Category: Fun Stuff

Copy machines pose unlikely security threat

copycatEvery office has them and although paperless offices are the new black, copy machines will probably be around for years to come. However, thousands of old copies stored on hard drives will also stick around.

Most copy machines built in the last decade have a hard drive and can store thousands of documents scanned, copied or emailed using the machine. Some hard drives are big enough to store 60,000 to 100,000 pages of data, so these benevolent dinosaurs are in fact massive security threats lurking in the corner, next to the water cooler.

Tesco takes on Netflix with free video streaming service

tesco-blinkboxTesco is apparently gearing up to introduce a new free TV streaming service called Clubcard TV. The beta trial is only available to Tesco staff for the time being, but when it officially launches it will be available to card-carrying Clubcard members and Tesco says it will be “free forever”.

There will be no charges, no contracts nor  subscription fees. Tesco says the service is basically “a thank you to our customers”. Clubcard TV is based on Blinkbox technology. Tesco bought 80 percent of Blinkbox in 2011, so the move is hardly surprising.

The service works in a similar way to Netflix, but unlike Neflix it is completely free and it doesn’t have nearly as much content. It will not offer the latest TV shows or movies. Although it is said to feature thousands of movies and TV shows, most of them are pretty old. At least there are some golden oldies, such as early Batman and Superman movies, along with some ancient British sitcoms.

While it might not be a proper Netflix competitor, at least it will be free and available to millions of Tesco shoppers.

Channeleye’s likely tips for new Pope

Leo-I_Attila_Raphael-(1)With Pope Benedict announcing that he is cleaning out his desk and collecting his pink slip, Channel Eye has come up with a list of those who it thinks will have the right stuff to be the next Pope. Now we know that one of the jobs of the Pope is to be Catholic, but given that the church is unlikely to survive another 100 years unless it liberals up a bit, we have given our nominations on the basis that if they can run an IT company they can probably look after the world’s largest religious organisation.

1. Steve Ballmer
Ballmer is already half way to the job by having the inner certainty that he is God. Ballmer would sort out most of the Catholic church’s problems by shouting at them until they go away. Pope Ballmer would probably encourage cardinals to make all sorts of power plays so long as they left him alone. We predict that under his rule, the Catholic church would adopt wide scale contraception to avoid another Ballmer.

2. Sir William Gates
Since resigning from Microsoft’s top job, Gates has been heading towards sainthood. Not only is he well on the way of purging Africa from the devilish mosquito, his various charity work is now healing the sick of Polio. If he were appointed Pope, Gates would closely monitor other religions and then try to mimic their success.

3. Steve Jobs
A tricky choice for the church given that he is already dead, however, that has not stopped him being the head of the world’s fastest growing religion. Chances are that thanks to Apple technology he could do the job from the afterlife, all it would take is to replace all those videos of him with an iPad so that he appears to be holding a bible. We predict that under the rule of Jobs, which would be eternal, you would have to pay half of your salary to the church every year and queue to get into the sermons.

4. Leo Apotheker
A bit ofan  outsider but given that Cardinal Ratzinger was a similar figure within the Catholic church, and it is known for being fairly conservative, we think he could be a starter. Pope Apotheker would start by selling off all the churches and training all priests so that they could handle business management software, like SAP. While many people will not understand why the Catholic Church should dump everything it makes money on and moving into business software, Apotheker would point out that this was exactly the same plan he would have run for HP if those pesky board members had not been involved.

5. Michael Dell
Although he might be a little busy for the job, Michael Dell will abandon all the churches and tell his priests to take their services directly to parishioners. However, if this plan starts to go wrong, he will do a deal with Microsoft to buy out the Church from its Mafia backers and make himself the supreme pontiff and not have to answer to anyone.

