Bill Gates Taking Heat Over Va Tech Shooting

It’s not often that I feel sympathy for Bill Gates. This would be one of those times. Anti-gaming nutlog Jack Thompson is suggesting Gates may be partly to blame for the VT massacre and that MS could be potentially liable. I heard the kid read books, too. I think Amazon should watch its back. Here’s a snip:

“Mr. Gates, your company is potentially legally liable the harm done at Virginia Tech. Your game, a killing simulator, according to the news that used to be in the Post, trained him to enjoy killing and how to kill. You knew five years ago that your on-line game, Counterstrike, so clearly figured in the massacre by a student in Erfurt that the event and the game impacted the race for Chancellor in Germany at the time!”

This guy seems to have ripped a page from the Ann Coulter playbook. Say any crazy-ass thing to garner yourself plenty of airtime.

Read the rest on Gizmodo.

High Definition Hair?

A “high definition” Christian ministry? “High definition” hair? How about “high-def” bark on fireplace logs? Fridge magnets? And you thought “high-definition” was a TV display standard. In this week’s photo essay on CNet, they offer a…ah… high-def look at the many commercial applications of this already shop worn buzzword.


DIY: Hotel Meth Labs

Want yet another reason to be skeezed out during your next hotel stay (besides your nagging fear that the baby belonging to the previous occupants played poo-poo patty cake in the bathroom — at least you pray it was baby — while mommy and daddy cavorted naked all over the furniture)? How about the fact that mommy and daddy may have turned Mr. Coffee into a miniature meth lab, too? Sound crazy? Not according to this piece on Kevin Kelly’s Street Use. He links to a Huntsville, AL news outlet which quotes local officials. Apparently, it’s a lot more common than you might think. The piece concludes:

Phillips says it’s pretty easy to tell if a coffee pot has been used to cook meth. It will have a dark reddish-orange stain.

Gee, thanks for that warning. I was just about to brew up a delicious pot o’ Joe even though it looks like someone’s been using the coffee pot as a bedside urinal for the past six months.


Signage of Mass Destruction

We would recommend that you print out these awesome, funny, and intention- clarifying stickers, created by hardware virtuoso Bunnie Huang, but given the hysterical depths to which we’ve descended, where a flat cartoon sign is mistaken for a weapon of terror, use of such stickers would probably get you tossed in the same stew pot as those two snickering Cartoon Network guerrilla marketeers.

Is it just me, or are the wheels starting to seriously come off this thing?

[Via Boing Boing]

My Pocket Change is Spying on Me!

See, those people who claim that the paper money in their wallet has homing devices in it, that they have implants in their molars, and black UN helicopters are following them around are… okay, they’re completely insane, but they may have given some spy op a great idea. According to this AP story, Canadian coins were discovered on several US contractors, with high security clearances, that had tiny radio transmitters in them. US Defense Security, which issued the warning, is being tight-lipped about many further details (they just wanted to warn contractors and others to suspect their pocket change and check their piggy banks), but outside experts were quick to bring up China, Russia and France, at least as having operations sophisticated enough to create such devices. Sophisticated enough? Hell, I could almost do this with a few kits and parts from SparkFun.

Thanks, Ron!


Security Flaws in Vista

Why is it that everything about Vista makes me feel like I’m about to break out in a terrible rash? Here’s a piece from Wired’s Monkey Bites summarizing John Markoff’s NYTimes piece on “issues” discovered in the forthcoming MS OS:

“One full month before Microsoft Windows Vista ships to consumers, hackers and security experts have already discovered six serious flaws in the operating system.”

Oh, what fun…

Read the rest of the Wired piece here.

Aliens: Why They Hate Us

This giant Colonel Sanders logo was built in a field in Nevada, “near Area 51,” to be the first brand visible from space. It took a team of 50 designers, engineers, architects, and scientists (scientists?) to create the image which is over 87,000 sq. feet. It was made to commemorate the new version of KFC’s logo. He wears an apron now. Gawd, I wish I was making this up. I really do. I think I’ll go medicate myself and curl up in a fetal position now.

After the jump, see the inevitable photoshopping (from Soupy Trumpet) of our intergalactic brothers enjoying some of that opposable flipper-lickin’ goodness of the Colonel. Missing the nuisance of the whole human master/spokesbot versus domesticated fowl business, they just went ahead and herbed, spiced, and deep fried the old bastard. Now THAT’s good eatin’

Thanks, Ron!


Vista’s EULA Restricts Benchmarking

Street Tech’s Jay Towsend sent this to me a couple of days ago, but I’m just now getting around to posting it. And it’s a goodie:

According to an article on the Australian PC World site, the EULA for Microsoft’s Windows Vista OS puts restrictions on how benchmarks of certain components of the OS can be published including measurements used to compare rival products by saying that to do so, they must comply with conditions found at a Microsoft Web site. The piece further says (and this is the best part):

“Several attempts to reach that Web site to see what those conditions are for benchmarking were unsuccessful on Tuesday, as the page for unknown reasons could not be displayed in Internet Explorer 7.”


Here’s a link to the full story (via ComputerWorld).


Scariest Tech of 2006

Peter Lewis of Fortune did a right-on list of the scariest, gnarliest, most user-surly tech (and tech-related media and developments) for 2006. We couldn’t agree more.

Here’s the list. Hit the link to read his wonderful descriptions (e.g. On Vonage: “I’m a Vonage customer and I never know when the service is going to be clear, or scratchy, or when it’s going to cough up a hairball of old voicemail. And customer service? Remember Riff Raff, the servant in The Rocky Horror Picture Show? It’s like that.”)

The List (Be Ashamed. Be Very Ashamed.):

1. Sony Li-On Batteries
2. Amazon Unbox
3. Vonage/VoIP
4, HP Ethics
5. MS Vista
6. RIAA’s “Campus Download” (think: “Reefer Madness” for file sharing)
7. Blu-ray/HD-DVD
8. Paperless Voting Machines
9. “Ultra-Mobile” PCs (not!)
10. The Wii (the name, the name!)
11. X-Men: The Official Game
12. Stay Alive (a movie about games that can kill)


Bono, Oprah Appear Together, Ego Density Creates New Blackhole

Oprah and Bono were in Chicago’s Apple store today for this photo op promoting the new red iPod Nano (expected to go on sale tomorrow), a tie-in with Bono’s Product Red charity for the Global Fund.

An unintentional tie-in was ABC News’s report tonight on how corporate support for charities,via charity-branded products (such as the pink ribbon breast cancer campaign) is leading to huge profits for companies. Yes, they donate some % of sales to the charities, but the charity-branded products enjoy huge spikes in sales because consumers equate the purchase with charitable giving. So it ends up as just another marketing strategy for corporations, one that seems to offer a big ROI. In the case of the Red iPod, US$10 of each sale will go to Project Red.

[Via Forevergeek]