What’s new in tech
Repeated warnings before Tesla failure
A driver who died when his Tesla smashed into a highway barrier while on autopilot had previously complained about the system aiming him toward the same barrier, said Catherine Thorbecke in ABCNews.com. Apple engineer Walter Huang had told his family that when he drove past the future crash site in the left lane on his way to work in Mountain View, Calif., his Tesla Model X “would steer left” toward the concrete barrier. Huang told them he had “to manually take control to stay within the left lane.” According to a report from federal regulators released last week, he’d even warned a Tesla technician about the danger. Despite all this, his car crashed into the same barrier in March 2018. Huang’s “phone data showed the game Three Kingdoms was active at the time” the car hit the barrier at 68 mph.
The Bloomberg meme machine
Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign is trying to raise its meme game, said Taylor Lorenz in The New York Times. The former New York City mayor has started working with a group called Meme 2020, “a new company formed by some of the people behind extremely influential” Instagram accounts. That includes Mick Purzycki, the chief executive of Jerry Media, one of the most “powerful forces in the influencer economy.” The campaign has been placing sponsored posts on satirical accounts, including @GrapeJuiceBoys, which has more than 2.7 million followers, and @Tank.Sinatra, which has 2.3 million followers. The posts take the form of “fake direct messages” from the 78-year-old candidate himself, including one in which Bloomberg is shown asking one of the founders of @Tank.Sinatra to “make me look cool.”
Motorola’s flip is a total flop
“I wish I could tell you where I think the new Motorola Razr went wrong,” said Dieter Bohn in TheVerge.com, “but there are too many options to choose from.” The Verizon-only Razr is supposed to recall the popular Razr clamshells of the mid-2000s, which would flip open and close with a satisfying click. But at $1,499, “it delivers so few of the things you’d expect.” When it’s open, “you can feel weird dips and bumps underneath the screen.” It’s loaded with annoying Verizon junkware, and has a camera that would be subpar at one-third the price. Worst of all, there’s a “grating and awful” creaking noise when you open and close it, so it fails at “the one job” of a flip phone.