November 2011 Archives

Why hoax Irish MPs bad-mouthing bad-weather cloud computing?

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English: Cloud Computing Image

Image via Wikipedia

According to internet reports, an Irish MP has been the butt of jokes and verbal abuse for suggesting cloud computing is only viable in areas with lots of rain and heavy clouds - like the Irish district of Connemara.

An article in the Telegraph says a barney kicked off, with councillors calling one another 'feckin eejits' and saying, 'go **** yourself' for dumbing cloud computing down to climate considerations.

But, bizarrely, it's a hoax and Irish MPs don't exist. The Telegraph has even pulled its story.

Downtime wonders why you would hoax an argument about cloud computing?

After all, the Irish climate is no joke for tech companies.

The (non-hoaxed) Richard Bruton, minister for jobs, enterprise and innovation at Ireland's Industrial Development Authority (IDA), said in September that Google's new Dublin-based datacentre makes the most of Irish weather.

"This technology takes advantage of Ireland's naturally cool climate," he said.


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What is worse than a game of charades? Lionel Blair hosting an online game of charades

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Presumably after Bruce Forsyth, Ant and Dec, Vernon Kay and even Les Dennis turned this gig down, former 'Give Us a Clue' captain Lionel Blair decided he'd return to the charade game and give this live, Christmas themed Twitter project a go.

As if there wasn't already enough rubbish on TV it seems now to be spilling into social media. 

On the 8th of December Blair, along with a panel of people armed with iPads, will respond to real-time tweets from viewers.

But why? I imagine you are thinking. Well to win some signed Lionel merchandise, and be hailed as a charade champion of course. Who wouldn't want that? 

I don't imagine many of Blair's fanbase have Twitter accounts so this could just end up being three hours of Blair pretending to be a teapot. 

Hmmm, on second thoughs I might actually watch. 

Join Lionel Blair's Twitter Christmas Charades_8th December.jpg

Nintendo Wee

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Never mind arcade shoot 'em ups, or the Wii's nunchucks, the video games industry has just received a whole new form of "joystick" in the urinal-based games console.

Captive Media has developed technology that allows men to shoot and fire at targets in the urinal, using the most natural resource to hand: their pee.

The company has granted patent rights to allow screens to be fitted in public urinals, which turn into games consoles when approached. The console is able to detect where the urine is falling through the use of an infra-red device. The "player" moves and hits targets via the direction of their stream.

 Current games on offer include a skiing challenge and a multiple choice pub quiz. You might say, that's quite literally some p*ssing contest.

Happy birthday from Orange. Now give us more money.

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News of Orange's 4.5% pay monthly contract price rise is spreading, as are the complaints. 

Orange are notifying customers via text of a 'change to their contract pricing as of January 2012'. They don't expand on the change, simply offering a link to a site. You don't think they'd be trying to sneak this past us do you?

Anyway, Downtime has exclusively learnt that Orange aren't very good when it comes to timing. One faithful and loyal Orange customer was enjoying her birthday on Monday when her phone went off. 

"Oh, this must be another happy birthday text from a loved one", she thought. 

She was wrong. 

It was Orange. Not only had they ignored the fact it was her birthday, they took it upon themselves to tarnish the rest of the day by informing her of the 'change' to her contract cost.

But the biggest victim in this story, by far, has to be the party poppers. Thanks to Orange they remaining unpopped on what should have been a day of celebration. Now they have to wait a whole year before coming out of the drawer again. 
Downtime has since contacted the Orange Helpers Twitter account and received this response, "I'm sorry about that, it wasn't intentionally sent on her birthday!" 

So, what have we learnt? 

Firstly, Orange aren't very considerate and they don't cross-check customers records and secondly, the word 'change' in instances like this one can be swapped for 'rise' or 'increase' 85% of the time. 

It's true: Facebook can bite

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Although the danger of social media to job seekers has been running through the rumour mill for some time, an Australian survey proves it is true that careless postings can come back and bite.

The research found that 12% of employers have rejected job applicants based on what they have found on the applicant's Facebook or Twitter postings, according to reports. Inappropriate photos and discriminatory comments were the biggest detractors.

More than a quarter of Australian employers are using social networking sites to screen job candidates, and almost half of these employers admitting to turning away prospects based on something they have seen on Facebook or Twitter.

The good news is that social media can be made to work for job applicants too. The same study found that more than a third of Australian employers who screen social profiles have hired prospects based on positive things they have seen.

So, in addition to all the security and privacy considerations social media users have to bear in mind, an important question to ask with every posting is how would this appear to a prospective employer?

If whatever it is you intend to publish would not support a job application, do not post it. Otherwise, it could bite.

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Nowhere to hide in sight

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Mobile technology means that there are very few places to hide and few excuses for not being available to friends, family, colleagues and managers.

If researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle are successful, however, it will be even harder, with text communications being continually in view, according to reports.

