DMA TECH WATCH: ‘Force’ Countdown, Black Friday Deals & the RoboRoach!

By Phill Powell

Welcome to DMA Tech Watch, where we review the biggest news events and tech trends now on the radar. Here’s what we’re watching as of November 23, 2015:

POUNDING THE DRUM FOR NEW “STAR WARS” MOVIE


It won’t be long now: 24 days until Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuts.

During Sunday night’s American Music Awards, viewers were treated to the latest commercial for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which premieres in only 24 days!

This commercial is just the latest installment in a full-blown marketing blitz that is sure to escalate as we get closer to the film’s opening on Dec. 18th.

Just how big is the movie expected to gross? Some industry estimates hold that this film will likely earn enough to become the third-biggest flick of all time, behind James Cameron’s twin juggernauts, Avatar and Titanic. But we feel it might easily muscle its way into the second slot…

WORDPRESS GETS REVAMPED, GOES OPEN SOURCE

WordPress_logo
WordPress is protecting its turf with its latest update.

All of these words you’re reading right now were produced via a powerful software program called WordPress, which accounts for about 25 percent of all the text delivered via the web. Now WordPress, in response to new companies who would like to overtake it, has gone through a major overhaul.

Automattic, which publishes WordPress, used JavaScript and API calls when it rebuilt the software. And now that it’s a Single Page Application, the program should load a lot quicker, with fewer screens.

Were these enhancements not enough, the program is now open source and available on GitHub. Analysts have been impressed with Automattic’s savvy changes, which can help this aging product become fully revived.

BLACK FRIDAY DEALS FOR GAMERS

Xbox_viewers
This summer, how’d you like to learn to make VR games for consoles like the Xbox?

Well, no matter what you’re thankful for this Thanksgiving, if you’re a gamer, you can be grateful that two titanic game consoles will be duking it out this weekend in the holiday-shopping buying wars. This weekend, and this weekend only, the Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One will each be available for $299.

Microsoft will offer a $50 price cut lasting from Thursday until Monday. At the store, you can expect that $299 to get you a 500GB Xbox and either Gears of War: Ultimate Edition or The Lego Movie.

Of course, this weekend, that same $299 can get you a 500GB PlayStation 4 that comes with the Uncharted collection. Choices, choices!

YAHOO FANTASY LEAGUE UNDER FIRE?

Yahoo!_Fantasy_Sports
Fan fantasy leagues are wildly popular. Now federal officials want to know the score.

Just how big has fantasy sports grown? Some 57 million Americans are regular participants, and will spend nearly $3 billion this year in entry fees. Analysts expect that figure to mushroom to $14 billion by 2020.

But trouble could be looming for such games. There have long been questions about the legality of fantasy leagues and how close they are to organized gambling. Now it looks like the State of New York is looking into the matter, paying special attention to the mega-popular FanDuel and DraftKings sites.

And even Yahoo could be affected. The tech giant recently found itself the target of a subpoena from the State of New York because of its Yahoo Sports Daily Fantasy games. More on this story as it develops…

WORST HOLIDAY GIFT OF SEASON DISCOVERED!

RoboRoach_app
You use the RoboRoach app to stimulate the bug into turning left or right. And that’s about it…

Holiday gifts vary wildly but here’s one that should gross out just about everybody. It’s called the RoboRoach, and there are four reasons suggesting why it would truly suck to receive it as a gift:

1) The premise is so creepy and maybe even cruel. You use a $99 kit to install tiny Bluetooth electrical sensors onto the heads of live roaches;
2) You have to go buy the roaches. Yes, actual, living roaches. (Remember how you complained when batteries were extra?);
3) You have to perform complex surgery on the roaches. That’s right. Teeny tiny bug surgery where you implant a tech chip into the head and antenna of a disgusting roach; and
4) Roach tricks are kind of limited. After all this, all you can do is make the roach turn left or right, based on how you use the electrical stimulator. And after a while, the roach won’t even be able to decode the electrical signal.

Add it all up. And pray no one gifts you a RoboRoach this holiday season. (But in case you want to send one yourself, here’s the link to the Roboroach kit.)

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