Sneak has a lot of admiration for Taylor Swift, from a technological point of view you understand.
She took her albums off Spotify, thus boosting sales (clever), and has now bought the taylorswift.porn and taylorswift.adult web domains to stop nefarious internet trolls using the domains for unsavoury purposes (even cleverer).
Swift made the move to protect her image as part of a rush by brands to acquire their name and the new domains realised by ICANN, which had decided that domains such as .com and .co.uk weren’t cutting it anymore and released new ones such as .porn.
Swifty (to her friends) is not the only one to realise that she needs to stop her good reputation being dragged through the mud with such domains. Everyone's second favourite pop starlet, Microsoft, bought the same domains for its 'so hot right now' Office brand.
This should stop those who find gratuitous entertainment in filthy Excel spreadsheets or PowerPoint presentations filled with smut being able to create a safe haven online to store and access such content.
Brands have plenty of domain buying to do, as the .sucks domain is also up for grabs. This is another domain that has caused controversy after many questioned why anyone would want this for positive purposes, but the website selling the domain claims there are benefits.
"By building an easy-to-locate 'central town square' available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, dotSucks is designed to help consumers find their voices and allow companies to find the value in criticism," it says.
"Each dotSucks domain has the potential to become an essential part of every organisation’s customer relationship management programme."
Sneak agrees. If you have any complaints about his columns please head over to sneak.sucks and leave your comments, where they will be pointedly ignored.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee and The Lord of the Rings. Two of Sneak’s greatest loves. So, when Sir Tim Berners-Lee did an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Reddit, Sneak was there, popcorn at the ready, hoping to hear the great man hold forth on major topics such as net neutrality and how to protect the open internet.
What really brought him joy, though, was when Sir Tim was asked what he thought about memes. Showing a strong command of memes and the power they wield, Sir Tim responded: "One does not simply ask the inventor of the WWW what he thinks about memes."
For those of you who live under a rock, this is a wonderfully witty use of the line ‘One does not simply walk into Mordor’, as said by Boromir, son of Denethor, brother of Faramir, played by Sean Bean.
The Reddit community was quick to turn his response into the very meme he was using to undermine the question put to him about memes.
Elsewhere in his AMA, Sir Tim answered questions on topics such as artificial intelligence and the potential threat it poses to humanity.
"Well, the fact is that machines are becoming smarter. It seems unreasonable not to imagine that they will become smarter than us. What happens at that point is not obvious. That we have to think about it now is clear," he said.
Sir Tim also urged everyone on the net to do all they can to make sure governments and other powers don't try to change its open nature by maintaining a close eye on their work. The full question and answer is listed below:
Q: What is the single most valuable thing I can do on an individual level to help defend the open internet?
Berners-Lee: Great question. Keep asking that question. Don’t take it for granted. Keep an eye on the situation in your town, your country, your company. In each year of using it, spend some time with others working or writing or lobbying or protesting as needed to keep it open.
Sneak agrees, but would argue that a witty meme that goes far and wide would promote this even more succinctly.
You shall not pass ... laws that amend the fundamental idea that the web must remain an inherently open platform that treats all traffic equally to ensure that all ideas have the chance to succeed.
Sneak is a big fan of diversity, which is why he has 50 pairs of sock each a different shade of grey.
A report in The Guardian suggests that Apple also believes variety to be the spice of life, and has added a range of skin tones to emojis.
For those who don't know, an emoji is commonly a cartoon face evoking a basic emotion, designed for people who forget that words actually still exist in the digital age.
Emojis were previously limited to a white or a putrid yellow round face, the kind that used to be found on ecstasy wrappers in the 90s. That's what Sneak's friend told him, anyway.
Those who wanted a little more diversity could choose an Indian or Chinese emoji, which sported a turban and skullcap respectively. Well, they do say stereotypes exist for a reason.
People who wanted a black face had no choice but to use an emoji of a dark moon as an alternative.
This lack of diversity, and the grumbling that accompanied it, caused Apple to spring into action like an 80s action hero.
The company now allows word-blind users to choose an emoji from a range of five skin colours, running from Simpsons-like pus yellow to dark brown.
Other more diverse emoji options include families with same-sex parents and even a smiling lump of faeces for people from a very unique lineage or with limited boundaries in taste.
That, ladies and gentleman, is Apple's affirmative action, in action. While Sneak welcomes diversity in the world of text communications, he can't help but think that there are more pressing equality needs in the technology market.
Perhaps Apple could follow Intel's example and invest some of its Scrooge McDuck-like mounds of cash (video below) into encouraging diversity in the physical as well as virtual world.
Despite Apple's efforts, Sneak notes that there is no option for those with ginger hair. Have they not suffered enough, Apple?
