22 Jul 2014
Sneak is working on a novel. It's a labour of love that is so complex, clever and cunning that it makes Game of Thrones look like Spot the Dog. When it's ready, and yes Mum it will be, the world will proclaim the greatness that is Sneak.
So good is this work that Sneak has always been concerned that writing it in the traditional method – on Microsoft Word on a laptop – posed the risk that if someone got wind of it and hacked into his machine, they could steal the idea and make gazillions.
To avoid this fate, Sneak has for many years used an ancient, bashed-around typewriter left to him by his great grandfather (the dapper chap pictured above).
Yes his friends mock him when they come round (OK, see it over his shoulder on the webcam) but it’s a trusty machine and no-one’s going to hack into it, that’s for sure. In fact, he often wondered why other security-conscious organisations don't have the odd typewriter kicking around for important intel.
Well it appears the Germans are catching on after Sneak read that the German government is considering using the old-fashioned machines to help stop spies, such as those from the US, from accessing, intercepting and reading the country's most secret data.
The Guardian reported that Christian Democrat politician Patrick Sensburg, after being asked, as a litte joke, if the country was considering typewriters to avoid spying that, "As a matter of fact, we have – and not electronic models either."
"Really?" came the response (in German though, no doubt). "Yes, no joke," Sensburg said back. He never jokes.
Good for you Germany! Let’s see you crack a unnetworked, decades-old, ink and ribbon typewriter, NSA. As for Sneak, he's off to write chapter 247 of his novel. It's an exciting bit, as the Orc King Gringarlos battles the Dragon Wizard Zilarbeth in the Moon Palace of Zingador. Excited? You should be.
25 Jun 2014
It's always tempting, when you're testing out a service or setting something up, to write funny messages in the place where more serious communiques should appear.
Sneak has seen many a journalist write 'blah blah blah' in the place where a more witty, informative headline will go later, while developers the world over probably have fun writing "Bob Smith declared King of the Universe" or other such light-hearted nonsense when testing out an app.
However, the risk is that if something goes wrong, it makes you look rather foolish.
So it was that the BBC ended up with a lot of yolk and albumen on its face on Wednesday when its BBC Breaking News service sent out some rather odd messages.
Pictured left is the notification Sneak received. Sneak will now guide you through his thought process as he looked at the message in bewilderment.
The NYPD Twitter hashtag story sort of makes sense, although Sneak was a mite confused. It is hardly breaking news, as he covered it months ago.
Reading on and the "Push sucks! Pull blows!" comment, while possibly accurate, doesn't seem to warrant a notification to millions of BBC app users.
Then, the claims that the latest episode of Game of Thrones has no nudity is definitely not right. Not only did the latest season finish only a week ago, but there never has been, and never will be, an episode without some nudity.
Then all becomes clear. "IIIIII like testing." Ah, it's all a big mistake by a silly developer who probably forgot to tick the test box before sending out the alert. Oh you fool.
The BBC apologised and we can all go about our lives again. Except that dozy developer, who's probably been banished to work on the My Family Quote Generator app. Shudder.
A new word is being added to the Collins English Dictionary and it is adorkable.
Sneak does not approve of the word adorkable because despite wearing bottle thick spectacles and more tank tops than a munitions outfit, no one ever associated the word with him and his sartorial work.
Adorkable, you see, is a spin on adorable that nods in the direction of dorkish geekery. But don't take Sneak's word for it, let's hear it from dictionary corner.
There, specifically the Collins' Dictionary pages, we read how to spell it, how to say it, and what it means. We also learn that it has been around for seven years but really sparked its way into the collective consciousness in 2012.
adorkable (əˈdɔːkəbəl) adj slang
socially inept or unfashionable in a charming or endearing way
ETYMOLOGY C21: blend of ADORABLE and DORK
"With 30 percent of the vote, and despite a strong rally by ‘felfie' fans, adorkable will be entering the 12th print edition of the Collins English Dictionary! We loved reading the #Twictionary votes, debates and tweets from around the world, as ‘nomakeupselfie' devotees tackled ‘fatberg' fans," says the word firm.
