Sunday, December 05, 2010

Screen shots show hidden hilarity in The Onion's hilarious MacBook Wheel video

This video came out many moons ago but it still cracks me up every time I see it. It does such a great job of spoofing trade shows, Apple fanatics, and Apple itself. But there are split-seconds of embedded humor as well.

You have to watch this video multiple times, and use the Pause button frequently, to realize how exquisite it is.,14299/

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

HP admits in lawsuit settlement: they lie about ink levels

Hewlett-Packard is as storied a name as Ford or GE: the archetypal two guys in a garage.

Yet in recent years, not so storied. Carly Fiorina damn near ruined the company with the Compaq merger. And Mark Hurd brought scandal.

So today it was no surprise that HP sent me a note offering to settle for 6 bucks or so for ripping me off on ink levels. You see, HP makes one third of its revenue on ink.

That's right. This dynamic vendor of laptops, desktops, servers, and services makes 1/3 of its money on ink.

And they make a substantial chunk of change by lying about whether your printer is out of ink.

They even tell the printer to stop printing black if the printer is out of blue. Allegedly.

We will see if the lawsuit hues the company more to Hewlett and Packard, two decent guys in a garage, or more to Fiorina and Hurd, decidedly less decent folks.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Steve Jobs the devil? Bill Gates a saint?

Who'd have ever thought we'd reach a point in history where Steve Jobs would prove to be evil, and Bill Gates to be saintly?

I've been using an iPad as my only computer for a few months now. It is like being in prison.

It has a real operating system, like a Mac, but Steve buried the file system.

I can't plug my digital camera, or other USB devices, into it.

The apps I can download are vetted by Steve and his band of merry criminals.

It is so deliberately crippled, it's criminal. Tiny Tim and Agathie Christie.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sales of motherboards down; CNBC reporter draws very wrong conclusion

CNBC reporter draws incredibly stupid conclusion on a report that motherboard sales are down 10%.  Erin Burnett holds up a smartphone and declares on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that every computer has a motherboard, therefore this means sales of all computer devices are going down.

INCREDIBLE!  The report was obviously about motherboards as a commodity used to build PCs.  Motherboards for PCs, made by companies lie ASUS, are the kind of commodity whose sales can be tracked. 

I'm not sure how the term "motherboard" applies to a device like an iPhone or an iPad -- the devices pack their smarts in amazingly tight spaces and may not have a "motherboard" at all.  In any event those are proprietary packages of electronics, not commodities whose sales are known.

The correct conclusion to draw is there may be a drop in PC sales -- and that the drop is likely because of the sustained popularity of smartphones and the amazing rate of sales of the iPad.  Even Mac sales are down due to the explosive demand for iPads.

Really dumb conclusion. Erin is really pretty, though.

Friday, April 16, 2010

"Lorem Ipsum" article on AOL reports Chrysler design competition

"Lorem Ipsum" is placeholder Latin text used to budget space for an article to be published.  It's been used in print publishing for decades, and the practice has made its way onto the Web.

Unfortunately, sometimes people publish the Lorem text instead of the actual article.  This could be because a writer or editor pushes the wrong button before the article is ready, or maybe a content management system burps during the editorial process.

This morning an AOL Auto article promised to tell about a competition for a new logo for Chrysler.  Instead we got the Latin filler text.

Later, it got better.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

At Staples you can't find the aisle with staples!

So I was looking to buy a new stapler at, as it happens, the local Staples. I much prefer them to the really big box stores such as Best Buy -- less crowded, and the salespeople in the computer section seem more knowledgeable. I went wandering the main aisles looking for which row might have staplers..

Finally I checked out an aisle labeled "Tape and Fasteners"...

See the word "Staples" or "Staplers" anywhere? But let's try row 20 and we find...

Hmmm....  Wouldn't you think they could do something clever on the sign with their own store name ???

Friday, February 26, 2010

Clever tech guy foils neighbors stealing his Wi-Fi signal

This is awesome!  A tech person discovered that his neighbors were stealing his Wi-Fi signal.  So he decided to thwart them by fiddling with their Internet experience.  For instance, he turns images in Web pages upside-down.  Take a look at an example:

Click screen shot for full-size image.

He uses software magic to turn all images in Web pages upside-down.  He also redirects links to  The guy behind that site send him an e-mail to him saying that he gets mail from people who think kittenwars has been hacked and demanding that he improve his security!

This is just plain delicious.  The Wi-Fi owner could've just enabled WEP and the neighbors would never get the pass code.  Instead he decided to have some fun with the bandwidth thieves.  Bravo!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Intranet Focus" article mangles Internet history

Twice today I've run across this query on Twitter:
Just blogged on the first use of the term 'intranet'. Probably dates back to 1992, but who first used it? Do you know?
The compressed URL expands to which mangles the history of the Internet.  If you were a professor and your student turned in a work with this many glaring errors, you'd award an F.  The author, Martin White, promotes himself as quite the information industry expert, so this is a tad surprising.  A quick reading reveals obvious errors:
  • It's Marc Andreessen, not Andriessen. 
  • Andreessen worked at the National Center for Supercomputer Applications at the University of Illinois -- not the University of Michigan.  (Huge gaffe with funny backstories which I will share if asked.)
  • U-M did invent LDAP, and Netscape did adopt it for a product, though it's not clear what that has to do with anything.
  • Andreessen wasn't just a "on the team that had developed the Mosaic browser" -- he and Eric Bina collaborated on the project.  History (perhaps unfairly) seems to give the former more credit than the latter. This historical marker seems accurate -- perhaps the ordering is alphabetical.
  • The history of Netscape vs. IE is much more complex than described. Netscape never really successfully charged for their browser.  Microsoft didn't just offer Internet Explorer for free; they integrated it into Windows, and finally implemented halfway decent TCP/IP support.  This meant a brand new Windows computer could get you surfing the Web out of the box.  The alternative of installing Netscape was left for geeks.  In 1994, we had AOL Starter Disks -- getting on the Internet was not an easy thing.
  • Robert Kahn was Vinton Cerf's collaborator on TCP/IP.  "The Wrath of Khan" was the best Star Trek movie with the original cast.
  • Robert Metcalfe helped invent Ethernet.  Although a colleague of Cerf and Kahn when they were inventing what became the Internet, Metcalfe is not listed as an inventor of TCP.  He also founded 3Com Corporation, and once famously said that if he'd known that the San Francisco baseball team would have ever rename their field 3Com Park, he'd have called his company Candlestick.
Mr. Martin White's original query -- when was the term "intranet" first used, and by whom -- is perhaps interesting, at least to him.  But his hazy history of the Internet also fails to appreciate the very meaning of "Internet." Its creators were trying to solve the problem of how to build a "network of networks" -- how networks built on incompatible technology could talk to each other.  That's why we call it the Internet.  And they talked about "The Internet" as the global network of networks as well as "an internet" -- a self-contained network of networks -- gee, kinda like that "intranet" concept, right?

"Intranet" is a back-formation of "Internet", and, at least to me, not particularly important in history.

As for Mr. White's belief that use of the term "intranet" dates to 1993, that comports with my recollection, but so what?  The concept predates the term.  Corporate knowledge, or institutional memory, has been understood in some form for many years, probably centuries.  Mr. White might want to look up the term "CWIS" though I think not every bit of research is answered by a Google search.

And whatever conclusions Mr. White eventually ascribes to the wisdom of Twitterdom, I wouldn't trust his summation.  A guy who gets this many basic facts wrong is no source to believe.