ITworld cartoons 2014: The year in geek humor

Each week, ITworld's Phil Johnson pokes fun at the tech world's top news and newsmakers

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An elf telling Santa to switch Kim Jong-un to the Nice list.
December 24th - Santa learns a lesson from Sony

Most years, one would have to figure that the leader of North Korea could pretty much count on getting a stocking full of coal at Christmas. However, after the whole Sony hacking incident, supposedly engineered by North Korea in response to the movie The Interview, Santa may want to play it safe this year and give Kim Jong-un whatever he wants. After all, while elves may be great toy makers, who knows how good they are at I.T. security.

See more cartoons in ITworld cartoons 2015: The year in geek humor (so far)

Family standing around a menorah, while a boy playing Xbox says Xbox, light the menorah
December 19th - The Xbox One can’t do everything

Last weekend, my nephew was telling me how great his Xbox One is, particularly all the stuff it’ll do via voice commands. That kind of functionality sounds great and all, but it’s good that there are still some things we have do ourselves, particularly at this time of year. Although, to be honest, if the Xbox One could put my Christmas tree up for me, I’d finally be tempted to buy one.

Smart Christmas Tree Varieties: iOS, Android, Windows (the Charlie Brown Christmas tree)
December 12th - We said get an Android tree, you blockhead!

If you were happy that Christmas trees were one of the few things left in our lives that aren’t “smart,” then I have some bad news: smart Christmas trees are already here. However, most trees that people buy for the holiday are still downright dumb, but expect that to change soon. It shouldn’t be long now before you’re no longer choosing between a spruce, a pine or a fir tree, but one powered by iOS, Android or Windows. What would Charlie Brown choose, I wonder?

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Boy on a Santa's lap showing him advance analytics about his behavior
December 3rd - Big data gives Santa a big headache

I’m generally a fan of making use of all the data that we seem to be swimming in these days. For example, I wrote yesterday about how big data could help employers do a better job of identifying good programmers. But, let’s face it, sometimes people go overboard with data analytics. Sports are the best example where things have gone off the rails, in my opinion. Like, do we really need advanced catching metrics? I hope that, in order to determine who was naughty or nice, Santa avoids advanced analytics and just continues to go with his ample gut.

 

Family sitting around the Thanksgiving table.
November 26th - How to keep Thanksgiving civil

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, the one day of the year when family and friends gather around bountiful tables of food and, often times, commence to arguing about the hot button issues of the day. To avoid such unpleasantness nowadays you should probably add a new touchy, techy topic to the list of things which are off-limits for discussion: mobile operating systems. Unless, of course, your guests are all iOS people or all Android people or all BlackBerry people or, yes, even all Windows Phone people. You know, just to be safe.

Father refusing to buy a new supercomputer for his teenaged daughter
November 21st - Everybody has petaflops envy these days

There seemed to be a flood of supercomputer-related stories this week. The biggest one was probably that the US has contracted for a couple of new supercomputers, with a goal of reaching a speed of 300 petaflops and taking back the title of world’s most powerful supercomputer from China. The more supercomputers I read about, the more I figure it’s only a matter of time before everybody has one and, if you’re like me and have a teenager, you know what that’ll mean...

Cartoon showing Microsoft's Clippy
November 14th - Even anti-virus software couldn’t protect you from Clippy

Earlier this week Microsoft fixed a severe security vulnerability that, it turns out, has been present in its operating systems going all the way back to Windows 95. Is this the oldest or longest-lived Microsoft bug ever? It certainly could be, but, despite the severity of this bug, I still wouldn’t call it Microsoft’s biggest software mistake ever. That title belongs to another 1990s-vintage Windows “feature.” At least they eventually fixed that one, too.

Daylight Savings Time cartoon
November 7th - Technology is making dads obsolete

Once upon a time, not that long ago, the end (or beginning) of Daylight Savings Time was a chance for us dads (especially those of us who aren’t all that handy around the house) to demonstrate our worth by changing all the clocks. However, as I was reminded again last weekend, that’s all but been taken away from us, thanks to technology, which has put clocks that set themselves on cable boxes, phones, thermostats and all sort of other things. Well, thank goodness our smoke alarms still need the occasional battery change otherwise my wife would be putting me out with the trash.