"However, adorkable - a strong contender from the start - came through to win the coveted dictionary spot. The winning word is a more than worthy addition to any dictionary."
Felfie, which was second, is what happens when farmers take selfies, and a fatberg is what builds up in drains and sewers when grease and oil goes down the plughole.
Duckface, which Sneak can get behind - mostly to avoid seeing it - came in rather low with just a six percent share of the votes.
Adorkable will make its way into the 12th edition of the dictionary.
We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.— CIA (@CIA) June 6, 2014
Sneak finally has some decent people to talk to on his social networking accounts, the venerable chaps, and ladies, at the US Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA to close friends.
Sneak is often found to be on the receiving end of a mute or blocking order, he hopes that the new social CIA will embrace him and his own brand of unclassified disclosure.
Certainly it looks like the CIA is open to the social experience and it has promised to share outwards. Sneak hopes that it will be equally open to responses.
While looking at the CIA account Sneak realised that other people have the same hope, and he noticed that a chap called @Wikileaks has promised to respond to official disclosures with some of its own. Sneak is looking forward to that.
However, while he is hoping for messages that are juicy like so many peaches, the truth is probably - and this is often the case - that things will be very boring indeed.
Take the CIA on Facebook. Sneak was expecting to see a video of a monkey sniffing something, a picture of some lunch, or hell, even a selfie, but none of that is in place. Instead there is a message that promises no fun at all.
"CIA welcomes your comments, however we wish to maintain the decorum appropriate to a taxpayer-funded organisation, we will moderate, and delete as necessary, comments deemed inappropriate. Failure to adhere to these guidelines may result in the author(s) being blocked from this page without notice," it says in a cat-free early post.
"Do not post graphic, obscene, sexually explicit or racially offensive comments or content. We also will not tolerate comments that are abusive, hateful, slanderous or that are intended to defame anyone or any organisation. All content must be unclassified. Do not post any content that may be considered classified, sensitive, or that would cause immediate and undue harm to a person or organisation."
Sneak expects to be disappointed. He was disappointed when he read that Samsung wanted to brand part of Heathrow airport, and is disappointed by the obvious reaction that this has elicited from Microsoft marketing trolls.
Sneak has seen Microsoft cough up marketing efforts that are designed to make its rivals look bad, and Sneak has often come away from them with a view that it is the source, and not the target that is tainted.
This latest wheeze, ushered into Sneak's sphere of attention via the Nokia blog page, has him wondering whether he actually ever wants to go back on the internet at all.
"Imagine how excited we were then to learn that you can now reach "the Galaxy" via Heathrow's Terminal 5. This weekend, to make the most of this stellar opportunity, we sent four intrepid Lumianauts to Europe's busiest airport," writes Nokia's finest on the Conversations blog.
"Microsoft Devices gathered the excited Luminauts early in the morning to head to the airport in their brand new space-buggy. With one small step out of the moon-lander and a leap through the doors of Terminal 5, the Lumianauts set out to find the gate that would shoot them out of the world's gravitational atmosphere and into the Milky Way."
So far so this serves to highlight Samsung's investment at Heathrow and the increased presence that this gives it and the Galaxy. Microsoft has other objectives though, which include a desire to make its rival look silly.
It claims to have invested in bespoke Luminauts spacesuits and other ephemera because it believed that Heathrow airport is offering flights to the galaxy. Sneak knows that sometimes the Redmond firm is behind the times, but is shocked by this.
"Once the brave Lumianauts stepped foot in to the brand new terminal, though, they quickly learned that there was no such thing as a flights to ‘the Galaxy'. Rather, the terminal had taken over by advertising for another mobile phone company," it said.
"With constellation map in-hand they bowed their heads in disappointment and rang HQ, ‘Microsoft...we have a problem.'"
Sneak suspects that heads were bowed for reasons other than disappointment, unless it was a reflection on career choice of course.
