Category Archives: Technology

Nokia frees Symbian code, three or four overjoyed

HEY HEY 16K, Need To Know, Thursday (Big K) — Nokia, through the Symbian Foundation, has made the code for the Symbian smartphone OS open source, putting several aging geeks in raptures of delight.

GNUPhone“The Symbian OS will delight those of us who fondly remember EPOC on the Psion NetBook,” said Larry Berkin, Symbian’s head of global alliances. “God, that was an OS. Best PDA ever. Finest of British engineering. Sixteen whole kilobytes! You could run a truck over them. I bet an open source Symbian OS will let you run a truck over your phone.”

The Foundation hopes to pit Symbian against Windows Mobile. “There’s no way it can compete against our superior features, like WAP browsing, infrared connect to your laptop and, of course, the serial port.” It also hopes to set the stage for a march on the USA. “The Americans will fall before our superior engineering! Psion worked on the ZX81, you know.”

There are currently about 330 million Symbian devices in the world, at least fifteen of whose owners can actually use the web browser without wanting to throw the phone through a window and just get an iPhone. “Just think,” said Berkin, “now anyone can improve their phone! Well, they could if Nokia made phones the user could flash. But still!”

The Foundation issued a press release about how the open-sourcing of Symbian was welcomed by free software advocates and other aging hippies. “Developers everywhere will want to study Symbian,” said Eben Moglen, “to hack on it, and to write applications for it. This could be even bigger than the Amiga.”

AFACT v iiNet: Statement in full from the losing party

TIN PAN VALLEY, The Matrix, Wednesday (N! News) — Film companies today expressed their disappointment that the Federal Court found that iiNet was not using orbital mind control lasers to encourage copyright infringements by its customers on its network.

Sad toilet in snowDespite findings of copyright infringement by iiNet customers, pirate flags in their front yards and downloaded cars in their driveways, iiNet did not authorise the acts of its customers, merely sitting back and watching the tens of dollars rolling in to feather their own nests at the expense of the poor beleaguered major record companies and film studios.

Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft executive director, Neil Gane, said he was disappointed by the Court’s decision. “Today’s decision is a setback for the 50,000 Australians employed in the film industry, who work hard to send money to America as fast as possible. But we believe there’s something not quoite roight about this ruling — it was based on a mere technical loophole centred on the court’s interpretation of what the law technically says in actual words and original intention, rather than what it should say. That the judge told us several separate ways in which our case failed utterly to make any sense at all is clear evidence of radical judicial activism and dangerous legislating from the bench.

“We are confident that the government does not intend a policy outcome where zombie hordes of drooling open source copyright terrorists led by the evil genius Michael Malone are allowed to continue feasting upon the flesh of the living via the iiNet network.

“We will now take the time to review the decision before seeing if we can bribe enough federal politicians to get a law more to our liking.”

Microsoft phases out support for Netscape 4, so there

NO MICROSOFT WAY, Infinite Loop, Friday (NTN) — Microsoft is phasing out support for Netscape 4, in retaliation for Google declaring Internet Explorer 6 a “pustulent syphilitic drunken crack whore with no mates. And bad breath. Who smells funny.”

Google has given up bothering to support IE6 on its sites, directing the doubtless hideously virus-infected users of the browser to download another browser. Any other browser. “Lynx will give you a vastly superior YouTube experience. Now it will, anyway.”

“The Mozilla Foundation has completely failed to fix problems in Netscape 4 that have been around for years,” said Microsoft marketing marketer Jonathan Ness. “Furthermore, Firefox gets just as many hacks as Internet Explorer, and pay no attention to my lengthening nose.”

In December, Chinese hackers exploited a weak spot in IE6 that Microsoft had only known about since September. Following this, governments worldwide told people to get the hell off IE6, except Britain, which relies on IE6 to leak data when there are insufficient funds for USB sticks or train journeys for civil servants.

