Norwegian software firm announces April Fools technology discovery: human speech

Norway's Opera Software ASA couldn't resist the temptation of an April Fools joke heralding a breakthrough in peer-to-peer communications.

The company said it has developed "a platform-independent speech solution for short- and medium-range interpersonal communication."

In plain language: human speech.

Opera said in an April Fool's release that the so-called breakthrough, "Opera SoundWave," has a range of 30 meters (100 feet) and could be easily tested without special equipment, simply by asking someone near you a question, such as "Is today April Fool's Day?"

If readers didn't get the joke by then, the statement went on to say that "Opera's patent-pending P2P speech technology uses analogue signals carried through open air, enabling users to communicate in real-time without the use of computers or mobile phones."

And for anyone with lingering doubts, it went on to say SoundWave was discovered accidentally when an Opera technician said something and realized his colleague understood.

"Like most people, I have used e-mail as my primary means of communication for many years and accepted that it is not always 100 percent effective," said Trond Werner Hansen, of Opera, in the joke statement. "SoundWave has opened up a whole new world for me, enabling me to get things done faster and more efficiently than before - and it is remarkably easy to use."

And just to make sure there was no one left who didn't get it, the statement also offered an Internet link to "a technical preview of Opera SoundWave."

At that site, the following statement appears: "For a demo of SoundWave, Opera's P2P real-time voice technology, simply ask someone in your vicinity the following question: 'What is today's date?"'

The answer, of course, is April 1 - April Fools Day.

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