From the "We're not sure how we feel about this" department: People attending the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas have a new way to get online -- homeless people. The Bartle Bogle Hegarty marketing firm has launched a non-profit drive called "Homeless Hotspots." Basically, they supply homeless Austin residents with a 4G MiFi hotspot; the homeless people wear a shirt listing their name and access info for the hotspot; and you give the homeless person a donation (which he then keeps) to use the connection.
Consumers downloaded the Windows 8 Consumer Preview over a million times in less than 24 hours, but we're willing to bet that the majority of those downloads came from the technically inclined rather than, say, your parents. The tech world has already proclaimed what it likes and doesn't like in Windows 8 -- but do everyday people really care if W8 has an enhanced contact app? Can everyday people even locate the contact app in W8? Lockergnome's Chris Pirillo decided to put the W8 interface to the test by plopping his elderly father down in front of the new OS with no introduction.
Hey, are you "overly concerned about privacy" online or use anonymizers and Web portals? Do you like to check your ISP-provided email account on the road? How about talking to your cohorts in PC games? Yeah? Well, here's some bad news: according to the FBI and DoJ, there's a good chance that you're a terrorist if you do any of that in an Internet café -- and they encourage others to track your license plate, ethnicity, name and more if you exhibit any of those "potential indicators."
And here we thought videogame cut-scenes were the most ridiculous thing Activision would ever suggest we'd spend money on. Turns out, that was just a warm-up. The main event of this incredibly avant garde assault on our wallets? A Call of Duty: Black Ops-branded 2011 Jeep Wrangler. That's right: a friggin' truck. And the price of admission for entry into this very, very exclusive sect of the Call of Duty fan club? Oh, nothing too big. Just $33,500. Pocket change, right?
So, what kind of crazy-cool gadgets and Mountain Dew-fueled rocket boosters are you getting with your Call of Dutymobile? Well, uh, there's some Black Ops art on the roof and front quarter panels. And also... oh, wait. That's it. If it's any consolation, though, the car's going to be drivable in Black Ops – hopefully in the game's Cold War sections to promote the 2011 Wrangler's new addition of a flux capacitor.
"It was important for us to make sure that the Jeep partnership would be authentic and enhance the setting we immerse our fans in with Black Ops," said Mark Lamia, studio head at Treyarch. "Our work with the Jeep team focused around using the Jeep Wrangler in our levels, and gameplay experiences, and translating the style and look of the vehicle in Black Ops to the Jeep on the showroom floor that our fans can own."
So, er, yeah. This is happening. We pinched ourselves just to make sure and everything. Granted, we expect to see someone ride by on a unicorn before we actually catch a glimpse of one of these things in the wild, but still.
There are sore losers, like those who don't shake hands and congratulate the winning team after losing a hotly contested basketball game, and then there's Julien Barreaux, a Frenchman who doesn't like to lose at Counter Strike. And considering what he reportedly did, it isn't much fun to win against him either.
According to a NYDailyNews.com report, Barreaux simmered for 6 months as he tried to track down the gamer who had the gall to kill his online Counter Strike character in a virtual knife fight. He eventually found the skilled, albeit incredibly unlucky gamer and allegedly proceeded to stab him in the chest with a real knife. Repeatedly. In the man's own home.
"Barreaux was arrested wthin the hour and told us he had wanted to see his rival wiped out for killing off his character," a police officer testified at the trial.
The victim ultimately survived, though not for lack of trying to murder him. Barreaux missed the victim's heart by less than an inch. Had his aim been better, Barreaux likely would be looking at more jail time, but as it stands, he'll serve just two years behind bars and receive anger management therapy.
Think the sentence is too light? So do we, but if it makes you feel any better, Judge Alexiane Potel had some strong words for Barreaux, calling him a "menace to society" (on an unrelated note, that's a great movie if you're into that sort of thing).
"I am frankly terrified of the disproportionate reaction you could have if someone looked at you the wrong way in the street," the judge continued.
And thanks to the light sentence, he'll be on the streets in no more than 24 months from now.
Weren't expecting us back so soon? Well get used to it—the Maximum PC No BS Podcast is back at it's regularly-schedule Friday afternoon timeslot. This weeks episode sees the gang discussing the Nexus One, Internet Explorer 9, and the possibility of a new Commodore computer. Nathan has his Brando moment, and Gordon serves up a big bottle of W.T.F.
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at email@example.com or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are standing by.
Today's WTF moment is brought to you by AOL. The struggling ISP recently told investors it would spend $200 million trimming down a large portion of its staff, but up until now, the suits in charge didn't say how they planned to do it. According to CEO Tim Armstrong, AOL is looking for "up to 2,500 volunteers," CNet reports.
Raising your hand for a pink slip doesn't quite have the same effect as barging into the boss man's office and telling him to to 'take this job and shove it,' so we're curious how AOL's volunteer program plays out.
The 'step forward and enjoy the holidays on unemployment' program begins on December 4, just a few days before AOL spins off from Time Warner. So in other words, AOL employees must choose whether to leave on their own free will and start the job hunt right away, or roll the dice and hope they won't end up with a pink slip anyway as AOL moves to cut its annual operating expenses by $300 million. Sounds about as much fun as Russian Roulette, but hey, at least the investors are happy.
Open-source beer. Were it only as easy as walking to the store and picking up a free case of alcoholic something that's been built and licensed by a team of geeks. At the very least, we can all can build our own booze-making machines following a handy set of open-source software and hardware instructions. But the fun doesn't stop there.
What is open-source hardware? I've chatted about this before. In short, open-source hardware is be a combination of software code and hardware instructions (or, really, just the latter) that's given to you for a set price (not necessarily "free as in beer") and license for use. You're free to use the instructions to develop carbon copies of that which you wish to build, or create derivative works of said hardware, provided you offer up your diagrams/code/instructions under the same licensing as you received it.
Now that's out of the way, let's check out the open-source home brewery kit along with a few other crazy projects from the OSH world!
Google wants to make sure you never again send an email that you later wish you could take back. Problem is, once that angry letter or drunken confession flies out of your outbox, the damage has been done and it's only a matter of time before the recipient reads it. If only there could have been someone by your side to force you to solve math problems before allowing you to send that email! Wait, what?
Now there will be, and it's called Mail Googles. Once enabled, Mail Goggles will subject you to a handful of math equations that must be answered before that email can be whisked away for good.
"When you enable Mail Goggles, it will check that you're really sure you want to send that late night Friday email," writes Jon Perlow, a Gmail engineer. "And what better way to check than by making you solve a few simple math problems after you click send to verify you're in the right state of mind?"
Hit the jump to post your thoughts on this one, but first, what's 86-32?