April 2, 2009

Best of April Fools 2009

Filed under: — 3:43 am

Every year on April 1st, sites all over the Web take a break from serious business to post believable, yet strange, announcements. Here are a few of my favorites this year:

Keep it up, guys! While these were pretty funny, none of them quite beats Google’s big announcement five years ago. Hopefully next year they’ll all come up with some better comedy.

August 3, 2005

Quotes of the Day

Filed under: — 10:53 pm

From Microsoft’s MSN Search Weblog today:

On a related note, a lot of you were alarmed to see that we had removed the Apple headquarters off our map. Our full plan is to of course remove each of our competitor’s headquarters from the map, but we just didn’t have time to get to this in the beta. By the time we get to our final release, we’ll have this feature nailed down. ;-)

…and on a completely unrelated note, from today’s Mozilla press release:

The Mozilla Corporation was established to support the Mozilla Foundation’s mission to ensure choice and innovation on the Internet by leveraging the economic value of Firefox which has resulted from its growing marketshare.

Mozilla is talking like a big business and Microsoft is talking like a small one… Interesting times.

June 7, 2005

Sorry, your photos aren’t amateur enough.

Filed under: — 9:02 am

A few years ago, I walked into Kinko’s with 300 pages of galley proofs for a book I was working on. I ended up arguing with them for half an hour and walking out without copies—they refused to copy them because it looked like “copyrighted material”, and the idea that I was the copyright holder (and the book wasn’t even published or copyrighted yet) meant nothing to them.

Now the same thing is happening to a few “amateur photographers” (or professional ones, presumably) who try to get prints at Walmart and other retail shops.

I have no problem with the enforcement of copyright law, but assigning the employees of a supermarket photo lab to determine whether photos can be printed or whether they look “too professional” is ludicrous.

I suppose I’ll consider myself a success as a photographer when nobody will print my photos…


December 28, 2004

10 tech terms of 2004

Filed under: — 12:16 pm

The end-of-year lists continue. ITworld.com has an entertaining article by James Lewin on 10 new tech terms for 2004:

2004 has been an especially rich year for new techno-jargon. So, in the spirit of full disclosure, here’s a guide to some of the terms that made it big this year.

While the list includes such obvious memes as “phish”, “offshored”, and “podcasting”, some are a bit more obscure. The word “gatesed” (meaning affected negatively by microsoft) only appears a few times in Google, the word “mouselexia” appears only once, and the word “netlag” means something else to us geeks. But it’s fun nonetheless.

[via PaidContent]

December 10, 2004

The Google ABC

Filed under: — 10:30 pm

Google loves to create beta products, as Jeremy points out. The latest is Google Suggest, a demo of what Google looks like with a dynamic autocomplete feature. I’ll be writing about the JavaScript aspects of this elsewhere, but the first thing I noticed is that you get a suggestion as soon as you type a letter—presumably the most common search term for that letter. So here, for your entertainment, I present The Google ABCs:

If this new feature goes out of beta, I expect some serious competition for some of the letters, and a whole new kind of misspelling-based spam.

February 13, 2004

Official Digital Camera of the Internet?

Filed under: — 8:23 am

Someone in one of the Digital Photography Review forums pointed out this press release in which Pentax USA proudly proclaims that its cameras are "The Official Digital Camera of the Internet." It’s brilliant, really–they would have had to pay to be "The Official Digital Camera of Major League Baseball," but since the Internet belongs to everybody and nobody, they can claim whatever they want.

This is the most ridiculous bit of dot-com silliness I’ve seen in years, and I don’t think it will take long for Pentax to become The Official Laughing-Stock of the Internet.

In other news, taking Pentax’s lead, I’m officially declaring Figby.com "The Official Weblog of the Internet." I was first, nobody else can do it.

October 17, 2003

Imminent death of everything predicted

Filed under: — 2:04 am

The net media seems to enjoy declaring things dead prematurely, and there are some prime examples this week: Gates fortells death of spam. Bluetooth is dead. Death of a Meta tag. The PDA is Dead. Microprocessors are dead.

