April 1, 2013
Amazon Tube to Revolutionize Online Shopping
Are you frustrated with same-day delivery because it just isn't fast enough? If you want to receive your online order in minutes instead of hours, Amazon has the solution for you.
The e-commerce giant announced today that its rumored underground project is, well, underground. A spokesperson for the company revealed Amazon has started building tunnels throughout the United States in order to create a domestic underground shipping system. The goal of the new "Amazon Tube" service is to provide customers with their products in as few as five minutes after an order has been placed.
Amazon has already installed the infrastructure for the tube system beneath its main fulfillment centers. Each distribution point will connect to multiple pipelines that will serve as the underground system's backbone. The largest tubes will travel across state lines, while medium-size tubes will filter items to different cities. Small "minitubes" will carry items directly to business and residential addresses. An underground Wi-Fi network will guide each item using a wireless transmitter attached to each package.
While the tube-based delivery system may seem like a complicated engineering problem, Amazon has developed a simplified solution. Instead of a traditional box, each product ordered with Amazon Tube delivery will be placed in a spherical package that can easily roll through a tube. In order to transport items over long distances, Amazon has implemented a series of downward sloping underground tunnels and pulleys to keep items moving. Vacuum pressure will be used to suction each item to its final destination.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos promoted the new service saying, "We are thrilled to offer this convenient service to our valued customers. Amazon.com revolutionized the way consumers buy products, and Amazon Tube will revolutionize the way these products are delivered." He added, "We know that overnight shipping can be annoyingly slow and we believe we have developed the perfect solution." A company representative said the new delivery service will be free to Amazon Prime members, but will cost $80 per item for customers who have not already been pressured into signing up for Amazon Prime.
Amazon Tube is currently in the trial phase and is only available to a select number of households near the company's Seattle headquarters. These users, not-so-creatively called "test tubes," are already enjoying same-hour delivery of many of their favorite products. The company plans to roll out Amazon Tube nationwide by June 30, 2075.
April 1, 2012
Next iPad to Include a Physical Keyboard
Less than one month after releasing the new iPad, Apple has uncharacteristically revealed its plans for the next model. While several improvements were noted, the most dramatic was the addition of a physical keyboard.
According to an Apple representative, the company has recently been evaluating how to improve the ease-of-use of the iPad. The lack of a real keyboard has continually been the number one complaint. Therefore, Apple has confirmed the next iPad model will look similar to the current version, but will also include a fold-out keyboard.
One of Apple's lead designers said the keyboard will fold out on a hinge that connects the keyboard and the screen. "It's really a great design concept," he said. "You'll be able to just set the iPad on the top of your lap and easily type documents and email messages. When you aren't using the device, you can fold the keyboard against the screen and place the iPad in your backpack or a small carrying case."
Another engineer mentioned the new keyboard will include a small rectangular surface that acts as a mouse. This surface will reportedly allow users to move a cursor on the screen by dragging their fingers across it. He also stated the next iPad will include multiple USB ports on the sides. These ports will allow users to the iPad to connect common I/O devices, such as printers and digital cameras.
"We're really excited about these improvements," stated an Apple spokesperson. "We expect the new keyboard to be a hit with consumers, especially with people that actually want to do something productive with their iPads." She went on to say that a desktop version of the iPad was also in the works. The desktop model will have a much larger screen and will use a keyboard and mouse rather than a touchscreen interface. "We're thrilled with how much work people will be able to get done with this type of device," she said. Instead of iOS, the desktop iPad will run Mac OS X.
While the name of the next iPad has not been determined, a few of the names Apple is considering include "the next iPad," "the new new iPad," "the iPad Four," and "MacBook Pro."
View previous April Fool's stories.
April 1, 2011
The End of the Keyboard and Mouse
According to a recent report, the mouse and keyboard are on their way out. Thanks to advances in touchscreen technology, the standard input devices we have grown accustomed to will be obsolete by next year.
