Take two geeks, add a pair of high-resolution cameras and tripods, throw in some corn syrup, red food coloring and corn starch, toss in one cut-up shirt, delicately add one kitchen knife and marinate for several hours in Photoshop, and what do you get?
Posted at 11:12:00 PM. |
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Saturday, September 20
I'm not the only person engaging in befuddled head-scratching over Microsoft's most recent spate of confusing television advertisements.
- First came the egregiously expensive $300 million Seinfeld ads that supposedly helped "humanize" the company by showing comedian Jerry Seinfeld and "the man" Bill Gates interacting with "normal people" in a shoe store and moving in with a "normal family" for a week, but actually ended up showing Gates to be a pompous ass who complains about leftovers and tips poorly, and nothing in the ads related in any form whatsoever to Windows Vista. The third completed ad was shelved without being released.
- Then came the "Mojave Experiment," where short clips of "real customer interviews" being shown what was supposedly a new operating system called "Mojave" but which in reality was Windows Vista demonstrated that people think the operating system is "neat" or "cool" if it's shown out of the context of its readily deserved criticism. Of course, the commercials don't actually show what the customers are seeing on the screen and offer no rebuttal to the reasons people have downgraded back to XP or labeled Vista as seriously flawed, and more importantly the customers see Vista running on a state-of-the-art laptop that can actually run Vista properly, not a much cheaper "standard" laptop that most people buy or already own.
- Most recently, Microsoft launched its "I'm a PC" ad line aimed directly at Apple's popular-if-snobbish "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" commercials. Notably, they don't say "I'm Windows Vista," which does nothing to brand this as a Windows commercial and may actually just be free advertising for Dell. And most interestingly of all, the ads were made on a Mac, something Microsoft tried to hide as soon as it was discovered.
All in all, Vista has become a significant embarrassment for Microsoft, with 60% of corporate companies indicating no plans to upgrade to it and most PC dealers bundling it with an option to downgrade to XP. This for an operating system that will be officially two years old in January. But all of that aside, Microsoft's schizophrenic advertising has become so muddled that it's likely to have no impact at all on Vista's adoption. Sure, Apple makes expensive hardware and dips well into the "pretentious" vault on a regular basis, but at least its commercials are understandable.
Four, actually. I'll admit to having been lax about photography lately. I've not been entirely happy with my results; I need to start practicing on a regular basis, even when I don't feel like taking pictures.
In the meantime, I thought this one from a few weekends ago was pretty good.
Yahoo's front-page news had this wonderful gem as a "featured article" today. Your car may be covered in bacteria? Guess what, *everything* is covered in bacteria, and most of it is harmless (or even beneficial). My god. There are more bacterial cells than human cells in your body and 40 *million* cells in a gram of soil. Bacteria make up an enormous percentage of the world's biomass. We've been coexisting with them for hundreds of thousands of years; I highly doubt you're suddenly going to catch some fatal bacterial infection from your dashboard in your lifetime. Why bother scaring people with figures they're not going to understand out of context?
And just to add insult to injury:
". . . a study finding the typical car has 283 different types of bacteria present in every square centimeter (square inch)."
Yeah, one square centimeter is 0.155 square inches. So not only do we think people aren't smart enough to know what a centimeter is (which is actually possible), we also "help" them out with incorrect information. Go science and math standards in the U.S.! Yay!
The Large Hadron Collider went online today. We're all still here. This is a big step for science and I'm looking forward to seeing the results of the first battery of experiments.
I was, however, somewhat dismayed in parts of the article that described the achievement. "The organization began firing the protons - a type of subatomic particle - around the tunnel in stages less than an hour earlier." It concerns me that the media thinks (and could possibly be correct) that the average reader doesn't know what a proton is (although to be honest if you don't know what a proton is, describing it as a "type of subatomic particle" probably isn't going to help much). Bleh to poor science education.
There's actually some mathematical reasoning behind the prevalence of Canon in so many other pieces of music, but I couldn't find it in my cursory search. I'll have to see if I can come up with it later.