Viruses & Plagues: Let’s start November’s Technobabble with a Trojan, a program appearing as another piece of software tricking the user into installing it. The victims this month: PSP gamers. If users of the PlayStation Portable device tried to install the Trojan.PSPBrick software to supposedly allow them to use non-Sony approved software, they got what they asked for: a “brick.” The Trojan disables four critical files on the $250 handheld game system, turning it into a paperweight. Could this have been developed by Sony?
In virtual health news: Players of World of Warcraft (www.worldofwarcraft.com) the online, real-time role-playing game had a plague outbreak started by players who tried to kill Hakkar, the God of Blood. They were infected with a plague that they carried into cities and transmitted to other players (and non-playing characters) who then spread the disease before dying. The outbreak, allegedly a bug in the software, was spread rapidly throughout the game raising a panic among many of its two million-plus players until Blizzard, creators of the game, digitally cured the plague.
The Future: What, you’re still driving on roads? Forget off-roading in your SUV, have you tried above-roading? Flying (drug-free), George Jetson-style. You thought personal DISH systems collecting TV signals from orbiting satellites was futuristic—now we’re flying. For a measly $576,843.93 you could be soaring 380 mph down to L.A., getting there in just under an hour and a half from Chico. That is, when the Moller Skycar M400 (www.moller.com/skycar/m400) finally goes on sale. The VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) vehicle has been undergoing tethered test flights around its Davis, Calif., home base, and is currently accepting deposits for future delivery.
If you were thinking of breaking other laws aside from speeding, you may want to avoid printing money on your office color printer. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), while attempting to disprove Internet rumors of an invisible, government-installed bar code being printed from every color laser printer, learned that the rumors are true (what would Technobabble be without the conspiracy theory?). You may want to print those government protest posters in black and white.
Jobs: And for those searching for jobs, sorry, the producing position for the upcoming movie based on the popular XBox game Halo was snapped up by Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame. But if you are a Web designer or a video producer, Al-Qaida is hiring, according to the London-based Asharq al-Awsat Web site (www.asharqalawsat.com/english). Now that’s the kind of résumé-building that will take you far in America.
Oh, yeah, the iPod … it plays video now.