The research team is working on a contact lens that can be used to display text such as email messages, keeping the dreaded in-box literally in sight at all times.

Initial tests in animal trials have proved successful according to the scientists behind the project.
Early tests point towards this device being safe and feasible, or so they say.

The good news, as far as Downtime is concerned, is that this technology is some way off from being perfected as the researchers still need to find a practical way of powering the device.

At present, the crude prototype works only if it is within centimetres of the wireless battery. The prototype's microcircuitry is also only able to support a single light-emitting diode (LED).

But, in time, no doubt driven by the need to be on top of real-time information anywhere at any time, the contact lens projector will become a reality.

When it does, the world will have to brace itself for a whole new level of real-time communications. The gaming industry is also unlikely to pass up on the opportunity of augmented reality game-play.

Does this not make the UK's Chief Rabbi a hypocrite?

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Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Britian's Chief Rabbi, may have backtracked a little too far on comments he made a few days ago.

Rabbi Sacks was giving a speech on consumerism when he reportedly said, 'The consumer society was laid down by the late Steve Jobs coming down the mountain with two tablets, iPad one and iPad two, and the result is that we now have a culture of iPod, iPhone, iTunes, i, i, i.'

Despite his suggestion that the late Steve Jobs was like Moses, I am pretty sure Jobs never did, or was capable of, splitting the Red Sea. Anyway, this is besides the point.

Rabbi Sacks was basically trying to express that he feels consumer ethics make us want what we don't have, rather than enjoying what we do have.

In an email to TheRegister, the office of the Chief Rabbi clarified his comments and added that he meant no criticism of either Steve Jobs personally or the contribution Apple has made to the development of technology in the 21st century.

It went on to reveal that he also admires both and indeed uses an iPhone and an iPad on a daily basis. 

Oh, so it's okay because the Rabbi already had an iPhone and iPad, meaning he could enjoy them and not covet them. 

So, in summary, the Chief Rabbi was just pointing out the potential dangers of consumerism when taken too far. Although, it would appear that he has bowed to the tempation of Apple's apparent 'i,i,i' culture himself. 

Samsung mock Apple iPhone fans in new advert

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Samsung and Apple have been going head to head for months now but after Apple secured a court ruling in Germany banning the Galaxy Tab 10.1 from being put on sale, things turned sour. 

It got so petty at one point that the pair were even arguing over who produced the 'worlds thinnest smartphone'.

It doesn't look like they will be kissing and making up any time soon either as Samsung has been able to skirt Apple's ban in Germany by creating a modified Galaxy Tab 10.1.
But secondly, and more amusingly, Samsung has also released a new advert which pokes fun at Apple fanatics. 

The advert for the Galaxy SII shows Samsung users talking to people who are queuing for the new iPhone 4S. Funnily enough Samsung have those in the queue make themselves look foolish.

Highlights include a guy in a hat, speaking about the 4S, saying 'if it looks the same, how will anyone know I upgraded'. Passers-by then amaze them with their phones, that is until they discover they are Samsungs, with one bearded gentleman adding 'I could never get a Samsung, I'm too creative'. 

So it looks like Samsung are all to happy to mock Apple users as well as the company. I can't see this ending well. 

Best £5 you'll ever spend? Not likely.

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If you are anything like me you'll have given up on Call Of Duty and other shoot 'em up games a long time ago. They have become dominated by reclusive, obsessive beings who's hands seem to have become fused with their respective controllers as they play religiously for hour upon hour. 

The tide could soon be turning though as one hard-core gamer has turned capitalist, offering his services as a personal online bodyguard and all for the princely sum of £5 per half an hour.

His advert, which appears on the  website, states he will be your "personal online bodyguard for 30 minutes in any of the following shooters on Xbox 360: Call of Duty 4, Call of Duty Black Ops, Halo Reach, Battlefield 1943 and Battlefield Bad Company 2". 

He continues by adding that he will be "by your side the entire time and will fight for you, keep enemies away from you, protect you when you snipe, even SACRIFICE MY LIFE to save yours."

I'm sure this chivalrous chap gets plenty of attention from the ladies, I mean, how courageous can you get? Taking a virtual bullet for a small fee. 

If you are considering taking the gentleman in question up on his offer then you can do so in the utmost confidence as fivesquids hold your £5 payment until the service has been fulfilled. Although, I haven't seen the his gaming CV or online skills in action so he may not actually be that good. 

It's official, 'password' is the worst password you can pick

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SplashData have released their annual list of the worst possible internet passwords and the usual suspects are all there, with 'password' and '123456' topping the pile. 

The rise in websites requiring users to have both letters and numbers in their passwords has had a significant effect on the list as you can see below. 

