Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com

December 20, 2007  9:18 PM

Who’s sorry now? Steve Rubel

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
steve-rubel.jpg After announcing to the world through Twitter that he gets a free subscription to PC Magazine but throws it in the trash, Steve Rubel posted an open letter on his Web site.

The letter was addressed to Jim Louderback, Editor-in-Chief of PC Magazine, and any of the several hundred employees who work for Ziff Davis Media.

“I apologize if you and the editorial team at Ziff Davis took offense to my post. I look forward to meeting you one day for a drink to discuss [this] the next time we’re on the same coast.”

December 20, 2007  9:13 PM

Who’s sorry now? Michael Callahan

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
michael_callahan.gif Michael Callahan, executive vice president and general counsel at Yahoo, apologized for failing to inform the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the circumstances under which Yahoo gave the Chinese government information about one of its users.

The user happened to be Chinese journalist Shi Tao.

Tao was later sentenced to 10 years in prison for divulging state secrets.

December 20, 2007  9:07 PM

Who’s sorry now? Facebook

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

Facebook apologized for suspending Steve Webb from their social networking site.

Webb, a British member of Parliament known for his interest in technology, received a letter from Facebook reps saying: “I’m very sorry for the confusion here. We received a report that indicated that this was an imposter account, but after further investigation, it is obviously real.”

December 20, 2007  8:46 PM

Who’s sorry now? Intel

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
intel-ad.gif Intel apologized for a print advertisement that was widely criticised as being racist. The ad could be slammed for being sexist too, but nobody seemed to be bothered by that particular bit of political incorrectness.

“We made a bad mistake. I know why and how, but that simply doesn’t make it better.The intent behind our ad campaign “Multiply Computing Performance and Maximize the Power of Your Employees” was to convey the performance capabilities of our processors through a number of visual metaphors. Unfortunately, while we have used a visual of sprinters in the past appropriately, this ad of using African-American sprinters did not deliver our intended message and in fact proved to be culturally insensitive and insulting.”

Here’s a larger version of the ad.

December 20, 2007  8:43 PM

Who’s sorry now? The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
cibc.gif The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce issued several apologies this year.

  • They experienced technical difficulties that caused inaccurate account balances
  • They accidently provided inaccurate information that caused the Canada Revenue Agency to bill customers incorrectly
  • They sent confidential faxes by mistake to a U.S. junkyard and a Montreal shopping-cart company
  • They had one of its automatic bank machines issue Canadian Tire money instead of legal tender.

December 20, 2007  8:36 PM

Who’s sorry now? RIM, 365 Main, Skype and Rackspace

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
please_stand_by.gif RIM joined 365 Main, Skype and Rackspace, apologizing to customers for “any inconvenience resulting from loss of service” this year.

RIM blamed their outage on a software upgrade. 365 Main said their backup generators were at fault, Skype blamed a security update from Microsoft and Rackspace said all their problems could be traced back to a truck hitting a utility pole.

December 20, 2007  8:17 PM

Who’s sorry now? Apple

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
apple.gif A representative from Apple’s legal department called to apologize to nine-year-old student Shea O’Gorman. The third-grader, who was learning to write business letters in school, sent a suggestion for improving the iPod to Steve Jobs.

Three months after sending her letter, Shea got a reply from Apple’s Law Department. She was told not to send in any more suggestions.

Shea’s mom, disappointed in Apple, brought the letter to the attention of CBS5 TV.

Here’s the CBS5 report.

December 20, 2007  8:09 PM

Who’s sorry now? Stephen Heller

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
diebold-voting-machine.jpeg Stephen Heller was ordered by the L.A. District Attorney to write a letter of apology to Diebold for stealing 500 pages of secret memos.The memos documented Diebold’s attempt to sell untested voting technology in California.

Heller passed the information to the Oakland Tribune, prompting the Secretary of State revoked the certification for Diebold’s touch-screen voting machines in California.

Diebold made news earlier this year after hacker Ross Kinard successfully created a key for a Diebold voting machine from a photo of a key on Diebold’s Web site.

December 20, 2007  8:04 PM

Who’s sorry now? Comcast

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
comcast.gif In 2007 Comcast apologized for providing a Washington D.C. customer with an “unsatisfactory customer experience.”

Comcast was responding to a YouTube video showing a Comcast technician asleep on a customer’s couch.

At first there was discussion about whether or not the video was a fake, but apparently the technician really did doze off. It’s not surprising, considering he was on hold for more than an hour waiting for Comcast tech support.

According to the Associated Press, Comcast has fired the technician. Maybe they should apologize to him too?

Here’s the video the dissatisfied customer, Brian Finkelstein, posted on YouTube.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/CvVp7b5gzqU" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

December 18, 2007  11:44 PM

Overheard: The ten most entertaining tech videos of 2007

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse


I am proud to present the WhatIs.com Editor’s Choice Award to our selections for the ten most entertaining tech videos of 2007. I apologize in advance if any of these aren’t new — they were new to me. Here are our selections, in no particular order.

1. Blockbuster SuperBowl commercial
Out of all last year’s commercials, this one still stands up.

2. Web 2.0
Web 2.0 explained in just under five minutes. Very clever.

3. Crash Differently
Do you live or work with a Mac fanatic? There are lots of Mac/PC parodies out there, but this one is my favorite.

4. Tech Support in the Middle Ages
Even the book was once a new technology.

5. Tech Tattoos
You know you’re a geek when your tattoos are of cables.

6. Geek Love Song
Tripod’s ode to geeks (or fans of just about anything) and those who love them.

7. Andy Blitz has a pop-up problem
This skit from Late Night with Conan O’Brien has Andy Blitz traveling to India to bring his computer to tech support. While he’s there, he sticks around to help out some people. Long, but funny.

8. Code Monkey
Jonathan Coulton’s hit song about life as a programmer. I’ve included several versions here.

9. Google Docs in Plain English
The Common Craft Show explains tech concepts in plain English in an entertaining way. Very unique approach to video tutorials.

10a. Here Comes Another Bubble
The Richter Scales echo Steve Rubel’s warning about a Web 2.0 bubble. Sung to “We didn’t light the fire.”

10b. Staying Alive in the Datacenter
This is what happens when you have too much time on your hands. Who knew geeks could dance?

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