Tag - funny

Apple CEO Tim Cook photobombed me yesterday

Yesterday Apple CEO Tim Cook photobombed me while I was doing a Vanna White with the new retina Macbook Pro.

Dean Takahashi, also from VentureBeat, was videoing me showing the new laptop. We were at the Apple event in San Jose for the iPad Mini unveiling (and a lot else). Unbeknownst to me, while I’m showing the 13″ MacBook Pro’s new HDMI port, supermodel thinnosity, and super-sharp 4-million-pixel screen, Tim Cook showed up.

Of course, Dean never said a word.

If I had known, of course, I would have stopped interviewing me and started interviewing Cook. Ah well, I’m probably sucking – Tim doesn’t look super-happy.

Thanks for the photo, Dean!

Funniest press release ever?

As my colleague Jolie O’Dell said, it’s a “vibrating buttplug that makes you poop?”

Vibrant Conducts Pilot Trial with Vibrating Capsule for Chronic Constipated Patients

Petach Tikva, Israel, September 11, 2012. Vibrant Ltd. today announced that it is conducting a pilot trial of the company’s anti-constipation vibrating capsule. The clinical trial is taking place at two Israeli hospitals among patients with chronic idiopathic constipationFirst results of the trial will be reported at the 20th United European Gastroenterology Week, to be held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, October 20-24, 2012.

“First indications show signs of positive impact and we are awaiting the trial’s completion,” said Dr. Laurent Choppe, Managing Partner at Cukierman & Co. Life Sciences.

The mechanically operated capsule is a breakthrough treatment for constipated patients. It meets the highest safety standards and uses biocompatible materials.

“By using no chemicals, Vibrant’s treatment concept is a novel approach for people who suffer from constipation. Market need consists of about 8-10% of the world’s population,” said Lior Ben-Tsur, Vibrant Chief Executive Officer.

Vibrant is currently raising funds from private investors to complete a financing round that will enable the company to complete a multi-center clinical study and prepare for market launch.

Vibrant constipation relief technology is based on the effect of the capsule’s vibrations on the wall of the large intestine, consequently inducing peristaltic activity and generating spontaneous additional bowel movement. The easy-to-swallow capsule is controlled through algorithms, predefined by Vibrant R&D and gastroenterology advisers.

The capsule is activated by a base unit that transfers the predefined algorithm’s data into the capsule, before it is swallowed. The capsule operates inside the large intestine and is washed out of the body with the bowel movement, leaving no chemicals in the body.

The company plans to complete the pivotal clinical trial by mid-2013 and obtain CE mark.

Bow down before my words

I was working on my novel this morning in the ungodly predawn hours when I saw this quote from about 4 millennia ago:

Now, I swear by the sun god Utu on this very day — and my younger brothers shall be witness of it in foreign lands where the sons of Sumer are not known, where people do not have the use of paved roads, where they have no access to the written word — that I, the firstborn son, am a fashioner of words, a composer of songs, a composer of words, and that they will recite my songs as heavenly writings, and that they will bow down before my words……

King Shulgi (c. 2100 BC)

Is that awesome or is that awesome? Kinda I-am-poet-hear-me-roar.

I’m doing a lot of writing lately. Writing at VentureBeat. Writing my novel. Writing for clients like Click4Time, where I’m helping them transform their site into one that converts surfers into customers.

It’s very cool in a way to see a quote from an individual right at the dawn of the written word speaking about the power of language. Specifically, recorded language. Language is powerful. Language changes perceptions and minds. And language enables us to create stories though which we interpret and understand and enrich our world.

But, no, don’t bow down before my words. Just enjoy 🙂

. . .
. . .

In case you’re wondering, the story is sort of military science fiction, but it takes place in different historical milieux. One of those is ancient Sumer … hence the research.

Very odd: Outlook @ Facebook

Occasionally when I’m writing a story for VentureBeat, I’ll email Facebook PR, asking them for comment. Today when I did so, I got a bit of a surprise.

You always get the automated email first:

The real answer will come later, when a Facebook PR rep has a chance to look at your question, and decides if it’s worthy of response.

For some odd reason, I decided to click on the NewsRoom link you can see above. This is always a waste of time, because nothing really new is up there – certainly not a statement about anything that is current, topical, and just happening now.

But I clicked, and oddly enough, this is where I came to:

Not the newsroom, that’s for sure. This is a log-in page for the Outlook web app for Microsoft Exchange. And note: thefacebook.com.

Very, very odd!

The mythos of Evil Empire 13

In the world of Evil Empire 13, great plots are constantly being woven behind you – and everyone. The surface reality of the world is just that: surface. And universe IS actually out to get you, just as you always suspected.

I’m starting a new site, mostly for fun. It’s Evil Empire 13, and I essentially built it in a morning this past week.

