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Chatroom,

Tell Us Your Worst Uber Horror Stories

Image: Getty

Today,
news broke

that Uber is set to launch a self-driving car fleet in Pittsburgh this month. It’s a big move for both the driverless car landscape and for Uber, which has been testing out autonomous cars for
some time now

.

But while these new-fangled innovations may be exciting, they’re not going to solve all of Uber’s problems. And as anyone who has used Uber-myself included-can attest, a lot of shit can go wrong after you hit the request button.

Have you been charged an exorbitant amount of money for what seemed like a normal ride? Post a screenshot! Have you dealt with an asshole Uber rep who wouldn’t help you properly? Call them out! Did you end up in Newark when you really wanted to go to Queens? Share your story with the class! This isn’t limited to passengers, either-if you’re an Uber driver who had a nightmare drunk passenger, we want to hear about that, too.

Head on down to the comments and let it all out. We’ll round up the best stories later.

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Chatroom,

What’s Your Favorite Tech-Centric Book?

Your fave can be a nonfiction book, or a fictional narrative where technology plays a big role. What should we be reading?

I just started Tom Standage’s
The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century’s On-line Pioneers
, which combines two of my preferred topics: Victoriana and technology. I grabbed the book at a used bookstore, and though I usually read on my Kindle these days, it feels appropriate to be carrying this one around old school-style.

In terms of fiction where tech is essential and central, nothing can quite top Warren Ellis’ graphic series
Transmetropolitan
or Neal Stephenson’s novel
Snow Crash
for me.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Victorian-…

http://www.amazon.com/Transmetropoli…

http://www.amazon.com/Snow-Crash-Nea…

What should we be on the hunt for next? What’re the most gripping histories about a tech event or inventor, or stories that feature the importance of technology as part of the plot? Help us make an epic tech-centric master reading list.

Top image via Shutterstock

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Chatroom,

What’s the Creepiest Thing Your Computer Has Ever Done?

Whether or not you believe in the supernatural, there’s almost certainly been a moment in your life when you were
sure
your computer was possessed.

Mine came a few months back. I have a home office, but sometimes when I work late into the evening, I like to move my iMac into the bedroom. That way, after I’m done with work I can just watch
Clone Wars
reruns in bed until I pass out (don’t judge). Anyway, I’ve just drifted off to sleep this one night, when all of a sudden I’m startled awake by an atrocious noise. As best I can tell, it’s human voices-lots of them-all distorted and babbling at once, like somebody tossed a bunch of English words into a meat grinder and pumped them through a loudspeaker. It’s repulsive and terrifying.

The babble salad lasts for about ten seconds, long enough for me to get over the paralyzing fear that I’m surrounded by ghouls and identify the darkened computer monitor across the room as the source.

I was too scared to get out of bed and to this day have no idea what caused my computer to start speaking in tongues. My best guess is that I left some shitty website open with a bunch of video ads playing, they all buffered while the computer was asleep, and then something-maybe an update or a slight breeze or probably a GHOST-woke my browser up and caused all those buffered human vocalisms to start cranking at once.

Nowadays I’m an absolute nut about shutting down all browsers before I go to bed, and I haven’t received any further messages from beyond the veil. Just thinking about those voices still gives me the chills, though. It’s probably how Obi Wan felt when Alderaan was destroyed.

But I’m sure you’ve got a better story. Tell us about the creepiest thing your computer’s ever done in the comments below!

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Chatroom,

A Special Chatroom In Honor of Annalee Newitz

It’s the last day at Gadgetlayout for our beloved EIC Annalee Newitz, and this can only mean one thing: GIF party.

http://io9.com/im-heading-out…

Annalee’s writing speaks for itself. I recommend curling up with a cup of coffee and spending an infinite amount of space/time reading
her incredible output
, which spans more than seven years of work for Gawker Media.

I first met Annalee when she and Charlie Jane Anders co-founded io9 in 2008. I was so excited that the company was taking on science fiction and fantastical topics that I volunteered to do anything for io9, anything at all. At the time, io9 was just Annalee and Charlie Jane, and they were based on the west coast. Every night they would queue up posts for the morning, but they needed to make sure they were running during EST hours. So Annalee let me look in on the io9 feed to check that it was operational, and I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t the highlight of my day.

