Alistair Dabbs

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Alistair Dabbs is a freelance technology tart, juggling IT journalism, editorial training and digital publishing.
Surprised man photo via Shutterstock

Need the toilet? Wanna watch a video ad about erectile dysfunction?

Something for the Weekend, Sir? I'm off to the toilet. Would you like to join me? Sorry, that's a silly question. Of course you won't join me – I'm a bloke. Young women often go to the washroom in pairs but dudes generally don't, at least not for the purposes that the washroom was originally designed. And if you are a woman, or non-specific gender, I can …
Alistair Dabbs, 28 Apr 2017
The Jetsons Food Machine

(You can't) buy one now! The flying car makes its perennial return

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Stop squeezing my knob. No seriously, I've had enough. "Then you give it a squeeze." OK but not until I'm ready. "You won't get any benefit until you squeeze it," he announces to the dark, crowded room before turning back to me. "Do it now. Go on, give it a quarter-turn to the right." Reluctantly, while everyone else …
Alistair Dabbs, 21 Apr 2017

Switch on your smartphone camera and look how fertile I am

Something for the Weekend, Sir? I have cheerful sperm. This will come as a great relief to Register readers, I'm sure, but no doubt you're wondering: how do I know? Ah well, I have an app for that. Medical researchers at Harvard have developed an inexpensive smartphone attachment that measures male fertility. You can appreciate how facile it must be to …
Alistair Dabbs, 14 Apr 2017
Toilet with smiling loo paper

Customer satisfaction is our highest priority… OK, maybe second-highest… or third...

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Everyone is looking at me as I break into a sweat. "Come on, come on," I mutter to my smartphone but already the harrumphing has begun. Why do English people harrumph when they're impatient? They could shout "Hurry up, fool!" or offer to help. But no, they always prefer to make a guttural hissing sound through their noses, …
Alistair Dabbs, 07 Apr 2017
Robot on road photo via Shutterstock

Forget robot overlords, humankind will get finished off by IoT

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Car horns symphonise accompanied by a chorus of yelling cyclists as I shimmy on foot through oncoming traffic. Strictly, I come dancing on to the tarmac, cavorting between the lanes, prancing out of the way of motorbikes and generally tripping the traffic light fantastic. Moments earlier, I had been cutting capers along the …
Alistair Dabbs, 31 Mar 2017

Why do GUIs jump around like a demented terrier while starting up? Am I on my own?

Something for the Weekend, Sir? “For heaven’s sake, stop waggling it in my face! Kuh-rist, keep still! Right – you’ve asked for it!” Alerted by the commotion, colleagues struggle to hold me back as I try to give my computer the damn good kicking it deserves. That’s unfair: the computer itself didn’t deserve such rough treatment. More importantly, it is not …
Alistair Dabbs, 24 Mar 2017

Face down in a Shoreditch gutter: Attack of the kickstarting hipster

Something for the Weekend, Sir? I have taken it all off. Would you like to join me? Loosen those straps and let it all slip onto the floor. You might feel naked and not a little bit exposed but no one is watching, I assure you. No really, now that you have removed your wearable tech, this will be the first time for ages that your every move is not being …
Alistair Dabbs, 17 Mar 2017
SHUT UP!

The future of Not Reality is a strap-on that talks to my smarting ring

Something for the Weekend, Sir? My ring smarts. This is only to be expected, having exposed my ring for long periods to the burning sun. More fool me, you’d think, but you’d be wrong. Ensuring my ring is open to the elements is good for my health and well-being. And slipping it onto my finger is surprisingly comfortable. Hang on, what I meant to say was …
Alistair Dabbs, 10 Mar 2017
Cat in headphones. Photo by By Oksana Ashurova/shutterstock

Palmtop nostalgia is tinny music to my elephantine ears

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Up and down, I’m up the wall, I’m up the bloody tree. Yup, this week finds me back on the trail in an unnecessary hunt for inessential portable kit I probably won’t use. It was triggered, as these things usually are, by something I read here on The Register. I should know better than to allow myself to be so easily influenced …
Alistair Dabbs, 03 Mar 2017
Shaun of the Dead

I want it hot and wet – preferably with Wi-Fi

Something for the Weekend, Sir? I came too soon. Normally this is not a problem. Coming early allows me to regather my strength so that I can then go at it, full-on, for the next eight hours. On this occasion, however, I misjudged the situation and came much too soon. As a result I am standing outside on the pavement in the rain instead of sitting in a warm …
Alistair Dabbs, 24 Feb 2017
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

A webcam is not so much a leering eye as the barrel of a gun

Something for the Weekend, Sir? “Strip it off!” commands a disembodied voice. “We want to see what you’ve got!” Strangers are watching me all across the Internet, waiting for the big reveal. At least, they would be if they could see anything. I have joined a Skype conference that is to be live-streamed to the general public and, subsequently, edited into a …
Alistair Dabbs, 17 Feb 2017
Magic act, image via Shutterstock

Welcome to my world of The Unexplained – yes, you're welcome to it

Something for the Weekend, Sir? I'm getting funny dreams again. Either that or I have stepped into one of Arthur C Clarke's episodes of Mysterious World of The Unexplained albeit without the Sri Lankan foliage and Eric Morecambe glasses. Inexplicable things have been occurring around me this week. In other circumstances, this might be fun. With the grim …
Alistair Dabbs, 10 Feb 2017

Would you like to know why I get a lot of action at night?

