’ screens filled with long paragraphs of legalese. We all scrolled down with our gloved hands and quickly hit “I AGREE” so we could get on with the tour.

All of us, that is, except for one person. This guy was actually reading the Terms and Conditions! Who did he think he was, a lawyer? He started muttering the rules out loud.

“…refusal to meet these terms… never see your family again… forced amputation… What the hell is this!” He said pleading with the cyborg.

Robo-Wonka’s legs whined into high speed as he stomped over to the man. “SIGN THE AGREEMENT” he boomed! The man protested. “SIGN THE AGREEMENT!” The man ran to front door trying to open it.

“Come on dude, just sign the agreement so we can see the cool stuff!” said another panelist.

Without warning, Robo-Wonka’s cyborg top hat glowed a bright cherry red and a klaxon alarm sounded. The man continued to protest yelling about all of his “rights” and junk. The cyborg pressed a button on his chest and several race car looking robots sped into the great hall. They lassoed the guy’s feet and dragged him out of the room.

Robo-Wonka smiled a cyborg’s smile could. With that guy out of the way we pressed on to our first event! This was exciting!

We entered a room with thousands of work stations, perfectly arranged in large square clusters. There were several people at each cluster, grinding away at the computers.

“This is the Aggregation Center” Boomed Robo-Wonka. “These employees are verifying that each individual piece of information is being assigned to the correct individual. We have information about every person alive!” We all nodded.

One of the guys from our group raised his hand. He looked to be just out of college. “You can’t have everything? What do you have on me?”

The cyborg gestured and we approached a work station. The college guy told the operator his name and date of birth. The operator tapped at the keyboard and the college guy’s picture appeared on a big screen that filled the front wall. Beneath his picture was his name, address, phone number, income level, family members, several account names, passwords, political leanings, frequented businesses, photo sites, and a list of his worst fears and enemies.

The college guy beamed. “Check it out! Even got my salary right to the penny!”

The operator said, “Now lets look at your internet search history.”

“Oh that’s OK.” The college guy said trying to wave him off.

But it was too late and a list of all of his searches started scrolling on the screen. Frequent searches appeared larger and stuck to the right side of the screen in a tag cloud. All of us panelists chuckled at some of his search terms. That guy sure did like to look at pictures of feet!

“STOP IT RIGHT NOW!” College guy grabbed the computer monitor and threw it on the ground. But the big screen continued to scroll search terms. “MAKE IT STOP!” he screamed.

The Cyborg’s Top Hat flashed red and sounded a klaxon. Thousands of tiny robots flew into the room and devoured college guy’s body leaving no trace of him. Not even any blood! The big screen stopped scrolling.

“Shall we move on?” Robo-Wonka winked.

Wow, what a pain that guy was, getting in the way of progress.

After a short ride through a tube, we found ourselves in the water cooling center. Robo-Wonka explained that the desert was the perfect location for the data collection facility because computers generate a lot of heat so it wouldn’t make a difference to climate change computers. Also, I was surprised to find out that the desert actually has a lot of water that is perfect for cooling down computers! This tour was interesting and educational! It was very comforting to find that the data collection center was just like its own ecosystem.

But of course another panelist opened her big mouth. “The desert doesn’t have water!” she said incredulously. “This is the biggest line of bull-”

Robo-Wonka’s top hat flashed red and the klaxon sounded. He handed the woman a canteen and showed her the back door. The wind whipped into the facility and sand was getting on computer stuff! I tried to cover some computer stuff up. She got shoved out the door by the cyborg’s robot arm and he slammed it shut. He brushed himself off with his human hand and gestured to our next destination.

At the Cybernetics Division the rest of the group went on to look at some sweet “augs” while I started playing with a machine. I heard a click and became alarmed to find my arm stuck in the machine! Some motors whirred and suddenly the machine surgically sliced my arm off at the elbow with a steel blade and some lasers. My arm was promptly replaced with a robot arm! It was scary but it felt really neat! Mostly I was really scared that Robo-Wonka would find out and make me give back the arm so I kept it hid behind my back for the rest of the tour.

And so it continued. We visited the International Listening and Center, Facial and Biometric Recognition Department, The Merit Points Idea Labs, The Nanobot Distribution Center, and The Puppy Grinder. Along the way all the remaining panelists kept asking bonehead questions that got them kicked out. But I was smart and kept an open mind and a shut mouth. I was the only one left.

We finally ended up on the Rooftop of the facility and loaded into what looked like a flying saucer. Robo-Wonka sat down with a heavy sigh. “I just want to help people,” he boomed, softly through his mouth cover. “People just don’t understand how much data needs to be collected to make them safe.” He put his masked face in his hands and began a raspy sob. I put my human hand on his shoulder to comfort him, but I doubt he could feel his body felt cold and metal.

