'It seems that the OSes and devices are based on the Devil'

Plus: 'So far, two staffers have complained of the cat urine smell'

A picture of a cat.

Quotw This was the week when Dell received a flood of complaints about the fact that its Latitude 6430u Ultrabook literally stinks. The whiffy laptops were shipped out to users smelling distinctly of feline urine.

Owners took to Dell's support forums to start complaining:

So a few weeks ago I got a new Lattitude 6430u for work. The machine is great, but it smells as if it was assembled near a tomcats litter box. It is truly awful!

Staff more used to dealing with technical difficulties were unfazed and suggested that folks might want to give their machines a bit of a clean with a damp cloth. But owners said that cleaning the laptops wasn't working. One user lamented:

I am the technology coordinator at Washington DC public high school. We have about 300 Dell Latitude 6430u laptops. 60 have been issued to teachers for the school year. So far, two staffers have complained of the cat urine smell. Is this something I can expect to hear from everyone and what should my next steps be?

To its credit, Dell hung in there, sending out new machines - which unfortunately also smelled like cat pee. Eventually, the firm managed to discover that the smell was coming from a mysterious "manufacturing process". A staffer, "Dell-SteveB", explained that it wasn't a biological contamination or a health hazard, although he didn't go into details on the type of manufacturing process that would cause laptops to smell of piss.

He added that any new orders would come out smelling of laptop, though that might not be enough to soothe customers like this chap:

I want you to know that I killed our 1 year old cat, thinking it was pissing on my computer each night and now come across THIS forum telling me otherwise. Not only do I want a new computer, I want a new cat, vet fees, letter of apology and payment for my divorce lawyer, since my wife has left me after finding this out.

This was also the week when Tim Cook hinted that really super-exciting yet vague products in categories that Apple hasn't gone for before would be coming next year. Of course, it wouldn't do to confirm which categories or give any indication of what products, though some sort of wearable tech is probably a safe enough bet. But Cook was willing to hint – in a way the firm is no doubt hoping will whip up all the fanbois and gurls:

I've said that you'd see some exciting new products from us in the fall of this year and across 2014 and I obviously stand by that, and you've seen a lot of things over the last couple of months.

In terms of new product categories specifically, if you look at the skills that Apple has from hardware, software, and services, and an incredible app ecosystem, this set of things are very, very unique.

I think that no one has a set of skills like this. And we obviously believe we can use our skills in building other great products that are in categories that represent areas where we do not participate today. And so we're pretty confident about that.

Speaking of wearable tech, Google Glass may have hit an unexpected hiccup as it turns out that it may soon be illegal to use them in certain situations, like driving for instance. A California cop stopped Google Glass-wearer Cecilia Abadie and ticketed her for wearing the tech specs, she reported on (of course) her Google+ page:

A cop just stopped me and gave me a ticket for wearing Google Glass while driving! The exact line says: Driving with Monitor visible to Driver (Google Glass). Is #GoogleGlass illegal while driving or is this cop wrong???

She said the damned thing wasn't even switched on when she was pulled over for speeding at 65mph (104kmph).

Google said rather unhelpfully:

Explorers [people who wear the goggles] should always use Glass responsibly and put their safety and the safety of others first.

More broadly, Glass is built to connect you more with the world around you, not distract you from it. It’s early days for Glass and we look forward to hearing feedback from Explorers and others in advance of a wider consumer launch next year.

And speaking of exploring, the madly ambitious scheme to get a Martian colony going using reality TV to raise funds, Mars One, has announced that it will be sending up a demo mission in 2016 to prove some of its concepts and carry a satellite for future interplanetary communications.

Co-founder Bas Lansdorp said at a space summit in London that the nonprofit foundation was planning on sending a small craft and it was looking for a few good men, countries or companies to help it get going:

If you have a reason to get something to Mars, get in touch with me.

It could be a country that wants to do an experiment on Martian soil… I know the UK space agency has been interested in getting to Mars in the past. They could put something on our lander and get a payload there.

We also have consumer firms that are interested in becoming 'the first brand on Mars'.

Lansdorp also chatted to the Beeb about how the search for contestants for a reality telly competition for one-way tickets to the Red Planet was going. Over 200,000 people from all over the world have apparently applied, sending in videos to prove that they're not only could fodder for the space cannon, but could also put on a good show on the TV to raise money for the trip.

Two applications that stood out for Lansdorp were a Gangnam Style parody video called Martian Style and a guy who photoshopped himself into scenes from Star Wars.

As to whether these kinds of stunts can raise the billions needed to establish human beings on Mars, Lansdorp is feeling confident:

We estimate $6bn to get the first four people on Mars and $4bn for every further group that follows. It's a lot of money. But look at the broadcasting revenue from the Olympics in London - $4bn in three weeks. The world was watching. And I want the whole world to be involved in Mars One.

But while it may be a spectacle, Mars One is no stunt, it's a serious attempt at exploration, according to Lansdorp:

Exploration is what we humans do. It inspires us to innovate. There are two times when humans really innovate - in exploration and in war. And I don't like war.

And finally, El Reg has been the recipient of some intriguing missives from readers in its time... From those who can't understand that the term "boffin" is meant affectionately, to the vehement ideologues on either side of the Google/Apple divide, Vulture HQ has heard a lot of crazy sh*t in its time. But, until now, we were unaware that electronic devices were, in fact, the work of the devil.

A reader, who tells us he has also contacted the FBI and the BBB (Better Business Bureau?), said*:

I am a young Holy Man who is beginning my mission to change the world and toss off the devil.

My issue is thus: It seem that the Operating Systems and devices as well as company branding are based on the Devil.

He goes on to explain*:

For example, Google's Chrome (2008) Play Store and Android OS in 4,4 is Representative of the 333 demons Chronozon, and Android is based on Dio Ra 88 DNA,, Dio the Devil and OS in is in Sin, and the 44 is a reference to the Devils Name in Mark Twain's The Mysterious stranger. It was just to to many to be random or coincidence.

Apple and Windows are just as bad with there's if not worse, Apples OS X is Osaten or Satan and Windows 8 is based on hate. The list goes on on and I am at a lose, as what to do with the information.

We can at least agree that we, too, are at a "lose". ®

* Full of SIC, so we've eschewed multiple insertions for ease of reading

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