Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

FCC May Allow In-Flight Phone Calls, Pepper Spray

Pepper-spray smart phone.

In a major advance for human liberty, the FCC may lift its ban on in-flight cell phone calls, and the prohibition on the in-flight use of pepper spray.

(2013-11-23) — The Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission said this week that the agency may lift the ban on cell phone usage by passengers during airline flights, as well as the prohibition against the use of pepper-spray.

“There’s no technical reason why you can’t make a phone call during a flight,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, “and, likewise, there’s no reason we should limit your right to enjoy a quiet flight by saying that you can’t use pepper spray on those who choose to make in-flight calls. These two freedoms go hand-in-hand.”

At the Commission’s December meeting, it will consider a proposal to allow passengers to fully complete the digestive process without the inconvenience of leaving their assigned seats.

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‘Selfie’ Top Word in 2013, Oxford Drops ‘Dictionary’

The Oxford English Dictionary

The Oxford English Dictionary named ‘selfie’ the 2013 word of the year, while dropping its entry for the word ‘dictionary’ to “free up space for stuff people actually use,” according to the publisher.


(2013-11-19) — The publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary announced today that ‘selfie’ is the 2013 word of the year just hours before announcing that its next edition would not include an entry for the word ‘dictionary’, which has fallen into disuse.

“There’s no point to including a definition of the word ‘dictionary’ at a time when people care neither for precision in spelling nor for accuracy in usage, and when they’re bereft of intellectual curiosity about etymology,” said an unnamed spokesman for Oxford. “We briefly mulled a truncated definition like ‘dictionary: ask your grandparents,’ but so many grandparents still don’t have Twitter accounts.”

The term ‘selfie’ skyrocketed in colloquial usage thanks to ubiquitous cellphone cameras, and to the difficulty of mounting a mirror bracket to one’s skull.

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Health Care Website Fails Despite Amish Beta Success

(2013-10-07) — The failure of the new ObamaCare health insurance exchange website came as “a bolt from the blue” to the IT staff in the Obama administration, especially because the system had been thoroughly beta-tested for nearly a year among the Amish community in rural Lancaster, Pennsylvania. HealthCare.gov servers buckled under traffic five times greater than the maximum anticipated volume.

“We were firing on all cylinders during the prototype stage,” said an unnamed IT staffer at HealthCare.gov. “Page-load times were measured in minutes rather than the current hours, and that was after heavy local TV promotion soliciting Amish beta customers.”

The crew that coded Amish.HealthCare.gov said the telephone hotline was “practically silent” turning the trial period, meaning that virtually no problems were reported with the system.

“We thought we were, as NASA says, ‘Go at throttle up.'” the source said. “The fact that people now report they can’t login after dozens of attempts for almost a week is a real mystery to us.”

A White House spokesman said the president is “focused like a laser” on solving the problem.

“We just posted an invitation to our Amish beta-tester forum,” said Press Secretary Jay Carney, “We’re asking for volunteers to fly from Lancaster down to D.C. later today to do a focus group so we can get to the bottom of this.”

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Obama Defends NSA Program Tracking Social ‘Selfies’

One of many billions of selfies in the NSA databaseOfficials say this is one of many billions of ‘selfies’ capture by the NSA’s recently-revealed Homeland Defense Selfie Database. Experts cautioned that Americans shouldn’t draw conclusions from isolated images, nor should people be concerned about violations of their right to privacy, because the government is protecting that.

President Obama today said unspecified terror attacks may have been thwarted by a recently-revealed NSA program to track every photographic self-portrait by Americans shot with a handheld camera phone and uploaded to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or elsewhere on the internet.

The existence of the secret NSA-HDSD (Homeland Defense Selfie Database) emerged over the weekend, and the trove is said to contain hundreds of billions of arm’s-length shots, bathroom mirror shots, and even “inadvertent selfies” snapped by people trying to take pictures through car windows.

NSA officials would not comment on the program, nor confirm reports from an unnamed leaker that even ephemeral SnapChat pictures are swept up in its dragnet.

“Terrorists are at their core, narcissists,” Obama said. “They want to make a big name for themselves posthumously, and many of them can’t resist snapping a selfie standing in front of their intended targets…you know, throwing a gang sign or making the classic kissy face or pouty face.”

The White House assured the American public that the program is reviewed every 90 days by a FISA Court judge, and that selfies by innocent non-combatants are “disposed of in a timely manner for the most part.”

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Obama: $2B Won’t Kill Every Oil Job, But It’s a Start

Obama thanks federal researcher for his devotion to killing petroleum jobs

President Obama thanks a federal researcher who’s working to eliminate every last job in the petroleum industry. However, since job-killing research is funded by oil-drilling leases, it’s crucial that the industry keep growing until such jobs are completely eradicated.

President Obama Friday pressed Congress to spend $2 billion on his dream to eliminate hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of jobs in the petroleum industry. However, he acknowledged that federal research on such job-killing will cost much more, and unfortunately, many oil industry workers could remain employed for years to come.

“In a down economy like this,” Obama said, “it’s difficult to get enough funding to kill as many jobs as we would like. But $2 billion is a start, and is sure to move many people out of the filthy petroleum business and onto the government entitlement payroll where they won’t do near as much to contribute to global climate change.”

The president said years of federal funding on job-killing research has “led us to the precipice of a major breakthrough that would rapidly eliminate entire industries that have created America’s embarrassing prosperity.”

An unnamed spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget explained that the president’s plan pays for eliminating jobs in the petroleum industry through federal oil and gas leases on off-shore drilling, “so it’s important that the industry remain vibrant until it’s completely gone.”

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Facebook Redesign Mimics Newspaper, Delivered Daily

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced yesterday that the social site’s new interface will look more like a newspaper, in response to user nostalgia over the papers they no longer subscribe to at home.

“Not only will it look like a newspaper,” said Zuckerberg, “but starting next week, Facebook will be delivered to you once each day.”

The young billionaire predicted that daily Facebook delivery would increase GDP in the U.S. and other nations by up to 11 percent, since the current 24/7 non-stop streaming interface is “an addictive, soul-sapping time-suck that kills worker productivity.”

Zuckerberg said users of the Facebook mobile app — for iDevices and Android — will soon get “the most realistic newspaper experience ever” when the firm rolls out its “virtual ink” version, with type that actually rubs off on your fingers when you swipe the screen.

Facebook to Mimic Newspaper

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said people miss the newspapers they cancelled years ago, so he’s changing the social site’s interface to be more “Victorian.”

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T-Mobile to Drop 2-Yr Contract, Require Nose Rings

Insiders at T-Mobile say the cellular phone service provider may soon eliminate the requirement to sign a two-year contract, and instead compel customers to wear a brass nose ring as an alternative sign of submission to the company.

AT&T, Verizon & Sprint are also said to be mulling ways to stop customer complaints about the restrictive, expensive longterm contracts, while still making sure a customer understands who really controls his life.

“We’ve looked at various options,” said an unnamed cell industry insider, “from making customers wear a particular headdress as a public emblem of our authority over them, to a sliding scale system that would range from an orange jumpsuit to the full iron ball-and-chain configuration. If customers don’t like the bondage of longterm contracts, we’re sensitive to that, and we’re willing to change.”

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“I was locked into a 2-year contract with AT&T,” said this unnamed cell phone user, “but with T-Mobile, they just pierced my nose and I’m finally free. They promised they’d never hook a chain to it, or tug on it or anything, so long as I pay my bill on time.”

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