1st > April > 2007 Archive

Research reveals mislaid microprocessor megahertz

April FoolApril Fool It's no wonder we need to upgrade our computers on a regular basis. Not only are chip companies regularly releasing ever-faster microprocessors, but new research has revealed that modern CPUs actually lose megahertz over time.
Percy Flage, 01 Apr 2007

Apple, Google join forces for 'ultimate phone'

April FoolApril Fool Apple and Google have abandoned their individual mobile phone projects for a joint venture, The Register has learned. Apple will mothball its iPhone, announced in January, in favour of a new device that serves as a platform for Google's contextual advertising business. Work on the project, codenamed "ID", began shortly after Google CEO Eric Schmidt joined Apple's board of directors last August. Sneak pictures of the device, below, show the fruits of the joint venture. It's now possible to see how the iPhone was merely an early concept prototype for the ideas the two companies were developing. In keeping with the iPod tradition, the "ID" has no power switch. In fact, there are no buttons at all. More surprisingly, Jonathan Ives' industrial design means there's no room for a SIM card, or any embedded cellullar radio circuitry. As a consequence, the "ID" is incapable of making or receiving telephone calls - but Apple says this is a feature most of its target market won't miss. "People said they wanted an iPhone above all, to make a statement about themselves," an Apple engineering source told us. "Let's face it, they don't like talking and most of them have no one to call anyway." "When you take the 'Phone' from 'iPhone' you're left with er, 'I'," a senior Apple source told us. "So we've focussed on satisfying the I". Sources revealed that while designing the now-abandoned iPhone, engineers debated long and hard whether to include an Address Book at all. "These things are empty, we discovered," a source close to the project told us. "A number of us wanted to use that valuable ROM space for something people would actually use - like wallpaper, or a Sudoku game". As well as being a powerful personal lifestyle statement, the "ID" will provide an advertising platform for Google's formidable information store. Google will mine its archive of the owner's GMail account, dental records, credit card information, lists of pastimes entered into social networking sites, chat sessions, financial history, comments left on blogs, records of PTA meetings, shout outs to da posse, downloaded recipes, medical history, Amazon wish-lists, MySpace friends, characters adopted in RPG games and fragging data, purchasing histories, and of course, their personal search queries. These are then combined with location data to provide a constant stream of personalized, relevant advertisements. For example if the "ID" user is in a shopping mall, the device will flash a message such as "Buy Viagra". Or if the device owner is at a sports event, it will flash a message such as "Buy Viagra". For sexual-related queries, the "ID" retrieves information from the pertinent Wikipedia page. Asked about privacy concerns, Google spokesman Nate Late said the device would flash the message, "WE'RE NOT EVIL" three times, and change its hue to resemble the reassuring coloured balls of the Google logo. "Google has long described itself as 'the closest thing to the web's ultimate answer machine'," he continued. "Now you don't have to ask the question!" Privacy watchdog the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) welcomed the concession. Putting the "I" into CalifornIa Early reviews are positive. In a piece prepared months in advance, the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg gave the "ID" a glowing write-up. "With my assistant Kara I have been imagining what a "ID" would look like. In my imagination, set up is easy and the device works capably. Apple's stroke of genius in removing the telephony features from a phone puts it far ahead of its competitors by making mobile telephony simple to use. In my imagination, this is the most usable smartphone ever imagined. Will that do, Steve?" Speaking to a select group of confidantes, an emotional Steve Jobs said the "id" represented the culmination of a lifetime's work. "I've spent thirty years following my interpretation of the Mayahana tradition," he told the New York Times John Markoff. "Traditional Buddhism means rejecting the material world. But I've reinterpreted it to mean that people can find meaning in life by buying pointless trinkets. With the "id" I think I have finally succeeded. The circle is complete." The "ID" will be sold in two versions. Premium retails for $499, while a budget Standard edition will retail for $399. The Standard ID package includes no hardware at all, but maintains cardboard-for-cardboard parity with the Premium edition packaging. Standard Edition purchasers will be able to upgrade using Apple's "Nirvana" program. ®
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Apr 2007

PowerPoint grows up

April Fool'sApril Fool's Is Visual Studio Team System Rosario to include the long-awaited PowerPoint plug-in? Well, that's the buzz down at the old "Firkin and Flowchart". The jokes about the "compile button" in PowerPoint that generates working software from marketing B/S will have to be revisited as Microsoft announces PowerPoint Integration for VSTS, to be known as PISS.
David Norfolk, 01 Apr 2007
11

