Follow This: The Tech Year in Tweets
We've been collaborating on the @PCWPluggedIn Twitter feed since September 27 of last year. Our mission: to find the humor in such fundamentally humorless tech-related phenomena as work, robots, vanishing privacy, online scams, patent infringement lawsuits, Steve Ballmer, and Steve Jobs.
Over the past year, we've posted some 1375 tweets on these and other tech subjects, tying each one to a story newly posted on PCWorld.com. Going through all of the entries is like reading a demented tech diary written by someone who has no attention span whatsoever. Still, certain recurring themes of 2010-2011 emerge: Facebook's privacy issues, the media's fascination with the white iPhone, the contested triumph of the tablet, the depredations of Anonymous, and endless tech industry litigation.
In this collection, we revisit some of our favorite tweets from @PCWPluggedIn, covering the months from October 2010 through March 2011. Next week we'll take you the rest of the way through the year.
“Smart” traffic signals coming http://ow.ly/2N8FG. I’d prefer a chip in drivers’ brains so they’d use the $&#%* turn signal.
7 ways to stay fit w/o leaving your cubicle? http://ow.ly/2PtJU. No mention of the most effective: a sturdy chain & no food.
North Korea launches 1st official site http://ow.ly/2Rc4Z. "Glorious DPRK demands access to Star Wars Kid training video," says Kim Jong-un.
Huge, body-controlled Tetris game in Madrid http://ow.ly/2T6k1. Event was preceded by traditional Running of the Blocks.
New technology lets body organs send updates to your phone. http://ow.ly/2TX6n. Be still my tweeting heart!
Human-punching robots test our pain threshold http://ow.ly/2VvN3. "Science schmience. I’d do this for free," says unit X6G97.
Google apologizes for collecting personal data http://bit.ly/bRqVsW. "Ned Zils of 9 Mason St, Flint, MI looks especially upset. Sorry, Ned!"
Japanese robot can investigate crawlspaces http://bit.ly/9ZQBzQ. Firmware update lets it negotiate with raccoons, skunks.
Facebook tool lets visitors track evolving friend relationships http://goo.gl/PmNK. Advance hailed by PIs, divorce lawyers.
Are custom ads getting too personal? http://goo.gl/1tS4. "Don't deny you need a great deal on suppositories," ads respond.
Artist conducts Lego frog dissection http://goo.gl/Wijze. However, attempt to pith Lego frog fails painfully.
North Korea gets new PDA http://goo.gl/CU5Lc. Consumers line up to buy it after rumor spreads that it is edible.
Youngest black hole discovered http://goo.gl/gjvNH. 30-year-old denies being vortex of emptiness, just hasn't found "the right one" yet.
500 million people to use mobile health apps by 2015 http://goo.gl/wTGwK. But 6 billion to use GPS apps to find nearest McDonalds.
Murdoch, Jobs teaming on news app http://goo.gl/R6CyF. Meetings to occur at Superdome to accommodate both egos.
4G label becoming meaningless http://goo.gl/6YxaM. "We should have held the line at the deeply meaningful 3G," analysts say.
Mac Pro desktop rejects sleep mode http://goo.gl/6tJrA. Blames insomnia on Apple's infatuation with "trophy tablet."
Robots don't need us anymore http://goo.gl/QidBL. But they still ask if they can borrow the car next weekend.
Apple responds to Android threat, recruits lawyers http://goo.gl/6b0Om. Suggested new company slogan: "Think litigious."
Analyst: Google Chrome OS is no Windows killer…yet http://goo.gl/b1Dyt. Fact that Windows is still alive is "important clue."
Violinist's $2m Stradivarius stolen while she focused on iPhone games http://goo.gl/Eqcy5. Plans to end tour with ringtone concert.
NASA sells PCs containing secret data http://goo.gl/jwr5n. Luckily, WikiLeaks already posted all the sensitive material.
Yahoo pulls plug on AltaVista http://goo.gl/TikZ5. Remaining six users ponder switch to Magellan.
Attempt to rob restaurant with iPhone “gun” fails http://goo.gl/e215I. I bet the Justin Bieber ringtone gave him away.
Next: The new year begins...
The New Year Begins
Darth Vader to make CES announcement http://goo.gl/g0jT2. Vegas odds are 5-1 on "I am your father, Steve."
NVIDIA shows beer keg pc case mod http://bit.ly/gGHJXf. Unfortunately, booth visitors rapidly deplete liquid coolant.
