Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Tech talk about Pokemon Go

Quick background for people who don't already know: Pokemon Go is a mobile game that launched last month on Android, and more recently on iPhones. It is billed as an "augmented reality game," in that the gameplay incorporates a requirement to walk around in the real world and visit physical locations, and some virtual objects are treated within the game as if they physically exist at those locations. It was immediately popular, and has been plagued with ongoing problems with server response and performance. In this post I will discuss these issues on a level that laymen should be able to understand.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Techie Rant: Mobile apps shouldn't override web browsers

Dear Facebook:

I would like to politely offer feedback on this "instant article" feature that you are so proud to have updated on my mobile device.

I don't want to have to read long articles in the Facebook mobile app.

I don't EVER want to have to read long articles in the Facebook mobile app.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thanks for the help, cloud AI!

This is just a quick silly story that illustrates how the "intelligent" programs that monitor our lives can be both funny and creepy.
At my work, we have an intranet application -- something that runs in a web browser, but it's only visible from inside the office -- which tracks change requests and bugs we are working on. I am on the Client Account team, so most of my projects are identified with "CA-" and then a number, such as "CA-1234."
Usually after I have been working on one project for a while, I have memorized the number, and so I just type "CA-1234" into my browser. Since I have visited the feature page often, it automatically fills in the URL to take me there. But sometimes I mistype, or it doesn't work for some other reason, so my browser helpfully pulls up a Google search for CA-1234 instead.
That does not contain any information that is useful to me. However, it does often match a flight number on China Airlines.
So one morning I got an alert on my Android. It was Google's calendar program. It told me "It's time to leave for the airport if you want to catch that flight on China Airlines that you looked up!"