Bloggers mourn bald, rich Fiorina

April FoolApril Fool The blogger nation has called for a shared day of silence after former HP boss Carly Fiorina jumped the shark in her bid for the US presidency. Bloggers woke up Sunday to horrific pictures of a bald, wild-eyed Fiorina plastered all over the internet. The executive gave up her well-dressed, well-groomed image in a sympathetic nod to sexpot-turned-Betty Ford impressionist Britney Spears. (No word yet if Fiorina's carpet matches the drapes.) Fiorina's brash move follows a series of thunderous attacks against campaigning rivals such as Hilary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. "Britney has spent years inspiring this nation with her elegant thigh highs and down-home talk," Fiorina told The Register. "Every time I think about what hacks like you have done to her, I vomit tears. Let our shaved heads serve as a reminder of your cruelty and of she-power." Bloggers the world over had hoped President Fiorina would give them a voice beyond their family and pets. Fiorina has pledged to make blogging mandatory as part of her "Literacy through Technology" push. Under this plan – to be funded by News Corp. and Google rather than taxpayer dollars – every American would be required to set up a MySpace page, read ten blogs a day and search for at least five American-made products, excluding teledildonics equipment and crystal meth. It's Not a Bald Spot. It's a Solar Panel for a Sex Machine The widespread enthusiasm for Fiorina's initiative crumbled once pictures of her shiny scalp hit the web. Thousands of bloggers were consumed by the need to ridicule Fiorina, tearing them from the foundation of goodwill that unites all web authors. "I'm beyond appalled by their behavior," said futurist Paul Saffo. "The internet is not about bad-mouthing someone just because you can and, even worse, doing it behind the guise of a fake user name. It's about bringing Heideggerian authenticity to the virtual space through peace, love and Ethernet." Leaders of the blog movement have proposed April 15 as the day of silence meant to contemplate Fiorina's demise and have set up a wiki to debate the merits of choosing that day. IBM has stepped in to set up a new standards committee BLOGORRHEASISDSL inside of Second Life to help lay the groundwork for the day of silence infrastructure. Critics have suggested April 15 will come and go with no day of silence resolution in place. IBM has countered by saying it has a mashup contingency plan where bloggers will be able to combine their favorite music, calendars and local traffic information to help them decide about shutting up. Sympathetic blogger Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz offered to donate his ponytail to Fiorina should she choose to re-hair in short order. "I don't need some Wesleyan grad's handouts," Fiorina said. "I'm bald, bold, beautiful, smart, savvy and rich beyond belief. Hair or not, there's no way in hell that Clinton, Obama or anyone short of Bill Gates will be able to outspend me along the campaign trail. My book Tough Choices is selling faster than I ever imagined, and I put my entire severance package into HP stock. I'm rich." ®
Ashlee Vance, 01 Apr 2007

Microsoft to build on Rogers Partnership

April Fool'sApril Fool's Rumours abound that Microsoft is to acquire famed architectural business the Richard Rogers Partnership, in the expectation that it will give a significant boost to the company's architectural capabilities. At time of going to press, the terms of the acquisition had not been disclosed.
Martin Banks, 01 Apr 2007

Larry Ellison becomes Chief Monk Officer

April FoolApril Fool Larry Ellison on Thursday came to the startling yet enlightening realization that he is not god. As a result, Oracle's CEO has gone totally monastic. Ellison's breakthrough occurred following a recent brain-glazing procedure. The billionaire software maker felt a slight, post-op twinge and then saw god before him. The god figure's absence of a beard or a Bill Gates complex convinced Ellison he was not looking at himself. Frame of reference altered in a major way, Ellison now plans to become the world's best monk. "Larry comes to us once or twice a year to make sure that his brain is in top condition," said Beverley Hills-based plastic surgeon Herm Deftouche. "We remove a large chunk of his skull and coat his brain with a proprietary mixture called Grey Batter. Like many of our clients, Larry thinks a well-polished, aristocratic brain gives him an edge over rivals. And, in actual fact, a shimmering brain is beyond spectacular." My Faith is Unbreakable Deftouche has characterized Ellison's god episode as a coincidence that has nothing to do with the brain-glazing operation. "This is not some kind of side effect," he said. "Although, if it keeps happening and customers like it, I might consider changing my stance." Ellison has ordered immediate work to begin on a $80m monastery in Woodside that will flank his current $30m Japan-inspired home. On the business front, Ellison has decided that Oracle must return the numerous companies it has acquired over the past few years. "The way of the new Larry requires that I make use only of that which I have created," Ellison told The Register. "To profit from the labor of others would not be in line with the high spirit's vibration." Cisco CEO John Chambers has offered to set up a halfway house for companies stranded by Oracle's acquisition purge. "Somebody has to do something," Chambers said. "Larry has finally lost his mind." Ellison's wife Melanie Craft – who insisted we point out that she has never met Dr. Deftouche – has started work on a new romance novel about a billionaire who finds god, goes ape shit crazy and leaves all his cash to his young wife just before he dies during an ancient religious procedure known as "the great corpuscle." Craft claims that the new book, like her first about a billionaire who woos a trophy bride, derives no inspiration from her real life. The whole finding god thing has finally given Ellison a point of differentiation from his technology elite peers. Bill Gates will always be richer. Steve Jobs will always be more charismatic. Jerry Sanders will always be better dressed. Scott McNealy will always be a better golfer. And Gordon Moore will always have a bigger law. But when it comes to god, Ellison will be far closer to the deity than all the rest of those heathens. Ultimately, what else can a man with such a shiny brain ask for? ®
Ashlee Vance, 01 Apr 2007