The blog ends with the suggestion that Nokia phones are ‘out of this world', and the great god of marketing claims another soul.
22 May 2014
Sneak was reasonably excited this week. He heard that the FBI would possibly be interested in hiring ‘stoner' hackers and immediately recognised an opportunity to clear out some rooms in his bedsit.
Yesterday, having walked through a fug of smoke to his ‘home office' Sneak read on the BBC that the FBI was facing up to a skills shortage that could possibly only be filled by the tie-dye munchie brigade. Reasonably confused, thanks to the local atmosphere, we was consoled to see that it was the FBI's director, James Comey who proposed the far-out motion.
"I have to hire a great workforce to compete with those cybercriminals, and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview," he was reported as saying at an event attended by the Wall Street Journal.
The Beeb reports that Comey was pushed on this by an attendee who asked whether a bud head 'friend' should apply for a position at the FBI. "He should go ahead and apply," he said.
The comments were surprising as the FBI usually has a no-drugs-in-the-system-for-at-least-three-years hiring policy, something of a hindrance to those who enjoy the odd doobie.
However, the headlines the comments elicited has prompted something of a turnaround from the Feds as Corney later said he was joking, a classic symptom of pot smoking. We do not know if he added, ‘Maaaaan...'.
It reported that during a Senate hearing Corney went further, adding, "I don't want young people to use marijuana. It's against the law. I did not say that I'm going to change that ban. I said I have to grapple with the change in my workforce."
It ain't easy being green.
Fancy lunch with Apple CEO Tim Cook to find out about the iPhone 6, the firm's plans for the long-rumoured iWatch or just what on earth he is doing considering paying $3bn for Beats? Well a spare £200,000 should be enough.
A recent auction for lunch with Cook held by charity site CharityBuzz has closed with the winning bidder stumping up $300,001 for the honour. Clearly small change to that Apple fan, who's not been named.
Cook is clearly a charity soul as he added the chance to be a guest of honour at the next major Apple event – perhaps the iPhone 6 unveiling - to help boost the bids, which is for his charity of choice, the RFK Center for Justice & Human Rights.
Sneak is sure that such an amount is worth it. After all, Cook has been at Apple for years, learned from the master Steve Jobs, and has kept Apple ticking since taking over, so no doubt he can pass on a thing or two.
Really, though, for that much money Tim Cook should actually cook the meal as well, and provide transport costs for getting to the firm's headquarters, as this is not included in the lot, although the anonymous winning bidder can no doubt afford it.
While one Tim is basking in the clear demand that he enjoys from the public, Sneak couldn't help feeling a little sorry for another Tim - AOL chief Tim Armstrong.
So far the chance for lunch with him, and a tour of the HuffingtonPost Live studios and a taped interview, has had just one bid of $3,500, against an estimate of $25,000 from the organisers.
Don't worry, Tim, Sneak will stump up a bit to get the bids moving – you accept Bitcoin, right?
Sneak is saddened to see that New York's finest have grabbed the dirty end of the Twitter promo stick.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) took to Twitter to elicit what Sneak assumes it thought would be a positive reaction to a call for photos of people and police interaction under the 'myNYPD' hashtag.
Unfortunately for the boys in blue Twitterers spun the photo request in the sort of direction that no-one in NYPD PR department will have enjoyed.
The NYPD seems to have taken all this on the chin, and said that this is just the kind of wide ranging chat that makes the internet what it is.
"The NYPD is creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community," said NYPD deputy chief, Kim Royster in a statement posted to the social networking site. "Twitter provides an open forum for an uncensored exchange and this is an open dialog good for our city."
The NYPD is not the first outfit to get caught out by the internet, and Twitter users will often leap on any slip up or error and ride it to its ultimate conclusion. Still, a little forethought about ways the campaign could go wrong would have helped.
It's not the first time Twitter has landed an organisation in hot water, that's for sure. Sneak can't be sure if this Twitter problem is worse than a rather dreadful one committed by US Airways last week.
In that instance an employee responded to an online message with a pornographic image.