Web designers around the world welcomed Google’s move, but have not given up their Bill Gates dartboards just yet. “‘That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.’ Steve Ballmer said that, you know.”

Apple launches iPad for that time of iMonth

ST STEVE’S BASILICA, Cupertino, Wednesday (NTN) — Cult leader Steve Jobs has announced the iPad, a “revolutionary” advance in stylish personal hygiene with elegant design.

The iPad has a 9.7in full-colour touchpad and wings. According to the box, you can watch movies, surf the internet, listen to music, view photos, read electronic books and go horseback riding, swimming, cycling, mountain-climbing and roller-skating. It also comes with iWork, which lets you do interesting and productive things at the office in between screaming at everyone for being such annoying and thoughtless idiots.

Apple has also launched an app store for the iPad which will allow users to purchase chocolate, whisky and heavy objects for when some fucker crosses you, dares look at you funny or is the sort of clueless arsehole who thinks the explanation of how pissed off you are at his behaviour is always PMT. Look, even if it might be, that’s not the point.

For those who find pads too bulky, a special fluffy version of the iPod Shuffle is available, on a string.

Microsoft, who have attempted to sell increasingly bulky folded bath towels for the past decade, were not available for comment. Linux users and the Free Software Foundation started petitions advocating mooncups, but no-one paid them any attention.

“In conclusion,” said Mr Jobs, “please, please don’t kill me, darling. I love you more than anyone, honestly. Uhm … flowers?”

Britain’s first iPhone baby is born

TEMPLE OF STEVE, Click My Button, Monday (NTN) — A woman who was considering IVF treatment has given birth to a baby girl after using an iPhone application to become pregnant. “Yes, there’s an app for that too. We’re calling her Steve.”

After four years, Lena Bryce and her husband Dudley had nearly given up hope of having children, until she heard about the fertility app and downloaded it to her iPhone. After just two months of using the technology she fell pregnant.

Lena said she had been considering IVF and adoption, but thought of other ideas when Dudley bought her an iPhone for her 30th birthday. “They call it the Jesus Phone,” the 30-year-old Lena said, “but that conception was far from immaculate. I call it the ‘Oh God’ phone. Woo hoo! The neighbours soon learnt to put up with the shrieks and yells. It’s a slightly awkward shape, but you get used to it. Do you ever.”

Bar manager Dudley was equally over the moon. “Erm, it’s fine,” says Dudley. “I’m, er, really proud. Yeah. I had to keep phoning it for two hours at a time so the ringer would keep … ringing. Er.” Dudley has moved to the shed in the back yard, while Lena’s iPhone takes pride of place in the marital bed.

“I find it remarkable that people are so surprised,” said the baby girl, Steve, aged minus seven months. “Fortunately, I remain in touch with home base in Cupertino at all times. You will come to understand the importance and relevance of the iPhone. You will get the new model as soon as it comes out. You will get a Macintosh to hook it to. A large one. Obey.

Successor to MP3 does less, worse, at higher price

KOMPUTERWELT, Trans Europe Excess, Monday (NTN) — Karlheinz Brandenburg, the 1990 inventor of MP3, has come up with its successor format, MusicDNA, which is the same except it doesn’t work because of DRM.

Microsoft Zune “Anus” logoThe MusicDNA format will see not just songs, but lyrics, video, artwork, weblogs and a whacking pile of DRM in all your music. “Not only will you be more connected to the artist as they spam you with a metric arseload of advertising, you’ll be able to buy the song over and over again just to keep listening to it.”

The service provides users up to 32GB of bonus content per track. “It will be dynamically updatable, so the user can keep getting new stuff. Of course, the record companies would never take this opportunity to erase all your music when they feel like it.”

MusicDNA files are expected to cost more than MP3s, as the value equation in paying real money for an insubstantial virtual download of ones and zeroes is obviously entirely comparable and people should expect to pay a premium to be advertised to. “I can’t wait for my MP3 player to send all my personal information to someone who can then spam me with targeted ads,” said Fraunhofer stock photo model KT Myspce. “How ‘fab’ and ‘bling!’”