Dad with a jack-o-lantern. Kid says Looks neat, Daddy, but can I watch Netflix on it?
October 31st - Pumpkins still excluded from the Internet of Things

It seems like just about everything these days is hooked into the Internet of Things. What’s left that doesn’t let you watch Netflix or YouTube in addition to whatever the item’s main purpose is, like a phone or a game console or a smartwatch? It won’t be long before we’ll be able to watch House of Cards on a jack-o-lantern, I figure.

Apple Pay fail
October 24th - Let the Apple Pay games begin!

Apple Pay officially launched this week and, not surprisingly, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Of course, technical glitches are to be expected with these sorts of things, particularly in the early stages. Then, of course, there’s also the human factor, with people - especially those of us from pre-Millennial generations - having to wrap their brains around a whole new way to pay for stuff. Confusion is inevitable.

Cartoon about a blind date using two-factor authentication
October 17th - It was love at first authentication

There was a time, not that long ago, when almost all of the texts I received were from family or friends. Nowadays, though, it seems like I get far more texts from authentication services, sending me codes so I can verify to some web site or app that I am whom I claim to be. In the wake of yet more online data breaches (or alleged ones), I just keep enabling two-factor authentication in more and more places. Where will this sort of thing end? I don’t know, but I’m just glad I’m already married.

Facebook privacy cartoon
Credit: ITworld/Phil Johnson
October 10th - Facebook gets even creepier

This latest story about the continuing erosion of our privacy comes to us courtesy, once again, of Facebook. It seems that the Zuck et al are now rolling out a new feature to let local businesses target ads to people who physically go near their locations. So, be careful the next time you wander through the local Red Light district - or, to be totally safe, just turn location services on your mobile device off. Or maybe stay out of sketchy business districts. Either way.

October 3rd, 2014 - Kids fold the darndest things
October 3rd - Kids fold the darndest things

By now, most people are no doubt familiar with “Bendgate” - that is, the fact that, apparently, Apple’s new (huge) iPhone 6 Plus is apt to bend if you’re careless with it. While the story is a couple of weeks old, it’s still popping up regularly in the news. I don’t have an iPhone 6 Plus (I’m sticking with my 5S for the time being) so it isn’t a concern of mine. But if I did have one, I’d make sure to keep it away from the kids arts and crafts supplies. You can’t be too careful.

Your shrubbery could be a security threat
September 26th - Your shrubbery could be a security threat

A weird story got weirder this week, when the makers of a secure phone drove around Washington, D.C. and found 18 rogue cell phone towers, that is towers of unknown origin that can intercept your phone signal. This came not long after 17 rogue towers were foundin other parts of the U.S. For some reason, not many people outside of the tech press seem overly concerned about these things. I find this all pretty unsettling and can only wonder how many of these things are out there. Who knows where the next ones will pop up? Just to be safe, think I’ll stick to the land line for now.

Hailing a space taxi might be easier said than done
September 19th - Hailing a space taxi might be easier said than done

Big news from NASA this week, when it awarded contracts totaling almost $7 billion to Boeing and SpaceX to build and run “space taxis” for ferrying American astronauts to and from the International Space Station. As a big fan of space stuff, I thought it was good news. It’ll be great to be able to spend people back into space again without having to buy a ticket on a Russian rocket. All the same, something about the term “space taxi” takes a little of the luster off of the whole thing for me, since the word “taxi” conjures up smelly, cramped spaces, dangerous drivers and other bad things. Well, I’m sure it’ll all work out fine.

Apple takes on Levi’s
September 12th - Apple takes on Levis

As you know, Apple finally announced the iPhone 6 this week and, as we all expected, it comes with a bigger 4.7 inch screen. If that’s not big enough for you, they also announced the iPhone 6 Plus which comes with a whopping 5.5 screen. Given that everybody seems jazzed up to run out and get a bigger iPhone now, I’m thinking that Apple missed out on a chance to cash in further on these bigger phones by designing a line of pants with pockets big enough to hold these things. It seems so unlike them to miss out on an opportunity like that. Whatever. I’m sure they’ll still make a nice profit.

Breaking up gets Uber-awkward
September 5th - Breaking up gets Uber-awkward

Breaking up, as they say, is hard to do. These days, though, it’s even harder, thanks to the Internet and social media and such things, which make it more difficult to forget that your former partner exists. Now comes services like Uber which have the potential to create even more, um, awkward moments between exes. How much harder will breaking up be in 10 years?