Facebook denies tabloid story that it’s closing http://goo.gl/ZNQaD. But alien baby confirms it is Snooki Polizzi's lovechild.
How to tell good from bad tech consultants http://goo.gl/HYOr1. Beware if they refer to your toaster as an "all-in-one."
Taiwan develops face-recognition vending machine http://goo.gl/8r7yP. Frequent customers greeted with cheery, "Hi, Porky!"
Microsoft finds source of heavy data usage in Windows Phone 7 http://j.mp/hzUA8u. Evidently some tween got hold of it.
Cisco: Puppy cams threaten Internet http://goo.gl/vgdIb. We’d worry more about a possible Assange joint venture, PetLeaks.
Intel developing zero-day-proof security system http://goo.gl/2loLW. Here we call that the off button.
FBI seeks Anonymous with 40 search warrants http://goo.gl/KoIy5. Also seeking warrants for I.M. Kewl and U.R. Pwned.
iPhone 4 user sues over cracked screen http://goo.gl/tEfDy. "Why have an iPhone if you can't use it to shell pecans?" he demands.
iPad app brings Super Bowl interactivity http://goo.gl/FYQzX. Irate fans can send wired referee electric shocks.
European Commission wants personal data on air passengers http://goo.gl/VAD37. Especially the cute blonde in seat 14C.
Verizon to throttle heavy data users http://goo.gl/aHaLJ. Overweight customers cover windpipes, demand protective custody.
Experts: "Internet kill switch" a misnomer http://goo.gl/Ew4GE. "It's touchpad-based, so 'death panel' would be more accurate."
What mobile marketing trends mean for you http://goo.gl/boTWs. Just on a hunch we'd say "the ruination of mobile device use."
NLRB says employees have free speech on Facebook http://goo.gl/2AgCE. Liberty is informally known as Right to Become Suddenly Unemployed.
Writer blames texting for death of English http://goo.gl/chKME. TV, comic books, rock'n'roll, video games are "no longer suspects."
NASA downplays solar flare hype http://goo.gl/POklv. Sun is always looking for attention, astrophysicists complain.
Scientists build laser-beam-canceling anti-laser http://goo.gl/vjt41. Military seeks funding for anti-anti-laser laser research.
7 ways to avoid getting hacked by Anonymous http://goo.gl/j3wY0. Topping the list: Stress how much you admire WikiLeaks.
3D printer will print body parts in next 20 years http://goo.gl/BCkEr. In lieu of hospitalization, doctors may send attachments.
Schools battle truancy with GPS devices http://goo.gl/6SJlV. Several absent students traced to dresser drawers at home.
App manages social networks like a business. http://goo.gl/q5gvH. You'll know it's working if you aren't having any fun.
iPad 2 is 1/3 thinner than iPad 1 http://goo.gl/vqvQ5. If trend continues, expect the iSheet by 2014.
Zuckerberg gives his dog FB fan page http://goo.gl/KCk2O. "I have a better house and better food than you," updates smug canine.
Scientists design tiny computer for implanting in human eye http://goo.gl/thBZP. But the 1.2-lb power brick still needs work.
Realistic robot blurs line between man & machine http://goo.gl/hMLnG. All it wants to do is eat, sleep, and check Facebook.
Hackers make a slot machine that mixes drinks http://goo.gl/GQAPn. But you have to line up three lemons to get it to work.
Free SW pioneer: Cellphones are "Stalin's dream” http://goo.gl/afjv6. Who knew he wanted to be surrounded by oblivious jabbering strangers?
Android apps for business users http://goo.gl/BhscZ. If you work with MBAs, you need the Business Buzzword Babelizer.
Alcohol-friendly gadgets http://goo.gl/ybfrg. In case your alcohol-friendly roommate isn't denting your supplies enough already.
Sun.com name could fetch Oracle $1 million http://goo.gl/ZV6nU. Undisclosed celestial body willing to pay "whatever it takes."
"Why Tablets Are Just a Fad" http://goo.gl/arv0l. Soon to be followed by "The Internal Combustion Engine: Nine-Day Wonder."
Top 5 online 2011 tax scams http://goo.gl/HC7NX. Beware emails that begin, "Greetings. I am head of the Nigerian IRS..."
The tablet is here to stay http://goo.gl/sjS1P. That's what Moses said--twice.
AT&T's T-Mobile buyout: customers speak out http://goo.gl/lEBs8. But it's hard to hear them because they keep breaking up.
US government develops phone-wiping panic button http://goo.gl/A6Uer. That's one key you don't want to butt-dial.