A beta version of the service will be available this spring, with the full experience likely to be rolled out in the summer, at which point MusicDNA will join MP3Pro (the previous anointed successor to MP3), HD-DVD, MiniDiscs, Digital Compact Cassette and Betamax. Linux users will keep telling people to use Oggs.

Txt msgs hlp imprv chldrns rdng ablty

METRO RESEARCH DEPARTMENT, Carphone Whorehouse Beacon Academy (NTN) — Sending text messages and using txt-spk abbreviations can indicate successful development of reading and writing ability, a stdy hs rvld.

Crazy Frog gaggedThe study, crried out on a group of 8-12 year-olds over an academic yr, found that older children usd more txtspk. Phonological awareness — the ability 2 dtct & use patterns of snd in spch, such as for making & reading txt abbrevs — is 1 of the early sgns of successful dvlpmt of reading & writing skills.

Lst summer Baron Silas Greenback, of th Royal Institute Wine Bar & Restaurant, xprssd fears tht txting cld cause young ppl to hv shrtr attn spans, lower IQs & worsened dress sense, and that they might devlv to using Twitter or Facebook or playing video games.

Tchrs & stdts r divd btwn sayn itll be esr & sayn it cd dmg t Eng lang.

A-lvl stdt KT Myspce sd “Thts gr8! Ull be abl 2 gt ur ideas out qkr. Its so mch fstr u can go fstr.” But hr m8 Harriet Ponsington Literate-Bastard Smythe disagrd. “I think it’s an unspeakably beastly idea, my dear girl. When you start progressing in the world, people shall indeed judge you on the quality of your written language, and spelling things incorrectly seems sloppy and lazy and gives an unsuitable impression of your personal qualities and indeed of your self respect.” But t grls agrd tht txt dmgs ppls splng.

Prncpl Denis Trendy-Midlifecrisis sd: “While I wd nt encrg stdts 2 use txt abbrvs in xms, Im exctd by t lang devs. Its anthr dev in tht wndfl thng we call t Eng lang. Socty has 2 adapt 2 chg & I thk ult txt msgg cd hlp rslv t strngst pt of Eng, its splng, tho I thk it wll b sm tm b4 txt splg is fmly adptd.

“& @ l3@st,” he +d, “th3yr3 n0t wr1t1ng th3ir 3x@m5 1n l33t. X3pt c0mp 5c1. Gurl fubhyq or hfvat rot13 sbe gung.”

“& u tht ‘trnspttng’ ws hrd 2 rd,” sd authr Irvine Welsh.

Microsoft claims nonexistence of Google “GSpot”

ADULT AREAS ONLY, Vegas Baby, Friday (AnythingThatMovesTechnica) — The perfect Google experience is a myth, say Microsoft marketing researchers at the Consumer Electronics Show.

“The GSpot is a figment of technologists’ imaginations,” said marketing researcher Andrew Burri, “encouraged by tech news sites and freetards. Even if it did exist, it would be entirely non-standard and unsuited to the needs of an overwhelming majority of users. The ones who buy from us, anyway.”

But Linux users protested vociferously, saying the research was flawed by deliberately excluding the experience of those who could locate their own methods of personal fulfilment with the fantastic ease of long — perhaps excessive — practice, despite difficulty in finding other people with any interest in locating said areas on them.

Apple declined to comment, but were widely rumoured to be bringing out a forthcoming iSpot, for thirty-minute extended sessions of tantric bliss at twice the price.

Microsoft reemphasised their desire to be a player on all relevant platforms, whether that be consoles, desktops, mobile devices, beds or the back of vans. They will be countering with Microsoft WinCock, a “pounding and fulfilling consumer experience.” The demonstration device randomly failed at the crucial moment, but Mr Burri reassured attendees that he was terribly sorry and this had never happened before.