Several leading technology companies have already made plans to move on from the traditional keyboard and mouse. Apple announced it would not support "old fashioned" input devices in the next version of Mac OS X, which is slated for release this summer. When asked about the decision, CEO Steve Jobs stated, "People don't use computers to type documents anymore. They prefer to browse the Web, read books, and play 99¢ games." He also mentioned the iPhone and iPad were the computers of the future. "These devices are much more fun to use than a clunky desktop or laptop computer," he said. "By removing support for the keyboard and mouse in Mac OS X 10.7, we are making computing more enjoyable for everyone."
Microsoft, the world's leading software developer, also announced plans to phase out the aging keyboard and mouse. CEO Steve Balmer said, "Windows has supported touchscreen input for many years. We have been waiting for the right moment to completely eliminate the keyboard and mouse, and now is the time." Windows 8 is rumored to not include any device drivers for keyboards or mice. Additionally, the system will immediately delete any mouse or keyboard drivers installed by the user. Balmer backed the company's decision saying, "The future of computing is in the cloud. You don't need a mouse and keyboard when you're working in the cloud."
So how will computers of the future be controlled, if not with a keyboard and mouse? According to a U.S. government mandate, all displays manufactured in 2012 or later must include touchscreen capability and consume 90% less energy than current models. Additionally, companies like Logitech and Kensington are busy developing new input solutions. Logitech is reportedly working with Nintendo on a 3D motion device that allows users to control their computer by simply moving their hands. Kensington is rumored to be developing some type of flat surface with no buttons, but no one knows exactly what it is or how it will be used.
According to industry experts, the abandonment of the keyboard and mouse is a huge step forward in computing. After all, pushing buttons on a screen is much more comfortable than using an ergonomic keyboard and mouse. Everyone knows it's much faster to type on a tablet than an actual keyboard. And who needs a mouse when you can simply use your finger point to shiny objects on a screen? Oh keyboard and mouse, you will be missed.
View previous April Fools' stories.
April 1, 2010
Computers to be Covered by New Health Care Bill
The United States Congress passed a sweeping heath care reform bill last week, providing health insurance for all Americans. While the bill has been the source of much debate, a small section of the 1,000+ page bill been largely overlooked. Unknown to most citizens and lawmakers alike, the bill includes a clause that allows personal computers to be among those eligible for health insurance.
The secretive section of the bill states that computers with pre-exisiting conditions, such as viruses and malware will be covered under the new plan. Computers with failing hard drives and power supplies will be covered as well. The covert clause provides coverage for all computers, including desktops and laptops, though laptops will have to pay an additional monthly premium.
Computer users have expressed mixed feelings about the bill, but some are optimistic. Bob, who was shopping for a new PC when interviewed, said he was in favor of the bill. "This is great," he replied. "I guess I don't have to buy the extended service plan now." However, after talking to the salesperson, then the manager, then the salesperson again, he decided to buy the service plan anyway. Lisa, a high school student, seemed indifferent about the bill, responding, "What's a virus? All I do with my computer is use Facebook. Wait, I'm getting a text message, hold on... Sorry, what was the question?"
Computers themselves seem excited about the bill, though some have expressed concern over the bill's fairness. Myron, a new Windows 7 based PC, stated, "It doesn't make sense that an older computer with a much slower processor and half the RAM is now eligible for the same health coverage as me." Amy, a one-year old iMac also expressed frustration, saying, "I've been virus-free for years, and now all these other computers get to join the same plan as me? C'mon people, think different." Hal, an older Unix-based system, output the message, "00101101010010110101."
Critics have also questioned the financial viability of the bill. Since insurance companies will not be allowed to deny coverage to computers regardless of the make and model, some economists predict health insurance costs will skyrocket. Others point out that with computers living longer than ever before, the new policy will simply not be sustainable. However, supporters of the bill insist that the concern over the "computer care" section is unwarranted. One supporter of the bill stated, "We're already spending over a trillion dollars that we don't have, what's a few billion more?"
The author of the PC provision is still unknown. When asked about the newly discovered article, a Republican congressman responded, "We never had anything to do with the bill to begin with. Don't blame us." A spokesperson for the Democratic party also denied knowing exactly who included the computer clause in the bill. However, he did state that the final version of the bill was printed from a computer that was later found to have a bad hard drive and a virus.
