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FBI gets confused on pot-smoking hackers stance

22 May 2014

Cannabis plant

Sneak was reasonably excited this week. He heard that the FBI would possibly be interested in hiring ‘stoner' hackers and immediately recognised an opportunity to clear out some rooms in his bedsit.

Yesterday, having walked through a fug of smoke to his ‘home office' Sneak read on the BBC that the FBI was facing up to a skills shortage that could possibly only be filled by the tie-dye munchie brigade. Reasonably confused, thanks to the local atmosphere, we was consoled to see that it was the FBI's director, James Comey who proposed the far-out motion.

"I have to hire a great workforce to compete with those cybercriminals, and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview," he was reported as saying at an event attended by the Wall Street Journal.

The Beeb reports that Comey was pushed on this by an attendee who asked whether a bud head 'friend' should apply for a position at the FBI. "He should go ahead and apply," he said.

The comments were surprising as the FBI usually has a no-drugs-in-the-system-for-at-least-three-years hiring policy, something of a hindrance to those who enjoy the odd doobie.

However, the headlines the comments elicited has prompted something of a turnaround from the Feds as Corney later said he was joking, a classic symptom  of pot smoking. We do not know if he added, ‘Maaaaan...'.

It reported that during a Senate hearing Corney went further, adding, "I don't want young people to use marijuana. It's against the law. I did not say that I'm going to change that ban. I said I have to grapple with the change in my workforce."

It ain't easy being green.

Apple fan pays $300,000 for lunch with CEO Tim Cook

14 May 2014

Fancy lunch with Apple CEO Tim Cook to find out about the iPhone 6, the firm's plans for the long-rumoured iWatch or just what on earth he is doing considering paying $3bn for Beats? Well a spare £200,000 should be enough.

A recent auction for lunch with Cook held by charity site CharityBuzz has closed with the winning bidder stumping up $300,001 for the honour. Clearly small change to that Apple fan, who's not been named.

Cook is clearly a charity soul as he added the chance to be a guest of honour at the next major Apple event – perhaps the iPhone 6 unveiling - to help boost the bids, which is for his charity of choice, the RFK Center for Justice & Human Rights.

Sneak is sure that such an amount is worth it. After all, Cook has been at Apple for years, learned from the master Steve Jobs, and has kept Apple ticking since taking over, so no doubt he can pass on a thing or two.

Really, though, for that much money Tim Cook should actually cook the meal as well, and provide transport costs for getting to the firm's headquarters, as this is not included in the lot, although the anonymous winning bidder can no doubt afford it.

While one Tim is basking in the clear demand that he enjoys from the public, Sneak couldn't help feeling a little sorry for another Tim - AOL chief Tim Armstrong.

So far the chance for lunch with him, and a tour of the HuffingtonPost Live studios and a taped interview, has had just one bid of $3,500, against an estimate of $25,000 from the organisers.

Don't worry, Tim, Sneak will stump up a bit to get the bids moving – you accept Bitcoin, right?

Twitter users hijack #myNYPD hashtag campaign in latest social slip-up

23 Apr 2014

Sneak is saddened to see that New York's finest have grabbed the dirty end of the Twitter promo stick.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) took to Twitter to elicit what Sneak assumes it thought would be a positive reaction to a call for photos of people and police interaction under the 'myNYPD' hashtag.

Unfortunately for the boys in blue Twitterers spun the photo request in the sort of direction that no-one in NYPD PR department will have enjoyed.

The NYPD seems to have taken all this on the chin, and said that this is just the kind of wide ranging chat that makes the internet what it is.

"The NYPD is creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community," said NYPD deputy chief, Kim Royster in a statement posted to the social networking site. "Twitter provides an open forum for an uncensored exchange and this is an open dialog good for our city."

The NYPD is not the first outfit to get caught out by the internet, and Twitter users will often leap on any slip up or error and ride it to its ultimate conclusion. Still, a little forethought about ways the campaign could go wrong would have helped.