6. Paul Otellini
Paul Otellini is retiring soon so might be up for the job, as he is a big fan of monopolies and will probably rule the Catholic Church in the same way as he did at Intel. This would involve leaning on the supplies of other religions and advising them to follow the Roman Catholic Church. Then the other religions would go broke and collapse. In some cases, where they had interesting theology, Intel might buy up their patents and incorporate them into Catholic theology.

Review: D&G Light Blue scent for women

light blueD&G’s Light Blue perfume for women may not be a new kid on the fragrance block, but for many it’s as classic and uplifting as Laurel and Hardy.

Often found wafting from 25-30 year olds, who have held the scent close to their hearts since those teenage summer holidays when finding the nearest fishbowl or perfect dress were the only problems in the world, it’s now grown up with them, filling the nostrils of commuters on buses and trains across the country.

Although worn as an everyday, all season fragrance, to us this scent, which has been lingering since 2001, screams summer – thanks to its light, playful citrus tones.

However, there’s also a feisty element thanks to the tart fruity notes, which are mixed with the softer Sicilian citron, bluebell, Granny Smith apple, and white rose hints, which add more than a touch of sophistication.

The pros of this mix are that it’s light, non invasive and won’t leave an overpowering smell in that office lift. Like many perfumes, which can change in smell a few minutes after they have been sprayed onto that wrist or neck, this fragrance stays honest, remaining the same as it did from when it came out of the bottle.

The cons? Like that spotty teenage holiday romance it doesn’t last long, and five minutes after you’ve sprayed, you may find yourself needing to top it up again.

The fact that it doesn’t change once sprayed also means that it smells the same on everybody, while the sheer popularity means that you won’t exactly stand out from the crowd.

Perhaps not a bad Valentine’s present for those Hugh Heffner wannabes who have more than one gift to buy this year.

From around £40 for 100ML.

 

 

 

Men become shopping lapdogs to their WAGs

ChihuahuaBritain is breeding a generation of men bearing thumbprints on their foreheads, if recent retail research is to be believed.

Gone are the days when men sat in the pub watching their sport and women took this opportunity to shop, with Debenhams claiming “a huge number of men” are using its free wi-fi in stores to catch up on the sport they are missing by shopping with their missus.

Sites such as BBC Sports, Sky Sports, LiveScore and YouTube were found to be the most popular, with the lapdogs telling Debenhams they were spending an average of thirty minutes on their mobiles checking the latest results, watching video clips and sharing their reactions on Facebook, while their other halves spent the cash.

The retailer has decided to cash in on these soft touches and their joined at the hip ladies, by offering “sport-starved men forced to miss the weekend’s big matches”,  Internet crèches”.

It’s promising its free wireless service to men who are waiting for their WAGs to spend the money and missing out on the range of sport events, including  Six Nations Rugby and Premier League football, taking place.

Men can grab a comfy chair in any of the retailer’s cafés where they can use the in-store Wifi to browse the internet free. They’ll also be treated to a free cup of tea or coffee so they can avoid being dragged around looking at clothes or having to wait outside the fitting room – is it just us, or does this totally defeat the point of going shopping together.

Helen Lacey, a spokeswoman for the company said men were “over the moon” that they could keep up-to-date with all the latest sporting news.

Get drunker by using diet soda as a mixer

boozebeltCutting calorie intake is a good idea, but it appears that mixing diet soda with alcohol might not be the best way of going about it.

A new study released in the journal Alcoholism, which we get for obvious reasons, suggests that diet soda can make long drinks quiet a bit more potent. Regular soft drinks stimulate the stomach in much the same way as a meal, but sugar free drinks don’t.

As every teen learns the hard way, having some food in your stomach delays emptying, hence it delays alcohol absorption as well. Since diet beverages don’t trigger the stomach to delay emptying, they allow alcohol to reach the bloodstream more quickly.

“The results were surprising,” Cecile A. Marczinski, assistant professor in the department of psychological science at Northern Kentucky University, told ABC News.  “We are talking about significant differences here. (…) Participants who drank diet soda with vodka had blood alcohol contents as high as 18 percent more than when sugar-containing mixers were used.”

