Tech tAUk’s history with holiday specials has always enjoyed a couple of musical parodies, and Douglas just couldn’t let the opportunity pass without another one this time around. (But one was enough.) That said, we have an enormously packed episode of Tech tAUk for you this week before we head off to enjoy the holidays.
We begin with another Robot Uprising segment, looking at Google’s acquisition of Boston Dynamics, the creators of creepy galloping military robots, the eighth such acquisition for Google in the past six months.
And in this week’s ROCK in the NSA, we go through the dump truck-worth of revelations that came out in the past week:
- NSA Spies on MMORPG Games Second Life and World of Warcraft; Hires In-World Informants
- New Documents Show How the NSA Infers Relationships Based on Mobile Location Data
- NSA Uses Google Cookies to Pinpoint Targets for Hacking
- NSA Cracks Cellphone Encryption, Has Capacity for Decoding Private Conversations
- Officials Say U.S. May Never Know Extent of Snowden’s Leaks
- NSA Leaders Split on Giving Amnesty to Snowden
Our other tech headlines this week:
- Sprint Considering $20 Billion Bid for T-Mobile (see also: Reasons to be Concerned About a Sprint/T-Mobile Merger)
- Twitter Reverses Controversial ‘Block’ Function Change Following Backlash
Douglas briefly discusses recent commentary about boring and impersonal holiday cards and how they are being perceived as “impersonal” and “self-serving” these days.
Then Josh takes into a holiday edition of the GameZone, declaring the PS4 the winner over the Xbox One for sales, though that depends on how you view the numbers. He then runs down through the hottest games of 2013:
- Super Mario 3D World
- Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag
- Bioshock Infinite
- The Last of Us
- Grand Theft Auto V
- A Link Between Worlds
- Pokemon X & Pokemon Y
- Tomb Raider 2013
- Battlefield 4
- Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix
- Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (this is a holiday episode, after all!)
Josh also acknowledges an opinion column about violent video games and mental health in the wake of the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting.
For our Bytes of the Week, Douglas gives a Shout-Out to the Hour of Code, a publicity effort to demonstrate the need for computer science and programming education, which helped over 15 million students learn about programming last week.
Then, Josh offers up two mini-rants about a spermbot controlled by a magnetic field, and comments from the founder of SantaCon.
Stay tuned next week, when our Christmas Eve gift to you will be an episode sharing highlights from these past four months of Tech tAUk Reloaded. Then on New Years Eve, we’ll be back for our 2013 Year in Review episode.