The Weekly Hash - February 1, 2013

From Apple’s latest trademark coup to the secrets Anonymous hacked from the U.S. government to using Google Maps to find the best breakfast food in North Korea, we bring you the silliest stories in the tech world this past week

013113_apple_patent_line-small.jpgImage credit: ITworld/Phil Johnson
This is getting ridiculous...

Who’s excited for the big event this weekend? That’s right, I’m talking, of course, about Groundhog Day! These days, rather than look for his shadow, Punxsutawney Phil just checks his weather app. My favorite part of Groundhog Day? The four hour pregame show. I think Beyoncé will be singing the national anthem.

Anyway, let’s pass the time until then with some topical tech humor.

Last week Apple was granted a trademark for the design and layout of its stores. Even Apple’s patent and trademark lawyers couldn’t believe they got away with it.

This week Google published detailed maps of North Korea. The maps show the locations of all the nuclear plants, prison camps and Waffle Houses.

The New York Times revealed this week that Chinese hackers were able to breach their computer network. The Times said they gained access to usernames, passwords and the crossword puzzle solutions.

Happy birthday to Doug Engelbart, the inventor of the computer mouse, who turned 88 on Wednesday. The first mouse was very different from today’s mice; it was made of wood, had two wheels and ran on leaded gasoline.

Sears was named this week in a lawsuit for infringing on a patent covering mobile information collection systems. Sears was shocked; they had no idea they were still in business.

Saturday is Groundhog Day. Down in Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney Phil is expected to predict an early spring, and to also announce his new line of Android-based smartphones.

The hacker group Anonymous broke into U.S. government websites last weekend and are threatening to release top secret information. They reportedly were able to find out the exact location of each of Joe Biden’s hair plugs.

RIM officially changed their corporate name to BlackBerry on Wednesday. They wanted a name that reflected a trusted, global brand - but their lawyers wouldn’t let them choose Apple.

United Airlines will soon be offering in-flight WiFi on long haul flights. They haven’t said what the connection speeds will be yet, but they did warn that all data will have a layover in Cleveland.

On Wednesday BlackBerry launched their new operating system and two new smartphones. Early reviews are mixed; people like that one of the phones has a keyboard, but they don’t like that it also has a mouse, monitor and printer.

That's all I got. Enjoy the weekend. If you're in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, enjoy the Groundhog Day day activities! Next year, I believe, it's being held in New Orleans.

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