“I understand.” I told Robo-Wonka. In an act of true courage, I pulled off my robot arm, put it on the flying saucer’s control panel, and moved to walk out.

“Wait!” Cried Robo-Wonka. His exuberance sounded almost human. “Come back here. I have something to show you!” He shoved my robot arm back into my elbow. It hurt bad for a second. The flying saucer beamed straight up into the air. For the second time that day I was looking down at the world. This time we were much higher, able to see the curvature of the Earth. I could see both coastlines. It was breathtaking. For a second I almost felt alive.

After we had our fill of looking out at the world from above, I noticed a large red button on the control panel. I asked Robo-Wonka what it did.

“No one’s ever pressed it.” he said. “Why don’t you give it a try.”

I lit up with excitement. “For real? No foolin’?” I asked. I smashed the glass with my robot hand and pressed the button.

The world outside of the window suddenly turned black. I was afraid that the button had vaporized the sun or something! But then the light faded back in as trillions of nano-bugs rained down onto the world. Robo-Wonka explained to me that the nano-bugs would spread throughout the world and ultimately observe every single human being on the planet and upload their data to their local collection center to be tracked, aggregated, and mined in perpetuity. It was for everyone’s safety.

“We are helping every person on the planet!” I exclaimed.

Our robot hands clanged together as we celebrated with a high five!

 

Things our Kids Should Know (Before College 2030)

My friend, Shane, posted an article about things your kids should know before they brave it alone in college. His list is quite good for general life skills and interpersonal relationships, however, Shane failed to assess how technology is going to change our kids’ college experience. As a new dad I think about this constantly; to the point of my wife saying, “I get it! Robots are going to take over everything! We heard you!”

Our college experience is going to look like the Old West compared to what our kids are going to interact with.  Did you go spittoon or horse shopping with your parents at Bed Bath and Beyond before heading to the dorms? No? Well they did. It’s up to parents to prepare their kids for the upcoming changes in technology while they are still allowed to raise them.

Here’s a supplemental list of what your kids should know before going to college in 2030:

Take off your Augmented Reality Glasses when you Meet New People

It may seem advantageous to see someone’s name floating over their head or be able to quickly browse a list of their worst fears, but just because everyone’s doing it doesn’t make it cool. Impress people by remembering their names with your brain.  Ask people questions and actually listen for the answer instead of checking your feeds while the vocal processor does the work. It may take a lot of mental gymnastics but after some practice you’ll be able to carry the conversation without the need to select from a list of popular questions or answers.

Have a conversation without recording it

Remember to sometimes have a conversation off the record. It’s nice to know your speaking skill level and vocabulary statistics and compare them with friends, but take the time to enjoy the freedom to say things that won’t be analyzed. You’ll be surprised at what you can come up with! Bring your friends to a place well away from Listening Stations like in an abandoned building or a in the sewer. Keep your AR Glasses close by in case of robot attack.

Avoid foods with Nanoparticles

It may seem fun to have all of your calories automatically tracked and your food and drinks categorized for optimal ingestion everyday, but be bold and eat an apple off of a wild tree or a fish from a pond that hasn’t been incorporated by Google Wildlife Tracker. The nanoparticles can stay in your body for years and may come back to haunt you.  And I understand that you’ll eventually try alcohol, but be different and drink Pabst Blue Ribbon (the only beer not yet laden with nanoparticles).

Exercise without your Tracking Bug

Certainly you’ll want to maintain your mandated daily exercise quota (in order to earn your food rations), but once and awhile, get out and have fun without the nagging need to constantly be filling your Energy Meter. Run up a hill, bike to class, or climb up the side of a building (just to feel alive again) – and don’t worry about tracking it! Just be sure to do to look out for Google Compliance Drones before braving such an adventure.

Learn how to Build Something with your Hands

Sure, 3D printing is an important part of our daily lives. What would we do without the ability to print our a picnic table or a set of ninja stars in a few minutes? Where would we go when a murderous robot demands parts in exchange for your life? There are things we need at the press of a button, but take some time to make something on your own from wood, metal, or paper (if legal in your area). Your friends will make fun of you but just remember you can always print out a life size replica of them and humiliate them by leaving it in the college commons, as long as your robot doesn’t tell on you.

Go out without your RFID

It’s impossible to get a fake ID anymore but when you’re of age, try going to a townie bar where they will check your ID manually. Sure it’s a hassle to carry physical identification around but they won’t check to see if you have enough surplus food rations so you might be able to have a good time. Some bars will still take cash (if you’re able to barter for some) so your transactions won’t go into your Google Wallet Permanent History. Also, professors won’t be able to see what you were up to last night unless you were drinking something other than PBR.