Petros Levounis, director of the Addiction Institute of New York, pointed out that southern European countries have lower rates of alcoholism in spite of increased alcohol intake for similar reasons.

“They always drink while eating,” he said.

However, based on our extensive experience and field trials, we can offer an alternative explanation – people in southern European countries tend to lie more. Just ask Greek creditors.
Marczinski argued that the choice of mixer can make a significant difference and that mixing diet soda with spirits could potentially have harmful consequences.

“In the long run, it’s more harmful for your body to be exposed to a higher alcohol concentration than a few extra calories,” she said.

However, the jury is still out on Marczinski’s findings. Boris Tabakoff, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said the study involved subjects drinking three to four drinks over a five-minute period.

“Few if any bars will serve you a drink that strong,” he said. “If you want to chug your alcohol to the point of consuming the equivalent of three to four drinks in five minutes, you should not worry about calories.”

He added that alcohol is packed with calories, so calorie-conscious drinkers would be better off limiting their alcohol intake than choosing sugar-free coke or Perrier with their whisky.

Church of Scientology runs Apple inspired Super Bowl ad

scientology-adThe Church of Scientology ran a rather amusing Super Bowl ad in several cities and the ad was apparently inspired by Apple.

Everything, from the music, narration and the clean post-production points to Cupertino, although it’s nothing like Apple’s iconic 1984 ad. However, it is a lot like Apple’s 1997 “Think Different” spot.

The ad speaks about seekers of knowledge, freethinkers, non-conformists, rebels, artists and a bunch of other New Age woo. The only thing missing is an iMac at the end.

The ad is part of the organisation’s “knowledge” campaign, which is rather amusing as the Church of Scientology has gone to great lengths to prevent the publication of its religious texts, which are copyrighted.

But you can always Google Xenu or visit RationalWiki for more information on Scientology’s beliefs. The Church of Scientology is often accused of being a money grabbing cult. So it is not that different from Apple after all.

Much like Apple, the Church of Scientology was created to change the world and generate a bit of cash for its founder. The other version is that it was the result of a bet. However, unlike Apple, which was launched by a couple of geeks who really did change the world, the Church of Scientology was launched by L. Ron Hubbard, a science fiction writer who spent much of his life on the run from US authorities. It did not change the world. Also, Apple designers tend to have better taste.

It is based on Dianetics, an atrocious attempt at pseudoscience and spirituality written by Hubbard at a time when he was struggling to make rent. Apple also enjoys a cultish following, but even Tom Cruise and John Travolta would struggle if they tried to turn the iTunes Terms and Conditions into a religious text. Hubbard would not, and he would probably copyright it to boot.

 

Iran proudly shows off stealth jet and folk fall for it

iranian-fake-jet-1The Iranian PR machine pulled off another stunt over the weekend, proudly proclaiming that the country’s top boffins managed to develop a super advanced fighter jet. Dubbed the Qaher F-313, the mockup was unveiled during a ceremony to commemorate the 39th anniversary of the Islamic revolution and quite a few dignitaries turned up to spice up the show, including President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi.

State media covering the event were quick to point out that the plane was indigenously designed and produced in Iran. Vahidi said the jet could evade radar thanks to its very low radar cross section and its capability to conduct low-level operations. Press TV reports that the aircraft is similar to the F/A-18 and the F-5E/F Tiger II, although it looks nothing like the two Northrop designed planes. In fact, the mockup looks like the lovechild of an F-35 and X-36, with one small difference. Iran’s stealth jet is a fake, and a bad one at that.