Read previous April Fool's stories.
April 1, 2009
The Internet Files for Bankruptcy
The economic downturn claimed another victim today as the Internet announced it is filing for bankruptcy. The global organization stated it has run out of bandwidth reserves and cannot continue to operate.
According to inside sources, the primary factor that led to the Internet's downfall was the purchase of too many sub-prime domain names. The U.S. government recently denied the DNS's request for a bailout, saying the organization had already been given billions of IPs, many of which are still not accounted for. The Internet's restructuring plan has also been criticized as simply virtual reality and nothing more than cyberspace. The last glimmer of hope faded when merger talks between the Internet and the intranet broke down last week after a combined subnet mask could not be finalized.
Several e-commerce companies that rely heavily on the Internet had lobbied tirelessly to save the global network, saying it was too big too fail. They emphasized the fact that the Internet is deeply linked to millions of websites across the world. Lobbyists also pointed out that if the Internet were to fail, it would negatively affect the pharming and phishing industries. However, many analysts have questioned the viability of the Internet, saying the organization's site map is far too complex and outdated to be successful. Some politicians supported the idea of breaking up the Internet into smaller entities, including the Web and E-mail. However, these and other anonymous requests were blocked by a firewall.
While the collapse of the Internet will change the world as we know it, some see a silver lining. There will be far less jargon too keep up with, and words like spam and cookie will go back to being food items. Social networking can once again be done in person and blogs can be written using a pen and paper. While the transition may be difficult for some, many are looking forward to taking some much needed time offline.
Read previous April Fools stories.
April 1, 2008
Can I Get Some Privacy Please?
Gabby Talksalot has had a bad day. And it's all because of what she calls "a complete invasion of privacy." Read her story to find out why.
"It all began when I got to school and talked with my boyfriend. He said he wasn't sure if he wanted to go out with me anymore. I was like, 'W/e, idk wat ur talking about!' He told me he read some stuff in my blog where I described my feelings for him. He said it was just too mushy for him to handle. As if! I can't believe he read my personal blog! That is so not cool. He should be ashamed of himself. I don't want 2 talk 2 him anyway. Though I really hope he calls me.
"A a few hours later, I ran into my BFF Amy on the way to class. She said she was really upset with me since I didn't invite her to the party last Friday. I could only bring one person, so I went with my BFF Sarah, since it had been like 4ever since we hung out. But I had rly hoped Amy wouldn't find out because I knew she would ttly want 2 go. I guess she saw a bunch of pictures I posted on my Facebook profile that I took at the party. I mean I only posted like 78 photos, so I'm rly surprised Amy noticed. I can't believe she would pry into my personal life like that. It's her fault for being so nosy.
"Then I got home, and my mom was like, 'Is it true that you skipped school yesterday?' I was like, 'WDYM?' She was like, 'Well, the pictures you published in your MySpace album last night, entitled "Skipping School," made me wonder.' I was like, 'OMG mom! WRUD prying into my personal life like that?' She actually viewed the photos in my MySpace album! How inconsiderate! I was like, "I only skipped one class, and it wasn't even a BD." But then my mom grounded me anyway.
"So I went to my room and blogged about my day. Then, like an hour later, I had all these new posts from total strangers saying how like not smart I was. I mean, I added them all as friends, but I've never met them, so I can't believe they would write on my wall like that. I hope they don't view my photos too. It's just such a complete invasion of privacy! I mean, 4 serious. This has been worst day ever."
When asked about how she intends to deal with the situation, Gabby replied, "IDK, I think I just need to blog about this right now. Maybe I'll take some pictures of myself that show how depressed I am and post those too."
Happy April 1st, and remember to always use discretion in what you post on social networking websites or anywhere else online.
April 1, 2007
New Eco-Friendly Computers
Recently, there has been growing public concern about the environment. Whether it is because of high gas prices, the results of global warming studies, or for other reasons, many people have taken a renewed interest in protecting the environment. This concern has not gone unnoticed by several major computer manufacturers, which have decided to jump on the environmentally conservative bandwagon.