Your Personal Defense Drone is for Defense ONLY

It’s not for spying on your girlfriend / boyfriend! It’s not to be used to remotely view your lessons or to prove your suspicions that “Kendra is a whore” (that’s what Facebook is for now). It is only to be used to record your every movement in case the authorities need to corroborate your actions/location for an alibi.

Go Sans Robot

Robots are a great invention but you don’t always have to let them read your lessons to you or get your groceries. If you’re able to overpower your robot, reach inside of its brain and switch it off. This may end in your death but if you’re victorious can end with a few moments of peace so you can study or relax. Either way your Defense Drone will record the entire encounter and play it back for the robot so it will be more prepared next time.

Be able to Read a Compass

Always know the direction of Mountain View. Remember to Praise our Great Leader 3 times a day. Praise Google!

Top Searches

The whole point of writing in a weblog is to trick people into reading some nonsense when they thought they were going to gain valuable knowledge.  Blogs are the technological equivalent of a bear trap.  A friendly bear sits down at a computer searching for honey recipes and WHAM he accidentally clicks on a blog and gets sucked into hours of mindless reading, trapped in the toothy iron vice of imagination.

Just like my friend, Shane, people end up at my site while searching for the most interesting things.

  • “for a good time restroom stall – The Internet is a giant bathroom stall. No need to find new friends in a public restroom anymore!
  • “what is waze candy? – There are over 30 hits for waze and waze candy related searches.  Remember it is OK to break the law in order to collect waze candy.
  • “how to turn yourself dog – Not sure if they wanted to turn into a dog or if when a dog searches google they have to punctuate each search with “dog” in order to find relevant results (i.e.  “How to open door with mouth, dog”) The internet is very human biased and this dog was having trouble turning.
  • “let husband use credit card declined – His purchase at the hardware store wouldn’t go through after your shopping spree.  Good thing he wasn’t able to come home with that hammer!
  • “underwear with track suits? – Be careful not to get something that bunches up or shows lines. The internet has lots of other great tips.
  • “quick mud kids” – They are quick and hiding in puddles, waiting to strike at your pets.
  • “hot girls in sport bras playing field hockey” – I’m not sure which of my posts this goes to but if anyone figures it out let me know!
  • “what is it when you have a not thing on your leg” – it’s a transcendental void on your leg that is not really there, but something is there. Let me know if you’ve found it (or didn’t find it?)
  • “prank male underwear switch” – Half way through the day you realize “These aren’t my underwear!”
  • “subway blade in bread” – This is what happens if you ask for a footlong worth of meat on 6 inch bread.
  • “dog paying bills” – Beggin Strips aren’t free and it’s time the dog pulls his weight.
  • “why frito lay put air in the bag” – They are getting away with selling you air!
  • “compostable sun chips” – This search actually got one of my pictures, with photo credit, on a TEDx talk back in May.  This company, Ecovative Designs, makes biodegradable packing material from Mushrooms, rather than Styrofoam.  I talked to this Sam and we both agreed that the sunchips bag as a bad design and he tried to sell me papers on landfills.

Top Google Searches by Letter

While I was searching for the best words to go along with the letters for the Pop Culture Alphabet (which you should begin using when spelling your name over the phone), Google helped decide which words are the most popular.

Here are the most popular search terms, by letter, in the United States:

Amazon
Best Buy
Craigslist
Dictionary
Ebay
Facebook
Google
Hotmail
iTunes
Jet Blue
Kohls
Lowes
Mapquest
Netflix
Old Navy
Pandora
Qwop
Rei
Skype
Target
USPS
Verizon
Weather
Xbox
Youtube
Zappos

The obvious hack joke here is that we are a society that loves buying stuff, listening to music, social networks, we don’t know how to spell and there are some people that still use Mapquest.

Also, I’d be curious to find out how many people misspelled dictionary, while searching for a dictionary, and were surprised to find that google fixed the spelling for them but went ahead and searched for their word in dictionary.com anyway…

Showing results for dictionary. Search instead for dickshawnary

The strangest popular search was for Q – QWOP.  It’s a game where you guide a handicapped Olympic runner down a track by telling him which neurons to fire and which muscle to control.  My best run was 4.1 meters before crashing headfirst, and bleeding all over the clay.  Urban Dictionary has a much better description.  Given it’s the most searched for Q word on Google, apparently I was the only person who didn’t know about it.

Apparently it’s a 100 meter dash to a long jump. An Olympic first.