30 Oct 2013
Sneak was unhappy to discover that, after buying a Dell Latitude 6430u laptop, that something's rather amiss.
Simply, it smells like cat wee. Sneak understands that the laptop is designed to be fairly whizzy at over a grand in price, but this is ridiculous. Sneak is not alone, many 6430u customers are now complaining of a pungent stench emanating from the bowels of their ultrabooks. Perhaps that should be 6430 pee-ew.
Are these felines the guilty party?
Upon further investigative reading, it turns out consumers were peed off long ago, with forum posts dating back to June warning Dell of its Catitude problem. "New 6430u smells awful," says one. "So a few weeks ago I got a new Latitude 6430u for work. The machine is great, but it smells as if it was assembled near a tomcats litter box. It is truly awful! It seems to be coming from the keyboard. Anybody got any advice on removing the smell?"
A stream of comments have followed since, with Dell finally admitting the problem was due to a manufacturing process which has since been flushed away. Sneak is happy to add that Dell confirmed that the smell was not a health risk - unless breathing in the smell of urine upsets you.
Sneak's wireless mouse won't go near the device. Dell needs to find a fix for this problem a number one priority before it risks more leaks.
28 Oct 2013
Sneak has lost his beach ball. It's pretty big, pretty colourful. It was last seen sitting atop a building in the heart of Tech City, just above the Old Street/Silicon Roundabout. If you've seen it it would be great if you could let him know of its whereabouts.
Sneak had left it there just for the weekend and thought it had been tied down pretty securely. Apparently not - the wind would seem to have taken it for a ride, and Sneak is concerned not only about the potential of causing traffic chaos, but also the fact that it's pretty expensive.
It's ball-shaped, about 10 metres tall/wide and brightly-coloured. It represents the vibrancy of the tech community in East London. Sneak presumes it is spreading its colourful joy to all of the bright, young and fresh startups throughout Shoreditch. This makes Sneak happy, but nonetheless the ball is really expensive. So if you have it, please return it.
Sneak would be very let down if he couldn't find it.
Update: Sneak had nothing to do with this.
— Bern Yu (@Bern798) October 28, 2013
All in a stormy days work for @IslingtonBC staff member who secures giant beach ball bouncing round Old St roundabout pic.twitter.com/NhMWS2yJKG
— Lesley Seary (@LesleySeary) October 28, 2013
The great thing about the internet is you can act anonymously without any fear of being found out, meaning you can moan and whine about your colleagues online all day long without...oh hang on, what's this?
Oh dear, it seems a senior White House official who was engaging in some undercover insulting of his colleagues and public figures has been found out and fired. This is of cause for concern.
It seems that an official by the name of Jofi Joseph, 40, was fired from his job on the National Security Council nuclear non-proliferation team. Using the Twitter handle @NatSecWonk he was said to make all manner of nasty comments.
These included insulting the attractiveness of wives of politicians and the political achievements, or lack of, of many major bigwigs in Washington, such as Hilary Clinton.
"So when will someone do us the favor of getting rid of Sarah Palin and the rest of her white trash family?" he wrote last October, the BBC reported. "What utter useless garbage."
There's a lesson here for Sneak, but he's not sure what it is. One thing he did take on board though was the fact Joseph reportedly apologised for his "inappropriate and mean-spirited comments".
Sneak certainly doesn't condone this - stick to your guns man and go out in a tirade of insults, one-liners and score-settlings. Oh dear, some people in suits have just turned up and they don't look pleased. Right, before they haul Sneak away, Ballmer you're first...
Tonight is the last episode of one of Sneak's favourite TV sitcoms - The IT Crowd. It may not be technically accurate to any degree - and has done even less for gender stereotypes than LinkedIn's adverts for female coders - but it is undeniably hilarious.
Sneak isn't really sure if the show has ever been about IT. The closest we ever got to a true IT-based joke was the classic "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" But it is more than that. IT is just a backdrop, a mere setting for a tale of two men whose lack of social skills is a hilarious burden on their lives and their boss who has no clue how a computer worked or even what ‘IT' stands for.
They use technology to try and make things better - the clip below shows a very handy Siri-like personal assistant, well before Apple took it to the mainstream, advising Moss (Richard Ayode) how to discuss football with the postman - "Did you see that ludicrous display last night?"
Another classic - which certainly opened (and then immediately closed) most viewers' eyes - is Roy (Chris O'Dowd) attempting to make IT sexy again (again?) with a raunchy photoshoot of the office's nerdiest dwellers.
At its best, the show is eye-wateringly funny, and that is how Sneak shall remember it, assuming that tonight's final, one-hour special wraps things up nicely. From the trailer below, things look promising.
Sneak had to smirk today after reading the news that a whole load of iPhone owners had been duped into believing that Apple's iOS 7 mobile operating system made their phones waterproof.
