You're calling me a f*cking idiot?!'Back in the late '90s, Trevor was working for a major UK ISP selling cable, which often saw him having to field complaints from irate customers that didn't want to wait for support to pick up the phone."Most callers would understand that we could not help them as we didn't even work with the same product, and were in sales not support," he said.The company's policy was that staffers couldn't hang up unless the caller was abusive, though, so they often had to deal with angry and "fairly [IT] ignorant" callers."One time, I got an extremely irate guy on the phone who had been having a hell of a lot problems with his dial-up service," Trevor told us.Vulture can't resist when a nugget suits another.
Whether or not you liked Bird Box, Netflix’s apocalyptic December 2018 movie about an unseen phenomenon that drives people that witness it into suicidal or homicidal madness, it’s turned into a terrible meme.Mimicking a pivotal sequence from the movie in which several survivors make a perilous journey while blindfolded, people are making ill-advised viral “Bird Box Challenge” videos in which they do the same.Netflix itself has warned against the stunt, tweeting that Boy and Girl, two characters from the movie, “have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes.” Leave it to massively popular and perennially reckless YouTube star Jake Paul (who reportedly made $21.5 million in revenue from the site last year) to ignore that advice and common sense, and upload a video in which he appeared to go straight to that extreme.We don’t know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes.Per the Verge, Paul published what he described as a 24-hour version of the challenge on Monday.The California DMV apparently did not anticipate this scenario enough to include it in their online list of “Things You Must Not Do” while driving, but it’s unclear whether this is legal.
Going to the Arctic Circle wasn’t a bucket list item, however, getting there in the heart of winter was: to feel a cold polar night, to see Northern Lights, to appreciate the comforts of living at a southern latitude, to not take for granted the color green.When the invitation came to join the CXARCTICDRIVE program – an 1,800 mile journey from Fort St. John, British Columbia, to Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territory, Canada in Mazda’s 2019 CX-3, CX-5, and CX-9 SUVs – not only did my heart pound with excitement, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the time.The week-long ‘road trip of a lifetime’ to the Arctic Ocean would loosely follow old routes of dog sled teams, explorers, and prospectors alike over the Alaskan, Klondike, Dempster, and Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highways.Locals on the plane talking about an unusually mild winter unwittingly lowered my guard, because upon deplaning, I made a bolt for the terminal as the bitter wind caught me by surprise.Each of ten expedition cars was outfitted with Blizzak snow tires and a whole host of safety items: tow hooks, block heaters, spares, survival kits, and more.Dynamic road test AND borderline social experiment?
Three Januarys ago I proposed five technologies NOT to look out for.Reading it again today, I get the impression I may as well copy and paste it here for 2019.The following feature includes flashing lights, strong language, mild horror, some nudity.TECH I WILL NOT TOUCH IN 2019What, you've actually PAID to own a mediocre mono speaker that listens to your farts when you think no-one else is around and you don't consider that (a) poor value, (b) creepy as fuck and (c) slightly less useful than the SodaStream your Mum bought for Christmas 1978?The most apt example of the Idiot of Things has to be the Ekster 3 Smart Wallet.
Peak Apple Apple shares were temporarily pulled from trading on Wednesday as the Cupertino idiot-tax operation warned of lousy sales numbers on the horizon.CEO Tim Cook told investors that come January 29, the phone-flinger won't hit the revenue figures it said it would reach, and would in fact see its first year-over-year decline since 2016.It is the first time Apple has had to lower its estimates in over a decade.Under the new guidance, Apple says revenue will be around $84bn, well short of the $89-93bn range Apple had estimated and a sizeable drop from the $88.3bn revenue haul Apple reported in Q1 FY 2018.In fessing up to the looming fiscal disappointment, the Apple boss blamed the shortfall not on the eye-wateringly high prices for its latest lines of kit, but rather on the people of China, who let Apple down by not purchasing as many shiny doodads as was expected of them."While we anticipated some challenges in key emerging markets, we did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in Greater China," Cook told shareholders.
But what if the Marvel superhero death match that was Avengers: Infinity War also gave fans the option to determine the outcomes?In this Infinity War - Bandersnatch mashup video posted to Reddit Sunday, we see what it would be like if the Avengers movie let fans choose outcomes based on decisions like "Stay calm and save the universe" or "Act like an idiot" when facing terrifying villain Thanos.Hopefully, the unusual Black Mirror: Bandersnatch interactive format that captured viewers' attention will inspire Marvel to give comic book fans a chance to save their favorite superheroes from dying in upcoming films.Personally, instead of life-or-death matters, I'd prefer to see a choose-your-own adventure movie where Doctor Strange alters reality while annoying Loki.Or maybe just a Thor vs. Hulk drinking game would be entertaining enough?Culture: Your hub for everything from film and television to music, comics, toys and sports.