The idea is that there is an organization – naturally of course, an evil organization – behind all the stupid, bad, annoying, and just downright embarrassing idiocies in your life.

For example, when your zipper won’t zip. When you pull our of your parking space and promptly smash the stop sign, or mow down granny’s geraniums. (Or, heaven forbid, granny herself.) When PowerPoint absolutely refused to be reasonable and move that BLOODY BOX OVER JUST ONE PIXEL, insisting instead that your presentation looks much better WITHOUT aligned elements.

The Evil Empire
Naturally, however, no villain can resist the urge to brag. Just look at all the geniuses on Facebook who stole something, took a picture, and posted it. Or boast about breaking the law to that small, select group of people in the world WHO CAN ACCESS GOOGLE.COM.

Evil Empire 13 is where #1, who is sort of the CEO of Evil, Inc., lets the cat out of the bad. Not literally, because he’s evil and would never let the cat actually get out. But figuratively. And with varying degrees of competence.

And it’s funny (well, it’s supposed to be)
The goal is to poke a little bit of fun at the silly and annoying and maybe even potentially dangerous things we deal with every day. And, with humor, make them a little more bearable.

Like looking on the bright side, because even if a potentially civilization-ending solar storm is heading our way at millions of miles an hour, at least it’s not sharks with head-mounted lasers. Or pretending that failed Armageddon prophet Harold Camping is working for Evil Empire 13 … but we fired him because he keeps spilling the beans and forcing us to reschedule the end of the world.

If there’s even one smile that results, we’ve done our job.

Our evil job, that is.

Special K: Gamification is great if there's a game involved

Gamification is great. However, the game that is being “ified” should not just be the promoting company’s financial or statistical wellbeing … it should be something the user him or herself is playing.

Well duh.

And … real shocker coming right up … it should, actually, kinda, be at least sort of fun.

Ditto on the duh.

So why do so many companies “gamify” services that aren’t inherently games, or gameable, or even fun? Could it possibly just be that they want to manipulate users into doing things that are more good for them (the company) than for them (the users themselves)?

Couldn’t be, could it? Say it ain’t so.

Take Klout. No really, please do. Preferably away – far, far away. Maybe to a land beyond time. Or at least to a time beyond now.

I just unlocked this achievement from Klout. I am so excited I can barely contain it:

There are only two problems.

  1. Visiting a website is not an achievement (for the user). Unless you’re physically or mentally … umm … challenged.
  2. I haven’t actually been to Klout.com in 4 or 5 weeks. Exclamation point exclamation point, el-oh-el, etc.

Nice try, Klout. I actually responded to one of your emails about my Klout score changing, clicked the link, and now what.

I’m being praised for something that isn’t praiseworthy, and that I didn’t even do.

Even kids see through that crap.

First world problems: injury by iPhone

So last week Friday I had a little dentist appointment.

Actually a long one – almost 90 minutes – at which I was informed that I hadn’t had a cleaning in over a year, a checkup in a year and a half, and had committed various other sins of omission (such as that age-old dentist no-no: neglecting to floss).

But my primary purpose for the visit was to fix a chipped tooth. Nothing major, just a little chip. Why, the savvy blog ready might be asking, are you writing about a chipped tooth? Are we, some might sigh, next going to hear about marathon fingernail-clipping sessions or late-night belly lint removals?


The interesting part – at least to the dentist, who was doubled over in laughter – was the cause of the chip. Which was, indeed, my iPhone.

How could I chip my tooth with my iPhone? Well, it wasn’t due to gnawing or hunger pangs. Nor was it thrown by a furious reader wondering why I am refusing to get to the point.

It was much more mundane than all that.

Very simply, I was in bed. I was reading my Google Reader feeds while flat on my back … and therefore forced to hold the phone over my face.

When it slipped, well, the rest is history. Chip by iPhone, basically.

Yeah, that’s a pretty good first-world problem.


Uh, oh: voice recognition in Scotland

How will Apple’s new Siri voice recognition assistant work in Scotland? Ireland? How about for our own Newfoundlanders in Canada?

I wonder how Bostonians will do? Hard-core New Yorkers? This is going to be fun (for some of us) and torture (for the rest).

Of course, it’s all a standard American English hegemonic imperial plot.

I can’t wait to try it.

The 3 happiest words in the English language

What are the three happiest words in the English language?

  • I love you?
  • Please marry me?
  • Won the lottery?
  • Big pay hike?
  • You’ve been dieting?

I had to think of this recently as I as finding all kinds of bugs in Google Maps.

It was about 6 or 7 years ago. I ran up to my boss’ office in Bellingham WA. He was the VP of Operations & Finance, I was Technology Solutions Manager. I had been fiddling with browser dependencies for our new product ordering and configuration engine, and our devs had been stumped. Internet Explorer was the problem: impossible to please.