Several computer companies have announced plans to build new environmentally-friendly computers, called eco-machines. Each company plans on incorporating unique measures to help reduce waste and save the environment. The following are a few examples of eco-machines announced by some well-known manufacturers.
Dell - The number one computer manufacturer will be introducing a new line of computers that will save resources and cut costs at the same time. Dell says it will ship its eco-friendly desktop computers in flat-packs, IKEA-style. Each computer will arrive in a flat cardboard box, no more than two inches thick. The computer will need to be assembled by the owner using a manual that describes each step using simple drawings.
Hewlett Packard - HP, well-known for its inkjet and laser printers, plans on taking the "multifunction printer" or ("MFP" for those in the know) to a new level. HP's new system, called the "MFPC," will be a computer/printer/scanner/copier device that incorporates a full printer, scanner, and copier into the computer itself. Some models will also include a fax option. HP says a single slot will be used to load paper as well as CDs, DVDs, and memory cards.
Sony - Sony's new systems will use a breakthrough media format that requires absolutely no energy to read or write to. However, the format is unlikely to catch on because it uses proprietary technology that can only be read by Sony products. The Japanese computer manufacturer also claims their new computer line will get better gas milage than American computers.
eMachines - The low-cost PC manufacturer plans to produce computers that are completely biodegradable. Once the computer becomes obsolete, the user can press a key combination that will cause the computer to overheat and burn itself up. The keyboard shortcut that starts this process is rumored to be "Control-Alt-Help."
Apple - The new ecoMac will be built using a combination of recycled Apple IIe parts and plant soil. In order to run efficiently, the machine will need to placed in direct sunlight and should be watered at least once a week. To save additional power, the user can choose from three performance levels including "Low," "Ridiculously Low," and "Hardly Even Running." The ecoMac will be Apple's first product to sport the new case color "recycled brown."
April 1, 2006
Windows Vista Delayed Indefinitely
A few weeks ago, Microsoft announced the company would not be shipping the next version of Windows, called Windows Vista, until January, 2007. This announcement followed an already long string of delays dating back to the original "release date" of 2005.
But today, Microsoft trumped all previous delays when it announced that the Windows Vista operating system would be delayed indefinitely. The release date is now officially "TBA" according to the press release. Some company insiders have also been heard referring to the release date as "sometime" or "whenever." Microsoft programmers joked that the release date is "null," implying it is undefined.
When a Microsoft representative was asked about indefinite delay, she said, "We sincerely apologize about the delay. To be honest, our programmers haven't even started on it yet. We keep almost working on [Windows Vista], but then something comes up and we put it off."
While dozens of computer manufacturers and millions of customers become increasingly impatient, Microsoft plans to temper their agitation by releasing several more Windows XP Service Packs. "New service packs consistently provide new bugs and security holes, which allow us to release more patches," said a senior engineer from the company. "This makes it seem like we are actually accomplishing something."
Meanwhile, Apple Computer has commercially released Mac OS X 10.2, 10.3, and 10.4 since (Windows XP|windowsxp XP) was introduced. Apple plans to release Mac OS X versions 10.5 through 11.2 and 73 new types of iPods by the time Windows Vista is finished.
April 1, 2005
Internet Usage Drops 80%
A recent study shows that after just 3 months into the year, the number of people using the Internet has dropped by a staggering 80 percent. While the number of Internet users has steadily increased over the past two decades, that trend has quickly reversed itself, according to the latest statistics. The numbers show that the Internet's popularity reached its peak in late 2004, but has just fallen off a cliff in 2005.
"The news is astonishing," said a market researcher from New York. "We just figured the Internet would keep growing and keep attracting more users. Apparently, we were wrong." A reporter from Seattle said she thought the growing trend of the Internet users would slow down, but not so drastically. "We saw signs of a slow down a few months ago," she said, "but nothing like this. No, not like this..."