The images show a tiny jet with an oversized cockpit. The canopy material seems to be plexiglass and the cockpit is just plain ridiculous. It features a mix of cheap avionics for homebuilt aircraft, including an audio panel, transponder and NAV/COM courtesy of Garmin. Basically it is the sort of thing some ultra-light enthusiast would botch together in a shed. The avionics don’t even appear to be wired. The canopy mechanism is all wrong and even the size of the cockpit is ridiculous, as it doesn’t appear to be spacious enough to accommodate a pilot.

iranian-fake-jet-2
The air intakes are tiny, the wing doesn’t look like any airfoil NACA would bless with its stamp of approval, even on a bad day. There is no engine on board, either. The skin of the aircraft also looks funny, with plenty of imperfections on all surfaces. It also features huge, fixed canards and a tiny nose, way too small to accommodate a decent radar. It looks like something straight out of a video game and we would love to meet the poor coder who is supposed to develop its fly-by-wire software.

However, in spite of everything, plenty of journalists and anti-globalist conspiracy kooks fell for it, in what can only be described as a stunning display of gullibility. Some even went on to say that Iran already has a functioning prototype, since they couldn’t tell the difference between a tiny RC model shown in a state TV video and a 5th generation fighter jet. Apparently the sound of a screeching turbofan dubbed over the footage was enough to fool them.

Iran has a long tradition of rolling out vaporware and countless paper projects. Iranian spinners often talk about fancy defence projects, including indigenous tanks, missiles and superfast torpedoes. Most of them never get built in any significant numbers, so Iran’s defence projects are a bit like Google’s Nexus gear. In this case, it’s more of a paper mache affair than a paper project.

On a related note, last month Iran announced that it managed to send a monkey into space and bring it back safely to the earth. However, western observers now claim there is no evidence that the suborbital flight was successful. Iran released some press photos of the monkey, but on closer inspection it turned out that the images show two different animals. One of them apparently bought the farm.

Brother sticks cash into marketing

broombroomBrigitte labels everything, even her labels. And her post-its. Reminiscent of the Fast Show’s office clown dipped in a large and sticky vat of social anxiety, Brigitte has turned her obsessive compulsive disorder into a way to cheer up the office.

 

 

 

Actually, printing company Brother UK found Brigitte somewhere in a £1.5 million marketing kitty, and it hopes her feverish habit will enourage companies to spend more on its labelling machines. Following a TV campaign last year, Brother UK boasted that label printer sales rose 52 percent.

There’s an opportunity to win a holiday to Mexico – by answering the question at the end of the video – as well as a concerted effort to build online advertising and social media engagement, Brother says.

“Our intention is to shake up the labeling market with innovative and surprising marketing activity that clearly communicates product benefits, but with a sense of humour,” James Lawton-Hill, head of marketing, said.

YouTube user Peepingbotham said: “Keep making clips using attractive women and I’ll (as well as lots of other people) will keep watching, and maybe even even buy a label printer. ATTRACTIVE women, though. Not the one with the tattoos.”

Another added: “She seems very immature to be in management, but very cute, quite like to have seen a full length shot of her, I assume she has OCD, nevertheless adorable!”

A spokesperson for Brother UK told ChannelEye that the video, concept, script and strategy were put together by Manchester-based Code Computerlove, while the film was produced and directed by Chief Productions. “We’ve had a great response to the video so far and a large number of entrants to the competition,” the spokesperson said.

 

Peugeot unveils hybrid-air powertrain for superminis

psa-air-drivetrainFrench carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen is taking the road less travelled with its latest concept car. The company has developed a hybrid gasoline vehicle that does not rely on batteries to store energy. The PSA Hybrid Air system uses compressed air instead.

The oddly shaped concept is said to be very efficient and it should achieve 81 miles per gallon, with very low carbon dioxide emissions to boot. The idea of using compressed air to store energy has been around for ages, but Peugeot engineers believe it might give their eco-cars a competitive edge in the future.

Hybrid cars usually rely on costly and heavy battery packs to store energy. According to Fast Company, the typical battery pack used in hybrids and electric vehicles costs about $11,000. Battery packs are bulky, heavy and they have a limited lifecycle, which is not the case with a simple compressed air system.

