#105 The Rumor Mill

That rumor mill's a-churning. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

That rumor mill’s a-churning. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

This week, Ray, Tom and Sean delve into rumors about the next iPhone as well as Twitter’s famous 140-character limit. Plus, the latest about the Oculus Rift, and the story of a man who found more than he bargained for in his Amazon cart.

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Apple planning to remove headphone jack on the iPhone 7

The rumor mill about the next iPhone is churning and this time it has come up with a doozy. In order to get the next version of the iPhone even slimmer, Apple is supposedly going to ditch the headphone jack.

These rumors actually started swirling about a month ago, but now Fast Company has a new source which has confirmed them, along with adding new details: that the replacement will be a lightning jack with a headphone adaptor, or completely wireless EarPods.

Fast Company also says that the next iPhone will employ a new noise-cancelling technology to improve sound quality.


Oculus Rift announces release date, final price

The product that arguably has launched the current wave of excitement about virtual-reality-tech has finally gotten a price, and a date on which you will be able to buy it. That product, of course, is the Oculus Rift. The date? Sometime in March, assuming you pre-ordered, oh, last week. The price? $599.

According to Ars Technica, that scores you a cutting-edge VR headset, a head-tracking camera, an Xbox One controller, an Oculus remote, cables, a carrying case, and two games. That sounds pretty good, but note that it doesn’t include the beefy high-end PC you’ll need to plug your headset into.

If all you’ve got at home right now is Sean Birch’s Chromebook, expect to drop $1,500 to gain access to a high resolution universe of virtual wonder.

After two dev kits, which were priced at $300 and $350 respectively, and Oculus founder Palmer Lucky stating in an interview in October that the Rift would cost “more than $350,” many eager fans are experiencing sticker shock. They have taken to the internets to express their anger. Outrage was so great that Palmer Lucky popped up on reddit to apologize for misleading people. That said, if you pre-order the Rift right now, you’ll be lucky to get it by April, so clearly the high price has not been enough to discourage everyone.


Netflix gives customers socks for the holidays

You probably remember the Netflix-and-chill button that Netflix recently released design specs for so DIY enthusiasts could build their own. Well the company has topped themselves with their latest DIY brainstorm – Netflix socks.

If you regularly binge watch so much that you fall asleep, Netflix socks are for you. These socks detect when you’ve fallen asleep and send a pause signal to Netflix, so you won’t miss a moment of Jessica Jones! You can check them out at makeit.netflix.com. There are even multiple snazzy templates for great Netflix-themed patterns!

Just to be clear, you can’t buy these – you have to make them! So get out your darning needles and soldering iron and get to work! If any Deemable Tech listeners are planning on building this or the Netflix button, we’d love to see your work!


Lenovo ditching the Motorola brand name, but keeping “Moto”

Motorola was once a powerhouse in mobile phones, but it has been through a lot of changes lately. First it was purchased by Google, which launched the Moto X line of phones, and then it was sold to Lenovo.

In an interview with Cnet this month while at CES, Lenovo announced that it would begin phasing out the “Motorola” branding on its phones and replacing it with Lenovo branding. Lenovo will, however, be keeping the “Moto” name and the iconic “batwing” logo. So you can still say, “Hello, Moto.” But really, it is goodbye to Motorola as we know it.


Twitter to break the 140 character limit, probably for real this time

There are always endless rumors swirling that Twitter is about to increase its famous 140 character limit. And actually right now it looks like those rumors have some substance.

According to re/code, sources within the company say that tweets will still initially appear in your Twitter feed as 140 characters, but will then feature some kind of call to action which allows them to be expanded, showing up to 10,000 characters of text. This would be a pretty significant change for a company that has built its reputation on very brief messages. The same rumors also say that Twitter is experimenting with changing its reverse chronological timeline, another core feature from early days.

Since Twitter went public in 2013 it has struggled to impress investors with steady growth. CEO Jack Dorsey and other company heads are definitely looking at radical changes to keep the social media giant relevant.

IE is Dead, Long Live Edge… and IE

Microsoft finally buried Internet Explorers 8, 9 and 10. If you have one of them installed on your computer it will still work, but just like when Microsoft pulled the plug on Windows XP back in 2013, you won’t receive any security updates anymore.

Speaking of operating systems, Windows killed another operating system this week. No, it wasn’t Vista, it was Windows 8! If you’re running Windows 8, you need to upgrade to 8.1 or 10, because you will no longer get bug fixes or security updates. Why did Microsoft skip Vista? Who knows, but our guess is that there is a very small user base running 8 compared to Vista. But the reaper is coming for Vista too. Vista will swim with the fishes in April 2017.


Customer finds unexpected dildo in his shopping cart after poor customer service experience at Amazon.de

Ars Technica reported on an unusual customer service snafu last week. Not that customer service screw ups are unusual, but this one came from Amazon, typically known for their top notch customer service.

An IT contractor living in Ireland had ordered a textbook from Amazon.de, the Germany-based version of the site. Unfortunately he was shipped the wrong edition. After spending a great deal of time on the phone with a customer service rep, he was informed that the company did not have the right edition and they would only be able to credit him his money back.

Upset, the contractor left a negative review on a customer satisfaction survey.

A few days later he was browsing the site at work and noticed that there was something in his shopping basket. Not having added anything to the cart, he clicked to see what it was. At this point he discovered that a dildo known as “The Hulk” had been added to his basket.

Since the contractor was at his job and was being observed by coworkers, including a woman, he was not pleased by this. He reports that he was able to get in touch with an executive at Amazon.de and had been credited with 100 euros for the incident. The company hinted that the dildo had been added to the contractor’s basket by the customer service rep, but would not say if any steps had been taken to discipline the rep.


Image credit: Glade_Creek_Grist_Mill.jpg: Gabor Eszes (UED77)derivative work: WVhybrid at en.wikipedia (Glade_Creek_Grist_Mill.jpg) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Sean BirchAbout Author: Sean Birch (102 Posts)

Sean Birch writes web posts sometimes, including the one you probably just read.

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