Yep, it’s Back To The Future Day. Here’s our obligatory round up. Don’t judge.

Back to The Future

So, it’s that day. At last. The year Marty McFly punched into his time-traveling DeLorean: Oct. 21, 2015.

It doesn’t matter that in fact this day largely celebrates Back To The Future II, the middle of part of a trilogy that follows said McFly into the future. Said film is arguably the worse piece of cinema ever conceived or made by human hands.

BTTFII took a sweet, humorous concept we watched in the first movie, and turned it into a dark, unfunny, post-apocalyptic cringefest that still stands as a monumental embarrassment. Yes, reviews at the time were mixed-to-slightly positive.

Still, I watched this movie recently for the first time with my kids after avoiding it for almost three decades. And it was so hideous that rather than cave to their incessant begging to watch BTTF III, I threw a brick threw the TV and declared that we were moving into a yurt with no electricity so would never be exposed to this evil again.

Ok. Obviously not. Instead, I’ve decided to indulge in a bit of self-flagellation and scour the Web for amusing homages to the “movie.”



Fan mash-up with Grand Theft Auto:

Brands, doing their thing:

Ukulele medley of BTTF music:

CERN is working some of this stuff reality:

Something incomprehensible from the European Parliament about Elvis and data security and privacy:

Well, it goes on and on.

Google woos retailers with Shopping Insights tool for more detailed product search data

New Google Logo: 2015

Google has launched a new ad product that marries search and mapping data to help brick-and-mortar retailers identify shopping trends through analysing habits across devices, cities, and time of year.

The Shopping Insights tool lets anyone search for products by keyword, then filter by location (city) or device they’re using. You can even enter multiple search terms to compare, such as “Microsoft Xbox One” and “Sony PS4.”

Shopping Insights

Above: Shopping Insights

The tool essentially “estimates” popularity and trends across products by aggregating online searches made by consumers through Google. Retailers can look at what’s hot (and what’s not) by region, and make decisions on how to sell their products based on demand.

Given that e-commerce garners so much attention in the media and elsewhere, it would be easy to assume that most sales now take place online. But that ain’t necessarily so.

“While 87 percent of shopping research happens online, 92 percent of goods are still sold in retail stores,” explained Jonathan Alferness, VP product management for Google Shopping, in a blog post. “By better understanding user’s shopping intent online, retailers can make more informed local merchandising and marketing decisions for their stores.”

Additionally, the data provided through the Shopping Insights tool can also be used to target AdWords — if you know that a specific product is infinitely “hotter” in New York than San Francisco based on what consumers are Googling, why waste resources targeting Frisco?

Shopping Insights is still officially a beta product for now, and only covers the U.S. market — around 5,000 of the most popular product searches through Google Shopping from April 1, 2014 through to September 30, 2015.

Watch: Magic Leap’s latest augmented reality video shows a solar system floating in an office


Augmented reality startup Magic Leap, which Google placed a $500 million bet on back in 2013, today showed off some brand-new raw video footage recorded with the technology last week. It includes a floating drone and solar system in an office somewhere — and it’s pretty freaking awesome.

The clip was demoed at the WSJD Live event in California, the same event where outspoken Uber CEO Travis Kalanick slammed a whole bunch of things (as usual), and offered comment on the battle in China, as well as its IPO plans.

Magic Leap is widely being seen as Google’s attempt to get into the VR/AR game and counter Facebook-backed Oculus — though Microsoft’s HoloLens is probably more of a competitor to Magic Leap’s technology.

In June, Magic Leap unveiled its development platform to allow developers to create augmented-reality apps. If this latest video hasn’t got you excited about what the future of AR has in store, I don’t know what will.

You can check out the new video below:

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Warner Bros. promotes David Haddad to president of games business

David Haddad, executive vice president of Warner Bros.' game business.

David Haddad, the executive who has presided over a string of hits at Warner Bros., has been promoted to president of the entertainment giant’s game business.

Haddad was  already head of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, but now he gains the title of president of the division, as announced by Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Consumer Products, and Ron Sanders, president, Warner Bros. Worldwide Home Entertainment Distribution. Haddad will continue to report to both Nelson and Sanders.

The appointment is a recognition of a big year that Warner Bros. has had in games. It launched Dying Light early in the year, and proceeded to hits such as Mortal Kombat X, Batman: Arkham Knight, Lego Jurassic World, Mad Max, and Lego Dimensions. The latter is the company’s entry into the “toys-to-life” category, where physical toys are combined with digital games.

Haddad runs the interactive entertainment division’s operations.


“David has proven himself to be a leader who is equally adept at the creative and management sides of the games business,” said Sanders, in a statement. “This promotion recognizes the many contributions he’s made toward WBIE’s record-breaking success this year, and we’re looking to him to continue the division’s momentum.”


Haddad was promoted to executive vice president and general manager of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment in January 2015. Prior to that, he was executive vice president of publishing operations. He joined Warner Bros. as a senior vice president of digital publishing in 2013. Before that, he was chief operating officer of Activision Blizzard’s Guitar Hero business. He has 25 years of experience in online, entertainment, and games.

Facebook launches TechPrep: ‘By 2020 there will be 1M programming jobs left unfulfilled’


Facebook today announced the launch of TechPrep, a new online computer science and programming resource, to address what it sees as a “lack of exposure to computer science and careers in technology,” especially prevalent in “underrepresented groups including Black and Hispanic communities.”

TechPrep will be available in English and Spanish, and pulls together hundreds of resources including games, books, in-person opportunities, and community events (see all the resources here). To helps children and guardians better understand the tech industry and career opportunities, Facebook breaks down types of programming, programming benefits, and the future of programming jobs.


“By 2020 there will be 1 million programming jobs left unfulfilled,” Facebook says on the TechPrep website. “What are you waiting for?” It says these jobs will be well-paying, high-demand, and rewarding for kids that choose to pursue them.

“Jobs in programming and other computer occupations pay very well, and are increasing at twice the national average job growth rate according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics,” it added.

Facebook goes on to break down some statistics it has compiled on underrepresented minorities in programming careers:

  • 50 percent of Blacks and 42 percent of Hispanics say they would be good at working with computers, compared to 35 percent of Whites and 35 percent of Asians
  • 77 percent of parents say they do not know how to help their child pursue computer science. This percentage increases to approximately 83 percent for lower income and non-college graduate parents or guardians. Yet being encouraged to pursue computer science by a parent or guardian is a primary motivator for women, Blacks and Hispanics
  • Lower awareness of computer science in Blacks and Hispanics is driven by less access to both people in CS and CS programs, and is a major driver of Black and Hispanic drop-off when pursuing programming as a career path

Check out the TechPrep video on What is computer science? below for a taster:

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Singaporean On-Demand Grocery Startup Honestbee Gets $15M To Expand To Six New Asian Countries

Honestbee shoppers Honestbee just raised $15 million for its on-demand grocery delivery service, but it has loftier aspirations. Head of marketing Shane Chiang says the Singapore-based company launched as a “social impact business” to give employment to people who can’t hold a regular job, such as stay-at-home parents, caregivers, and students. Honestbee’s part-time shoppers collect… Read More