The list, which was compiled using millions of stolen passwords that were then posted online by hackers, is in order of how common they are:

1. password
2. 123456
4. qwerty
5. abc123
6. monkey
7. 1234567
8. letmein
9. trustno1
10. dragon
11. baseball
12. 111111
13. iloveyou
14. master
15. sunshine
16. ashley
17. bailey
18. passw0rd
19. shadow
20. 123123
21. 654321
22. superman
23. qazwsx
24. michael
25. football

'ReplaceMe', 'ChangeMe' and 'Hello' are all noticeable absentees in my opinion. But before you try, they aren't actually my passwords for anything. strongly recommends that if your current password appears on this list you change it now. Something like, 'ICantBelieveIWasSuchAFool2' (never forget to add a number) may be more effective. 

Charlie makes his family £100,000 just by biting a finger

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Are you one of the 380,000,000 + people who have already seen the 'Charlie bit my finger - again!' video? If not you are missing out so here it is:

Since YouTube introduced a partnership that allows uploaders to earn revenue through the use of advertising alongside their videos, Charlie and Harry have raked in more than enough to put themselves and their third sibling through private education. 

Their dad, Howard Davies-Carr said: "Nearly all income from YouTube is banked. We would have struggled to put all three boys through private education but with the YouTube money we decided to commit to all, and it was always going to be all or none."

Just think, if you were one of the people who'd already watched this video then you've effectively contributed towards paying for a maths lesson for Harry (or Charlie if you prefer). How nice are you?

iPhone emergency get US man into hot water

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A man in the US state of Illinois faced with a malfunctioning iPhone landed himself in hot water when he sought help.

Michael Skopec simply did what any other US citizen would do in an emergency: he called 911, but the authorities were not amused.

Skopec was so convinced that 911 services would be able to help fix his iPhone, he called the emergency line five times.

Instead of getting the help he was seeking, however, Skopec was arrested and charged with obstruction of justice.

According to reports, it was not clear what Skopec's iPhone emergency was and what he was trying to accomplish by calling 911.

Perhaps the fact that the arresting officers reported he was drunk offers some explanation for his behaviour, but Skopec is probably not alone in seeing a broken iPhone as an emergency.

This proves smartphones are so much more than voice communication devices. After all, Skopec clearly had access to another phone if he was able to call 911 five times.

Microsoft grows mobile portfolio (literally)

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Microsoft has taken market pressure to grow its mobile offerings quite literally. The company has built a giant Windows Phone 7 device.

The six-storey high Windows Phone 7 device is located opposite New York's Macy's department store in Herald Square, New York.

"We're taking the trends to bigger screens to the next level," said Andy Lees, Windows Phone president.

While the enormous phone provided the perfect backdrop for a marriage proposal, Downtime thinks users might struggle to fit Microsoft's new device in their pockets.

Three's a crowd, lady:

No half-baked solution to weak WiFi signal

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Proving that solving a common technology problem like weak-WiFi reception need not be a Heath Robinson affair, in fact the complete opposite is former BT chief technology officer Peter Cochrane.

On a boat on the Norfolk Broads, Cochrane was unable to find a strong enough WiFi signal, although there were several open access, according to the Telegraph.

Undaunted, the technophile decided to have a look at what he had at his disposal  in the boat's galley and improvise to get online.

The solution was simple, but effective. Cochrane simply used a baking tray to focus the strongest WiFi signal, and hey presto!

A must have for the Christmas list!

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It may prove to be astronomically expensive and ridiculously dangerous but I still want one. 

This is the world's first manned mulitcopter and it was created by German engineers over at e-volo. The electronic device is radio controlled and operated by someone on the ground, whilst the passenger presumably holds on for dear life. 

Earlier this month the mulitcopter completed it's first ever manned flight, staying in the air for a whole 1 minute and 30 seconds. That's long enough to get me to the corner shop down the road, sadly not long enough to get me back again though. 

Who wouldn't want to be strapped to an exercise ball, hovering a metre off the ground, in the middle of a dozen spinning blades, while someone else controls where you go? 

1980's style tweeting looks cool but it's time consuming

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Here we have the Tweephone, an analog Twitter client that works using a rotary dial. Why? I don't know but I do know that it does look interesting. 

The Tweephone, which was designed and created by the UP digital Bureau and Unteleported tech agency, uses Arduino technology to decipher letters from the number dialled. It works on the same premise as a touch tone phone keypad, so, for example, you'd have to dial '7' 4 times to get the letter 'S'.

I can imagine the novelty of using this device would wear of pretty quickly. 

I get miffed at having to spend an extra few seconds clicking back through my 140 character tweets on my laptop if there are any mistakes. With the Tweephone you'd be stuck for weeks if you got to the end and realised you'd made a mistake. 

Here is a riveting video of the Tweephone in action, just count yourselves lucky that they aren't tweeting 'supercalifragilisticexpialidocious', you'd still be sat watching at 4am on Friday morning if they did. 

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2011 is the previous archive.

December 2011 is the next archive.

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