Last week we served up some highlights gleaned from the first six months of our recently concluded full year of tweeting at @PCWPluggedIn. Now we're back with our favorites from the second half of the year. As we noted last week, the goal of our Twitter feed is to amuse our followers and, secondarily, to link them to the serious and informative PCWorld.com articles that inspired our comments. But at PCW Plugged In, we leave the seriousness to others.
From the mysterious proliferation of fake Apple stores in China to the insecurity of Sony's PlayStation Network to the forgetfulness of barhopping engineers bearing prototype phones, we found many sources of mirth as the spring and summer unfolded. Fittingly, our half-year starting point falls on April 1.
Baidu's online library shrinks following piracy cleanup http://goo.gl/Hnk9E. Only title still available is "The Little Red Book."
Google tries to become Apple http://goo.gl/S1FNE. "Don't be evil" gives way to "One little bite won't hurt you."
Firefox 5 and beyond: what's next? http://goo.gl/WKLFZ My money is on "Firefox 6."
Swiss court says Google's Street View breaks privacy rules http://goo.gl/UMBCA. Judge is especially critical of Bank Vault View.
Verizon simulates disaster near operations center http://goo.gl/F4rfa. By spreading rumor that AT&T is about to acquire it?
Scientists generate mouse eye from stem cells http://goo.gl/EhymF. Advance could enable petri dishes to recognize researchers.
Windows 7 finally overtakes XP in U.S. computer usage http://goo.gl/P0UtJ. Guess it's officially time for Windows 8.
US police increasingly peeping at e-mail, instant messages http://goo.gl/G2jJg. On plus side, cops' job satisfaction is way up.
5 things to do with an old computer http://goo.gl/FbCH5. Interactive headstones for geeks who've passed on?
US gov't unveils new online security strategy http://goo.gl/UE2I4. Centerpiece is an alphanumeric string called a "password."
Quantum teleportation is a reality http://goo.gl/zyVQI. Experiment's success/failure proved by survival/death of Schrodinger's cat.
The etiquette of using Starbucks as your office http://goo.gl/SO3l2. Rule 1: Don't bring your own coffee.
Apple earns a zero on EFF's Privacy and Protection Report Card http://goo.gl/GuzjD. On the other hand, a white iPhone 4!!!!
Is the single-function device doomed? http://goo.gl/9NTHg I for one have no interest in a multipurpose toothbrush.
Oceans could serve as giant batteries http://goo.gl/CuisX. In which case you might want to think twice about going swimming.
Android outranks Apple in desirability http://goo.gl/eyNJk. But neither matches up well against Scarlett Johansson.
World's smallest camera is smaller than a matchstick head http://goo.gl/buGs7. Its viewfinder is ideal if you're the size of a bug.
White iPhone 4 "not thicker than black model" http://goo.gl/lnyJi. It's just that black is so darn slimming.
Researchers developing laser ignition system for cars http://goo.gl/Tjan3. Don't forget to warn the mechanic before he looks under the hood.
Android rumors abound on eve of Google I/O http://goo.gl/6MhaN. Could be moment of truth for elusive White Android phone.
5 reasons Microsoft had to buy Skype http://goo.gl/ynpA8. No. 6: The company's long-distance phone bill was just killing it.
Google, Apple pressed to remove DUI checkpoint apps http://goo.gl/5J3et. Why not just make the apps too complicated for a drunk to use?
Scammers empty African victims' bank accounts http://goo.gl/P0E6w. Ruse begins "Greetings. I am Alan Greenspan, former chairman of US Fed."
PlayStation Network lurches to life http://goo.gl/gWW6l. Sony's slogan "make.believe" will no longer apply to network security.
N. Korea pulls Internet domain from German operator http://goo.gl/A4viv. "We never should have abandoned nepotism," says some guy named Kim.
Your blood could tell how long you'll live http://goo.gl/4hDEy. Especially if most of it is on the ground next to you.
Verizon to end Unlimited Data plan http://goo.gl/JphMe. Revised offering to be called Unlimited If You Don't Use It Much plan.
Zuckerberg: Kids can learn by using Facebook http://goo.gl/rPIDu. Of course they can also learn by playing with matches.
NASA to send astronauts to deep space http://goo.gl/hMDQT. But under revised budget, they may just watch Deep Space Nine reruns instead.
Zuckerberg vows to eat only meat that he kills http://goo.gl/2MOsc. Plans to slay a pepperoni and make pizza tonight.
A glimpse at the US military's first quadruped http://goo.gl/vv299. I thought that was George Washington's horse.
What I learned from spending 30 days with Google Docs http://goo.gl/uJuTJ. Lesson #1: Never play poker with a program named Docs.
MSI shows off slew of new 'vaporware' tablets http://goo.gl/pcHwo. And of course, they're all cloud-ready.
Cell phones may cause cancer, says WHO http://goo.gl/dsMUx. Though we hear the lab rats in the study also smoked heavily.
Malware spikes, spam plummets http://goo.gl/OxQJq. "We just can't compete with fake antivirus exploits," says disconsolate Viagra seller.
Bacteria as biofuel is coming http://goo.gl/NMIiu. It’s payback time! Bacteria have been using people as biofuel for millennia.
Official Steve Jobs biography up for preorder http://goo.gl/Nqj5e. Book to address rumors that 3 wise men attended his birth.
Ken dumps Barbie in Greenpeace video http://goo.gl/gvi9n. Unrepentant Barbie last seen arranging safari date with GI Joe.
Mac technician installed spyware to photograph women http://goo.gl/Jkmu7. Guess the Genius Bar scene wasn't working out for him.
Juror, defendant face jail for Facebook exchanges http://goo.gl/yh2hJ. On the plus side, maybe they’ll become Cellblock Friends.
