June 11, 2008
From Belgium with love
Sometimes Sneak wonders what anyone has ever done for him. I mean, take the Belgians for example; apart for a love of mussels, chips and mayonnaise - in that order - and maybe artisan chocolate, oh and Trappist ales, and possibly little statues of weeing boys – no forget that one – Sneak has very little idea why they even exist.
Oh no, wait. It has come to Sneak's attention that two Belgian beer fans have just created a new technology wonder for our modern world. Billed as "the ultimate urinating experience", this nifty item featres sensors on the inside of the urinal which are hooked up to a monitor and software behind the cistern. Users can then use their golden jets to perhaps fire at space invaders, or vote for candidates in election polls. Perhaps you may be thinking of diverting that discretionary spend away from power efficient servers now, eh?
June 10, 2008
Pimpin' is BT
Rather alarmingly BT is offering to 'pimp' Sneak's broadband, well, that's what a press release says anyway. "BT's home IT support service pledges to pimp your broadband or your money back" it screamed, in capital letters.
According to the release, "BT has started up a new help service to tune up customers’ computers with a money back guarantee to speed up their broadband", how this involves pimping remains to be seen.
Wikipedia defines a pimp thus, "A pimp finds and manages clients for prostitutes and engages them in prostitution (in brothels in most cases and some cases street prostitution) in order to profit from their earnings". Hmmm, Sneak is struggling a bit here.
Further reading tells us that, "in the first years of the 21st century, a new meaning of the word has emerged in the form of a transitive verb which means 'to decorate'", which again doesn't really apply to a boosted broadband connection from a large telco.
Perhaps BT, given its standing, reputation, and association with old ladies played by Maureen Lipman should refrain from using such language, and leave that to the players, hustlas and hoes.
Clever boffins strike again. It's the Japanese way to come up with yet more weird and wonderful technological inventions to astound and amaze. First the heated toilet seat and now this: the perfect woman. Well, that's what scientists Etienne Fresse and Yoichi Yamato claim to have invented – a female robot designed to satisfy every male fantasy, including cooking, cleaning and erm, massaging, according to reports. Sneak isn't too sure about the enterprise applications of this particular IT aide, who has been christened Lisa, incidentally. Maybe you could get her to clean the server room out, or make you a nice cup of tea as you draw up your budgets for the next financial year.
It's smash your piggy bank time
Yep, the Apple 3G iPhone is gonna cost the same to buy on a UK high street as it does in one of those megalithic strip malls (a place that Sneak would like to point out does not do what it says on the tin) that litter that great, and that is great as in large, country.
It is still too much for Sneak on his lowly "what's in the bin for tea tonight?" salary, but is bound to appeal to those people to whom things from Apple appeal.
Depending on your choice of contract the phone will either cost nothing, £59, or £159, a price range that ranges from 'oh yeah?', to 'woah! No'. Interestingly O2 has said that a pay as you go option will also be available.
Pricing for this is not yet announced, but with the 11 July release date fast approaching it might be time to start saving up now. Given that this is less than a month, and with the current pricing structure at the forefront of his mind Sneak estimates that potential buyers start putting away a tenner a day, from today.
You have been warned.
June 05, 2008
IBM – just a bunch of conjurors
Sneak's heart always sinks when he gets a vendor press release celebrating said vendor's elevation to the 'Leaders Quadrant' of Gartner's 'Magic Quadrant'. But then again – is "Vendor exits the 'Leader Quadrant' of Gartner's 'Magic Quadrant' and falls into a pit of despair, which results in it being taken over by its immediate competitor for 50 pence" a story? - Erm – well yes, that would probably be a story for Sneak, but unfortunately such vendor releases are spectacularly thin on the ground.
Of course the 'Magic Quadrant' is a square - unlike the 'Magic Circle', the UK's premier organisation for magicians, whose Latin motto "Indocilis privata loqui", means, "Not apt to disclose secrets", and should probably be nailed to the top of most vendor technology press releases.
IT and magic don't normally mix, but having been punted a release by Geoff Harrison, who 'helms' what he says is the "Worlds first dedicated magic channel – created for magicians, by magicians – TVmagicians.com", maybe Sneak needs to think again.
IPTV has been lauded to the skies - especially by IPTV vendors - as being the best thing since sliced bread. But Sneak did have one of those Twilight Zone moments when he read that Geoff Harrison "Is also a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians" – or IBM as they're normally known.
Now that's magic!