It's not the first time Twitter has landed an organisation in hot water, that's for sure. Sneak can't be sure if this Twitter problem is worse than a rather dreadful one committed by US Airways last week.

In that instance an employee responded to an online message with a pornographic image.

Protester vomits on a Yahoo bus

04 Apr 2014

Sneak is saddened to hear that a bus transporting people who work for the firm behind his third-favourite search experience was stopped and vomited on by at least one protester.

The bus-hopping vomit posse was protesting in advance of a meeting that could clear a path to regular, and rather cheap, tech company shuttle busses. The buses are the scene of protest because they highlight a ‘how the other half live’ divide between tech workers and the rest of the community.

Sneak does not like being around sick people or people being sick, and has not liked that since he was blamed for a virulent outbreak of bad tummies during a work camping trip.

So he was disappointed to find that his favourite search company with an exclamation mark in its name had been so abused.

The vomit assault on Yahoo turns Sneak's stomach and he hopes it is not the start of a trend. A regular protester, Sneak enjoys waving a placard, but would draw a line at launching an emetic attack at a rival.

It is possible that the vomit attack on Yahoo was a mistake, or just the result of someone having a rich lunch and getting a bit overexcited at the prospect of leaping and whooping around a bus.

The San Francisco Gate paper reported that the bus was stopped during a journey in Oakland. The paper said protesters surrounded the bus and waved around statements such as, "Love the Bay, Block the Bus" and "Capital is the Driver, Gentrification is the Vehicle, Techies on the Bus."

This apparently escalated and the police turned up. At some point someone climbed on top of the bus, and at some point someone puked down its windscreen. The image of the befouled glass was shared on Twitter. Since we are in the region of lunchtime Sneak won't be sharing it.

Eventually the protesters departed, one hopefully for some sort of stomach-settling tablet.

Titus Androidicus: Man sends entire works of Shakespeare via SMS

20 Mar 2014

After being sold a non-existent PlayStation 3 on eBay, Bristol man Edd Joseph has set about getting his revenge on the scammer who duped him by sending him the entire works of Shakespeare as text messages.

This modern day bard clearly has a lot of time on his hands, and thumbs. Sneak supposes the PS3 was intended to fill those long, lonely hours, with texting a con man the next best thing.

According to the Bristol Post, Joseph discovered that he could copy and paste chunks of text into SMS messages, and has now already sent the text of 22 plays made up of 17,242 messages. There's around 12,000 messages to go.

Since beginning his onslaught, the scammer has responded with a few abusive messages but nothing can stop the Bard's works from getting through.

To join in the fun Sneak would like to suggest a selection of Shakespeare plays with an IT twist.

  1. Spamlet
  2. King John MacAfee
  3. A Comedy of 404s
  4. Much ADA about NoSQL
  5. Azure Like it
  6. Antony and Cleopatch Tuesday
  7. A Midsummer Night's Dreamforce
  8. The Merry WiFis of Windsor
  9. All's Well That's Haswell
  10. Richard Samsung Galaxy S III

 Add your own Shakespeare-orientated tech puns to the comments section below.

Samsung Galaxy Note rep LeBron James sick of his phone

13 Mar 2014

Sneak is always one of the first to go public with complaints, so it is with some sympathy that he reports on the itchy Twitter finger of US basketball player LeBron James.

Sneak was sad to see that James removed a tweet he posted because – and this is only a possibility – he is in the pay of the company that he was thought to be complaining about.

James is an advocate for the Samsung Galaxy Note and appears in adverts for the firm. People will have assumed that when he posted the flamethrower of social media comment about a phone, he was talking about a Galaxy.

"My phone just erased everything it had in it, and rebooted. One of the sickest feelings I've ever had in my life!!!" he said, according to reports such as this one on Business Insider.

It is likely that someone in his camp reminded him that the message could be taken in a bad, unflattering way and he swiftly removed it. Soon after he followed up with a 'woe is me' type message and then the announcement that somehow his phone had regained its senses and his contacts. "Close call. Wheew! Got all my info back. Gamer! Lol," he said.