But don’t worry, death isn’t always permanent. Witness the rebirth of assembly language and Napster’s rebirth. Meanwhile, Bucking the trend of life-and-death cliches, Fortune magazine says the IT industry "is starting to emerge from its torpor."

October 10, 2003

Exploding Cellular Phones

Filed under: — 4:36 am

Robert X. Cringely once said “If the automobile had followed the same development cycle as the computer, a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get a million miles per gallon, and explode once a year, killing everyone inside.” It is now very clear that cellular phones are following the same development cycle as the computer.

October 6, 2003

Dave Barry Do-not-call followup

Filed under: — 3:23 am

Dave Barry’s Sunday column is an entertaining followup on his previous article in which he published the American Teleservices Association’s phone number, forcing them to disconnect it shortly thereafter. Need the new number? It’s at the end of Barry’s column. I suspect legal action will follow, but Dave can probably afford it. (via Metafilter)

March 30, 2003

World’s most expensive cat toy

Filed under: — 3:22 am

(Wired News)- The probable winner of the “less practical than segway” award, the Sony SDR-4X is going to be heavy competition for Honda’s ASIMO in the “2-foot-tall humanoid robots that cost as much as a Mercedes” category. Is there really a market for these or is this just a game they’re both playing to inflate stock prices?

March 25, 2003

Things that make you feel stupid

Filed under: — 10:53 am

I visit the Urban Legends Reference Pages at snopes.com often, and yesterday I stumbled across the Lost Legends page. There are some very entertaining ones there, and after incredulously reading several of them, I learned a valuable lesson about the importance of verifying your sources.

September 9, 2002

AOL 8.0: Are those the best features?

Filed under: — 10:21 pm

TechTV has a story on the upcoming AOL 8.0. I was expecting to read about a comeback for the Netscape browser, but instead two of the biggest features mentioned are “a catcall” and “a loud belch sound.” I think they may need a bit more market research if they think this is going to save them from the tech slump.

May 30, 2002

The Sounds of Silence

Filed under: — 2:56 am

Wired News has an article on an apparent music phenomenon called ‘lowercase music’, composed of nearly silent sounds. I’m not sure even John Cage would be impressed. I wasted 10 minutes downloading the MP3s, but I’m afraid I couldn’t hear anything over the “lowercase music” produced by my computer and air conditioner. Favorite quote from the article: “…most lowercase compositions do include sounds.”

March 23, 2002

Kevin Warwick grabs more publicity

Filed under: — 2:02 am

The headline of the CNN Story reads Scientists test first human cyborg, which sounds fascinating until you discover that it’s just Kevin Warwick again. Here’s a slightly more realistic viewpoint from New Scientist and a bit of Warwick history from The Register.

The universe is beige. I knew it.

Filed under: — 1:56 am

Earlier this year, New Scientist and CNN reported that scientists had determined the true color of the universe to be a pale turquoise, mint chocolate color. Now it turns out that they were wrong – it’s beige . It figures. I’m keeping the mint choc color for Figby.com anyway.

February 3, 2002

Online Mugging? What’s next?

Filed under: — 12:48 am

Newsfactor network has an article about credit theft online that, while otherwise reasonable, uses the term “Online Mugging” in the headline. I’m sure “Online Assault with a Deadly Weapon” isn’t far behind. I love the media.

February 1, 2002

What is a McWhortle and where can I get one?

Filed under: — 4:17 am

The SEC has apparently been playing a little educational joke by setting up a phony Website for McWhortle Enterprises, creators of an amazing biohazard detector. According to the Finance News article, they’ve set up “at least two other” fake sites. I suspect that mLife is one of them.

Still no Internet patron saint

Filed under: — 4:08 am

CNN has an article on Pope John Paul II’s opinion of the Internet, and mentions that the Catholic church is “reportedly searching for a patron saint of Internet users.” I’m not falling for that this time.

