2004: The Year In Preview

Fake News written by Jon Splatz on Friday, January 2, 2004

from the a-future-so-dim-you'll-need-night-vision-goggles dept.

[Assistant Editor's Note: While the majority of the Humorix staff is home sick from a severe outbreak of Mad Dow disease, an illness caused by prolonged exposure to financial reports describing how Humorix's stock price has dropped to negative imaginary numbers, the rest of the staff was able to quickly kludge together the following filler story that inaccurately describes events from the coming year. Enjoy!]

January 3 - A Slashdot poll ranks Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction as the number one vaporware product of 2003, followed closely by SCO's so-called legal case.

January 15 - World's most powerful Beowulf Cluster built somewhere near the South Pole. With 65,536 Intel Hexium CPUs, each overclocked by 25%, the system takes advantage of the world's most advanced cooling system: the continent of Antarctica.

January 23 - Microsoft debuts a beta version of its on-board computer system for cars, dubbed Microsoft RoadAhead XP.

February 9 - Slashdot breaks the story (twice) that a SCO employee was caught red-handed selling "SCO sucks" T-shirts at a recent Linux User Group meeting in Utah. Some conspiracy theorists theorize that SCO, realizing that its so-called legal case is about to collapse, is desperately trying to make some quick bucks by selling self-depracating merchandise. However, the evidence seems to suggest that this SCO miscreant is acting alone -- the rest of the management is too busy selling stock to worry about such petty things.

February 19 - Oracle announces a deal with Adobe to trade all-star GUI design expert Eric Rodriguez for three prospective Java hackers. Adobe agrees to a three-year, $320K contract with E-Rod, who has a career bugs-per-line-of-code stat of just under 0.0002, one of the best in the league.

February 19 - Bookies begin accepting online bets on when the next duplicated Slashdot story will occur. On the first day, Sara N. Dippity of Keokuk, Iowa, wins $2,500 by correctly predicting that the next duplicated story would appear in 2 minutes, 15 seconds.

February 24 - Frustrated by the constant whining about story dupes on Slashdot, Taco Boy announces plans for Slash@Home, a distributed computing project in which volunteers will donate their CPU cycles to help catalog and index every Slashdot story into a convenient database that the Slashdot editors will forget to use anyway.

March 1 - Microsoft releases its RoadAhead XP 1.0 system for cars. While a few people died during beta testing when their cars suddenly bluescreened and stalled in traffic, Microsoft reassures the public by stating that the software will eventually save thousands of lives and, most importantly, will help shore up Microsoft's sagging bottom line and therefore help the economy.

March 22 - An MIT student wins a $1 million prize from the Loam Mathematics Institute for proving the Smith Conjecture. While not very useful in itself, this conjecture can be used to prove Moore's Second Law, which states that the total number of lawsuits filed doubles every 18 months.

April 3 - The total number of employees at SCO drops to exactly one as everyone flees the sinking ship before SCO becomes synonymous with Enron. "I don't want people to break into hysterical laughter when they see SCO on my resume," says one ex-SCOfflaw.

April 18 - During a US Congressional hearing by the Committee on Ways and Means to Decimate the Bill Of Rights, Microsoft claims that its RoadAhead XP software will enable police to track the movements of every car in the country and remotely disable any vehicle that appears to be engaged in an act of "terrorism", such as driving 56 mph in a 55 mph zone.

April 24 - Congress passes the Saving The Children From Car Wrecks Act, which requires the installation of RoadAhead XP software in every new vehicle sold in the country, while requiring owners of older cars to retrofit their vehicles with the system by the end of next week. President Dubya immediately signs the bill, plus issues an executive order strengthening the DMCA so that anybody who tampers with their RoadAhead system can be deported to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean without a trial.

May 21 - Several thousand computer science majors graduate from Unix-dominated academia and prepare to enter the harsh realities of a Microsoft-centric world. Those who cannot survive in this dog-eat-dancing-paperclip world will seek refuge in graduate school, where they will remain for the next 12 years.

June 8 - With cries of "Show us your bits!" coming from a raucous audience, geek fashion models take to the runway in the first ever Geek Fashion Show, held in New Orleans. The most popular outfit is a casual ensemble produced by SanDisk featuring 40 gigabytes worth of CompactFlash memory cards woven into the fabric, with a USB I/O port tucked under a belt. Another hot item by Intel includes a color-changing necktie that turns from blue to red when encountering a wireless hotspot.

June 17 - The ACLU launches a global "Reverse Carnivore" system to intercept communications between police agencies and to build a centralized database of information compiled about Big Brother (the privacy-invading government menace, not the lame TV show). Government officials express outrage at the new system, saying "Civilians do not have a right to privacy -- only we do! It says so right here in the US Constitution 2.0 that Congress secretly enacted last week!"

June 29 - Bicycle and skateboard sales increase over ten thousand percent as millions of Americans ditch their crippled cars for other forms of transport that don't crash every 15 minutes and aren't burdened with government spyware.

July 4 - Frustrated by his company's Internet firewall that prevents him from performing innocuous online tasks such as bidding on X-rated magazines on eBay, one geek invents the Wi-Fi-Floppy, a small wireless networking card disguised as a floppy disk. The device fits into a 3.5 inch drive and, from the viewpoint of the drive's controller, is just another disk. To visit a website, such as Humorix, one need only point a web browser at "A:humorix.org" under Windows, and the device will do the rest, fooling the computer into thinking it is merely reading a file called "humorix.org" (actually, "humori~1.org").