Senate committee votes to make illegal streaming a felony http://is.gd/TR060F. I still say public urination should only be a misdemeanor.
Pentagon clones Internet to practice cyberwar http://goo.gl/zXDV0. To avoid confusion, real Net marked by red wire--or is it the blue one?
Your social networks could jeopardize your next interview http://goo.gl/FWuCo. Especially if you interrupt it to post status updates.
US consumers spend $2 billion/year to power idle set-top boxes http://goo.gl/K83ue. At least they aren't wasting time watching TV.
UK hackers replaced al-Qaeda bomb instructions with cupcake how-to http://goo.gl/1Dxc9. Jihadis denounce Devil's Food recipe as "Satanic."
Next: Midsummer madness...
The Second Half of the Second Half
Apple, Microsoft consortium beats Google for Nortel patents http://goo.gl/Ggd9S. What's next--a "Red Sox, Yankees consortium"?
Private industry group leaps into cybercrime fight http://goo.gl/sS81g. Mysteriously, Bruce Wayne seems to own all eight companies.
4 reasons businesses should use Facebook video chat http://goo.gl/aFNMC. #5: You can see how ill employees who take sick days really look.
Sony exec calls PSN hack was "a great learning experience" http://goo.gl/IiEug. Evidently at Sony the learning never stops.
Computer games: Better than sex? http://goo.gl/9OIXo Think carefully, because evidence suggests you may have to choose one or the other.
Fake Apple Store in China carries real gear http://goo.gl/F79vw. And we hear that Fake Steve Jobs sometimes stops by for a reality check.
Bing plans Google-like instant search http://goo.gl/j47mB. Using extremely Google-like algorithms, we assume.
Six reasons it's time for DVDs to die http://is.gd/bE479G. #7: US economy depends on people buying same stuff over & over in new formats.
UK bans photoshopped Julia Roberts ad for truth in advertising violation http://goo.gl/84ueF. Last 20 years of Playboy also at risk.
Google acquires 1000 patents from IBM http://goo.gl/NH4GO. Should be in a strong legal position if it ever builds an OS/2 knockoff.
Internet Explorer IQ story called a hoax http://is.gd/XrIbfK. But reporters stand by earlier assessment of AOL users.
NASA finds evidence of flowing water on Mars http://is.gd/S59qNa. Remnants of ancient garden hose detected in high-res Orbiter photo.
Lightning strike in Dublin downs Amazon, Microsoft clouds http://goo.gl/fF0Z8. Once again real clouds defeat virtual ones.
Study: Facebook can make teens sick http://goo.gl/K8k3S. As can school, chores, curfews, and enforced "family time."
Can a UV light kill the stuff growing on your keyboard? http://goo.gl/8QBxD Maybe not. But I'll bet it can give it an awesome tan.
Bernie Madoff's pants sold as iPad covers http://goo.gl/H2uKm. Presumably, after someone sued them off him.
China stops fake Apple Stores from using trademarks http://goo.gl/nY3ax. Stores will soon be stocked with Appel iMocs & iPuds.
Why paying hackers for bugs makes you safer http://goo.gl/y6TmV. Same reason why you pay kids to watch your car outside the ballpark.
Space hotel to offer out-of-this-world vacations http://goo.gl/OhSld. That's one place where you don't want to see a No Vacancy sign.
Is the PC dead? http://goo.gl/ErICG No--and in the current economy it can't afford to retire either.
Google+ policy on names runs afoul of tech writer http://goo.gl/Ea1Uv. It's a bad time to be named Frank N. Stein.
Saturation coverage of Jobs resignation http://goo.gl/q3YUi. It's raining Jobs, yet the economy isn't improving.
Tampa Bay Bucs buy players iPads http://goo.gl/s6rX4. So Roger Goodell can notify players in-game of fines for inappropriate tweeting.
Bionic body parts may be better than natural ones by 2027 http://bit.ly/nXoJH8. If my natural parts work at all in 2027, I'll be happy.
10 geeky things to do on your first date http://is.gd/3SewOX. Amazingly, not one of them involves Legos--or Legolas!
RankMyHack adds leaderboards, achievement points to hacking http://goo.gl/4Ta1t. Sorry--it’s not a real sport till people illegally bet on it
Apple loses another iPhone prototype in a bar http://goo.gl/73yGQ. Note to Apple employees: You're holding your liquor wrong.
Website finds white headphone jack--for white iPod Touch? http://goo.gl/O82uj Journalists blanket bars worldwide in search of more clues.
"Comodohacker" threatens to strike again http://goo.gl/BMJyY. Next victim may be large, island-dwelling lizard or flushing toilet.
AT&T says DOJ's opposition to merger hurts consumers http://goo.gl/7f4vJ. Especially consumers who are senior execs at AT&T.
Mod makes your iPhone's Apple logo glow http://goo.gl/uXTS5. Great if you feel your Apple forehead tattoo doesn't say enough about you.
Intel hopes for smartphone breakthrough with Google http://goo.gl/FuXnE. We think their slogan should be "Don't be evil inside."
NASA discovers Tatooine-like planet orbiting two stars http://goo.gl/VnXGj. Geeks urge manned mission to explore local cantinas.
Survey: 31% of US adults would rather text than talk http://goo.gl/2UZI1. Even sadder, 86% would rather talk than think.
Samsung Windows 8 tablets surface on eBay http://goo.gl/wuGs2. Apparently Microsoft developers go to bars, too.
Apple, Chinese environmental groups in talks http://goo.gl/UYVU3. But Beijing smog prevents participants from seeing each other across table.
Delicious relaunch is riddled with bugs http://goo.gl/k6X1s. But they're very yummy bugs, we assume.