December 21, 2001

Wait until Vegas hears about this

Filed under: — 5:21 am

Germany’s Chaos Computer Club has created a cool blinking light display using 144 rooms of an office building. Here’s more from Wired News. They even have an editor for Windows or Macintosh to create your own animations and submit them for possible use on the building.

Microchip implants the latest fashion?

Filed under: — 5:10 am

Some company called Applied Digital is getting way too much attention for their microchip implant ID technology. Aside from the frightening implications, what’s the big deal? My dog already has one. NewsFactor’s article is rational and evenhanded, while the LA Times article gleefully mentions Kevin Warwick and quotes a “futurist” who says teenagers will love it.

April 13, 2001

Microsoft makes fun of…Microsoft?

Filed under: — 4:04 am

First Microsoft promoted Windows 2000 by lambasting Windows 98’s Blue Screen of Death. Now they’re making fun of Clippy, the annoying Office Assistant that plagued Office 2000. Clippy’s new site is amusing, although it’s a thinly-disguised Office XP advertisement… (more…)

Some dot-coms were doomed from the start

Filed under: — 3:17 am

DigiScents, who was developing a device to transmit smells over the Internet and managed to get on the cover of Wired with it, has gone out of business. Here’s Wired’s original enthusiastic 1999 5-page profile for your amusement.

March 15, 2001

Bad Spelling is Kool

Filed under: — 10:20 am

The New York Times has an article about FreeSpeling, a kooky site that encourages poor spelling as if it’s some sort of revolution. Anyone who thinks this is original or a good idea should read the following essay by Mark Twain… (more…)

March 1, 2001

Napster Wishes they had This Problem

Filed under: — 3:40 am

While Napster fights the record industry, leading Napster competitor Gnutella is fighting its own battle – with Nutella, “the original hazelnut spread”. Ferrero, makers of Nutella (and my favorite, Rocher) has shut down the Gnutella.de and Newtella.de sites because of their similarity to their trademark. (more…)

February 22, 2001

Apple: From 1984 to… 1970?

Filed under: — 11:01 pm

Apple has responded to concerns about the new iMac colors being a bit, er, groovy. No, they’re not on drugs – apparently the colors, Flower Power and Blue Dalmatian, are “what’s going to appeal to this whole music scene”. Maybe they could get The Village People for a commercial.

February 19, 2001

Fox TV has a Bridge to Sell You

Filed under: — 11:07 am

FOX TV recently aired a special that claims, using lots of oh-so-scientific evidence, that the NASA moon landing was a hoax. Anyone who took it seriously should read this.

February 14, 2001

Their Second Choice was ‘Hello Kitty’

Filed under: — 5:48 am

The FBI has renamed their controversial Carnivore email-monitoring system, according to Reuters. The new name, DCS1000, “doesn’t stand for anything,” according to FBI officials. Apparently they believe that the controversy could have been averted if only they had picked a better name… Right.

February 10, 2001

The Internet gets a Patron Saint

Filed under: — 5:26 pm

According to ABC News and The Register, The Pope will soon name a patron saint of the Internet. St. Isidore of Seville is the current favorite. Apparently this story has been going around for a while, but soon it will be official. I think.

January 27, 2001

:-( ™

Filed under: — 12:52 am

Despair.com, makers of fine inspirational posters, has registered a trademark on the :-( emoticon. Their press release claims that they plan to sue 7 million Internet users over its use. The press release is a joke, of course, but the scary thing is, as slashdot reports, the trademark is real. Just shows how silly the trademark (and patent) systems are.

January 25, 2001

More Fun with Search Engines

Filed under: — 4:37 am

Wired News has ressurected the old meme about Google‘s search engine: When you search for certain bad words in Google, the first result is a site devoted to George W. Bush. (more…)

(c) 2001-2007 Michael Moncur. All rights reserved, but feel free to quote me.
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