(This entry originally appeared in Infoworld’s Notes from the Field blog.)
by Robert X. Cringely
I met a gin-soaked barroom queen…. While I was digging through the Net looking for the skinny on Sequoia Voting Systems and its mystery contractor Kwaidan Consulting (aka Mike Gibbons), the Bradblog’s Brad Friedman was doing the same. He managed to unearth a cached version of Gibbons’ MySpace page that’s just a wee bit different than the current model. Instead of a photo of Gibbons shaking hands with Bush I, this one shows a good-old-boy leaning against the hood of a pickup. The list of people Gibbons wants to meet has changed too. Instead of Jesus, Einstein, and Newton, Gibbons was looking for “a well endowed blonde nymphomaniac … that likes to be under the influence of Jim Beam whiskey in a dimly lit room at least 3 times a week.” (Hmm, Jesus or a busty nymphomaniac – that’s a tough call.) It’s nice to know the gatekeepers of our electoral system go shopping for their code experts in New Orleans bordellos.
We like to watch. At last week’s Digital Home Conference, Comcast senior veep Gerald Kunkel casually dropped the bombshell that the ISP was experimenting with putting cameras into its set top boxes, so it can tell who’s watching the tube. No, that’s not a joke. They want to see whether it’s the kids parked in front of the idiot box or dad snoozing in his Barca Lounger, then automatically switch to their favorite channels or serve up ads appropriate to each (like sugar-packed cereals and adult-friendly pharmaceuticals). After Chris Albrecht broke that story on his New TeeVee blog, a s***storm ensued. Comcast then backtracked considerably, saying it never intended to peer into people’s living rooms, it was merely experimenting with a Wii-like gesture controlled interface. Right. Just like they never blocked Bit Torrent traffic on their network. Sure, fine, we believe you. Just remember: While you’re watching Big Brother, Big Brother may be watching you.
Me and my marrow. On a personal, non-snarky note: My friend and colleague, Emru Townsend, wants your
blood bone marrow. At least, if you’re a healthy person under age 60 of West African descent he does. Emru, the founder of Frames Per Second magazine and a regular contributor to PC World, has leukemia and cannot find a matching donor. There’s apparently a huge shortage of marrow from people of color, and this is a game where race really does matter. A gaggle of people are working to find Emru a donor; they’ve created a web site where you can learn more about his story and sign up to be a donor. Visit Heal Emru, and tell your friends. You could end up saving somebody’s life.
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