Tag Archives: tech

North Korean internet still down, crippling vibrant “Silicon Gulag”

27 Dec

PYONGYANG–North Korea’s vibrant internet startup community continued to suffer from ongoing connectivity problems, causing many entrepreneurs to suggest that the country’s innovation culture could be under threat.

“I love everything about this place–the deep pools of talent, the free flow of ideas, the bread made with sawdust–but if the internet stays down, I might need to retreat to California,” said Nathan Horsley, the CEO of iPurge, an innovative P2P oppression service based here.

Hubbard complained that normally the internet was available on both the country’s computers. “But one has been down for weeks due to a coal shortage, and now the other one has lost internet access,” he said.

Kim Jong Un, the country’s unquestioned leader, visited the offices of WheatNet, a startup outside Nampo whose traffic app helps North Korean residents find grain that may have spilled out of trucks. He issued a statement using the country’s backup communication links, but both pigeons were eaten by hungry VC executives before they could take off.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/7a9/37750163/files/2014/12/img_0077.jpgKim Jong Un suggests to the military that they combine the wrapped and the striped candies

British spies report “undesirable nudity” in intercepted webcam chats; humiliated terrorists flock to the gym

28 Feb

LONDON—British intelligence has been intercepting millions of video chats and reports seeing “undesirable nudity” in 7% of them, causing a wave of terrorists to head to the gym to try to make their nudity a little bit more desirable, according to documents leaked here today.

“Oh, my God. I am so embarrassed,” said Kelsey Winslow, 26, who makes firebombs for a radical environmental group in Wales. “Sure, I’ve let myself go a bit during my time on the lam, but I didn’t realize it was as bad as that.” Winslow reports having started a rigorous cross-training program and says she “hopes the next leaked report gives us a better grade.”

Experts voiced concerns that the language of the report could lead to a negative body image among thousands of wanted felons, potentially leading to eating disorders. “Fugitives tend to have low self-esteem to begin with,” said Sandy Pearsall, a professor at Sheffield Medical School. “Being called names by the government is just going to make things worse.”

Not all surveillance targets accepted British intelligence’s verdict. “You call this undesirable nudity?” demanded Mohsin al-Ibrahim, 38, a member of a militant splinter faction in east London, sucking in his gut and flexing. “Look at the guns!” he shouted, kissing his own bicep. “Like pythons!”

A spokesman for the British government refused to answer questions, although, departing from his prepared text, he did note that “there are certain angles and lighting from which Mr. al-Ibrahim’s self-assessment is not entirely accurate.”

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Hobbits climb Mt. Gox; throw 750,000 bitcoins into Cracks of Doom

26 Feb

MORDOR, Tx—the titanic struggle between light and dark took a dramatic turn today as Frodo Baggins successfully climbed Mt. Gox and threw 6% of the world’s bitcoin supply into the Cracks of Doom. The mountain immediately went offline and received an FBI subpoena.

“It’s a surprising outcome for all of us,” said Cameron, or perhaps Tyler, Winklevoss, who had been marching towards Mordor at the head of his Army of Douches. “Nevertheless, I still think bitcoin is a brilliant investment for everyone. And you should listen to me, because of my long track record of shrewd business decisions.”

It was unclear to experts how exactly 750,000 bitcoins, which are supposed to be indestructible and are purely digital, had simply vanished on Mt. Gox. Concerns immediately spread among vendors of comic books, weird sci-fi costumes, and fake lightsabers.

“Everything is absolutely fine,” said Mark Karpeles, smiling calmly as he stood in front of the Mt. Gox building, which was on fire and being attacked by some kind of demon lizard. “I’m sure everybody’s money is perfectly safe.”

Facebook buys some dude with a fax machine for $146 billion

20 Feb

MENLO PARK, CA—shocking the tech world with another bold acquisition, Facebook today acquired SuperChat, a startup described on its web page as “some dude with a fax machine” who creates doodles and then faxes them to random numbers around the world.

“SuperChat is the logical next step in our strategy of overpaying for tiny businesses with no revenue,” said Mark Zuckerberg in a statement. “Let no one question our commitment to enabling pointless time-wasting communications between strangers.”

The founder and sole employee of SuperChat, fourteen-year-old Mike McDermott of Mountain View, CA, seemed to take the deal with equanimity.

“I’ve been doing this for literally weeks, and I expect to keep doing it for weeks longer,” said McDermott. “Having enough money to build a supervillain secret-volcano lair doesn’t really change anything, except for the fact that I’ll have a supervillain secret-volcano lair.”

Analysts applauded the move. “One thing we know in the social-media space is that you have to keep moving,” said a report from UBS. “Random, value-destroying acquisitions show that Facebook isn’t going to get stale any time soon.”

Deep fears for America’s competitiveness as Russell Johnson, “The Professor” on Gilligan’s Island, dies at 89

17 Jan

SEATTLE—concern over America’s scientific and engineering capabilities grew today as Russell Johnson, better known as “The Professor” on Gilligan’s Island, died yesterday at age 89.

The cause was a falling coconut, family members reported.

Johnson was well-known for his pioneering ability to build sophisticated telecommunications products using only items commonly found on desert islands. After developing a series of radio receivers out of palm fronds in the 1960s, he went on to develop a range of mobile devices using fish parts, rocks, and native vegetation.

Working before the rise of the venture-capital industry, Johnson’s many startups were funded primarily by longtime friend and neighbor Thurston Howell III, who made a second fortune commercializing Johnson’s many inventions.

Although Johnson had been less active in recent years, he said recently that he felt vindicated to learn that his signature “clamshell” phone was experiencing a resurgence in popularity.

Microsoft buys Nokia handset business for $7 billion; BlackBerry, Enron, Mondale campaign next on shopping list

4 Sep

REDMOND, Washington—in a bold move designed to turn around the flagging fortunes of Windows Phone, Microsoft announced yesterday that it was buying the cellphone manufacturing business of Nokia for $7 billion.

“This exciting news will enable us to leverage the best cellular technology of the mid-1990s,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at a press conference. “We look forward to introducing flip phones to Microsoft customers in the coming months.”

While many experts see Nokia’s best days as behind it, Ballmer disagreed, explaining that the biggest debates within Microsoft had been whether Nokia’s technology was sufficiently mature for Microsoft to use.

“We usually like to acquire products once they’ve had ten, fifteen years of stasis, just to make sure all the kinks are worked out,” said Ballmer. “Nokia’s had the same phones for about eight years, so it’s a little new and unproven, but we’re willing to take the chance.”

If the Nokia deal is successful, Ballmer said, Microsoft would look at other organizations that “haven’t done anything in the last ten years” for possible acquisition. He cited BlackBerry, Enron (“Very stable since 2002”) and Walter Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign as possibilities.

Ballmer, who is stepping down as Microsoft CEO at the end of the year, said he was really pleased to have “one more chance to throw shareholder cash down the toilet” before leaving the company.

One of Microsoft's customers, using Nokia's latest phone

One of Microsoft’s customers, using Nokia’s latest phone

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