back to article Greetings from the future where it's all pole-dancing robots and Pokemon passports

Happy 2021, everyone! No, I haven't typed that wrong, I really do bring greetings from the future. Someone launched a handheld short-jump time machine at CES 2021 and I persuaded them to let me test a review unit before they find out I'm not Matthew Hughes. Well, what a year it has been – or, in your case, will be! Things …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Smashing start of the year !

    Thanks for that, Dabbsy, and Best Wishes to you and every commentard on El Reg.

    Keep biting !

  2. Chronos Silver badge

    Any chance of the lottery numbers for next week?

    Then I will have bought, from your perspective, two boats. PM, natch. I don't like sharing.

    1. JulieM Silver badge

      Re: Any chance of the lottery numbers for next week?

      What's to say that you will actually end up on the same timeline where those numbers were drawn? Even if you do get rich in a parallel universe, the poor you will still be living in some universe.

      1. Kane Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Any chance of the lottery numbers for next week?

        "Even if you do get rich in a parallel universe, the poor you will still be living in some universe."

        I am the poor me!

        1. Jeffrey Nonken

          Re: Any chance of the lottery numbers for next week?

          "I am the poor me!"

          Of course you are. You own two boats.

          Boat n. A hole in the water for throwing money into. ;)

          1. J. Cook Silver badge

            Re: Any chance of the lottery numbers for next week?

            Yep. Worse than an old house that no one's kept up maintenance on.

      2. Chronos Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Any chance of the lottery numbers for next week?

        There's always a smartarse, isn't there? The fact that Dabbsy has already observed the outcome in his thread collapses the potential for me using the information in any successful manner and means there's still some surprises for him, too. He may even find that cache of Scottish Euros useless...

        Don't say the P word. That opens up a whole new debate on cause, effect and free will.

  3. chivo243 Silver badge
    Pint

    pole-dancing robots

    "They know what you like and they'll do it to within a tolerance of one micron!" Happy New Year Naked Weirdo!

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: pole-dancing robots

      Will they be able provide "IT Advice" to politicians?

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: pole-dancing robots

        They already do, hence the idiotic proposals for breakable encryption that keep popping up.

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: pole-dancing robots

      Can I get the Vocaloid versions of those NAO robots? No, that's quite alright, you can keep the Kaito and Len models...

  4. adrianww
    Coat

    Hmmmm...

    Haptic Schlong. There’s a good punk band name if ever I heard one.

    Or possibly the title of some weird electronica/space rock fusion album.

    Happy New Year folks!

    (Mine’s the one with the theremin in the pocket. No really, officer, it’s a theremin, honest!)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: Hmmmm...

      Yes, but what do you do with it?

      I wasn't going to let it bother me, until it became clear my girlfriend (as was) preferred it to the real thing.

      1. Hollerithevo

        Re: Hmmmm...

        But a theremin IS a real thing.

      2. adrianww

        Re: Hmmmm...

        Well, you...er...plug it in and then you wave your hands around it in the appropriate fashion.

        It then makes unearthly “Ooooo-eeeeeeee-oooooooo” noises in a fashion that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike music.

  5. Dr_N Silver badge
    Terminator

    Robot Cafe/Restaurant/Bar

    "...bring over the crisps, speak pre-written servile bollocks at you and then trundle off while you're still talking to it."

    So just like a Wetherspoons then?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: Robot Cafe/Restaurant/Bar

      The robot will need to be tracked rather than wheeled to cross a 'Spoons carpet without getting stuck!

      1. Giles C Bronze badge

        Re: Robot Cafe/Restaurant/Bar

        We just need hovering robots, although however shoes might get around the carpet problem

        1. paulf Silver badge
          Terminator

          Re: Robot Cafe/Restaurant/Bar

          We already have vacuuming robots - and they're helping monetise the layout of your home:

          iRobot just banked a fat profit. And it knows how to make more: Sharing maps of your homes

  6. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Trollface

    The Future is Now...

    But I warn you that the augmented reality enhanced biometric system at the border gate will be a bit of a bugger. Even now, it keeps identifying me as Psyduck.

    Given my UK biometric passport seems to work everywhere in the world except UK airports, I think that part is already here. Either that or I look almost entirely too much unlike Pikachu...

    Nice one anyway Dabbsy, and a happy new (old) year to everyone.

    But why did el-reg seem to need to label this NSFW?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: The Future is Now...

      "But why did el-reg seem to need to label this NSFW?"

      It could be insider trading if the "wrong" people read it :-)

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: The Future is Now...

        True, but it's going to be read by us lot, and you can't get much more wrong than us ;)

      2. stiine Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: The Future is Now...

        How else could they get everyone to read it? Fucking brilliant!!!

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: The Future is Now...

      I'm guessing it's the Tenacious D video.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Short-changed

    Ahem. Have you relinquished your prime territory?

    You tell us all about that haptic phone, but miss out the story of that live feed from the throne-cam!

  8. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Coat

    Haptic dick pics popularity

    I predict that with people being able to interact with haptic dick pics using their hands, that they can only grow. (except in cases with exceptionally cold hands) But any true prediction is very hard, especially with variances in firmware levels.

    1. Shooter
      Boffin

      Re: Haptic dick pics popularity

      I shudder to think of the animated versions!

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Haptic dick pics popularity

        As the actress said to the bishop.

  9. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge

    Dot Matrix printer?

    Knew it would come in useful some day.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Dot Matrix printer?

      The True Hipster will be printing using a daisy wheel, Even Truer Hipsters will use an IBM 1053 Selectric, and the Very Truest Hipster sends their output to a paper tape puncher and from there into a Friden Flexowriter.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Dot Matrix printer?

        I use a Daisy Wheel occasionally, but it's hardly a new affectation ... and I have the receipt dated in the late 1970s to prove it. I don't have a 1053, but I do have a couple working 2741s. Prefer the 1403, mostly for speed (and shock value). And of course there is the Smith Corona portable, which works quite nicely even during power outages.

        Nobody has ever accused me of being a hipster. Packrat maybe ...

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Dot Matrix printer?

      I for one look forward to the revival of the phrase "letter quality".

      The first printer I had at home was the then-new Epson FX-80, a nice improvement on their popular MX-80. We had the optional tractor-feed attachment, so it could do friction-feed, pin-feed for fan-fold paper of the appropriate width, and tractor-feed for smaller forms, such as checks.1

      I printed my school papers using high-quality fanfold paper with "micro-perforations" for a clean look after the sheets were separated and the pin-feed strips removed from the sides, and a shareware program called lq.exe which provided "near letter quality" printing with a variety of fonts by printing everything using raster graphics sequences and the necessary micro-spacing and -feeding. It wasn't laser-printer quality but it was decent.

      1Pin-feed and tractor-feed used similar mechanisms, but pin-feed employed sprocket wheels on either side of the platten, while tractor-feed had a separate pair of sprockets on a frame above the platten. Pin-feed could do reverse feeds, useful for some kinds of detailed work, but required paper of a specific width. Tractor-feed couldn't do reverse feeding but was adjustable-width.

  10. Stork Silver badge

    Great writeup, even by Dabbsy standards.

    Happy New year to all

  11. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Greetings From the Future

    .....So, no word on how saved the planet is then?

    I'm of the opinion the only way to achieve that is for the human race to be content with less, and stop creating more and more 'tat' that has to be buried, burned or shipped three quarters of the way back around the planet where it originally came from to be buried, burned or torn apart.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Greetings From the Future

      Well Australia's on fire, it will be for the next few months as summer's not over yet, and their government is still trying to fight reality. Reality has never been defeated yet, so the government must either change climate policies or get removed.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Greetings From the Future

        Reality has never been defeated yet, so the government must either change climate policies or get removed.

        I'm not sure most the voting public is particularly keen on reality either.

        1. Unicornpiss Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Reality

          Reality is a great place to visit, but I'd hate to live there..

      2. Rustbucket
        Unhappy

        Re: Greetings From the Future

        But, but . . . the fires and ongoing drought will have destroyed our tourism industry and much of our agricultural industry, and we've got bugger-all R&D and manufacturing, so mining is all the Australian government has left.

        1. Denarius Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Greetings From the Future

          you all don't realise that compared to India, China, Europe, USA etc nothing Oz does will have any measurable effect. Its not as if severe drought is unknown here. So for once, what exactly can the Oz gummint, any of them, do ? Aside from removing fire assisting anti-fire break laws and returning to traditional frequent small fires etc ? Oz aint Europe as the teams in the Womens World Gliding Comp are discovering. And they are some distance from fires at moment.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Greetings From the Future

            Oz sells a third of the world's coal. Of course there's something it can do.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Greetings From the Future

              A third? Hardly. The real number is under 5% ... and most of those sales are to China, which can ramp up internal production as needed if the lower cost Australian coal is removed from the market.

              1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                Re: Greetings From the Future

                Sorry, fired off a post too quickly and it came out wrong. Should really be this:

                Australia is the world's third-largest exporter of CO2 in fossil fuels, report finds

                However a third of CO2 emissions means there is still something that Oz can do.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: Greetings From the Future

                  It's not a third of CO2 emissions. It's a third of exported CO2 emissions.

                  Note that China, which buys most of Australia's coal, doesn't even make the top 30 on that list, yet they are the largest producer of CO2 emissions ... and will stay that way thanks to internal mining capability, even if Australia shuts down all coal production completely.

                  As a result, Australia doesn't have the capability to even dent total global CO2 emissions, so they might as well profit from some nice Chinesium dollars while they still can.

                  1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                    Re: Greetings From the Future

                    As Sharon and lots of other people have said, "everyone can do something".

          2. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: Greetings From the Future

            nothing Oz does will have any measurable effect.

            Oh really?

            Also, even when yours is a minor contribution there's no fucking reason to just leave things as they are.

    2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: Greetings From the Future

      "

      .....So, no word on how saved the planet is then?

      "

      That problem was solved in 2021 by the simple measure of declaring that the Earth has self-identified as being carbon-flexible. After which it was declared illegal to force the climate to remain stable against its consent. The use of phrases such as, "It ain't 'alf hot mum," were declared discriminatory anti-gaia hate-speech and thus illegal. Getting flooded due to rising sea levels is of course indirect discrimination, so such things cannot be reported.

  12. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Crypto currency?

    'Cryptocurrency is a pile of wank'.

    Thank you for that, I've been trying to persuade my kin that there are better investment opportunities out there. Your summary is, er, to the point.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Crypto currency?

      > there are better investment opportunities out there

      Indeed. Let me sell you my share of the Golden Gate Bridge - It's definitely a better investment than most crypto-currencies. It has "Gold" in its name, if you take a hint...

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Crypto currency?

        Unfortunately, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District's Board of Supervisors (a largely appointed group of typical San Francisco political shysters) is unlikely to allow you (or anybody else) to invest in their cash cow.

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: Crypto currency?

      Quote

      Thank you for that, I've been trying to persuade my kin that there are better investment opportunities out there. Your summary is, er, to the point.

      ----

      There sure are, I've just invested £500 with a nigerian multi-millionaire whos having trouble unlocking his crypto-currency wallet that has $50 million in it.

      With his access to the computing power of my PC , plus use of my bank account to transfer the funds once unlocked, I'll stand to make a cool $5 million when he transfers the money out of Nigeria.

      AND he assures me that there are several people like him who just need our assistance and are willing to pay for it.....

      1. Imhotep

        Re: Crypto currency?

        Is that the dead Nigerian Prince found in the room stacked with cash that he had been unsuccessfully trying to give away for years?

      2. Hollerithevo

        Re: Crypto currency?

        Not forgetting his sister in Christ, who seeks help of her fellow believers.

    3. Imhotep

      Re: Crypto currency?

      Once a scam comes along, it never goes away. It just keeps moving down the food chain to stupider people.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Crypto currency?

        But what happens when it runs out of stupider people?

        Oh...

    4. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Crypto currency?

      I've started calling it "mysto-currency".

  13. Palpy Silver badge

    But the drones!

