We really hope you’re in the mood for some weird, wild and even alarming news stories this week tech fans because This Week in Technology for August 8th, 2013 seems to have that theme in spades this time around. While recent headlines have been dominated by Edward Snowden job offers, Shark Week, and numerous tech giants falling flat during the summer months, our conscience simply would not allow us to follow the web’s trending gossip. So instead, our crack team of semi-professional journalists turned their attention to Lego’s impressive tech innovations for children, the NSA backlash on the cloud computing industry, and the neatest darn smart toilet we’ve ever seen. So sit back, loyal readers, grab a frosty beverage, and get ready for This Week in Technology-
Remember when you were like eight and how cool it was to build everything out of Legos? Well it turns out that our favorite past-time from the 80’s and 90’s wasn’t so cool after all, because today’s Lego Mindstorms EV3 make those vintage blocks of plastic seem like cheap junk. Today’s version comes equipped with onboard CPU’s, Linux operating systems, light and motion sensors, plus numerous motors and gears so that our youth are officially building their own robots. All of the action can be controlled through onboard programmable controllers, but the tech savvy 8 years olds who have smartphones can also control their creations via mobile Wi-Fi. How ridiculously unfair is that?
Now, before you head off to buddy up with your long lost nephew and decide to give him “birthday present”, it’s probably worth pointing out that Legos Mindstorms EV3 start at $350. While this ultra-cool cool tech toy is definitely worth every penny, you’ll probably just want to buy one for yourself since the programming and functionality are almost endless. We promise not to judge.
US Cloud Computing Faces $35 Billion in Losses
In more serious tech news, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation has released a report showing that the cloud computing industry in the United States stands to lose between $22 and $35 billion in revenues over the next three years due to NSA data tracking. While this market is expected to rapidly expand over the next decade, analysts with the ITIF predict that it will be increasingly difficult for US-based cloud providers to gain foreign trust when their data could be openly compromised in the name of national security. Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Digital Affairs, had this to share regarding the industry-
“If European cloud customers cannot trust the United States government, then maybe they won’t trust U.S. cloud providers either. If I am right, there are multibillion-euro consequences for American companies. If I were an American cloud provider, I would be quite frustrated with my government right now.”
The report also calls for the government to declassify much of the PRISM program for the tech industry so that cloud providers can understand what types of information is being monitored. It also calls for a similar transparency with foreign governments and trade negotiators as an act of good faith towards solid business practices. At any rate, until businesses both at home and abroad can make informed decisions on the safety of their data, the future of US cloud storage providers remains in turmoil.
Smart Toilets Just a Tad too Smart in Japan
For our patented, “you’ve got to be kidding me” tech story this week, we travel all the way to Japan to visit what can only be described as the strangest tech story of the year. The picture above is a Satis Smart Toilet and, in case you’re wondering, it is officially the smartest smart potty on the planet. Through a handy app on your smartphone, this revolutionary device can activate numerous cleansing devices simultaneously, preheat the seating, set the mood with relaxing melodies, and a number of other features that most of us would never even dream of as being a bathroom necessity. Needless to say, this is the Cadillac, Ferrari and Hummer of the toilet world all in one.
In a surprise twist, however, this innovative tech company is rethinking their whole concept after hackers have found numerous ways to gain remote access to their smart potties. While the dangers of hacking a toilet may not sound too alarming at a glance, evil doers have maliciously re-flushed toilets and engaged other features repeatedly to cause power/water waste and just general mayhem inside homes and businesses. Could you imagine waking up one night to the sounds of a toilet lid slamming over and over again? The sheer terror…
Well, that’s all we have for you in This Week in Technology for August 8th, 2013. Be sure to check back in with us next time for the most innovative, savvy, and ridiculously silly tech developments around the globe.