August 29th - Don’t call them “delivery guys” anymore
August 29th - Dont call them “delivery guys” anymore

Is it is just me or is this whole “as a service” trend getting a little out of hand? Thanks to the cloud, we’ve had things like Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) for a while now. All of which is great, but new “as a service” services seem to be cropping up like weeds. Earlier this week I was reading about Backend as a Service (BaaS), which was new to me, at least. Turns out there are also other cloud services like Network as a Service (NaaS), Monitoring as a Service and Communications as a Service (CaaS). Where will it end? One can only wonder.

Turn, cough and verify your identity
August 22nd - Turn, cough and verify your identity

We learned this week that Chinese hackers recently stole data on 4.5 million patients from Community Health Systems, which was just one of many incidents of data stolen from (or lost by) U.S. medical establishments this year. Why would hackers be interested in people’s personal medical data? One theory is that there’s a market for such information, presumably people without medical insurance who could benefit from assuming someone else’s identity - and insurance. Who knows if that’s really true, but, just to be safe, maybe doctors should double check that you are who you say you are. You can't be too careful these days...

August 15th - Facebook Messenger is even more invasive than we thought
August 15th - Facebook Messenger is even more invasive than we thought

It seems like every month or two Facebook sends the Internet into a tizzy by making its terms of service (seemingly) ever more onerous. The latest example is the kerfuffle over the TOS around its new app, Facebook Messenger. Some people are refusing to install it, or are uninstalling it, since it demands a access to all sorts of things like photos, contacts, texts, location data, etc. Others, though, point out that, per usual, this is much ado about nothing. I tend to fall into the latter category but, why let that stop me from poking fun at Facebook and the Hooded One?

August 8th - No, there isn’t an app for that
August 8th - No, there isnt an app for that

These days, there’s an app for just about anything you want to do. At least, that’s what it seems like to me. But, as this cartoon illustrates, I was reminded that there are still some things apps can’t do for us, like find my daughter’s retainer when she leaves it at a restaurant and it gets thrown out with the trash. Long story short, I did land up digging through a dumpster looking for it but, sadly, couldn’t find it, either. Maybe there’s an app to help prevent her from losing the next one in the first place? I’ll have to look...

When Linus Torvalds curses, people listen
July 31st - When Linus Torvalds curses, people listen

Fun tech news tidbit of the week came courtesy of the one and only Linus Torvalds, legendary creator of Linux and Git - and legendary potty-mouthed ranter. Never one to shy away from sharing his feeling, Torvalds found a bug in a recent release of the GCC compiler and while his formal bug report was perfectly professional and SFW, his email about it to the Linux kernel mailing list was a little more loosey goosey, not to mention R-rated. Torvalds, as you probably know, is famous for his rants about things that bug him in the tech world. One can only imagine what he’s like when something bugs him in everyday life.

Don’t overdo it on System Administrator Appreciation Day
July 25th - Dont overdo it on System Administrator Appreciation Day

Happy System Administrator Appreciation Day! Let’s face it; sysadmins are the office equivalent of MacGyver and without them most of us wouldn’t be able to do our jobs. Be sure, then, to take the time today to show some love to those people who keep our networks and email and servers, not to mention desktops and printers, up and running. If you’re stuck for gift ideas, here are some; or you could compose a poem (or interpretive dance) expressing your gratitude. Of course, it’s also possible to go overboard with these things, so don’t go too nuts.

Comcast doesn't know how to quit you
July 18th - Comcast doesn't know how to quit you

Just when you thought your opinion of cable companies’ customer service couldn’t get any worse, along comes this week’s story of tech journalist Ryan Block’s attempt to cancel his Comcast service. What should have been a short and simple phone call turned into a prolonged and painful breakup, when Block ran into a customer service rep who just wouldn’t take no for answer. Fortunately, Block recorded much of the call, so you can hear the insanity for yourself. The rep did eventually cancel Block’s service, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Comcast pulls a Lloyd Dobler move in Block’s driveway.

July 11th - Crowdfunding jumps the shark

There wasn’t much question about what my favorite tech story of this week was: the guy who raised more than $40K (so far) on Kickstarter to make potato salad. If there was any doubt before this that crowdfunding thing was getting a little out of control, I’d say that’s now been eliminated. My favorite part, really, were the rewards donors would get, ranging from a thank you note to a bite of the potato salad to hanging out in the kitchen while the guy makes the potato salad. Now that the floodgates have been opened, one can only imagine what other crowdfunding - and reward - silliness will soon be coming our way.

