Oddest tech stories of the year

31 Dec 2011

We look back at some of the strangest tech stories we’ve covered during 2011.

iPhone alarms fail to go off on New Year’s Day

The year 2011 didn’t start well for iPhone owners, after a glitch prevented the alarm from ringing on the first two days in January. The issue happened on once-off alarms on devices running iOS 4.1 and 4.2 and fixed itself on 3 January. Hopefully, the error has been fixed on iOS 5, otherwise iPhone owners can prepare for an extra lie-in in 2012.

Will.i.am appointed Intel’s director of creative innovation

Intel appointed Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am as its director of creative innovation (as opposed to uncreative innovation). His role appears to be promoting Intel’s work with technology and entertainment and he said he’d record some music for Intel, too. The first thing he developed for the company was a creatively innovative Intel ID Badge.

Technology destroying sex and romance

While the evolution of technology has made life much more convenient, it hasn’t done much for our love lives, apparently. Romance has suffered from the speed of email and text messages, with people preferring to type “I Luv You” to working into the later hours composing an emotional love poem. Another survey suggested that people would go a week without sex than go without their smartphones. Who knew Angry Birds was that addictive?

Supergran handbag up for grabs on eBay

Cast your mind back to February when Supergran, aka Ann Timson, won us over by battling a gang of six armed men who tried to rob a jewelry store – and won. Her weapon of choice was her handbag, which went on sale on eBay after Timson shot to fame because of the event.

Tweets declare Mick Jagger dead – he’s actually alive

Here’s the thing about the internet – from time to time, it lies. This was proven yet again when Twitter’s most-trending topic one morning last February was ‘RIP Mick Jagger.’ Except that the Rolling Stones’ frontman is very much alive. This seems to happen a good bit in Twitterland, with other trending topics spreading false death rumours about stars such as singer Kanye West and actor Morgan Freeman.

‘Worst song ever’, about Friday, goes viral

Rebecca Black rose to fame this year on YouTube but probably not for the best of reasons. She recorded a song about Friday with the ARK Music Factory, which produces music for young people for a price of US$2,000. The song went viral and received global criticism, with the UK’s Independent claiming it was the worst song ever. But things haven’t worked out so bad for Rebecca – she made an appearance in Katy Perry’s Last Friday Night video and is still releasing music.

Charlie Sheen breezes past 1m followers on Twitter

Actor Charlie Sheen was the centre of a tabloid storm after he was fired from his role in the sitcom Two and a Half Men and seemingly went off the rails, spouting rants about ‘tiger blood’ and ‘winning.’ People became fascinated by Sheen’s meltdown, so when he opened a Twitter account, it was bound to draw an audience. No one expected he’d gain 1m Twitter followers in 24 hours but he did. To put this in perspective, queen of talk shows Oprah Winfrey’s Twitter account took weeks to gain 1m followers. You can also imagine what happened when Sheen accidently tweeted out his phone number in December – a time when his follower count grew to 5.5m. Since his breakdown, Sheen has calmed down quite a bit and has made peace with his former Two and a Half Men co-workers.

Like awkward dare games? We Dare to arrive on PS3, Wii

Here’s some advice for those heading out to a New Year’s Eve party tonight: if someone pulls out party game We Dare, then run. Run far away. The game features 40 mini games which includes spanking and ‘kissing’ the controller. Don’t take my word for it – take a look at this cringy ad campaign for it to see it for yourself.

Student hit with €1,650 mobile data bill for porn downloads

Be careful with unlimited mobile data plans – most of the time, they’re not actually ‘unlimited’. One poor Cork student learned this the hard way after he downloaded gigabytes of pornography to his mobile phone, incurring a bill worth €1,650. He wasn’t able to access the internet through his PC for three weeks, so relied on his mobile instead, unaware he was in for a huge bill. Luckily for him, he managed to reach an agreement with his mobile operator, cutting the bill to €400 instead.

Human error behind Google’s self-driving car crash

A self-driving car sounds like something from a sci-fi movie, but internet giant Google is testing some out. One got into a minor accident this year and according to Google, and this was down to human error. Turns out the car was being manually driven by an actual human, meaning that Google’s software was off the hook. Maybe we should leave driving to our computer overlords, after all.