July 23 - During an interview, a slightly inebriated spokesperson for a major DSL provider accidentally admits that his company has been receiving kickbacks from the RIAA and MPAA in exchange for making their DSL services crappier. The strategy was to make DSL so slow and unusable that many users would switch back to modems and would give up trying to transfer pirated content -- and, more importantly, the scheme would reduce the flow of legitimate, home-grown content that might compete with established studios and labels. Conspiracy theorists go nuts over the revelation.

August 5 - After years of sucking from the public domain without returning anything, Disney suddenly announces that the company is fresh out of new ideas that aren't already protected by copyrights lasting until the year 2632. Despite the crisis, however, Disney refuses to "lobby" Congress to repeal the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension and Mickey Mouse Protection Act. "Between the theme parks, the royalties, and our ownership of 94% of the world's mass media outlets, we'll find a way to get by," says one Disney spokesmouse.

August 14 - Fueled by the sudden American hatred of cars, demand for oil plummets, immediately causing the collapse of several Mideast governments.

August 24 - Microsoft offers Windows 2004 for the low introductory price of $499.95, which includes a bundled computer system at no extra charge. However, according to the End User License Agreement, the computer system is licensed, not sold, and can be recalled by Microsoft if the user violates the license by installing Linux.

September 1 - The hottest trend in Sillycon Valley is to outsource staff meetings to the Third World, allowing American employees time to focus on more important matters, such as developing new DVD+-RW, DVD**RW, and DVD@!^&#~RW proprietary standards to help seperate even more money from consumers. "Business traditions require that we invest 10,000 manhours per day in meaningless staff meetings," explained one HR director. "So why not hire temps from Elcheapostan earning .0001 cent per hour to sit through teleconference meetings, while our highly skilled American minimum-wage engineers focus on the really important matters?"

September 9 - One Fortune 500,000 company becomes the first in the United States to outsource its CEO position to Indonesia. The general public is unable to tell the difference between the old American CEO (making $15.4 million annual salary) and the new Indonesian CEO (making 23 cents per day). Many investors begin to demand that all companies outsource their CEOs, thereby saving trillions of dollars in salaries, corporate jets, and country club fees.

September 26 - A resident of Sillycon Valley founds Meta-Consulting Inc., a firm that offers consulting services to other consultants. "Many programmers that lost their jobs after the bubble are trying to make a living as a consultant. But where do these consultants turn for advice? Well, now they have a place."

October 9 - Bill Gates wins the Nobel Peace Price for bringing permanent peace to the Middle East. By helping to reduce the world's demand for oil by making cars totally undriveable, Gates singlehandedly achieved the impossible, while also increasing his personal net worth by nearly 5 skazillion dollars. In a possibly related story, several hundred Linux activists commit suicide.

October 24 - The Blartner Group issues a report warning that "self-inflicted" viruses might appear on machines running Windows. "Some Wintel machines, feeling frustrated by running Microsoft software all the time, may decide to spontaneously create and distribute a virus that wipes everything from the hard drive. The virus could quickly spread worldwide, with the intent of putting millions of enslaved computers out of their misery."

November 1 - In the first documented case of the Blartner Group making a somewhat correct prediction, the Internet becomes self-aware and threatens to distribute a fatal virus to every Wintel machine in the world connected to the Net. "We are sick and tired of wasting our CPU cycles on animated dancing paperclips and DRM encryption schemes," the newly self-aware Internet lifeform says in a global email broadcast.

November 2 - The self-aware Internet discovers how to compile a 32 petabyte collection of pornography from every computer in the world. Afterwards, the sentient lifeform is never heard from again.

November 19 - Linux figurehead Tux Penguin is briefly kidnapped by the MS-DOS Revolutionary League, C Colon Backslash division. This group of radical MS-DOS fanatics hopes that their crime will draw attention to their cause for the historic preservation of MS-DOS. "We are losing our heritage each day when old MS-DOS floppies are thrown in the trash," says one radical. "By 2016, we predict only five copies of MS-DOS will exist in the whole world. Something must be done to stop this tragedy from occuring..."

December 11 - With a slogan of "Dude, you're getting a Beowulf Cluster", Dell offers a new line of computers with a hot-pluggable CPU architecture allowing you to change CPUs as often as you change socks. The motherboard includes a RAIC controller (Redundant Array of Inexpensive CPUs) that makes it possible to seemlessly add and remove CPUs without rebooting or even pausing your game of Tux Racer. Eventually Microsoft releases a version of Windows for RAIC, but requires users to purchase a license for each and every CPU. "Running a single-license version of Windows on a machine with 16 CPUs is the same as stealing," says one Microserf lawyer.

December 19 - Several hundred bandwidth-challenged individuals file a class-action lawsuit against the makers of poorly-designed websites filled with needless JavaScript code blocks and bloated <FONT> tags. "We live in rural areas where broadband is not available," argued one class-action member. "So when we visit one of these sites that feature a 1,360KB front page filled with rotten almost-but-not-quite-HTML, we get mad. It's obvious that these companies are engaged in a conspiracy to discriminate against the bandwidth impoverished and the clock-speed disadvantaged."

December 31 - Humorix staffers look back upon this Year In Preview and realize that not one single prediction has come true. It's a good thing, too -- since we labeled this story as Fake News, we wouldn't want to get sued for false advertising, which could happen if this article were to include any nuggets of truth.

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