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Welcome to the April 2014 edition of the DaniWeb Digest
Well, April 1st has come and gone which means you can be fairly sure that the news stories you read online are genuine again; but did you get caught out by any of the tech related April Fools' prank reports that appeared during the day itself? Here at DaniWeb we love the lighter side of the IT community, and so have compiled our very own top three April Fools' tech pranks 2014 which we hope you will enjoy:
1. The return of Microsoft Clippy
Users of Microsoft Office have loved and hated, in our experience largely the latter, the 'Clippy' assistant since it first appeared way back in Office 97 to annoy the heck out of people by asking if they wanted help writing a letter and such like. The IT community pretty much breathed a collective sigh of relief when the paper clip was laid to rest by the time Office 2007 was released. On April 1st, however, Microsoft announced the return of the paper clip which was, it said, reborn as SmartClippy. This was, in fact, an actual paper clip that was going back to basics and helping users attach things to other things. That wouldn't have been too bad, were in not for Microsoft also throwing the original Clippy back onto Office.com for the day. When users opened a new Excel, PowerPoint or Word document they were greeted by Clippy asking them if they were writing a letter when they were obviously doing something else. Hahaha, Microsoft...
2. Animals as mobile Wi-Fi hotspots
An outfit called iinet.net claimed to have a product which would be the first 'pet-powered mobile broadband solution' called Pet-Fi. Essentially, it said, the Pet-Fi dongle attached to a cat or dog collar and provided fast Internet connectivity within 30m of the companion animal which, in a clever twist, would provide the kinetic energy to power the device. Not to be outdone, Samsung announced Fli-Fy which, the company claimed, attached small routers to pigeons in order to create flying hotspots. Rather than using kinetic energy though, the pigeon hotspots would get their power from electric currents produced as the birds perch on power lines...
3. Smart Gloves
Samsung also got into the joke groove by latching onto the current wearable tech hype and declared it had created 'Samsung Fingers'. These smart gloves included a 3" flexible display, a 16mp camera, heart rate sensor, temperature sensor, barometer, GPS compass and was topped off with 5G connectivity and voice control. Rivals HTC was not to be outdone, and also announced the HTC Gluvv which acted as a companion to the HTC One and came with a 87.2mp camera (obviously the .2 being very important indeed).
Which just leaves us to wonder, what was your favorite IT-related April Fools' prank of 2014? Just let us know by posting in the Geeks' Lounge.
Member of the Month
The latest entrant to the DaniWeb Hall of Fame is Banfa who has been a member of the DaniWeb community for four years now. His 99% post quality score and 73rd place in the reputation charts (out of more than 1.1 million members) attest to his position as a respected member of our community. There are two places you need to visit to see how Banfa has earned this respect, and that's the C++ and C forums where he has notched up more than 750 helpful posts. OK, so let's find out what make our latest entrant to the DaniWeb Hall of Fame tick...
Where are you from originally, and where do you live now?
I, rather boringly, have never lived outside the UK. I grew up in Minehead, West Somerset which is basically a seaside town which got everything about 4 years behind the rest of the world and left me with the sole ambition of leaving. I left to go to university in Cardiff in the late 80's/90's, I did a year in industry in 89 at a tiny company in West Wiltshire (I was the first employee) and at the end of my university course went back to that company and found accommodation in Bath. I moved around a little in Bath, met my wife, we had a daughter and once it became clear that our 2 bed flat was not going to be big enough for a family we move out to a Corsham, a small town in West Wiltshire.
How old are you?
45 <- not quite sure how to make this wordy, that's 0x2D, 055 or b00101101 or about 7.2Tau around the start of February.
What is your current occupation, and have you ever done anything unusual in the past?
I am and always have been a programmer; my current role is as Technical Lead of a team of 11 developers and 3 testers. In the past I have also done theatre lighting design/sound operation/stage management in a semi-professional role (that is I got paid occasionally but not often) and I sort of plan to get back to that one day but family life takes up too much time for that sort of commitment currently.
What is your favourite OS and why?
I would probably have to answer Linux, it is what I use at home. I like that it doesn't do things for me and try to treat me as an idiot, although I accept that some people (I'm thinking my parents here) need that. Because of that it feels clean and light. I like that I can run it on an old Pentium II with 384Mb of ram and a 6Gb hard disk. I like that (currently) I can just pop a cd in the drive and boot off that (and diagnose the problems with my friends Windows Machines). All that said I'm typing this on a Windows 7 machine at work.
What first brought you to DaniWeb?
Well I used to be, and still am, a moderator on a similar, but smaller, site. It went through a bit of a rough patch a few years ago and lost a lot of members and staff and became less active. I did consider leaving it myself but in the end chose not to, but while I was making the decision and because it was getting very little activity, I looked round for similar sites to get involved with. I tried out two, one of them being DaniWeb, and choose to stay with DaniWeb.
What makes you stay here?
Oh yes, and the quantity and quality of the questions, and the way that questions from people unwilling to do their own work tend to be rejected by everyone. I enjoy helping someone to understand and solve a problem and even better if I can help them in such a way as to enable them to take a better or more successfully approach at future problems. The co-operative manor in which the people with knowledge answer questions and the way people acknowledge good answers, though the post up-vote system, makes a good environment to participate in.
What is your favourite forum and why?
C or C++, I don't actually visit many other forums. Those are the subjects I consider myself expert in, and because I am generally browsing over my morning cup of coffee at work or during my lunch hour I generally run out of time to get to the community forums except occasionally to whinge at one of the, thankfully infrequent, UI changes.
What are your interests outside of IT and outside of DaniWeb?
Well I have a 9 year old daughter a wife with ME so a large portion of my time is spent taxiing, caring and doing general house type stuff like shopping. I recently, 2011, converted to Christianity (from atheism) so as well as going to church on a Sunday I attend a lunchtime prayer meeting at work 1 day a week and try to spend at least 1 weekday evening doing something related to my faith. As I have said if I were a little less committed I would do something in theatre and I have a pipe dream of building an N gauge railway controlled from my Raspberry PI, although I guess that isn't entirely outside of IT really...
Name the best thing about DaniWeb overall, and one thing you would change if it were in your power?
Did I mention it's purple? Seriously the current UI is pretty good and loads quickly and is available from work (which seems to block a random selection of websites), I particularly like the shortcuts at the bottom of the screen. I don't like that when I press home or end in the edit box instead of taking the cursor to the beginning or end of the line it goes to the beginning or end of the paragraph.
Any fascinating facts about yourself that you would like to share with the DaniWeb community?
Anyone watching DTTV in the UK, somewhere between broadcaster and TV screen you are using software I have helped write. The project I am most proud of, and probably the only worthy piece of software I have ever worked on is the computer systems on the latest RNLI Shannon Class lifeboat. I'm a STEM Ambassador, which basically involves volunteering to go into schools to talk about programming or to mentor clubs or generally raising awareness of any of the STEM (Science, Technology Engineering, Mathematics) subjects.