This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.

When Dogs Fly

Posted by: James Lileks under Technology Updated: August 12, 2014 - 12:46 PM

How much does a dog enjoy jumping off a tall mountain on the back of an enormous green bird? It’s hard to say. Depends on the temperament of the animal, of course, but if you had to bet money you’d say the spectrum of enjoyment went from “paralyzing fear” to “uncomprehending acceptance.”

If winching the dog down to the rock made you flinch from fear of heights, the sight of the guy going down the rope as if it was a bannister may have convinced you that this is a pastime you will never explore.

TECH A Nest thermostat was hacked. Everyone panic:

“If I were a bad guy, I would tunnel all of your traffic through me, sniffing for any kind of credentials like credit cards,” Buentello said. “That’s horrible because if you have a computer, it crashes and you take it to Best Buy. How the hell will you know your thermostat is infected? You won’t.”

True. In this case, however, the hackers had physical access to the device, and could insert some malware via a USB stick. Defenders note that if they’re in your house for nefarious purposes, they’ll probably go for the jewelry. True, but it doesn’t mean some Bond-villain minions couldn’t install some eavesdropping programs in the thing, and it doesn’t mean these devices will be forever protected from a network attack. I can do without my thermostat talking to Google. I can live without getting a Google Alert because the device’s motion detector said there was someone in the house, when I know it’s the dog. It is the dog, isn’t it? Right. Has to be the dog! Sigh: fire up the webcam on the stove, see if there’s anyone in the kitchen . . . hmm, doesn’t work. Or maybe it’s smeared with grease and smoke. Let’s try the motion sensors on the dishwasher . . . odd; there’s text on the screen. It’s an URL for pills. Arrgh; forgot to update the anti-virus.

Those are the fears, but I suspect the reality will be less perilous. There will always be evil little twerps who spend their time figuring out how to load malware on your Android to reprogram your freezer, but it’s not exactly a high-value target.

GAMES John Romero is going to make you a twitch, to paraphrase an infamous ad campaign. He’s making a new first-person shooter, PCWorld says. Took 14 years to recover from Daikatana, apparently. A clip from the interminable Wikipedia entry on the plot:

Hiro storms the Mishima's headquarters, where he rescues Mikiko as well as Superfly Johnson, the Mishima's head of security who rebelled when he grew sick of the Mishima's brutal and totalitarian practices. Mikiko and Superfly join Hiro in his quest and they steal the Daikatana. The Mishima encounters the trio as the trio steal the sword, wielding a second Daikatana. The Mishima sends the trio back in time to Ancient Greece. Hiro and Mikiko defeat the Medusa, recharging the Daikatana as it absorbs Medusa's power. The three time jump once more, only to encounter the Mishima again and be sent through time to the Dark Ages, stranded as the Daikatana has run out of power.

The group finds a sorcerer named Musilde who offers to recharge the Daikatana if Hiro, Superfly, and Mikiko can save his village from the black plague. To do this, the group must defeat the Necromancer Nharre, reassemble a magical sword called the Purifier and use it to restore the sanity of King Gharroth so that he may use the sword to end the plague. When King Gharroth recharges the Daikatana Hiro and friends time jump again, finally ending up in the year 2020, where -

Nevermind. Here’s what it looked like.

In 2000, compared to Quake 3, that was laughable. You can watch a fellow wisecracking his way through the last level here, and if you can get past the occasional nasal snort, you’ll see the SHOCKING REVELATION of the plot.

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