However, there are quite a few downsides to Peugeot’s approach. Air compressors are not very efficient and compressed air can’t match the efficiency or energy density of batteries or liquid fuels. So, although compressed air is a cheap and simple way of storing energy, a lot of energy is wasted in the process.

Peugeot hopes the simplicity and low cost of its approach outweighs the drawbacks. Compressed air cars should end up a lot cheaper than battery based hybrids and the simple, low-tech approach should allow designers to incorporate it into existing cars with relative ease.

Peugeot’s compressed air technology is intended for small B and C segment vehicles, with engines up to 110 horsepower. Like other hybrid designs, PSA’s Hybrid Air features regenerative breaking and it can operate in three modes, compressed air only, internal combustion or a combination of the two for peak power.

In terms of fuel efficiency, hybrid air vehicles could deliver 45-percent savings in fuel usage and a 90-percent increase in range compared to a similar vehicle powered by a traditional petrol engine.

PSA plans to start fitting the new drivetrain to several B-segment models in 2016 and it could license the technology to other carmakers.

High Street misses out on maternity fashion buzz

bumpHigh Street stores are reluctant to stock maternity clothes because they fear there will be too much training involved, a retail analyst has suggested.

However a fashion expert, who writes for maternity fashion site Does My Bump Look Good in This?, has disagreed, claiming stores are missing out on a huge demand in the market.

Maternity fashion has become increasingly popular over the past few years, with expectant women, especially those in the business world, relying on this line to keep their style from the first stages of their pregnancy to the very end.

“It’s no longer about tracksuit bottoms and leggings,” a fashion expert pointed out.

“Women want to embrace the latest styles, and stay on-trend through the nine months, and maternity lines are great for doing this,” she added.

However, retailers have been slow to offer this on the shop floor, with small ranges only offered in large flagship stores, which many people are unable to easily get to.

And although there is an abundance of maternity fashion online, it can often be hard for pregnant women to order clothes over the net as a result of their changing figures.

“The high street is missing out on a huge boat,” the fashion expert pointed out.

“Pregnant women want to be able to try before they buy, especially when it comes to jeans and dresses, by not offering these ranges in many stores, retailers are alienating customers wishing to spend, on what is essentially a new wardrobe.”

Clive Longbottom, an analyst at Quocirca, however, had a different view claiming the demand wasn’t there with women only looking to purchase maternity wear later on in their pregnancy.

“[Women who] have gone through pregnancy will use standard clothes for as long as possible, maybe moving from a 12 to a 14 (well, a dress size or two) during the first four or five months and only then look to maternity wear as a move further up would result in badly fitting clothes,” he said.

“I think the majority will then go through a period of still wanting to look good – but towards the end (say, seven months on), comfort becomes the major concern, so elasticated waists and blouses that can billow a little may be OK for many.”

He said  this left the main high street shops with a problem as they would then have to come up with a set of designs that fitted in with their standard seasonal offering for a group that was only a small part of a small part of their target audience – those who were more than four or five months pregnant but less than seven months pregnant – in lots of different sizes.

He also pointed out that staff would have to be trained to deal with the needs that a pregnant person has in making sure that things were not too tight.

“Overall, a lot of cost for little return,” he said.

“Leaving it to Mothercare and other specialist stores where women can go, be amongst others in the same position and who will give more balanced judgments than “you still look fat in that”,” would work better he added.

However, the fashion expert disagreed, claiming maternity fashion was no different to other ranges stocked.

“There’s tall, plus size and petite ranges in high street stores, and you don’t see trained staff around for those.

“Maternity is, in my view, just another range. Pregnant women don’t lose their sense of style just because they are having a baby. They don’t need a trained staff member to advise them, they just need a range they can wear, and style themselves.

“The problem is that in so many stores there isn’t this choice, which means women have to try and shop off the rack- this is more likely to warrant trained staff,” she added.