The Wrap: 6 November

The Wrap: 6 November

Haiku for the haters

The US' National Security Agency (NSA), accused of spying on everyone from Al Qaeda to the European Union, Yahoo and Google to the Vatican, is the intelligence organisation everyone loves to hate.

Programmer and media arts graduate Grayson Earle has created an unusual vent for frustration over the NSA with a haiku-generating website. It apparently makes the poetry out of the search terms the NSA uses to flag people as potential terrorists.

Pretty, pixelated unicorns, hearts and cupcakes makes a curious backdrop to words like "Cybercash pirates worm Afghanistan earthquake sweep AOL spoke".

Remind us not to put those words in the tags for this story.

Phone chargers get a personality

Powering up your phone isn't exactly interesting: take little black charger, plug it in attach, your phone, repeat at least once every couple of days. Mimoco is out to make the process a bit more interesting by literally giving your charger some character. Those characters are designer art toys with a hint of wild animal. There's Terry Le Bat, Shocky Shark, Powly Owly, Larry LobstAh, Turbo Turtle, Galaxor, Pawly PandAh, RayD8, Psy, and PowAh KowAh. The project's doing pretty well on Kickstarter, where it has 553 backers and $32,000 in funding.

Bitcoin, meet ATM

In another sign that virtual currency bitcoin is gaining worldwide credibility, the first ever ATM to dispense bitcoins has been installed in a Canadian cafe. Robocoin uses a palm scanner to identify the user of the ATM, then they can put in cash in lieu of a bitcoin deposit or withdraw bitcoins from their digital wallet. The machines are designed to speed up bitcoin transactions and Robocoin evidently has another five to dot around North America.

Don't blame the cat

A curious problem has been causing bad news for people who bought Dell's Latitude E6430u, namely that it emits an odour suspiciously resembling cat pee. Mystified about a possible solution since the complaints began in June, a Dell senior technical consultant said an investigation has revealed the smell was not actually cat pee and that there was no health hazard related to the smell.

"The issue has been corrected on new units currently being ordered," he said. "We are currently finalising plans for a full resolution for those who still have unit that exhibits the issue. I am hoping to post a root cause and resolution either this week or the next and am just waiting on engineering to finalise a few details."

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