Sneak finds this shocking and disturbing and will be writing a very strong letter to Tim Cook, demanding an iPhone 6 and 5K iMac as compensation for this grave omission.
In the meantime, Sneak is off to find an emoji that best communicates crushing despair at the state of the world and his utter insignificance in the grand scale of the universe. Perhaps there's an app for that.
There are many embarrassing things on the internet; YouTube is a veritable shrine of schadenfreude and awkwardness, all captured for viewers' fleeting amusement and compulsive desire to like/share/tweet.
But Sneak believes that HTC has created something so cringe worthy it's likely to have people tuning inside out, and receive a ban under the Geneva Convention.
In what must have been a severe case of ‘throw all our ideas at the wall and see what sticks', HTC has created - and Sneak uses that term loosely - a rap video boasting the firm's handset prowess and smack-talking rivals Samsung and Apple.
Having probably spent its entire adverting budget on hiring actor and Iron Man Robert Downey Jr, HTC has now roped in rapper Doc G from early 1990s group PM Dawn. Sneak spent the 90s tussling with a Spectrum ZX, so he'll just have to take HTC's word on that.
Dubbed Hold the Crown (see what HTC did there?), the 2 minute 33 second video also features HTC employee David Bruce, who joins Doc G to release a torrent of horrific phone-based rhymes and put downs on unsuspecting viewers.
Disclaimer: Sneak takes no responsibility for the video below and the consequences it may have on your mental, social or physical wellbeing.
Still alive and sane? Sneak congratulates you, but the ordeal is not over yet. Clearly proud of Hold the Crown, HTC follows it with an interview featuring Doc G - real name Greg Carr - and Bruce.
Sneak doesn't want to spoil the video for you, but suffice to say there is a blossoming pseudo man-crush between Bruce and Carr; the kind of relationship that many could describe as Stockholm syndrome.
Now, there have been other PR and advertising failures by phone brands, including BlackBerry's bizarre mock-protest against Apple.
But HTC's attempt is either ironic genius or the tragic failure of a misguided marketing exec who's had too much sugar. Sneak would like to believe the former, but the latter is more compelling.
Telecoms security has been in and out of the headlines for almost two years now, ever since patriot/traitor/hero/villain (delete as your opinion dictates) Edward Snowden revealed the PRISM campaign and the rest in 2013.
We've since learned that GCHQ has a pretty tight grip on the communications flowing around the UK and the rest of the world. So you'd think the folks at the top at GCHQ and the government would be adept at keeping their own comms secure.
Not so, it seems. Sneak was amused to read that David Cameron received a prank phone call from someone who managed to bypass the switchboard security (the mind boggles as to how) and was given the mobile phone number of the head of GCHQ, Sir Robert Hannigan.
Cameron explained that the hoax call took place while he was out for a walk, and was told, presumably by a government switchboard operator with a heavy case of 'Sunday afternoon lull', that he was being put into a conference call from Hannigan.
Cameron, however, was not taken in and said he was immediately suspicious when the caller said sorry for 'waking him up' at the start of the call.
Sneak knows politicians are often characterised as lazy, feckless types, but even he wouldn't have thought Cameron was in bed at 11am on a Sunday.
"I thought that was strange as it was eleven o'clock in the morning," Cameron said, with James Bond-like calm.
He then confirmed that he ended the call without revealing any national security information, such as Trident's tactical nuke launch codes, his inner thigh measurements or the location of the Holy Grail. Phew.
16 Jan 2015
Sneak is a big fan of Elon Musk. The PayPal founder is an excellent example of an entrepreneur exploring the bat-dung crazy side of technology, rather than offering yet another social collaboration tool.
Sneak is still puzzled by social collaboration tools. Some sort of device that makes it easy to work with any invading force?
Clearly deciding that electric cars and space flight are too middle-of-the-road, the Mad Musk touted his Hyperloop transport system as a "cross between Concord and a rail gun".
Not wanting to downplay Musk's creative description, but Sneak pictures the Hyperloop as a tube filled with passenger pods boosted along by linear electric motors in a partial vacuum at up to near supersonic speeds.
Now go back and read that line again. Yes, near supersonic speeds for the average Joe. In short the Hyperloop is like a tooled-up monorail on a really good day. Here's a video of the Hyperloop concept:
Now, those of us with backward minds - some would call sane - perhaps think that Musk has been out in the California sun for too long. Yet the SpaceX billionaire took to the Twitter-verse and declared that he will be building a Hyperloop test track in the US.
Will be building a Hyperloop test track for companies and student teams to test out their pods. Most likely in Texas.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 15, 2015
This is all fine and dandy. If Musk wants to stuff his billions into creating something from a Roger Moore-era Bond film more power to him.