Something for the Weekend, Sir? I've been up all night, doing the business like hammer and tongs, going at it again and again. I can be relentless when I'm on the job – a man of action and drama. Of course, there are things I'd rather be doing than trying to get all my work prepared the night before I set off on a business trip. For example, going to bed …
Alistair Dabbs, 03 Feb 2017
Wall of TV screens photo via Shutterstock

Baird is the word: Netflix's grandaddy gets bronze London landmark

BBC TV, famed for such nation-capturing programmes as Playschool and Great British Bake Off, celebrated its 80th birthday last November. It did so in the same week that watching the country's then most popular TV programme, The Crown, required neither the BBC nor a TV set. Just a Netflix account and a connected mobe. With the …
Alistair Dabbs, 30 Jan 2017
Crystal ball. Pic: Shutterstock

2017 is already fail: Let’s try a Chinese reboot

Something for the Weekend, Sir? At this stage of my life, I’m only good for quickies. So let’s make it quick, please, as I’m late for a meeting. Here’s me thinking all the shit would be blown away with the closure of 2016, giving me a fresh start in the optimistic new world that began at 00:01 on 1 January 2017. Oh no, not a chance. January has turned out …
Alistair Dabbs, 27 Jan 2017

My hole is a private thing – see for yourself

Something for the Weekend, Sir? My neighbours are staring at my hole and shaking their heads disapprovingly. They were a little surprised to receive my invitation to view my orifice, and it may not be as big as theirs, but I needed their advice on how to fill it. The problem with this particular pothole is that it’s directly at the end of my drive at the …
Alistair Dabbs, 20 Jan 2017
Mark Wahlberg and his come-to-life teddy bear in bed in the movie Ted. Copyright: Universal Pictures

Embrace the world of pr0nified IT with wide open, er, arms

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Would you like to play with me? I’ll show you how to do the moves. Sure, everyone will be watching us online but I promise to take you to the next level. Oh, and I’m well fit. Great, that’s all I need: another personal trainer. After last week’s confessions of a fitness-band wearer, I had rather hoped that the whole sports …
Alistair Dabbs, 13 Jan 2017
Runner photo, via Shutterstock

Slim pickings by the Biggest Loser: A year of fitness wearables

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Welcome back. Did you manage to take some time off over the Christmas holiday or were you (figuratively) chained to a (virtual) roomful of (literally) overheating blades? Either way, count yourself lucky simply for making it through to 2017 with your heart still beating. You are among the only humans left alive, after all, and …
Alistair Dabbs, 06 Jan 2017
Pennies in a jar. Photo via Shutterstock

You want SaaS? Don't bother, darling, your kind can't afford it

Something for the Weekend, Sir? "That member is the wrong way around," confides the gym receptionist in hushed tones, nodding towards a middle-aged fellow ambling into the cardio room. I stare after him, trying to guess how his member might be incorrectly attached. Dressed unfashionably and, I suspect, quite accidentally in a sleeveless side-boob vest, split …
Alistair Dabbs, 25 Nov 2016
An upset woman with an empty wallet

Customer data security is our highest priori- ha ha ha whatever, suckers

Something for the Weekend, Sir? I would like it to be known that mine is bigger than yours. And yours is bigger than everyone else's. Only losers waste their time with small. We do big. The IT industry is notably keen on letting us know that everything they do is big, especially when it comes to data security breaches. Cyber-attacks on individuals are never …
Alistair Dabbs, 18 Nov 2016
Cat peeks outside cardboard box. Photo by shuttertsock

A cardboard desk? I won’t stand for it (actually I will)

Something for the Weekend, Sir? This week, I have been worried about getting it to stand up. The more I worry, the greater the difficulty in ensuring a sturdy erection that doesn’t immediately flop over. I hope you understand that this has never happened to me before. Perhaps I could try again in a few minutes? Ah, there we are. Nice and stiff and thick …
Alistair Dabbs, 11 Nov 2016

Any questions? No, not you again at the back, please God no

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Toy bears and model aeroplanes. Mini tubs of Pringles. Super-expensive watches that look like rusty bicycle parts adorned with a mashed insects. [sings] These are a few of my faaaavourite thiiiiings. Yes indeed, every modern luxury that Western capitalism can conjure are to be found on board this no-frills flight across the …
Alistair Dabbs, 04 Nov 2016
monty_python_french_knights_648

Getting your tongue around foreign tech-talk is easier than you think

Something for the Weekend, Sir? I live in a bag-arse. Bag-arses are great places to live in. School-run monster trucks avoid them. Transient pedestrian litter-louts don’t even know they exist. Noisy buses and smelly lorries refuse to come anywhere near a bag-arse. The street sign even has “Bag-arse” proudly displayed under the name in bold red letters. Of …
Alistair Dabbs, 28 Oct 2016
Statler and Waldorf - copyright - The Walt Disney company - the muppets studio

What will happen when I'm too old to push? (buttons, that is)

Something for the Weekend, Sir? I'd like you to consider my underwear. As we move inexorably towards another Christmas – for American readers, I understand you prefer the euphemism "Holiday Season" for its more generous syllable-count – close relatives have begun asking what gifts I might like to receive on the big day. What I want, of course, is toys. …
Alistair Dabbs, 21 Oct 2016

Apple’s macOS Sierra update really puts the fan into 'fanboi'

Something for the Weekend, Sir? “Ooh, I’m so hot! And I’m getting even hotter for you, big boy!” This is totally unexpected. I don’t know what to say. “Do nothing, baby. Just listen to the rush!” I wondered what the noise was. I thought I was going deaf. “Not at all! Now just sit back and contemplate what’s going on in your lap.” As if I could …
Alistair Dabbs, 14 Oct 2016

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