Articles about alistair dabbs

Ten new tech terms I learnt this summer: Do you know them all?

Something for the Weekend, Sir? I'll never forget the day I found my children looking at Spam for the first time. My son was particularly perplexed, asking: "Is that what I think it is?" It was my own fault. I had left the tin on the kitchen counter. Even in his tender years, my tech-friendly tweenager was perfectly familiar with spam. But not Spam. He'd …
Alistair Dabbs, 21 Jul 2017
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What can you do with adult VR, some bronze gears and a robotic thumb? On a Friday?

Something for the Weekend, Sir? A VR headset is pressing down on the bridge of my nose. The strap is pulling out strands of hair from the back of my head. I have bruised shins after walking into a coffee table. This, apparently, is "the closest thing to real sex". I must be doing it wrong. VR, that is. Or sex. Or both. Perhaps not expecting to get bruised …
Alistair Dabbs, 14 Jul 2017
steampunk-looking robot smokes pipe. pic shutterstock

On the couch with an AI robo-doc asking me personal questions

Something for the Weekend, Sir? "Tell me about your mother." I should have guessed that was coming. I am on a virtual couch, being diagnosed by a digital psychiatrist. Naturally it's a virtual couch. Being British, I don't own such a thing in real life. I have various other types of soft furniture and even once considered buying one of those reclining …

Dead serious: How to haunt people after you've gone... using your smartphone

Something for the Weekend, Sir? I will be annoying when I am dead. In fact, I plan to be much more of an irritant after passing away than I am at the moment as the once-dicky ticker continues to clock up the artery miles. How will I inflict annoyance from the grave? Well, I have an app for that. Or at least I will have once it's available on Android: …
Alistair Dabbs, 30 Jun 2017
Wire wastepaper bin filled with scrunched up paper. Photo by Shutterstock

Smart burglars will ride the surf of inter-connected hackability

Something for the Weekend, Sir? What the world needs now is an intelligent dustbin. It would be the pinnacle of achievement for the Internet of Things sector. But wait – it already exists! And in common with its robotic, pseudo-not-actually-AI brethren, it has a suitably daft anthropomorphic moniker. Instead of labelling it with a gender-presumptive name …
Alistair Dabbs, 23 Jun 2017
Monty Python TV viewer

Life is... pushing all the right buttons on the wrong remote control

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Mrs Dabbsy is getting cross. I know this because she has said "grrrr". People don't often say "grrrr" in everyday conversation so it's noticeable when they do. Either that or you are inadvertently chatting with Tony the Tiger over a bowl of over-sugared breakfast cereal. The target of The Glowing One's ire (this time) is the …
Alistair Dabbs, 26 May 2017
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Bye bye MP3: You sucked the life out of music. But vinyl is just as warped

Something for the Weekend, Sir? When I was younger, I had a chronic problem with fluff gathering in awkward-to-reach places. What can I say? My personal grooves acquired dirt very easily. It was a teenage thing, I suppose. Neither sterile wipes nor the careful application of a vacuum cleaner seemed to help so I ended up seeking professional advice. A man-in …
Alistair Dabbs, 19 May 2017
Lefty's Bar from Leisure Suit Larry

What augmented reality was created for: An ugly drink with a balloon

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Dabbs (Mrs) and I are in bed. She is shaking my shoulder to wake me up. “Not again,” I groan. “I’ve done it three times already.” Disappointed, she slips out from under the duvet, dons a dressing gown and heads off by herself to locate the source of “the noise downstairs”. Hearing bumps and creaks during the hours of …
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
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
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 …
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 …
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

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