July 3rd - Home IT support can generate its own fireworks

Tomorrow is July 4th which means that, here in the States, lots of folks will heading out to watch fireworks. I’m not much of a fireworks fan (yawn), and, besides, not even the legendary 4th of July show here in Boston can match the fireworks that I generated the other night after a home IT support project went haywire. I was updating iOS on my daughter’s iPhone 4s when something went screwy. tl:dr; It took me a long evening of hair pulling and swearing to figure out how to recover all of her photos and contacts and everything else. Once again, I was reminded of the power of good backups.

June 27th - Prepare to grovel, cord cutters

The U.S. Supreme Court made a couple of big tech-related rulings this week. One was a decision that the police must get a warrant before searching a cell phone. The other, much less popular, decision was a ruling that the Aereo TV service violated copyright laws. That should kill off Aereo and Aereo-like services, which will probably mean that some cord cutters will turn back to cable TV. Of course, I have no doubt that the cable companies will welcome them back into the fold gracefully.

June 19th - Watch out! The Fire phone knows what youre looking at

This week Amazon finally unveiled its long rumored smartphone, the Fire. It features something they call Dynamic Perspective, a head tracking system using four front facing cameras in the corners of the phone. Using those cameras, the phone can figure out exactly where your head is facing at all times.

The Fire uses this technology to dynamically adjust what you’re looking at on your phone (pictures, maps, etc.). Sounds neat and all but, being the glass-is-half-empty guy that I am, I immediately thought of the bad ways in which this technology could be used. But, I’m probably just being a worrywart, right?

June 13th - Netflix v. Verizon is getting good

The battle between Netflix and Verizon is heating up fast! First, Netflix told its users on Verizon that Verizon was to blame for poor streaming quality. Then, Verizon returned volley by threatening to sue Netflix if they didn’t cut it out and then Netflix told Verizon to, basically, shove it. As a Netflix customer who is rarely able to find anything good to stream on their service (I’m not into Orange is the New Black, so that doesn’t leave much), I must say that following this whole thing has been pretty entertaining! I can’t wait to see what happens next.

June 6th - Apples HealthKit could take the fun out of dessert

Apple held its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this week and, whether you think Apple is still innovating or simply playing catch-up, there's no debating that they generated lots of news and attention, per usual. One of the big things they announced was HealthKit, a part if iOS 8 which will make it easier for your apps to share health related data about you. HealthKit will also allow apps to share your health and fitness data with your healthcare providers.

Per usual, my first thought was, “Is that really a good thing?” and, per usual, my answer to myself was, “Er, maybe not.”

The good news is iOS 8 won’t come out until later this year, so, for now, enjoy that second heaping helping of pie!

May 30th - That ransomware payment is coming out of your allowance

There was news this week out of Australia about some iOS owners getting locked out of their devices by ransomware. After making sure I was taking the proper precautions to ensure that my own iPhone wouldn’t get hit, I then had to remind my daughters to secure their own phones as well. Back when I was growing up, my parents didn’t have to worry about this kind of unexpected electronics-related expense from cropping up. Parenting must’ve been simpler, and definitely cheaper, back in the 1980s.

May 23rd - Smart grill? Or smartypants grill?

Memorial Day is coming up, which also doubles as the unofficial start of the summer grilling seaon. Grilling is one of my favorite things; opening up a beer, firing up the grill and cooking some meat over an open flame. Sure, maybe I occasionally cook something a little too long or lose a few body hairs in the process, but who cares, really? Just standing over the fire, flipping those burgers, dogs or chicken is most of the fun.

That’s why news of coming smart grill technology doesn’t get me too excited. I don’t want my grill deciding when the food is done or otherwise making me expenable. That’s one device I’d prefer remain dumb.

May 16th - Mark Zuckerberg reaches a milestone

Big day this past Wednesday when Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg turned 30! Hard to believe, right? 30, of course, isn’t in any way, shape or form, old (says this 44 year-old). But, there can certainly be some signs of aging by then like a receding hairline, a little more weight around the gut and, occasionally, forgetting why you came into a room - or why you called a meeting with your company lawyers.