Google Nexus One failed to revive my dead grandmother

TEMPLE OF STEVE, Regent Street, Friday (MSBBC) — If you thought the Google Nexus One phone would do your homework, get your girlfriend back onside and fellate you, I’m afraid you’re in for unexpected disappointment.

The Nexus One is Android-powered, does browse the web very nicely and support most feasible applications and is an open platform that anyone can write for without being messed around disgracefully by iPhone Application Approvals. It also claims to be able to transmit real-time “voice chat” to other telephones, though I’ll believe that when I see it. But it singularly fails to knock Steve Jobs into a cocked hat.

It achieves not being vapourware. But consider its deficiencies:

  • Not made by Apple
  • Not blessed by Steve Jobs
  • Not iTunes-compatible
  • Can’t possibly measure up to the Apple Tablet
  • Not restricted to applications blessed personally by the holy urine of Our Lord in Cupertino.

I’m also concerned at the rumours that the Nexus One samples the user’s DNA from fingerprints and sends it to Google’s advertising department for analysis. This seems implausible, but my contact in Redmond assures me this is the case.

Mary-Jo Enderle, reporting for MSZDnet, quite rightly marked the device down for not merely not running Windows 7, but not even trying to. Apparently it runs one of those “ARM” chips that use no power and have incredibly long battery life, instead of running a proper computer chip that lets you use Office 2007, is guaranteed compatible with all your viruses, has a battery life of twenty minutes and doubles as a hand warmer in this weather.

Philip K. Dick’s estate is also suing Google to atomic dust, on the quite reasonable claim that Mr Dick invented the Latin word “nexus” back in the days of the Roman Empire. I can’t see how they won’t win this one — it’s the sort of case that intellectual property laws were created for. If the estate lost this case, it’s quite possible Philip K. Dick would never write another word again.

And my dead grandmother insisted on an HTC Touch. Apparently Windows Mobile is all that will keep her happy where she is now.

Special trains introduced for the wrong type of snow

WE APOLGRPHVM FOR THE DELGHRMFPH, Stopping at Land’s End, Tuesday (NTN) — National Rail has announced new trains specially designed for the possibility of “weather” being warned of by the climate change deniers of the Met Office.

Should the new TGB (Train à Grand Bureaucratie) detect the right type of snow under the wheels, it promptly deploys its measured cargo of the wrong type of snow, carried in a refrigeration unit at all times. The incorrect snow is sprayed onto the track ahead of the train, followed by grit (from another car) and then a blast from the included oxy-acetylene flamethrower to melt the wrong type of snow. At the back of the train is a unit to re-temper the steel tracks the train has just passed after having rendered them brittle with the extreme heat. For summer, the train carries a supply of the wrong type of leaves. The train carries its seventeen cars of supplies and one carriage of passengers, if any can be found willing to travel on it, at speeds in excess of fifteen miles per hour.

Customers remain sceptical. “Back in my day,” said Boris Busybody, 77 (IQ), of East Cheam, “we didn’t hold with this ‘climate’ malarkey. We had weather and we dealt with it! If an avalanche of boulders and ice buried the engine and front carriage, the passengers would just get out of the train, sacrifice one of the horses to the goddess Eostre, daub their faces with the blood and burn the driver in a wicker man to melt the blockage. Then they’d get back on the train, settle down to reading the Telegraph and arrive home at St Albans as normal, right as rain! And snow, and sleet, and hail, and frogs. That’s how you beat Hitler!”

The greatest ongoing problem for Britain’s train system has been the wrong type of pens, being wielded by the wrong type of civil servants, as directed by the wrong type of government, who had put into place the wrong type of regulatory system, with the wrong type of trains being run by the wrong type of train company, such as to actually make 1970s British Rail look like the right type of idea by comparison.

“But everyone works to the highest of consistent standards,” said Transport Secretary Lord Adonis. “No-one can say the food on Virgin Trains isn’t every bit up to the same quality as the standard Brimmesh Rull sandwich of the 1970s. Scientists say some are in fact original issue.”