The Thompson Twins Game on!

The Thompson Twins Game on!

WeFi Fo Fum
As regular readers of Technobabble know, I have been “hinting” loudly for the politicos of Chico to provide us with the tools to properly bring us into the 21st century, namely free Chico-wide WiFi. Well, e-mails replying to this call to the Chico administration clogging up my inbox number? Give me a minute to count … zero. Thankfully, a group of Israelis have answered the call, and they’ve labeled it WeFi. Four Mountain View residents have developed a program enabling laptop users to connect to fast, free WiFi wherever they go. It’s like the Connection Manager you Windows folk use, on steroids. Not only will WeFi check all local free access and connect you to the strongest signal, but an online map will show you the location of connection points. There is some social networking built in (of course), which includes Flickr mash-ups of local hotspots. It is not yet available for Mac :-(

Digital vinyl
Geeks from the ’80s hid computer messages and even games in the grooves of records. Recording the music from vinyl to cassette tape and then playing the cassette in your computer’s cassette drive (pre-floppy and CD drive) produces a message or game. One example is The Thompson Twins Adventure Game released in 1984, which, if you no longer have the album, is available online for download. The crude, text-based adventure game consists of guiding the Twins around a land of beaches and caves. The technology is sure to annoy today’s gamers as you have to keep a map on paper and guess which key verbs the programmers used for certain actions. But hey, this was the ’80s, and it was Easter-egged in the grooves of LPs!

There’s no ‘pee’ in phone
So you’re going to multitask and return a phone call while relieving yourself of the last three pints of Sierra Nevada? Splash, your Nokia submerges. According to, you may be able to resurrect the mobile by burying it in a bowl of uncooked rice overnight. A Washington Post blogger apparently pulled his/her cell from the “pool” after dropping the kids off, dried it with a hairdryer and left it in a bowl of dry rice to find it working the next day. Rice acts like a desiccator, sucking the unwanted liquid from your device. This is why your grandmother put rice in the saltshaker. Silica gel packs, those little “do not eat” packets found in pills or new shoes, work as well. You may want to spritz your mobile with Patchouli or scent of choice to take away that back-alley urine smell.

Madison Avenue needs MySpace addicts
It amazes me when people who get paid six and seven digits catch on to some of the most significant cultural shifts four or five years late. Seems ad execs have finally been turned on to something called MySpace. They’re told it’s on the Internet. Their Blackberry e-mails claim all the kids are using it. Millions of youth (read: consumers), not only across the nation but also across the world, spend more time on these social networking sites than other conduits where they pipe their communications of consumption. But how do they penetrate this “underground” phenomenon? They need moles. They need YOU! At an American Association of Advertising Agencies conference in New York last month, ad folk were talking about “monetizing social networks” (sounds scary). Problem is their well-to-do universities of 20 years ago didn’t teach them about MySpace, YouTube and Facebook. They were informed that in order to properly “exploit” social networks for advertising purposes, they will need to find young Web-savvy programmers and “cultural anthropologists” who know how to navigate the digital domain of the Interweb. Have your suit pressed for the interview.

Digital destination of the fortnight: