News for Friday

A lot is going on today, so I thought I’d provide briefs of some of the bigger stories that are happening rather than three gargantuan posts. I’ll put those off until next week.

iPhone 6 finally becomes available

The first, and I suspect biggest, story of the day is that the iPhone 6 is finally being launched, and people are going crazy all over the world. Unfortunately, all that excitement can lead to some problems. For example, here is a video of a guy in Australia, the first person to buy one over there, dropping it on the concrete right after buying it.

Then there’s the guy who decided to perform a drop test of the new phones immediately after buying them. Kids, please don’t try this at home.

Larry Ellison steps down

Larry Ellison, co-founder of business-software powerhouse Oracle and fifth-richest man in the world is stepping down from his executive position at the very company he co-founded. Although he hardly wants for money, there is some speculation as to why he is doing it and if the timing is significant; he’s 70, after all, but you’d never know it. He will stay on as the Chief Technology Officer, though, so it isn’t as though he’ll have no impact, in fact, he’ll better be able to steer future developments and change from the new position.

Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison

Toonotown Rewritten comes out of beta, opens for everyone

In mid-2003, Disney, wanting a piece of the online-gaming pie, released a kid-friendly yet surprisingly clever online game called Toontown Online. In the game, whose art direction and settings were based somewhat on the cartoon world of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, players created a humanoid, bipedal toon from a variety of animals (you could be a horse, monkey, cat, dog, that sort of thing), and went into the streets of Toontown to fight cogs. Cogs were black-and-white corporate stereotypes such as pencil-pushers, glad-handers, and micromanagers who were trying to turn Toontown corporate, convert all houses and shops into towering skyscrapers, and remove all of its color. Using gags such as throwing pies, squirting water from a flower, and dropping safes, players would have to defeat the cogs and return the color and the buildings to the town.

Toontown Online

Toontown Online

Well, Disney being Disney, they shut it down in September of 2013 to focus on other ventures. What’s incredible here is that a team of 20 people located all over the world and led by a teenager in Maryland, recreated the whole thing, even made improvements, supplied their own servers, and are opening it up to the public today under the slightly new name of Toontown Rewritten, with no intent of ever charging for the experience. I’m surprised Disney didn’t quash it immediately, but they’re in a tough place. The whole project is such a labor of love that to do so would foster significant ill will, but I can’t help but think that if it becomes more and more popular they will be forced to step in in some manner.

Going Up