Friday, May 17, 2013


Woah, didn't catch this until catching up on the German computing bi-weekly c't on vacation. They reported that the German government was planning on a government-run social network, Volks-Facebook. All your data belongs to the government - and the fotos with you caught speeding will be delivered to your home page. The joke was so good (and the German government so inept at doing Internet-based things) that many people were outraged. The admission of being a joke (in German) is given here. I must admit, I believed the story until the speeding ticket thing came up. No way will they manage to get themselves so organized.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Jim Hornung - †18 January 2013

This post, unfortunately, is not a joke. One if the founders of this blog, Jim Hornung, passed away in January of this year. Peter G. Neumann writes in his obituary at comp.risks:
Date: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 3:04 PM
From: Peter Neumann 
Subject: Jim Horning, 24 Aug 1942 -- 18 Jan 2013

Jim Horning was one of my favorite friends, colleagues, associates, 
and a long-time inspiration, spanning the past 38 years.  He was 
active in the computer field since 1958.  He was a vital member of 
the ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy, continuously since 
1985; he contributed to the very first issue of the ACM Risks Forum 
(1 Aug 1985), and he wrote or co-wrote seven CACM Inside Risks articles.
He also played significant roles in USACM.  We worked together on a 
joint CPSR/ACLU report for the House Committee on Civil and 
Constitutional Rights in 1989.  He made many thoughtful technical 
and socially aware contributions, always with wisdom, common sense, 
and humanity.  I valued every contact I ever had with him. He will be 
very deeply missed by all who knew him, and indirectly by many who
did not.
I only knew Jim by email - we corresponded over cases contributed to comp.risks. When he proposed this blog in 2007 I jumped at the chance to collect the practical jokes that computer people cook up every year. We had a grand time collecting the old ones as well. Jim was too sick to email last year in April (although he did blog a few more times here and here and his history blog is still up), so we only had a few collected from 2012. Jim made an enormous contribution to the field of computer science and will indeed be deeply missed. I am sure, however, that he is busy setting up an Internet connection in heaven, even if it will only be a read-only connection, so that he can keep up with what's going on down here.  Thanks for everything, Jim!

YouTube Submissions now closed

YouToube announced that they would be shutting down, as the submission process is now over and they will spend a decade reviewing all of the material and selecting a winner. You did read and understand the End User License Agreement, didn't you, when you uploaded your movie?

Google Nose

The new scentsation in search! Of course, they only show roses and a pretty girl, but imagine if you could smell that computer geek on the other end of the phone? On the other hand, maybe be glad this is just a joke.


Bing seems to have put up at least two jokes this year:

  • Introducing Bing Basic - "We decided to go back to basics, to the dawn of the Internet, to reimagine Bing with more of a 1997, dial-up sensibility in mind."
  • They have a new SEO tag - Google won't let me show it, though
Lots of fun!

The Freedom Bay

In a surprise move, the Pirate Bay has moved to the USA and renamed itself "The Freedom Bay". I suppose they have Freedom Fries in the cafeteria.

Play-Doh 3D Printer

ThinkGeek has a new product that is soooooo modern: a 3D printer that uses Play-Doh to print. I really want to have one of these, and 50 $ is a great price. What a shame this seems to be a joke.
Why buy things from stores when you can print them yourself? The DIY 3D printer revolution is here, friends, and have we got the entry-level 3D printer for you. It's the Play-Doh 3D Printer, and it's loaded with features without a price tag that will set your wallet on fire. Let's take a quick tour, and then you'll want to buy one.

Friday, April 6, 2012

ICANN Announces Surprise Termination of Domain Name Expansion Program; Plans Own Dissolution

MARINA DEL REY, California (ZAP) -- In a stunning and unexpected announcement, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has announced the immediate termination of its controversial and much criticized plan for a vast expansion of generic top-level Internet domain names (gTLDs), and has set an aggressive timetable for the dissolution of ICANN itself. [more]

Thanks, Lauren Weinstein!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Google Nude View

Also reported by the EFF:

Google's New "Nude View" Program Raises Privacy Concerns
Privacy advocates are calling foul on a new partnership between Google and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that would index the backscatter x-ray images taken at airline security checkpoints. "This will help singles get a first look even before the first date," said a Google spokesman. "Google Nude View," as the program is called, represents the first major initiative for the company since it changed its venerable slogan from "Don't Be Evil" to "Mwahahaha!" 

Creativity Murder

The EFF reported on April 1, 2012:

MPAA Announces Kickstarter Campaign for Film Decrying Internet's Impact on Creative Works
In a statement posted on its Wordpress blog this week, the MPAA announced that it will respond to the Internet's "destructive" effect on creative works with a new PSA, to be funded on the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter. "Rampant content theft -- or as we call it, creativity murder -- makes it impossible to promote ideas online," according to a Tweet from MPAA chairman Chris Dodd. "For a pledge of $50, backers will receive an exclusive DVD copy of 'Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked' in 3D." 

Blog from the Afterlife

The BBC reports: The Earth has exploded, killing everyone.

Freenode to keep logs for 5 years

Freenode announces:

"In accordance with ACTA [...] All channels on the network will be logged and stored for a period of five (5) years. These logs will be made available to network staff and authorized governement [sic] officials [...] Beginning April 31st [...]"

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review of April Fool's Day Transactions

Kind of didn't get around to recording what went on in 2011, but I have just learned of the esteemed Review of April Fool's Day Transactions, which I heartily recommend ;) They have been publishing a review since 2006. I am hard put to decide which one I like best.

Apply for membership in CPfAF.