But what if the Marvel superhero death match that was Avengers: Infinity War also gave fans the option to determine the outcomes?In this Infinity War - Bandersnatch mashup video posted to Reddit Sunday, we see what it would be like if the Avengers movie let fans choose outcomes based on decisions like "Stay calm and save the universe" or "Act like an idiot" when facing terrifying villain Thanos.Hopefully, the unusual Black Mirror: Bandersnatch interactive format that captured viewers' attention will inspire Marvel to give comic book fans a chance to save their favorite superheroes from dying in upcoming films.Personally instead of life or death matters, I'd prefer to see a choose-your-own adventure movie where Doctor Strange alters reality while annoying Loki, or maybe just a Thor vs. Hulk drinking game would be entertaining enough?Culture: Your hub for everything from film and television to music, comics, toys and sports.
Courts crack down on Cupertino idiot-tax operation as tech patent war explodesThe iPhone has been removed from sale in Germany after a Munich court issued an injunction against Apple amid its ongoing patent fight with Qualcomm.The iGiant acknowledged that its flagship product had been taken off the shelves in all its stores in Germany, although it will still be available through third parties.Apple said it would appeal the injunction, which is almost identical to another one issued last week in China.The extraordinary action follows a bitter fight between Apple and Qualcomm for the past two years over Intel-made wireless broadband modems, which Qualcomm says infringe six of its patents.In 2016, Apple started using a mix of Qualcomm and Intel radio modems in its smartphones, rather than exclusively Qualcomm parts, much to the latter's rage.
People can’t stop flying ‘em, whether they’re harmless hobbyists, police looking to expand their surveillance powers, criminals looking to evade them, corporate profiteers, musicians, or morons who violate airspace restrictions or interfere with emergency operations out of ignorance, recklessness, or outright malice.It’s that last category that is presumably the cause of a major disruption at Gatwick, according to Reuters, which reported that sightings of two drones flying over airways at the UK’s second-busiest airport grounded all flights for hours beginning late Wednesday evening:Flights at London’s Gatwick airport remained suspended early on Thursday, five hours after the UK’S second-busiest airport halted them to investigate reports of two drones flying over its airfield, inconveniencing passengers days before the Christmas holiday period.Planes were unable to depart, while a number of flights scheduled to land were diverted to other airports, Gatwick said in a statement.Passengers complained on Twitter that their flights had landed at London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham and other cities.Other flights were sent to France and the Netherlands.
From time to time the entire technology press corps gets together on Twitter, spends several hours live-tweeting the same event, and then writes a series of blog posts about how nothing important happened.After months of polite deferrals, Sundar Pichai finally went before Congress on Tuesday, and over the course of three and a half hours, said as little as possible.There was, for example, the question from Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) about why a picture of Donald Trump comes up when you Google “idiot.” Adi Robertson has the correct answer, for the record:News outlets reported on the Trump “idiot” results earlier this year.It appeared to be the result of outside parties gaming Google’s search results, a well-known tactic known as “Google bombing.”Trump isn’t the first president to get Google-bombed: in the mid-2000s, searches for “miserable failure” famously returned results about President George W. Bush.
Google bombing: It's an old internet tactic.And it came, thanks to President Donald Trump, it came up on Tuesday while Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified before Congress.The term refers to gaming search results by linking a certain term to a certain site all over the internet.Pichai, who was answering questions for the House Judiciary Committee on alleged bias against conservatives and data collection practices, was confronted with the topic when Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California, asked why Googling the word "idiot" surfaced pictures of Trump."And based on that, at any given time, we try to rank and find the best search results for that query."Lofgren, as if trying to prove a point about search bias allegations, then responded, "So it's not some little man sitting behind the curtain figuring out what we're going to show the user?"
