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IT Crowd turns it off and on, then off again one last time

27 Sep 2013

it-crowd

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.

 

iPhone users in hot (and cold) water after iOS 7 "waterproof" prank

24 Sep 2013

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."

iOS7 ad claiming the iPhone to be water proof landed some users in trouble

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. 

BBC anchorman stays classy during iPad and paper mix up

19 Sep 2013

tablet-apple-ipad-mini-white-ios6

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.

John McAfee: The reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated

10 Sep 2013

mcafee-and-dogs

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.

Yahoo unveils new logo, going from fairly jaunty to reasonably quirky

05 Sep 2013

Yahoo's new logo for 2013

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.

Yahoo Logo

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."

Yahoo 2013 logo design blueprints

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?

IT Sneak has begun a re-brand of V3

Lego computer programmer figure isn’t just another brick in the wall

29 Aug 2013

Lego's computer programmer mini figure is a modern day hero

Sneak fully expected a Lego model of a generic computer programmer, with his "strength" rating labeled at just one star, to be an insulting mess. But in fact, Sneak rather enjoys the childish yet clever biography given to our plastic friend.

First of all, the description acknowledges the fundamental flaws behind arguing about the superiority of desktop operating systems, which Sneak appreciates. "Other computer whizzes can argue all they like about what kind of computer or operating system is the best one – the computer programmer knows that the only way to be a real expert is to master all of them," the description of the computer programmer figure on the Lego website explains.

What's more, this forward-thinking product shows the need for graduates with a variety of skills in every area of technology. "He knows everything there is to know about computers and how to use them, from the biggest old-time mainframes to the tiniest next-generation nanotech prototypes, and he's always glad to share his expertise with anyone who needs his help – which is just about everyone eventually!"

Lego's computer programmer mini figure isn't the strongest but he does have speed

He may not be strong or particularly creative, but this figure is certainly a speedy worker

The Danish firm even understands the risks of bring your own device (BYOD) policies and a complete lack of computer knowledge among employees. "He can debug a server in ten seconds flat, track down and wipe out even the toughest viruses, recover data from completely melted hard drives, and yes, he will help you set up your email signature."

But Sneak takes issue with his choice of free-time activities: social stimulation in the form of a robotic pet does not seem sufficient. "In his spare time, he programs his own video games, catches up on the latest posts in his favorite web forums and hangs out with his pet robo-cat. When you're a skilled computer programmer, the future is always today!"

Nonetheless, Sneak would like to nominate this cheeky, bow tie wearing chappy as the representative of all IT professionals worldwide. Just don't ask why Sneak was examining different Lego toys.

HP faces hard justice in Chubby Checker manhood-measuring app lawsuit

19 Aug 2013

Here's the long and short of it: HP is having to palm off allegations from a 60s pop star over a trademark infringing app, which predicts the size of a gentleman's genitalia.

The issue at hand is the name of the app, entitled The Chubby Checker. Some of you may remember that this name is also used by the popular 1960s musician whose song The Twist spent 18 weeks at the top of the US charts. Sneak fondly remembers dancing to it at a cousin's wedding.

The app, which was added to the Palm app store in 2006, claimed to be able to make the personal measurement simply based on shoe size. Sneak can attest that this is a misleading statistic to use, as his size 6 will confirm. Nonetheless the judge overseeing the lawsuit – in which Mr Checker, otherwise known as Ernest Evans, claims the app infringes his trademarked name – has said that the case may move forward. The judge clarified, for anybody who was in any doubt, that the name Chubby Checker is "used as a vulgar pun".

A man looks in despair at his laptop

"I thought it was THIS big!"

The offending software was pulled out of the app store in September 2012 and HP claims that it had no knowledge of the Chubby Checker software, according to Reuters. Checker however alleges that due to the application and approval process required to get it up in the first place, the app must surely have been spotted to infringe the trademark.

The most incredible thing about this case is not the frankly disappointing download count – only 88 – but the 99 cents that each of these people paid for it.

The case continues, but things don't look good for Hewlett Package as Checker has been allowed to rearrange and refile his lawsuit.

LinkedIn pulls sexy coder image from site in disbelief at IT beauty

05 Aug 2013

For reasons that have always escaped Sneak, the world of IT, and especially those that work in it, have never really been considered sexy.

This is unfair, as any profession will have its lookers and, erm, not so-good-looking people – Sneak wouldn’t care to guess which category most people would put him in, he’s just happy as he is.

However, folks at LinkedIn clearly disagree, picturing a world of hideous, hunched-back, acne-riddled weirdos, slobbering over keyboards deep within the bowels of IT departments, only peeking out to scowl at the sun before scuttling away again.

The web developer LinkedIn believes is too attractive to work in ITAt least, that’s the impression given from the uproar on the web that caught Sneak’s eye when an advert for web developers on the networking site was taken down because the firm didn’t believe the woman in the advert could be a coder as she was too damn hot (see picture).

The firm in question, Toptal, was so outraged by this discovery that its chief executive, Taso Du Val, took to the web to vent his anger.

“The fact of the matter is: members of the tech community (LinkedIn users) saw it as impossible that our female engineers could actually be engineers, and a leader of the tech community (LinkedIn) agreed with them,” he wrote.

“Unfortunately we’re banned from showing anything except 100 percent, all male software advertisements from now on and so, that’s what you’ll be getting. I’m disappointed both on a personal and professional level.”

He also said that while the image in question was a real member of staff, why shouldn't attractive people be used to illustrate web engineers anyway.

“Even if they were only stock photography, who cares? The point is, they’re perfectly fine and represent normal professional people. Our male versions are no different. They’re male engineers, smiling, some with glasses, some without; the whole idea LinkedIn had was just ridiculous," he said.

He’s damn right. For too long IT has laboured under the impression it's unglamorous and populated by social rejects, rather than attractive, talented, charismatic people that make up the sector - right gang? Sneak has a great idea to make everyone realise this – a sexy IT calendar!

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V3.co.uk's undercover reporter offers odds and ends from the odd end of technology.

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