May 9th - This Mothers Day, give mom peace of mind

As you hopefully already know, this Sunday is Mother’s Day. If you’re stuck for an idea as to what to get your mom or wife for Mother's Day, how about taking a cue from the recent World Password Day and give her the gift of increased online security? Mom’s always love stuff their kids make, anyway, whatever it is. It’s a no lose!

May 2nd - So thats what happened to Clippy

Fun story out of New Mexico this week, where folks from Microsoft Xbox and a film company dug up a cache of unsold E.T. Atari 2600 video game cartridges. The cartridges, along with other unsold Atari merchandise including other game cartridges and gaming hardware, were buried in an Alamorgordo landfill in 1983 after the game turned out to be a huge flop.

This whole thing made me wonder what other infamous tech failures may be waiting to be discovered in some forgotten landfill? As interesting as it was to see pictures of people holding those long-buried E.T. games, I can think of at least one other famous tech blunder that should just remain buried.

April 18th - When it comes to Heartbleed, you cant be too careful

Well, this was another week in which I seemed to spend too much time reading about Heartbleed and trying to figure out what passwords I needed to change. Just to be extra safe, I’ve also changed the locks on my house as well as my regular order at Starbucks and am considering other safety precautions. Nothing’s off the table. I figure better safe than sorry, right?

April 11th - Ali Baba and the unencrypted password

I don't know about you, but I spent far too much time this week getting stressed out over thisHeartbleed OpenSSL bug, trying to figure out which passwords to which sites might have been exposed and then changing them. This whole thing reminded me of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, when another password was famously exposed. Imagine how the story might have gone had the forty thieves used a password generator.

April 4th - Streaming devices make better doors than window

This week Amazon announced its new set-top streaming device, the Fire TV. Like many people, when I heard about it all I could think was, “Why?” Seems like there are already plenty of similar devices out there to stream content to your TV, like Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Xbox, and PlayStation. Can the market support one more streaming box? How about your TV stand?

March 28th - Facebook has scary plans for the Oculus Rift

Clearly, one of the biggest tech stories of the week again involves Mark Zuckerberg breaking out the Facebook checkbook, this time to the tune of $2 billion, to buy Oculus VR, a company which has developed the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. While the headset was envisioned primarily for gamers, Facebook may ultimately have other plans for it. Imagine hugging a Facebook post instead of liking it or viewing their terms of service or privacy policy in 3D. Yikes!

March 21st - Android Wear is about to make things creepier

This week Google announced the release of Android Wear, which is extending the Android operating system to wearable devices. Android-powered smart watches are the first thing they have in mind, but after that, who knows? The sky - or the imaginations of device makers and Android Wear developers - will be the limit.

I'm not sure what to think about it. On the hand, it sounds kind of exciting. On the other hand, well, things could get weird. We'll see...

March 14th - Happy birthday to the mother of all time-wasters!

This past Wednesday was a big day: it was 25 years ago on that day, March 12, 1989, that Tim Berners-Lee shared a document with his colleagues at CERN outlining what would become the World Wide Web. Of course, at the time, he didn't call it that (despite how I drew it in this cartoon; artistic license, and all that). He referred to it as “Mesh,” a "global hyperlink system." These days, we just call it the web or, as I call it, a “global hyper-time wasting system.”

March 7th - March comes in like a crazed tech executive

It's March, which means winter should be (finally) ending soon and spring commencing. It always makes me think of that old saying about how March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. This year, I thought maybe it's time to update that saying using some more, say, techy references and these two fellas, who seem to be at at the opposite ends of the personality spectrum, came to mind.

Interestingly, while Tim Cook has the reputation of being fairly mild mannered, he actually got a little feisty at Apple's recent shareholder meeting. So, maybe that isn't totally accurate. But you get the idea.

February 28th - Good luck stashing your Bitcoins under the mattress

Two seemingly unrelated big stories broke this week. First, we had the shutdown of the the Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, after hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the digital currency reportedly went missing. Then there was the California couple who found a slew of 19th century U.S. gold coins, estimated to be worth $10 million, buried in cans on their property.

The latter story made me wonder if a currency like Bitcoin that you can never put your hands on - or bury in the yard for safe keeping - will ever really take off. Then again, very well known and respected smart guy Fred Wilson thinks that, eventually, it will. Guess I'll defer to him. 