But Sneak is not sure that trying to encourage narrow-minded, wide-wasted Texans to stuff themselves into a supersonic vacuum tube is going to go down well. He can already hear the 'Hell no' of 10-gallon-hatted hicks shouted in between mouthfuls of beef jerky.
If such plans go ahead, Sneak will be waiting for the first news story about a 30-stone Southerner stuck in the Hyperloop.
Sweeping cultural generalisations aside, Sneak would like to see Musk test the Hyperloop on the other side of the world.
Perhaps he could consider north west Wales, where transport gave up moving beyond the steam age long ago. And Sneak does so wish to be able to visit Aunty Miriam in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
Looking through his mountain of emails, Sneak believes that plenty of virtual hot air could be condensed down into the 140 characters of a tweet.
But as a weathered and scarred veteran of tax return navigation, Sneak draws the line at trying to fit inherently obtuse tax inquiries into a format suitable for social media consumption.
After all, you try persuading the tax office that 20 bottles of single malt Scotch are a legitimate tax deductible in a single tweet.
Yet, according to the BBC, Stephen Hardwick, director of communications at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), said that Twitter could be used to "supplement" the department's phone service.
Sneak has used Twitter to supplement his dealings with the HMRC but believes the content of such tweets should not be revealed before the watershed.
Presumably, Hardwick is the type of communications specialist who prefers to save words by carrying out all interactions in a form of verbal semaphore.
The direct director is championing Twitter use owing to the long waiting times associated with calls regarding tax self-assessment. With a veneer of the shambolic surrounding the HRMC helpline, Sneak can imagine that callers are having their patience taxed as well as their income.
Despite Hardwick thinking that Twitter is the solution, he has met opposition from Labour MP Margaret Hodge, who described the idea as "laughable".
Presumably between her guffaws, Hodge said: "No customer-based service should tolerate such a poor service and ministers and senior management should simply sort this out."
Sneak would like to note that Hodge's call to action was stated in under 140 characters. She could have tweeted that, but the MP appears to lack a Twitter account. Sneak wonders whether she is best positioned to be criticising the use of Twitter while a not tweeter herself.
Further derision came from Treasury minister Shabana Mahmood, who said that it "beggars belief" that the government would encourage people to "publically tweet about their tax affairs".
Seemingly ignoring the wordier shadow politicians, Hardwick stated that the HRMC does not want people to tweet their personal details.
Sneak believes if you listen carefully enough you can hear a collective sigh of disappointment from lazy groups of identity thieves and cyber criminals looking for an easy mark.
Not one usually to side with sniggering politicians, Sneak has to agree with them this time. Given the average tax return is 10 pages worth of text, to tweet complex inquires would be akin to writing War and Peace on the back of a stamp.
With peak periods of tax returns and credits seeing a spike in inquiry calls, Hardwick compared HRMC with the Post Office during busy periods.
Sneak can confirm that a similarity certainly exists when it comes to experiencing long waiting times and rising frustration, but at least with the post he can watch his dog terrorise the postman every morning.
Sneak goes about his daily life with a healthy dose of paranoia and suspicion. And rightly so, as he recently discovered that tech-savvy crooks can wirelessly swipe information from contactless credit cards - all via a smartphone and a bit of technical finesse.
Feeding Sneak's natural distrust of the human race and pretty much everything in between, security experts have claimed that this form of remote pickpocketing is a growing problem.
Sneak is beginning to think that it might be best never to leave the house, but unfortunately Mrs Sneak keeps going on about "fresh air", "sunlight" and "the missing cat".
Being forced to navigate the mean streets of Britain, Sneak now has to carry around a wallet lined with lead and wrapped in tin foil. But help is at hand, according to the BBC.
Security firm Norton has teamed up with clothing firm Betabrand to create men's jeans and women's blazers featuring pockets lined with a sliver-based radio frequency identification blocking material.
Security-conscious fashionistas might enjoy the video below.
Effectively, the partnership has created the first wave of cyber-security fashion. With the tech trend trackers touting wearable technology as the next big thing, Sneak predicts that more clothes will need a layer of security. Perhaps we'll see shirts with firewalls, encrypted socks and hats with data segregation.
However, Sneak should probably alert you to the price before you rush to pick up Betabrand's jeans and jackets when they land in shops in February 2015 - the jeans cost the equivalent of £96 and the blazer a steeper £127.
Sneak gave up following fashion when the boot cut trouser died a slow death on the high street, but he still thinks some people might baulk at the prices. That being said, can you really put a price on peace of mind?
To indulge his paranoia, Sneak would splash out on the jeans, but that would mean breaking a decade of rocking mustard cords.