Google‘s CEO, Sundar Pichai, is in Washington today.He’s trying to explain how the world’s most advanced technology company works to Congress.At some point we’re sure he’s going to be arrested for witchcraft.Pichai’s not the only fat cat with deep pockets in the room – sure, a lot of those politicians have that “I roll with Ajit” cash, but the CEO of Google has Microsoft money – he has an admirer in the room whose name is synonymous with wealth: Rich Uncle Pennybags (he’s the Monopoly man).WATCH LIVE HERE: https://t.co/yEbEzX8muM pic.twitter.com/VvvVr2csyN— Ian Madrigal – The Monopoly Man (@wamandajd) December 11, 2018
In a House Judiciary Committee hearing today, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was asked to explain why a Google image search for “idiot” turned up pictures of Donald Trump — and whether that was a case of intentional bias.The question came from Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), who was trying to refute the idea that Google is politically manipulating search results.Pichai offered a long, general explanation of how Google search works:Any time you type in a keyword, as Google we have gone out and crawled and stored copies of billions of [websites’] pages in our index.And we take the keyword and match it against their pages and rank them based on over 200 signals — things like relevance, freshness, popularity, how other people are using it.And based on that, at any given time, we try to rank and find the best search results for that query.
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Does that seem like a good idea?Would this idea ever get past the first hurdle if it was implemented now?They're not useful or necessary, and they cause enormous amounts of harm to innocent people and animals every damn year.But random people putting on their own displays with no safety oversight, idiot teenagers throwing fireworks at each other in the street (this happens on my estate every year), people being hit by badly-aimed rockets, animals terrified by the noise and worse (I can't bring myself to go into what people have done to animals with fireworks, but suffice to say it would ruin your faith in humanity for life) – none of that needs to happen.It seems completely insane to me that in an age where the NHS is stretched way beyond breaking point, where fire stations are closed for lack of funding and ambulances are wrecked by drunken idiots, that we think it's worth some pretty whizz-bangs to allow unrestricted sale of explosives for home use.That anyone could think it's worth the cost to the emergency services, not to mention life and limb.
After clearing out my emails and private messages, I realized I’m never sorry — but every other thread or message I send starts with an apology.“Sorry to bug you!” “I was just wondering…” “…Totally fine if not.” Why do I apologize for existing in every email I send?I saw a tweet over the weekend, and it reminded me of a college class I once took — “how to write like a man,” a.k.a.As feminist advocate Lois Wyse once said: “Men are taught to apologize for their weaknesses, women for their strengths.”Every work email I send:Prob my fault anyway I’m an idiot :)
I’ve been following Microsoft almost since its inception largely because the firm recruited me early on, but I never even went to the interview, and viewed that potential career path as my biggest “road not traveled” alternative life scenario.But up through most of last decade, Microsoft was defined by a uniquely hostile employee environment particularly at executive levels and an antiquated proprietary lock-in strategy like the one that almost took IBM out in the early 1990s.That has changed massively under Satya Nadella who aggressively moved to both eliminate the crippling and nasty culture inside the firm and to make it a poster child for open source and rather than fighting competing platforms and approaches like Linux, embracing them.But not just open source but being open in general and, in what seems amazing, given Google seemed initially to be focused on fighting “evil” Microsoft, now Microsoft seems to be fighting a far eviler Google.(I continue to believe that somewhere in Google there is a historic list of every mistake Microsoft made and some idiot executive at Google thinks it’s a to-do list.)In effect, Google and Microsoft have switched positions.
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So, if your ball goes into this guy’s yard, don’t count on him giving it back.Their stated model is more like a return to the siloed kind of business its founder envisioned when WPP focused on wire and plastic products.Basically it’s a commitment to tasteless insistence.Stretching back to Anacin’s sledgehammers ringing in our heads and “Yum, yum Bumble Bee, Bumble Bee Tuna,” we are all well aware that there is a school of advertising that believes saying, “Buy this product, or you’re an idiot” enough times to the right people constitutes a great day of advertising.It seems that we are nearing a tipping point, where the exploitation of targeting has swung so far against user interests that a different model must emerge.The digital age has, of course, largely put its chips on the target and yell model, and it has done so at a scale heretofore unimagined.
A drone owner in the vicinity of RAF Northolt very nearly claimed the shameful honour of being the first idiot to make a proper aeroplane crash, with safety investigators agreeing that the movements of the adult baby's flying toy matched with a deliberate attempt to hit a plane as it came in to land.Fortunately, it only came within 20 metres of its target, despite the drone pilot seemingly making a good effort to come at the plane from below and hit it.Its target was a PA31 light aircraft coming in to land at Northolt last June, with air traffic safety monitor the UK Airprox Board reporting that: "[The pilot] lost sight of it under the nose and looked down at the wing root and identified it as a small white drone of the lightweight hobbyist type, it was about 20 feet below the aircraft as he passed over it."The PA31 pilot added that he had no doubt the drone's trajectory showed it was a deliberate attempt at a collision, and suspects it was launched from a nearby park.