    Drone deliveries up your street every 3 or 4 minutes. Similar to having a leaf-blower passing back and forth outside your window. Mangled sparrows littering the pavement, dogs driven mad. Jeff Bezos waving at us all from Mars, where the atmosphere is too thin for drones anyway. He can enjoy his morning cuppa in peace.

    And the tell-all docu-drama revealing that makers of AI driving programs resorted to hiding midgets -- whoops, vertically-challenged humans -- inside dashboards to control vehicles after their AI went rogue and began awarding itself "population-reduction" points for hitting pedestrians. Can't admit you went down the wrong path, boys?

    Thanks for the future memories, Dabbs.

    1. Vulch

      Re: But the drones!

      atmosphere is too thin for drones anyway

      They're working on it.

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: But the drones!

      I did drones last week.

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: But the drones!

      "Similar to having a leaf-blower passing back and forth outside your window."

      Except there are no actual people connected to them, so when you use them for target practice there is no collateral damage.

      1. stiine Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: But the drones!

        If there's an aparment block in your view, you could very well kill someone on the 20th floor while trying to shoot a drone. Instead, you should use a fishing pole. After a few tries you should be able to lasso one with ease. Also, you won't have to leave your back yard to go pick up the package an the pieces.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: But the drones!

          I wouldn't live anywhere within view of an apartment block with a 20th floor. Humans aren't supposed to live in warrens. It drives 'em nuts, makes them into 'orrible neighbors.

          1. Outski

            Re: But the drones!

            Unfortunately, we don't all get that option

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: But the drones!

          Fishing pole and lasso? Seems to me that a net would be easier. I haven't tried either, though.

          If one came close enough, I wonder if it would be feasible to hit a rotor with a blast of Silly String.

          As for "a few tries": This is 2020, man. Automate that sucker and train an ANN to hit the drone. Presto: Drone-downing "AI" robot. You can have it spin around a pole if you like. Adding blockchain is left as an exercise for the reader.

          (Fortunately, drone deliveries aren't likely to appear near the Stately Manor anytime soon, and even less likely to show up near the Mountain Fastness.)

        3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: But the drones!

          As a bonus, there is no closed fishing season for drones.

        4. This post has been deleted by its author

        5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: But the drones!

          "Instead, you should use a fishing pole. After a few tries you should be able to lasso one with ease."

          I've just ordered a copy of Fly Fishing by J. R. R. Hartley in preparation.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: But the drones!

            You'd probably be better off reading Bob Brister's immortal "Shotgunning" ... at least in the context of this conversation. Except, of course, in Britain, where both books would be equally useful.

    4. Stork Silver badge

      Re: But the drones!

      The proper term for those vertically challenged persons is is Person of Restricted Growth (PORG), at least according to Tom Sharpe.

  14. Blackjack Silver badge

    What I got from this is..

    That Dabbsy looks like a duck.

    At least he is not a horrible goose.

    1. CountCadaver Bronze badge

      Re: What I got from this is..

      They missed a gig, should have been "unnamed collie game" far more mischevious and louder than any goose....

  15. beep54
    Happy

    Speak, sir, for yourself!

    "All I can say is that the novelty wears pretty damn thin the very first time your thumb accidentally brushes against the screen when someone forwards you a dick-pic."

    1. stiine Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Speak, sir, for yourself!

      Oh, you have friends like that, too? Gotta love 'em.

  16. Stoneshop Silver badge

    I suggest you get a cheap flip-phone

    Just an ordinary bar-phone OK? Symbian S40.

  17. jake Silver badge

    "the novelty wears pretty damn thin the very first time your thumb accidentally brushes against the screen when someone forwards you a razor wire pic."

    FTFY

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Coat

      the very first time your thumb accidentally brushes against the screen when someone forwards you a razor wire pic.

      That's what you get for buying an iPhone 2021 with the new molecular-resolution screen.

    2. Circadian
      Happy

      @jake

      I don’t think you really get the humour here. “... razor wire pic” has no sexual innuendo, vulgarity or lewdness. All you’d feel is a little prick... Oh. Carry on.

  18. SVV Silver badge

    Oh, and buy a boat.