Since then, Annalee helped make io9 into
the
place to go to read about science fiction, fantasy, pop culture, and everything awesome about the future, wrote a really cool
book
about our long-term survival as a species, and became captain of the good ship Gadgetlayout. We’re going to miss the hell out of her.

http://www.amazon.com/Scatter-Adapt-…

It’s almost impossible to choose a GIF to send her off with, and all manner of crying GIFS have been gone through. In the end I went with the following, because nothing says Annalee Newitz to me so much as a cat dressed as a shark riding atop a robot.

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Chatroom,

What Do Your Parents Just Not Get About Technology?

Parents: They just don’t get technology, right? It’s probably one of the most common grievances among sons and daughters worldwide. From Mom asking you who this Reddit person is to Dad watching Netflix in silence because he muted the sound on his computer, we’ve all had a moment (in some of our cases, hundreds) where we wanted to laugh, cry and scream at our parents’ technological ineptitude.

Does your Mom sometimes ask where she can find The Google? Has your Dad ever proudly shown you a series of “photos” he’s taken with his new smartphone, and you’ve had to patiently explain that they’re actually videos? Maybe he tried to get on your level by sharing a link to funny meme, and it didn’t quite work out….Tell us what your parents simply don’t get about technology in the comments below!

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Chatroom,

What Precious Items Have You Collected?

Your friendly Gadgetlayout staff has ranged from collecting soda memorabilia to pogs to 1994 X-Men Fleer trading cards. Some of us still have active collections. What about you?

I’ve gone through collections in fits and starts, getting really psyched for something, like say state quarters, then having my enthusiasm wane and my collection pile up forgotten.

Alas.

This is the place to wax nostalgic about your the things you’ve amassed past and present. What’s the weirdest thing you ever collected? Did anything turn out to be valuable? Could you part with it? Do you still collect anything?

Images via
Ecrater
, Coin Community

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Chatroom,

Tell Us Your Best Story About Exploding Technology

Image: Gadgetlayout/Shutterstock

Earlier today, Samsung
delayed shipments

of its
Galaxy Note 7

, allegedly due to (unconfirmed) reports that the phone had been exploding when charging. One of the instances was possibly due to charging the device with a
cheap USB-C cable
, which can wreck havoc on your electronics.

http://Gadgetlayout.com/cheap-usb-c-ca…

All that fire and light and melted plastic got me thirsty for more tales of magnificent destruction. I, sadly, have none of my own. Unless you count me melting obsolete tech in college to make a beautiful piece of art for my sophomore year sculpture class. But for real, let’s get interesting. Tell us your most explosive tales of tech gone awry. Did things innocently malfunction or was it all your fault? Or perhaps you did it for sport?

Spare no details in the comments.

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Chatroom,

Is It Worth It To Study Computer Science?

Today a kid in college told me he was debating whether to major in CS or not. How would you settle that debate?

Airplane friends! I love making airplane friends. I just got off a plane, where I had a nice chat with a young man who said he knows he wants to work in software development someday, but he’s getting to that point where you have to choose a major and is receiving mixed messages about following a fixed path of computer science study.

As a humanities major, I am wholly unqualified to advise on this, so I could only tell him what I’ve witnessed. Several of my friends who currently work in programming did not specialize in it at university, or even go at all. Some are entirely self-taught to an advanced level, and others parlayed basic skills into learning on the job. And I have a few friends who went through coding bootcamps at a later stage in life and swapped careers entirely. I don’t think they could have conceived of their current jobs when they were 19.

On the other hand, I know some people who studied CS and they are still in the field and haven’t regretted that choice. I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Is there any advantage to a formalized major, or are programs mired in the past? Does it give students a head start to take computer science classes, or is it okay to major in something else that interests them but seems less practical career-wise? What advice would you give to the youth?


Top image via Shutterstock

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Chatroom,

Do You Have The New iPhone in Your Hands? What Do You Think?

Gadgetlayout wrote about our
first impressions

, our thoughts on
3D Touch

, and put the camera
through its paces

, but I’m curious about your experience. Are you holding an iPhone 6s right now? Is it rose gold?

I’ve gotten used to my trusty Samsung Galaxy S6 and am unsure if I should make the swap back to iPhone. My colleagues seem pretty excited about 3D Touch, and I miss the ease of iMessage in terms of group texting. But there are Android features I’ve been enjoying, and the iPhone means a big monetary investment, even broken down across months.

So I’m wondering if you have the new iPhone, and if you’re pleased or bored already with your purchase. Is 3D Touch making your life better? Have the upgraded camera and faster speeds seemed like improvements you can’t do without now? Or are you like me, and biding your time in indecision?