Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Saucy Autocorrect

Every now and then, when I need a good laugh, I check out DamnYouAutocorrect. Although they do get rather repetitive, and some just seem a bit contrived, every once in a while I'll fall out of the chair laughing:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Plank Stares

a man died on Sunday taking part in the latest craze going viral on the Internet — "planking."

Acton Beale, 20, plunged to his death after positioning himself for a picture on a balcony railing seven floors up in Brisbane after a night out drinking.

He was a "planker," a fast-growing group of people who lie flat on their stomachs with their arms against their bodies — to resemble a plank — in unusual and sometimes dangerous situations.

Photographs of their exploits are then shared through social media sites.
Really? This isn't a story from The Onion? Nope; it's apparently a real phenomenon, for some reason. Viral is right; something is infecting these people.

(I know from my gym that the "plank" is actually an exercise designed to strengthen ab muscles--but you do it on the floor on a mat, rather safely.)

Then again, these types of silly stunts are nothing new to social media. I remember back in the early 1990s when a movie called The Program came out, there was a scene in which several characters, in a rather ridiculous demonstration of courage (as most such demonstrations are), lay down in the middle of the road and had trucks drive over them. Apparently, there were enough copycats in real life that the filmmakers had to excise the scene.

Get the Darwin Awards people on the phone...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Berlin Fact of the Day

Not many people know this, but the real reason the Berlin Wall had been built was to keep in the thousands of completely and utterly psychotic bicyclists. Now they're loose!

By the way, Continental Airlines (I'm talkin to you), a 9-hour transatlantic flight in a densely packed 757 could be considered a form of torture. To paraphrase Roy Scheider in "Jaws"--we're gonna get a bigger plane, right?

I am now in Newark waiting to take what is a dead ringer for the original Wright Brothers plane for the last leg back to Albany.

If anyone knows what's good for them, they won't try to call or e-mail me for at least two days!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Bitter Bitte

Okay, so my Learn German in a Hurry book doesn't say what the word for "exit" is, but it does inform me that Tischtennis spielen means "play ping-pong." Helpful!

Also, I do recall in Montréal a couple of years ago (where four years of high school French failed me) discovering that there are two absolutely essential words to learn in any foreign language to avoid looking like an utter dork in public: "push" and "pull." Which are not in my Learn German in a Hurry book. "Hang-gliding," though, is Drachenfliegen. It's like they know me!

Also useful: "walrus" is "Walross." I probably could figure that out by myself, should the need arise. Which it almost certainly will.

Achtung Baby

Heading to Berlin today for three days to yammer to the masses at a Xerox Premiere Partners event. I have never been to Berlin, although I do have the Lou Reed album. Surely it's not that depressing...
In Berlin, by the wall
you were five foot ten inches tall
It was very nice
candlelight and Dubonnet on ice

We were in a small cafe
you could hear the guitars play
It was very nice
it was paradise

You're right and I'm wrong
hey babe, I'm gonna miss you now that you're gone
One sweet day
Oh, right, there is no wall anymore...

I bought a little German language tutorial book; curiously, it does not have the word "reservation" (as in "I have a reservation at this hotel") but it does helpfully include the word for "rhinoceros" (Nashorn), because you never know when an Ionesco play is going to break out.

I have a longish layover in Newark this afternoon, and they have a Sam Adams brewpub at EWR, so look for some increasingly incoherent Twitter posts later on...

Oh, and just a formality:

Sad Macs

Over at PrintCEO Blog, I write about a new Mac-based malware attack—MAC Defender. By the way, yes, Macs can get viruses, it's just not that common.
[T]he other day a number of friends and colleagues—some of whom were Windows users, so I detected a certain “nyah” factor—forwarded me stories of a new Mac malware alert. It’s not a virus per se, but is rather something called “rogueware.” Says Computerworld:

“The program, dubbed MAC Defender, is similar to existing ‘rogueware,’ the term for bogus security software that claims a personal computer is heavily infected with malware. Once installed, such software nags users with pervasive pop-ups and fake alerts until they fork over a fee to purchase the worthless program.”

Sounds like Norton Antivirus—oh, but I kid Norton Antivirus…

The Eyes Have it

Yeah, I know, it's been a while--but what better reason to return to the blogosphere than a giant squid eye in a jar, this one in the Smithsonian's collection. Hint hint: Christmas is coming...
Kind of reminds me, in a weird way, of the Stephen King quote: "I have the heart of a small boy... and I keep it in a jar on my desk."