We finally got it running right, and before I told my boss I asked him a question: “What are the three happiest words in the English language?”

Since we had been working so long and so hard on this one issues, the three I was thinking of were: “works in IE.”

He looked up from the work on his desk – he always had stacks and stacks piled in various places around his office – and said “Not my problem.”

We shared a laugh, and then I told him what were at that very particular moment in time and space my three favorites.

Ever since then, “not my problem” has ranked up there as a wonderful phrase in my lexicon.

Google Maps thinks Oregon is in the midwest

My wife and I are planning a road trip. We’re gonna head south from Vancouver, hit Seattle, Portland, and Crater Lake. Then we’ll go to San Francisco and finally Yosemite.

This is a LOT easier than it used to be, given online tools like Google Maps, Kayak, Travelocity, and TripAdvisor. But not when they don’t work.

Google Maps has had some serious issues over the past week.

First, it has the odd idea that Lincoln City, Oregon, is actually Lincoln, Nebraska:

Then Google Maps is quite sure that Seaside, Oregon, is South Dakota:

It takes some real skill to do this. Even more impressive, on the weekend Google Maps told us that Portland was on the east coast of the US. Transporting an entire city across the width of a continent may seem like a major feat, but Google never broke a sweat. Unfortunately, I didn’t immortalize that creative mapping in a screenshot.

We actually had to – can you believe it – use MapQuest.

Wow, how 1997.

Social media marketing in 3 words: DO SOMETHING INTERESTING!

Here’s a perfect example of social media marketing:

An IKEA in England decided to let 100 cats roam the store overnight. And then they filmed it … and the results are astonishing:

The whole key: do something interesting! Do something different! Do something remarkable … literally remark-able! Do something that no-one else is doing.

If you’re boring … no-one cares, and you can’t do any effective social media marketing. In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to do any effective marketing at all.

Big freaking clue

OK, here’s a clue …

If you email someone about a plan to do something illegal, and you work for a legal company, don’t email from your work email:


Context: I need some help around the house for some general landscaping and handyman chores, so I posted a Craigslist ad. This response is suggesting I hire someone for cash who is not legally permitted to work in Canada.

First of all:
Not a good plan.

Not smart to email from your personal, traceable account.

Double plus unsmart to email from your work account.

Really, really, really not smart when you work for a lawyer.

The unfinished joke …

We did a very fun thing on the last day of the eLiberatica conference: Werewolf. Danese Cooper led this game in which audience members do quick 3-minute impromptu speeches on a topic of their choosing. Natuarally, Jeroen van Meeuwen pushed me forward and signed me up against my will, and I found myself in front of a room full of people.

I spoke about optimizing personal SEO through proper use of social networking tools such as Twitter and LinkedIn. But at about the 2:30 mark, I ran out of material. So someone suggested a joke.

I immediately started telling the below joke, but since I had no punchline (at the time) I dragged it until the 3 minutes were finished and I was in the clear.

Here’s the joke, now that I slept on it and dreamed up an ending. It draws strongly on the fact that Romanians know how to party like few other people on earth …

3 guys walked into a bar, a Canadian, an American, and a Romanian.

The Canadian was a cheap bugger, and as they walked in he said, “I wonder how much the drinks are here. Maybe they’re cheaper at the next bar.” The American was a sharp entrepreneur, and as he stepped inside he looked around and said, “I wonder how much it would cost to buy this bar. I’d pick it up, do a licensing deal with Beck’s, expand the second floor, and double my money in a year.”

While they had been chatting just inside the door, the Romanian had walked up to the bar, found a seat, tossed back his first beer, and was starting on his second when finally he yelled in their direction: “I wonder how much time you guys are going to waste until we start the &*%$# party!”

Naturally, I do not condone the use of profanity and vulgarity, so you’ll have to fit a word into that last line yourself …

I think it would have brought the house down, especially since with hecklers and other fun, we had been laughing most of the 3 minutes already.

DilbertFiles.com … not just a comic strip

OK, this is seriously funny. The latest Dilbert strips have been focused on Dilbert’s second job: DilbertFiles.


Funny, good, enjoyable … but just a comic. Or not?

Wondering a little – because I’ve read Scott Adams‘ books and know how smart he is in spite of his constant and nearly-successful attempts to hide it – I decided to check out dilbertfiles.com.

Lo and behold … there’s an actual website there:


And an actual business, to all intents and purposes. Now, because Scott Adams is congenitally disinclined to anything approaching actual work, he must have simply struck a deal with a file transfer company to re-brand their solution for him. As if the guy doesn’t have enough money already.

Life imitating art, huh? Actually, in more ways than you might notice.

As completely appropriate for our favorite corporate drone, DilbertFiles’ uploader software only supports Windows!

It’s the cherry on the cake, obviously.