My 8/22/10 Missoulian column
The saying goes that August is a slow news month, but in the tech world, something is always happening.
Newsworthy items last week included the usual suspects – Google, Facebook and Apple – as well as new privacy issues and security holes being exploited by hackers.
But maybe it’s time for some high-tech newsy humor in August?
Of course, high-tech humor can’t be too geeky, or it won’t be funny to many. A bit of truth never hurt a joke, either. That’s where satire comes in.
Maybe the best place on the Web for that is The Onion, which advises readers that it is “America’s Finest News Source.”
The Onion’s TV “newscasts” spoof both the high-tech industry and the “if it bleeds, it leads” flashy production values of a 5:30 p.m. network news broadcast.
So what companies are good targets for satire? Who other than the big boys – Google, Apple and Facebook?
The lead-in to one of more than a dozen of The Onion’s takes on Google goes like this: “Google Opt-out Feature Lets Users Protect Privacy by Moving to Remote Village.”
The news anchor explains that “Google is giving you a chance to opt-out of all information sharing and live in a remote mountaintop village. It’s called the Opt-out Village, and it’s just what you’d expect from Google.”
A “Google” spokesman says, “If you want to keep your privacy, all you have to do is move to our 22-acre Opt-out Village and not speak to anyone in the outside world.”
And what about Apple? All Apple retail stores have what’s called a Genius Bar, where you can get free help with your Apple product.
That newscast is headlined “New Apple Friend Bar Gives Customers Someone To Talk At About Mac Products.”
The anchor intones, “Building on the success of their Genius Bars, today Apple stores across the country unveiled the Friend’s Bar, where obsessive Apple users can come to discuss Mac products at length.”
An employee of the Friend’s Bar, wearing a yellow T-shirt printed with the phrase “I’m Your Friend” said, “Unlike your co-workers or girlfriend, we will never get tired of discussing the wireless capabilities of the Snow Leopard operating system.”
I won’t give away the rest of the “news broadcasts.” So go to The Onion – America’s Finest News Source and search for Apple, Google and Facebook.
Just don’t drive to one of those Apple Stores in the Seattle area to look for a Friend’s Bar. Or look on Google Earth for Opt-out Village.
This week in Mac Q & A: OS X and Wireless Printers