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September 24, 2008

Yes, it appears the Borg have dumped Seinfeld. And the Beastmaster. A shame. I was rather warming to them. Well, no I wasn’t. I was warming to Bill Gates’s presence. Not Seinfeld’s.

Either way, they now have a new campaign, which is clearly a dig at Apple’s Get a Mac campaign. Put simply, a man who looks like PC Guy stands in front of the camera and says “I’m a PC, and I feel persecuted. Wah wah. Give me a cuddle, Mummy.” (OK, I made that last bit up.) Then we see other people saying they’re also a PC.

Not only this, MS actually wants you to help with its new ad campaign, allowing you to submit a short video explaining what sort of PC you are. Clever. I therefore propose this script.

Hello, I’m a PC. And yes, I am this slim, I’m not using TV trickery. Fat PC’s off sick. Again.

I feel persecuted. Not because of anti-Vista snobbery – in fact, I dislike Vista. It’s slow and puts too much of a strain on my resources. I mean, a 128mB+ of graphics memory for the compositor? Come on!

I feel persecuted because no-one makes drivers for Linux. That said, if I get the right drivers (which is, to be fair, pot luck) I’m way, way speedier than Vista. I also play nicely with Mac. We’re cousins.

Now naff off and blend your Vista DVD.

Fickle, no? I take cheque or cash, Monkey Boy…

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Why does the world insist on putting ‘WWW’ before every single URL it reads out? It’s one of the most bizarre oddities of today’s idiom-filled English. If anything, it’s a throwback to the 1990s, when the Web was still in its infancy.

Note how I use the word ‘web’: this is because the Internet is far, far older than Tim Berners-Lee’s magnificent invention. From the late 1960s, we had ARPANET, which was the world’s first fully operational packet-switching network. It is a precursor to the later networks which started to spring up – and then connect. This was the birth of the Internet, slow and steady.

That said, the Internet was very different in the early days. You had telnet, which allowed you to access remote machines, e-mail (which, surprisingly, remains almost unchanged: the address was always user@computer name, a practice which remains to this day) and FTP for transferring files. This remained pretty much the same until the early 1990s, when something called Gopher appeared.

Gopher was what one could call the forerunner of ‘the Internet’ as we know it today. It had hyperlinks, but also imposed a more strict structure on what Gopher sites would be like. Their content had to be heavily arranged. It was also more like the old viewdata machines that spawned teletext and Ceefax – there was no layout, or any decent formatting or image embedding.

To cut a long story short, Tim Berners-Lee, who was working at CERN at the time, fired up his NeXTStation, wrote a superior protocol called ‘WorldWideWeb’, and Bob’s your uncle! The Internet made available and practical for the masses in one easy step.

However, one thing hangs back from the early days of the Web. Often, as a server would also provide access via FTP, Gopher and telnet/ssh protocols, and would default to one of these. Therefore, the hypertext server could be accessed using a www. prefix (standing, of course, for Worldwide Web), in a similar way to how the FTP server would be http://ftp.whatever.com, etc.

The fact is, however, that these days, most sites default to the Hypertext Transfer protocol (HTTP) and so don’t need the WWW. Yet we still insist on saying it out loud – even when we waste an extra six syllables on something totally unnecessary.

Perhaps I should explain: here’s a syllabic breakdown of the ‘WWW.’ prefix as pronounced in English:

du’bul’yew-du’bul’yew-du’bul’yew-dot

That’s ten syllables in total. Now, if we just say ‘world wide web’, we get:

world-wide-web-dot

That’s merely four syllables. So why do we insist on saying ‘WWW’ every time? Why not just say “world wide web dot crashedpips dot co dot uk” instead, and substitute in the WWW prefix when typing (if you even need it at all)? In short, the three Ws are perhaps one of the most pesky objects on the Internet today.

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There really isn’t. Have a gander at this little item which was sold on eBay for £8,050 plus 99p postage and packaging:

Large Hadron Collider for sale.

I was building this in my back garden. I had dug a tunnel 100 feet down and joined it up to  the local sewerage pipe which runs for 27 km around the village.

I was hoping to start the experiment this morning but due to being beat by the Swiss I no longer need this Item.

This Item is untested and should only be installed by a qualified electrician.

WARNING. The seller will not be responsible if this is not correctly installed as there is a risk of black holes apearing and a possible end to the world.

Grab yourself a bargin from 99P No reserve.

Due to the weight (200 tons+ )I will be unable to post this item.

Buyer to collect and remove from site.

Only one other Collider like this in the world!

Then again, there’s more. Such as a black hole from CERN’s collider on sale on eBay: apparently the ‘last one in stock’.

(more…)

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Just when you thought Microsoft’s advertising couldn’t get any worse after the appalling “Mojave Experiment” campaign… well… take a look for yourself.

Yes, that is Jerry Seinfeld showing Bill Gates how to buy shoes. And yes, that is Windows – being described as DELICIOUS!? What the hell were they thinking? Seinfeld finished years ago and isn’t really known outside of the USA, the poor Beastmaster looks befuddled and confused (uncannily like Terry Wogan) throughout the ad, and Windows is not even mentioned. The people who came up with this should be hunted down and shot, and then have their testicles turned into stressbusters for Steve Ballmer in case he hears the words Chrome or Macintosh.

That really is an appalling ad.

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I’ve been following the ultrasub-notebook market very closely of late. Eee PCs (and MacBook Airs) have been selling like hotcakes, whilst other manufacturers have somewhat failed to penetrate the market.

However, I’ve just come across the HP Mini-Note. (True, that’s a rubbish name, but it’s better than “Eee PC”, or, worse still, “G-DIUM” – what were they on when they thought of that?) And, I have to say, it looks to be a very promising little machine.

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September 24, 2008

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