While the significant drop in Internet usage comes as a shock to many, there are a number of people who don't seem to be surprised. Joe, a skateboarder from Minneapolis said, "I knew this whole Internet thing was just a fad. I don't understand why everybody made such a big deal out of it." Mark, a graduate student at Stanford University said, "Personally, I stopped using the Internet for research several years ago. It's just easier to go to the library and search through books on the shelf." Ashley, a high school cheerleader said, "I used to IM my friends all the time. But I missed talking to them, so now we get together and talk to each other in person. It's just, like, a lot more fun."
The news is already leading to major changes at some big companies. Bill Gates responded to the report saying, "This certainly means we need to shift our course at Microsoft. We are considering dropping the development of Internet Explorer, since it looks like there just won't be too much to explore in the coming years." He also noted that the company's next version of Windows, code-named Longhorn, would be delayed again by several years. Steve Jobs of Apple admitted the decline in Internet users would hurt sales from the iTunes Music Store, but he remained optimistic. "We are selling a ridiculous amount of iPods every day, so we're not too worried. The Internet was fun while it lasted, but we at Apple plan on innovating in other areas."
"Fun while it lasted." That seems to be the public's general consensus concerning the Internet. Yes, it was certainly one wild ride, but alas, all good things come to an end. At the current rate of decline, the number of Internet users is projected to be in the single digits by the end of the year. For most of us, it looks like it's back to the library and the post office.
Happy April Fools.
April 1, 2004
After seeing Apple's overwhelmingly successful iPod and iPod mini take over the personal music player market, Microsoft has decided to get in the game as well. The company announced plans to introduce the "Portable Media Center" (PMC) in the coming months. The pocket-size device was originally developed to play music, movies, and television. However, in recent weeks, the company announced a revision to the PMC that takes the technology to a completely new level. "The new media player will not only be able to play all your media files, but will also be able to make you coffee in the morning," explained a Microsoft spokesman. Representatives from the company declined to comment on how the technology would be implemented in such a small device.
Not content to stand on its heels, Apple Computer announced the next revision to the iPod, called the "iPod Macro." The upcoming iPod will not only play songs, but will also make coffee, tea, and include a built-in toaster. Griffin Technologies, a popular Apple accessory manufacturer, is reportedly working on a baby monitor adapter for the iPod Macro. The adapter will allow busy parents to listen to their baby in another room while simultaneously grooving to the latest Nora Jones tracks. The device is said to be only 3mm thicker and 4mm wider than the current iPod, but will weigh roughly 18 pounds.
After hearing the buzz about the two companys' pretentious portable player plans, Sony Corporation also decided to get in the action. The electronics giant announced plans for the new "Media Monster" device, which has been described as the Leatherman® of portable media players. According to a Sony representative, the new gadget will play MP3, AAC, WAV, and AIFF audio files as well as stream audio from regular radio frequencies, satellite radio, and the Internet. The device will also play all types of digital video formats and will support DVD, VHS, and even Beta. It can make coffee, tea, toast, can process cheese, and can serve as both a refrigerator and an oven. Sony claims the device can also be folded up and used as a football. Pressing a special code on the football will transform the device into an electronic dog that responds to commands, performs tricks, and avoids obstacles when it walks.
All three companies declined to provide release dates for the products.
April 1, 2003
Al Gore Advances Technology
On March 19, former Vice President Al Gore joined the Board of Directors at Apple Computer. His history of helping advance technology in the areas of education and science is seen as a valuable asset to Apple. While some have acclaimed Gore for his technology initiatives as Vice President, he has also received scorn from others for claiming he "invented the Internet."
When recently asked about his statement, Gore responded, "I don't know why people don't believe me -- it must be because I was part of the Clinton administration... and I guess that's a pretty valid reason. But it should not discount the fact that I invented the Internet."
Though only in his first days as a member of the Apple board, Gore has already taken credit for the iMac, the iPod, and the original Macintosh computer. "I am so glad that I created all of those wonderful things," he said during a recent interview. "I am as proud of the Macintosh as I am the automobile, which I invented some time in the early 1900s." When asked about his age, the former Vice President declined to comment.