February 21st - Whats app?! Mark Zuckerberg gets a bargain

The big tech story of the week was Facebook shelling out a whopping $19 billion in cash and stock to buy WhatsApp. Hoo doggy, that seems like a lot of money for a messaging app, but I guess Mark Zuckerberg feels it will give his company enough of a foothold in the mobile market in developing countries to be worthwhile. We'll see.

Of course, all I can think of when I hear about WhatsApp are the old Budweiser Wazz Up ads. Also, I figure the WhatsApp founders must sick and tired of hearing people say, "What's app?". Of course, if the guy who just gave them $19 billion for their company says it, they'd better smile and laugh like they never heard it before.

February 14th - Good luck getting Comcast to show up for the closing

Big news from the world of cable this week, with Comcast agreeing to buy Time Warner for $45 billion. The deal has been agreed to in principle, but still has to be approved by regulators and shareholders. Of course, the hardest part for Time Warner will be waiting for Comcast to show up during whatever 8 hour window of availability they provide. Don't make any other plans during that window, Time Warner! 

February 7th - Even Kim Jong Un isnt that crazy

Sure, the big tech story of the week was Microsoft finally naming their new CEO. But, for my money, the most interesting tech story this week was, hands down, the news that North Korea's newest operating system looks an awful lot like Apple's OS X. Who knows if their Dear Leader Kim Jong Un actually had any say in the matter, but if he did, it would seem to be a surprisingly sane decision. At least, it's a lot more sane than importing Dennis Rodmanto be his best friend.

January 31st - Good luck getting Her attention until after the Oscars

As you probably know by now, the movie Her stars Joaquin Phoenix as a regular schlub who falls in love with his operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson . The movie's been a critical success, garnering a bunch of Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture.

Needless to say, as a result of this attention, if you need to ask Siri something in the next few weeks, be patient. She may be on the other line with you-know-who. Or perhaps picking out an outfit for the Academy Awards.
January 30th - Try the salmon, but make sure your camera flash is on

My wife, two daughters (ages 11 and 14) and I went to out dinner last weekend. We don't do it very often, so when we do it's a bit of an event. The girls weren't allowed to use their phones during dinner (neither was dad, sadly). So, it was a bit unusual to go through dinner without anyone taking a picture of the food.

It got me to thinking about all those pictures of all that food that we all take and share on social media and via Snapchat and things like that. Maybe restaurants should start advertising the photogenic qualities of their food. Who knows? It could help generate a little more business.

January 24th - No power? No problem. How to spend money the old fashioned way

Last weekend I took my kids out with me to run a few errands. At each stop I did something I feel like I never do anymore: I paid for all of it with cash. I didn’t use a credit card or cell phone to pay for any of it. 

It made me think that my kids are growing up in a world where the only cash transaction they see involves the tooth fairy. We should probably be paying them in Bitcoins when they lose teeth. Or get them Square readers so the tooth fairy can just swipe her credit card.
January 17th - The Internet of Annoying Things

The Internet of Things picked up more steam this week with Google's purchase of Nest, a company that makes smart devices for the home, like thermostats, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.This acquisition should give Google lots and lots of new data about what people are doing in their homes. As worrying as that may be to some, I worry about it also going the other way: how much will my thermostat know about what I'm doing online?

January 10th - Kids hack the darndest things

The big tech news of the week all came from the Consumer Electronics Show out in Las Vegas. Companies showed off all sorts of new goodies, but the gadget that caught my eye was an Internet-connected toothbrush. The thing supposedly can collect data on how it’s being moved and send it to an app on your phone, so you can see how well (or poorly) you’re taking care of your choppers.

It sounds pretty cool and all but, being a parent who spends of good portion of the day reminding his kids to brush their teeth, or asking them if they did brush their teeth, I can’t help but wonder what kind of additional headaches this kind of thing will cause me.

January 3rd - Chromebooks are the new Swiss Army Knives

This Christmas, my wife and I decided to get each of our two daughters (ages 11 and 14) a Chromebook. We got sick of fighting with them (or listening to them fight) over the family MacBook Pro and decided they each needed a device for doing schoolwork. The girls are thrilled with them and these little devices seem pretty slick.

Apparently, we weren’t the only ones to make this call last year. In case you missed it, 20% of all new laptops sold in 2013 were Chromebooks. These devices seem to be genuinely threatening traditional computers. Who knows what else they’ll eventually displace?