June 04, 2008
A perennial source of amusement for Sneak in his otherwise mundane desk-based job is coming across the crazee names that some IT companies try to invent for themselves. After lavishing hundreds of thousands on market research and the like, these misguided vendors usually end up with a logo resembling a spludge of cat sick and a name that appears to have been thought up by a dyslexic toddler.
The latest in this grand tradition is Splunk – an IT search company with a list of big name clients as long as your arm … if your arm is about a foot long, and a name resembling an eastern European 7-Up-style drink. Mmm, crisp refreshing Splunk. The website goes even further though; according to the homepage, the firm's mission is to "take the sh out of IT". Bold statememnt. Are they taking the pi out of ss too?
May 31, 2008
Smalls price to pay
Until now, Sneak has sought long and hard to find a practical application of RFID technology that could really propel this technology into the mainstream. Luggage bags in airports, clothes and other items in department stores, and pallets in factories have all been touted as locations where these smart chips could be installed to monitor usage, keep inventory managed efficiently and the supply chain well-oiled.
But until now it just hasn’t happened for RFID. Maybe no-one likes the acronym? Anyway, Sneak has discovered what could be the answer – RFID transponder vendor Sokymat Automotive has just announced the introduction of a new miniature laundry tag, the S-Tag10. This tag could be placed in one’s pants, for example, “to ensure the pre-sorting of soiled garments ... in industrial laundries”.
The Sokymat sales pitch continues: “Due to its particularly small size, the S-Tag10 is ideal for personal garments in scenarios where individual items need to be tracked at all times to ensure peace of mind to the owner.” Sneak doesn’t know about you, but he’d rather not have everyone knowing exactly where he is at all times thanks to a pair of e-pants.
Perils of Facebook
Social networking sites are fast emerging as the new powerhouses of the corporate world. Some firms, like Topshop are even reporting that referrals to their official sites from their own Facebook, MySpace and other social media pages are surpassing those from paid search ads. Just think of that. Can you imagine it!?
Well, while the business benefits are fast becoming about as obvious as a rather grumpy elephant, the pitfalls can be rather massive too. Just take the poor girl – OK, for poor, substitute, stupid and/or naive - who advertised that her parents' four million quid Spanish villa was open to all-comers, to experience “the party of the year”. By all accounts it was the party of the year, although unfortunately not if you were Jodie Hudson, the 16 year old in question, who found 400-odd horny teenagers from the nearby Costa del Sol descended on the place. Hmm, power of social media = great; intelligence and foresight of 16 year-old girl = not so great. Business benefits of social media sites = probably still good, although make sure the office is locked when you leave at night.
May 23, 2008
The things Sneak does for IT
Sneak has spent many a long, long day at IT conferences in his time, bored witless by an endless stream of grey executives and greyer delegates spouting their monotonous corporate mantra. So it was with a heavy heart that Sneak travelled to his ancestral home this week, to Tyneside, for the Thinking Digital conference – what appeared to be another typically traumatic technology snore-fest.
Well, it came as a bit of a surprise to find jeans, open necked shirts and trainers the typical delegate-wear. Where were the ill-fitting suits, the chino/polo shirt combos so beloved of these events? And on stage, the roll-call of presenters made even more trend-bucking reading. Thus, attendees were treated to three speakers who lectured on the meaning of happiness and how to attain it – in love, in life, and in work. We also heard from a self-taught biogerontologist about how the first human beings to live to 1000 years old may have already been born. Um, right. Somewhere down the list, Microsoft and Cisco peered out, but to be honest, Sneak was far more interested to hear from Caspar Berry; former star of hit BBC children's drama Byker Grove, turned professional poker player, turned motivational speaker.
Fascinating as they all were though, Sneak has one little problem. There’s actually nothing to write about. Oh, the things I do for IT.
May 21, 2008
Where do I stick it?
In a revolutionary new project, Solihull council is trialing a new broadband for the masses project. The internet will be piped into council block residents’ hovels by networking company CI-Net via a wireless connection on the building rooftops and then from there on via electrical wiring to each person’s home. The broadbanded-up Brums will then be able to stick a three-pronged plug type device into their sockets to hook themselves up to the world wide web.
Which reminds Sneak of an amusing incident in which his parents once spent a good 30 minutes trying to force their Lan cable into the power socket of their laptop. Let’s hope the residents of Solihull are a little more tech-savvy, or the digital divide may remain a chasm for some time to come.
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