    No : to be really smart buy a boatyard, build them and sell them.

    My own wanderings in time into next year resulted in the discovery of something called the Brexit Boatbuilding Company (as that acronym had somehow become available again), which was prospering thanks to the calls being made at the moment in the Daily Telegraph for vigilante boat fleets in the channel carrying out citizens border patrol duties (this last bit is sadly not a joke). Unfortunately when I skipped forward another year, it became clear that the patrols were being used to prevent people from leaving the UK, rather than arriving........

  19. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    5G ADS

    Don't forget about October 2020 when Raytheon will deploy their new nationwide 5G cellular network with 4 megawatts of mmWave power, MIMO, and precision beam-forming. Just in time for those crazy elections!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was it a dream or a premonition?

    As you can see the future, did Sweden eventually sign the Twitter peace treaty with the United States to stop Great saying nasty things about Trump?

    I did Trump nuke her?

  21. 9Rune5 Silver badge
    Pirate

    Boats

    Having moved to an island two years ago, I have occasionally entertained the idea of buying a boat.

    But AFAICT, they're expensive to buy and expensive to own. They are also fairly slow moving, so I might need longer vacations to get to where I want to go. Which also will set me back a fair bob. OTOH I can probably jury rig the autopilotsoftware from a Tesla to pilot the water vessel while I'm sleeping.

    Any advice? Apart from skimming my e-mail for plausible "get rich quick!" schemes?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Boats

      Boats aren't all that expensive to buy. They ARE, however, expensive to repair. More so if you're not handy. Even more so if you're not handy and think you are. It's easy to get in over your head. Before purchasing, remember your Latin: Caveat Emptor.

      Owning a boat is cheap. Just keep it away from the four things guaranteed to ruin it: Sunlight, oxygen, water, and salt. People in the know add humans consuming alcohol to that list.

      You can get a used autopilot in excellent condition, built for a boat, for under $500. Bolting it onto your boat would be a lot less work than adapting an automotive product to do the job. Took me about a day to install one in my Monterey Clipper, and that included testing & tuning as I pulled half a dozen crab pots.

      Speed is relative. And expensive. You can get a go-fast that'll take you across an ocean faster than legal driving speeds in most civilized countries, if you choose to throw enough money at the problem. At my age, I've leaned boating's about the journey, not the destination. My advice is to spend money on reliability and comfort, not speed.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: Boats

        > Speed is relative. And expensive.

        Definitely: On the lower end of the "speed" scale you can chose the "sail" option, where moving is free and your autonomy is unlimited, the only limiting factor being the weather (and it usually does a very good job at that too). But as Jake said, sailing is about the journey, not the destination.

        As about the general costs, you'd better have money to spend, unless you can throw a lot of time at your boat. There is always something to fix, change, repair, paint, not to mention getting her out of the water to clean the hull from barnacles once a year, not to mention the costs of parking your boat (which depend on the size of that boat, and can get considerable for bigger ones in tourist milking regions). Add taxes and insurances, and keep in mind everything "yachting" is more expensive than the exact same item or service in the normal world.

        Last but not least, the autopilot is a must-have, but it won't allow you to sleep at night during a long trip nevertheless, not unless you are willing to risk some cargo ship running over you, because they didn't see you, or because their cheap untrained crew was off the bridge without permission. Obviously they won't even notice if they hit you ("Did you hear that crunching sound?" "Naah, you had one too many"), so it's a little like a Russian roulette game where both players shoot the gun at you: The only way to win is not to play, and have someone on deck all night, taking bearings of those small lights on the horizon... Obviously this is less annoying with a bigger crew: What would be a harrowing 24h watch for a single person becomes a merely bothersome 2-hour watch for a bigger crew. Even with only 2 persons you can make 12-hour watches, and both get a full night's (day's) sleep and enough me-time to wash, cook, etc..

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    strikes

    "Even a quick jaunt by sea from France to England across the Channel is going to take longer. OK, this is partly due to the robo-sharks (complete with lay-zers strapped to their heads) that will be introduced post-Brexit."

    Actually, this is more due to the strikes in Paris public transportations :)

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