A compelling argument could be made that technology as a whole is weird these days. Smart shirts and smart appliances — that’s the stuff that used to define the likes of Robert Heinlein as wildly imaginative thinkers, but now is just everyday humdrum. What are the most bizarre and unusual stories making tech news recently?
The Refrigerator Attacks More Than Your Waistline These Days
Smart refrigerators are kind of cool, until they start hacking three-quarters of a million computers. In what is hailed as the first instance of a cyber attack launched via the Internet of Things, hackers used ordinary home appliances like TVs and at least one home refrigerator to launch malicious emails. That leftover chocolate cake is no longer the most dangerous thing in the icebox.
ET Phones Home From Desert Confinement
For decades, rumors abounded that Atari had ditched truckloads of cartridges of the massively unpopular video game, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial in the desert of New Mexico. Most people filed these reports along with those of UFO sightings and other government conspiracies. As it turns out, maybe more attention should have been given to the ‘rumors’. This past April, a bunch of geeks (who had a whole lot of time on their hands) started digging for them. Eureka! No word yet on how many of the estimated 1 million games that were dumped were recovered, but some of them are heading to the Smithsonian, and you can bet a few will end up on eBay.
It Isn’t a Best Buy if You Can’t Actually Buy It
Like every retailer in the free world, Black Friday is when the company can bet on a whopper of a day-end sales report. And most did. Except for Best Buy, which managed to let its site go down. Customers who visited were greeted with the notice, ” We’re sorry. BestBuy.com is currently unavailable. Check back soon.” Really, Best Buy? High traffic on Black Friday. Who could have guessed?
Innovation or Cat Sensation?
Apparently, a high percentage of cat owners are concerned over Fluffy’s recent weight loss, and blame Mittens for stealing her food. But what’s a working cat owner supposed to do? Bistro has an answer. With their new crowd-sourced product, the owner can scan the faces of Fluffy and Mittens and store this information in the feeder. The feeder then uses cat facial recognition technology (yes, you read that correctly) to make sure that Mittens no longer commandeers Fluffy’s share of the kibble. The device also weighs the cats and keeps up with their daily nutritional intake. Sorry, Mittens, that was a good racket you had going there.
We Knew It: Facebook Really is Out to Get Us
Does Facebook make you angry or depressed? I mean, who can see those endless feeds of both genuine “bad” news, and all the fabulous vacations your “friends” take while you sit grinding away at work without getting a bit blue? If your friends’ news isn’t enough to make you resign from society, Facebook’s own shenanigans just might. The mega social media platform was busted recently for deliberately playing on users’ emotions. The technology placed emotional content within the news feeds of some users (both positive and negative) and then tracked to see if the content did, indeed, make the users sadder or happier. Actually, it did, but that’s totally not the point. They’re toying with us! That is the point! Though Facebook copped to doing it, no official apology was issued. You have our permission to be completely insulted.