The ad, posted in a very convincing Apple style said: "Update to iOS 7 and become waterproof.
"In an emergency, a smart switch will shut off the phone's power supply and corresponding components to prevent any damage to your iPhone's delicate circuitry."
Having seen it go viral on Facebook, most readers would have shrugged it off, but some Apple fans with grape-sized brains decided to put the claims to the test. You can guess what happened next. "OK whoever said iOS 7 was waterproof go **** yourself", said one particularly unimpressed lad. Another foolhardy gentleman went one step further: "wtf #ios7 isnt waterproof!! now my phones at the bottom of the river."
Sneak does have some sympathy for these poor souls, having dropped his own smartphones into various watery places including the toilet, the bath, the sink and Apple's own factories (what with all the leaks). Sneak has heard of going in depth with a new device, but this is ridiculous.
A BBC newsreader has won Sneak's affections by grasping a ream of copier paper and truly making it look like he believed it was an Apple iPad.
iPads are the modern day newsreader's prop. A comfort blanket of technological proportions. They can include scripts, photos and games of Angry Birds – any of which may prove useful to a newsreading anchorman.
Simon McCoy of the BBC proved yesterday that it is possible to hold a ream of paper with the same gravitas that you would a tablet computer during a segment about binge drinking – an article that had caught Sneak's bleary attention.
You can see it below. He is carrying an item the size of a swimming float and, Sneak has assumed, is presumably wondering what all the fuss is about tablet computers.
Fortunately a spokeswoman for BBC News said it was just a mistake and added that McCoy simply "went with" his error.
"This morning as Simon McCoy was preparing to introduce this story, instead of picking up his tablet to hold as he went to air, he mistakenly picked up a ream of paper that was sitting next to it," she said. "In the rush of live news, he didn't have an opportunity to swap the items, so simply went with it."
Sneak has access to both a ream of paper and an iPad. He estimates that the iPad is smaller than a ream of paper and weighs a lot less. He hasn't done the precise calculations, but does wonder whether the mere talk of binge drinkers is intoxicating enough to cause confusion.
In the meantime Sneak has some words of advice that he has heard many times before. That is, if in doubt, get an eye test.
Sneak was alarmed to read that his favourite travel blogger and security expert John McAfee is no longer of this earth.
Thank the antivirus heavens then that reports of his demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Sneak knows this because he has seen the proof and read the evidence. He is looking at a picture of McAfee – and two canine friends – now, and you can take it from us, this is no Weekend at Bernie's style jape.
McAfee, who has carved out a niche as an on-the-run virus expert to watch, has tweeted the proof himself.
"I felt fine when I went to bed last night. I had such great plans. ‘RIP John McAfee'," he said.
"For those wondering if im dead the answer is... 'The Media is killing me, but somehow im still tweeting" #NotDeadYet," he posted.
The more keen-eyed among us might notice the expression on the darker dog's face. Let's assume it's all in good fun.
While he was "dead" McAfee was the subject of an online report that claimed he had died after a cocaine binge in a casino.
Sneak was stunned to hear this – since it does not sound true to form for his security hero – and almost updated a McAfee subscription in celebration after hearing he was indeed alive and well.
McAfee has added another update. Having completed his daily check he is happy to assure us that, thankfully, all is still in working order.
For the first time in 18 years Yahoo has changed its logo. Sneak is a big fan of design; his favourite movie is Helvetica, so when Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer took to her Tumblr blog to talk us through the changes, Sneak was naturally excited.
The old logo was certainly jaunty to say the very least. A serif font, which seemed to lollop up and down like a faithful golden retriever fetching a stick, it certainly worked back in the 1990s. But times have changed.
Mayer describes a weekend away with a small design team, putting together the new icon, which sounds like quite a lot of fun. "We spent the majority of Saturday and Sunday designing the logo from start to finish, and we had a ton of fun weighing every minute detail," she wrote. "We knew we wanted a logo that reflected Yahoo – whimsical, yet sophisticated. Modern and fresh, with a nod to our history. Having a human touch, personal. Proud."
Much like Samsung's groundbreaking ‘designed for humans' slogan, Mayer and her team wanted a logo that represented nature. The team also made sure that the letters all had different stroke sizes, in addition to little "scallops" at the tip of each line to supplement the now-defunct serifs.
The biggest non-font change was the addition of a slightly 3D effect, with the letters getting a chiselled look with slightly different shades of purple to show depth – much like the depth of Yahoo's diaspora of products, Sneak presumes. And, of course, the exclamation mark is tilted by exactly nine degrees, much more daring than eight but thankfully safer than 10, which would have been far too quirky.
Marissa Mayer was especially happy with the firm's intern Max Ma, who created this video to show the design process.
Sneak is now off to design a new logo for V3. Suggestions?