Happy April 1st.
April 1, 2002
New iMacs Redefine Innovation
In a recent press conference, Apple announced their new iMac design was already getting old and planned to release a new iMac next week. While sources differ in their information, it appears that the new iMac will ship with a G3 processor, a 2 GB hard drive and 16 MB of RAM. While this seems like a substantial downgrade from the current model, CEO of the company, Steve Jobs, has a different opinion. "We plan on shipping this new iMac in a bunch of different colors. We expect high demand for the new models, because people like colors. And that's what we're going to give them." Besides the color, the new iMac will look just like the current model and cost the same, but the screen will be sold separately. Apple representitives claimed the higher price was due to "things in Asia."
In a related story, graphics hardware giant, NVIDIA, announced they would be renaming the GeForce2 chips that ship with the Apple iMacs. "We named the chips 'GeForce' because it nearly rhymed with "G4," said an NVIDIA spokesperson. "We noticed a performance increase of nearly 80% when the graphic chip's name was close to the name of the CPU." To compensate for the new G3-based iMacs from Apple, NVIDIA is planning on changing the name of the chip to the "GeThreece333." Next month, the company plans to release a chip called the "Mentium Horse" that will ship with Pentium 4 computers.
In the PC world, Gateway and Dell announced they were also working on completely revamping their computer designs. Dell representatives claimed the new machines would use a slightly lighter shade of beige, while nothing else would really change. Gateway announced their new design would feature nothing new, but that a small stuffed animal in the form of a cow would come in each box. Microsoft also announced a major upgrade to their highly-acclaimed Windows XP operating system. A Microsoft representative stated the new version will feature the same bugs and security holes as the old version, but it will include a new start-up chime. The upgrade should be available in one and a half years.
Happy First of April.
April 1, 2001
In a surprise move today, Adobe Systems announced it would aquire its main competitor, Macromedia. When asked why the merger took place, Adobe replied, "Macromedia has stolen so many of our ideas that we decided to just steal their entire company." After finding out about the merger, Apple Computer decided to jump on the bandwagon and aquire the new Adobe-Macromedia entity. In a press conference, Steve Jobs stated, "Without those two companies, we would have gone under a long time ago. I just felt it was my duty to pay them back by buying them out." Two hours later, 5000 job cuts were made and 2000 employees received notices saying they would be working full time on Apple's new operating system, Mac OS X.
Shortly after Apple's announcement, Bill Gates saw his chance. After just three hours, Microsoft completed a hostile takeover of Apple's new company. Apparently, Gates paid for it in cash. When asked why he bought the new and improved Apple company, Gates replied, "It's really no secret that our innovation and graphics departments suck. I think this is a step in the right direction." Immediately after the announcement, Macintosh fans around the world began rioting and pirating Microsoft software. Gate's innovation team creatively named the new company "Microsoft."
Just when news teams across the globe thought that this merger fiasco was over, a new player stepped into the arena. About an hour ago, the anouncement was made that the new Microsoft company, now known as "Microsoft," was being aquired by Sony, who saw this as a "golden opportunity to reach the company's goal of world domination." After all, everybody owns something made by Sony. But it doesn't end there. Just a few minutes ago, Sony announced that it had just been taken over by Yamaha, who makes musical instruments, professional audio products, snowmobiles, watercraft, factory automation products, and tennis racquets. In the press release, Yamaha spokesperson, Yee Chong Ku, said, "We make everything; this is just icing on the cake."
So, as the current situation stands, the world is now being held hostile by Yamaha Corporation. Though this may seem like a horrible string of events, most analysts believe it could have been worse. "Hey, at least we're not all hostages of Funai or Symphonic," said one Wall Street reporter. According to Bloomberg news correspondent, John Johnson, "Thank goodness Radio Shack didn't get involved. People only go there to buy cables and connectors."
So there you have it. The latest news -- straight from Sharpened.net. As always, sharpening your knowledge of computers and the Internet. Happy April Fools' Day.