It is possible that Samsung threw its weight behind the problem, that is certainly the suggestion that Sneak would have made had he not been engaged in some other social media fallout of his own at the time.

Sneak would of course advise that firms steer clear of endorsements from celebrities because they are notoriously difficult to control. As an example, he cites Alicia Keys, a creative 'hire' for Blackberry who apparently still insisted on using an Apple iPhone.

Amazon, Google and Facebook flying machines set for collision course

05 Mar 2014

Much like the way the Oscar-winning film Gravity demonstrated the danger of space junk crashing into everything, Sneak has discovered a critical flaw in the plans of the tech industry's biggest players.

Amazon, Google and Facebook all have intentions for flying vehicles, intended to spread internet access and DVD box sets of Mrs Brown's Boys, but what if those worlds collide?

Sneak has drawn a diagram to demonstrate:

A terrifying look at the future of technology

Notice how Google's Project Loon balloon sails on air currents at varying levels high up in the atmosphere to deliver internet access. Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg's model aeroplane – AKA the Titan Aerospace drone – is flying at a stable altitude doing the same job. Let's then envisage Amazon's ludicrous Prime Air drone delivery vehicle getting caught in a gust of wind. Disaster. No internet or mediocre comedy for anyone.

If space junk can collide with satellites in space, imagine what will happen in our world below the atmosphere: it's a lot smaller than space, as it turns out.

As much as these companies don't like to work with each other, they have to form some sort of united airspace agreement to ensure we aren't suddenly caught in a hailstorm of expensive flying tech.

You have been warned.

Goophone S5 offers half-price version of Samsung Galaxy S5

28 Feb 2014

The Galaxy S5 was finally unveiled to the world this week at Mobile World Congress. Being a lover of all things mobile, Sneak was very excited about the new features, such as the fingerprint scanner and a fast downloads tool, but was less enthralled with its premium price tag.

So for those of you who, like Sneak, don't fancy paying the price of £600 for a Galaxy S5, luckily there's now another option: the Goophone S5.

Less than two days after Samsung had its big unveiling for the Galaxy S5, copycat smartphone maker Goophone introduced its own strikingly similar model.

goophone-s5The Goophone S5 has the same perforated casing and design as Samsung's latest model, and features a 5in full HD 1920x1080 resolution screen, an octa-core 2GHz processor and 32GB of internal storage that's expandable.

Yes, you'll be making some compromises with the Goophone S5. It offers only 3G network support compared with the Galaxy S5's 4G capability; it has only a 13MP rear camera, rather than a 16MP camera with a fast autofocus speed of 0.3 seconds; and it's a bit behind with its Android 4.2 Jelly Bean mobile operating system rather than the latest Android 4.4 KitKat release.

But then again, you will be saving 50 percent off the price of the Samsung Galaxy S5, with the Goophone S5 available for only $299.99. A bargain, even by Sneak's cheapskate standards.

Sadly the Goophone S5 is out of stock at present, but we'll be sure to check regularly and update you on availability. And in the meantime, why not treat yourself to the Goophone i5S for a mere $160, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the iPhone 5S and also comes in grey, black or gold.

Sneak has to admit to not being fully immersed in the Goophone ethos and wonders how it's flown under the radar of Apple, Samsung and others for so long. But we certainly like its marketing style, which has a distinct difference to the normal cloying language employed by rival smartphone vendors.

"The Next Big Thing Is Almost Here," the firm states on its Goophone S5 page. "Goophone has always been forward best smartphone. With new design, this new generation Goophone S5 you have never seen it. Goophone S5 is world's first smartphone powered 2GHz Mediatek MT6592 true octa-core processor, along with 2GB DDR3 RAM, bring better operating experience to us."

Take that, Apple marketing department.

About IT Sneak

V3.co.uk's undercover reporter offers odds and ends from the odd end of technology.

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