Weekend Roundup: Tanks, Taxis, Twitter, Terrible Services, and Trouble

Hey, wanna talk about a whole bunch of weird tech stuff, like tanks, and Twitter, and taxis that float, and trouble brewing all over the place, and what a complete joke of a company Facebook is? Yeah?! Us too! Let’s go!

Guess Who’s Back? Twitter’s Back…

Twitter has a – let’s say interesting – relationship with developers. It’s suggested developers didn’t matter to the company, sold its suite of developer tools to one of the worst actors in tech, altered its API program to bleed developers dry, used the term “spam” as a means to further stomp all over developers, and has most in tech wishing there was an alternative.

Doubt me? Click those links, friend. Twitter suuuucks when it comes to its history with developers.

Now it’s back with a beta API program for developers, which so far is just two GET endpoints for users and tweets. We assume the program, which it named “Developer Labs” to sound like it was some sort of workshop or cool place for devs to coalesce, is simply a way to identify how developers will use Twitter’s APIs so the company can preemptively stomp all over their work. No thanks, Twitter.

Tanks!

Yeah! Tanks! You can buy one! Destroy th- oh, wait, it’s a toy. Destroy the… cat?

DJI, which makes the best consumer drones on the planet, has a new toy tank for you to use around the home. It’s meant to help kids learn coding fundamentals, sort of like Swift Playgrounds with its various toys you can connect. The DJI RoboMaster S1 is just cooler, but also $500.

Uber Taxis Take to the Sky

You know what sucks? Traffic. You know how to beat traffic? Podcasts, and planning to be in traffic.

But Uber, well, Uber’s gonna Uber. In the most tech-bro move of 2019, Uber is introducing small helicopters it says riders will be able to request for short trips to the airport. No, we’re serious. Uber is setting up helicopters.

If your take is, “What, no way, that’s really cool,” then you are nuts and we have deep concerns. But you do you: Uber will start trialing the service in 2020 with helicopter rides from lower Manhattan to JFK, which is not dangerous at all.

Trouble on the Horizon for Assange, Voters

Digital voting used to be a cool concept, then Florida happened (circa 2000) and foreign actors mind-hacked voters (circa 2016) and now we’re back at square one. One major voting machine vendor, Election Systems & Software, has vowed to halt sales of paperless voting machines as “primary” voting devices as a result. “Congress must pass legislation establishing a more robust testing program—one that mandates that all voting-machine suppliers submit their systems to stronger, programmatic security testing conducted by vetted and approved researchers,” says CEO Tom Burt.

(Burt maybe forgot about hanging chads, but we digress…)

It’s unclear how this may affect voting in 2020, but we’d expect a shortage of voting machines to be problematic for democracy. As an Oregonian, I will say mail-in paper ballots work well and every state should use them. Can’t get too weird with the mail system.

And hey – remember Julian Assange? When he wasn’t doing parkour in his embassy suite or smearing poo all over the walls, he was – well, doing nothing, I suppose.

Recently, Assange was literally dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy in London because he got evicted for, well, smearing poo on the walls. Sweden wants to try him for a rape charge he’s been evading, and the United States has formally requested he be flown stateside because, you know, WikiLeaks.

Facebook Is a Joke

Remember when Facebook was caught paying teens to use an app that told Facebook just about everything they did on their devices, and Facebook canceled the program, then promised to be a better company in general? Remember when it also said its future was going to be built on privacy?

Well, now it’s paying adults to use the same sort of apps it was seeding to teens. Move fast and break promises.

And do you remember that, during all its troubles, Facebook executives such as Zuckerberg and Sandberg said they had no idea Facebook was doing bad things? Well, The Wall Street Journal reports emails have been discovered that show Mark Zuckerberg knew exactly what was happening, and was aware of it all early on. This is the guy who now wants to serve as the company’s privacy champion.

It’s all just a really bad joke.

Dropbox Somehow Got Worse

Remember when Dropbox used to be cloud file storage, and it was simple and easy? And then it made a desktop app, and got a little more creepy about how much access to your system it wanted? Well, now it’s basically Google Drive, and we just want it to go back to holding our files in the cloud for download anywhere.

Enjoy your weekend!