it-sneak

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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!

System administrators of the world unite and, more importantly, party

26 Jul 2013

A cake says all that needs to be said for hard system administrators

Sneak doesn't like to be grateful. Gratefulness implies somebody has done something nice for him. However, today, he makes an exception: today is quite possibly the most important day on the IT calendar: SysAdmin Day. And system administrators deserve some respect.

It's the 14th time this celebration of our unsung office heroes has been held, so it's a surprise that Sneak hasn't heard of it before. But he'll do his best to make the most of it at such short notice by meeting every member of IT staff in the building, giving them a handshake and informing them that, for once, he hasn't been downloading and running executables in direct contravention of IT policy.

An IT manager struggles to find the problem as employees grow impatient and ungrateful

An IT staffer tries to solve another one of Sneak's 'unusual' computer problems

The official SysAdmin Day website recommends ice cream, pizza, cards, gifts and t-shirts. Sneak recommends a hearty pat on the back and a ‘sorry for everything', as this will probably mean more and indirectly also help with the budget, which can be spent on that much-needed laptop upgrade Sneak's been after for a while.

An IT manager juggles balls and demonstrates the amount of tasks he has on the go at once

Sneak finds juggling a suitable visual metaphor for a system admin's job

With that being said, if your company operates a BYOD policy, Sneak suggests you BYOCake as the bravery required to enact such a policy is extensive.

For UK-based IT chaps and chappettes, there's a couple of parties taking place in London and Nottingham today in your honour. Go wild!

First draft of Boris's letter to Apple, Samsung on street thefts emerges

09 Jul 2013

London Mayor Boris Johnson

As one who never ventures far from the safety of his living room Sneak can count himself lucky he’s not one of the many Londoners who have experienced street crime, especially not of his beloved mobile phone.

However, it’s a worrying trend and Sneak was pleased to see Mayor of London Boris Johnson tackle the issue head on with a letter to the top mobile phone makers, including Apple, Samsung and Google, asking them to help tackle phone theft.

Scanning the letter, it’s clear some hasty rewriting took place in City Hall to tone down some of Johnson’s more colourful prose. However, a source in the capital passed Sneak a copy of the first draft, which is presented below in all its glory.
 
Dear chaps or chapesses (yes I know women can be high-ranking business officials these days, the modern world eh, marvelous!)

What spiffing weather we’re having! Anyhoo, look, there’s this dash awful phone-gizmo theft problem in London that I need your help with. It seems some of the awful scallywags and ne’er-do-wells who don’t live in Kensington and Chelsea are appropriating – through foul means – the portable telecommunication devices of upstanding citizens.

The rozzers at Scots Yard tell me they’re powerless to stop anyone and that I should ask you geek and nerds – and I mean that affectionately you brilliant brainy boffins – for some help stopping these ruffians.

No, I don’t mean some sort of weedy geek squads patrolling the streets, Lord no!

What I want is some sort of whizzo tech solution. Surely you can rustle up some nifty gizmo to stop this happening? Some sort of Heath Robinson contraption that stops someone being able to use a stolen phone would be great – you could call it the Boris-a-tron! You can have that free of charge! Marvelous!

Anyway, send me some drawings of what you think could work and I’ll personally look over them before giving them the sign off.

Toodle pip,

BoJo.

Sent from my blasted tablet device (haha!)

Thieves of London, you have been warned...

Sainsbury's will serve mobile phone users

04 Jul 2013

A trolley at a Sainsbury's supermarket

Sneak's go-to baked beans emporium Sainsbury's will serve people that arrive at its tills while talking on a mobile phone.

This is good news for Sneak, a man who at times has been bee-keeping, sleeping, riding a scooter, plotting a star chart, riding a bull, and making a ship in a bottle at checkouts in the past, and enjoys the freedom of doing whatever he wants, no matter who he is dealing with.

Sneak has his right to let his attention wander thanks to a lady called Jo, who was on her phone when she got to the checkout in her local store.

"I was standing at the foot of the till waiting to bag my shopping up, yet the lady on the checkout was just staring at me," said Jo Clarke to the Metro newspaper about the incident.

"I ended my call swiftly and said to the lady on the checkout, ‘Apologies, I didn't realise that it was Sainsbury's policy that you are unable to use your phone at the checkout,' and she said, ‘Well you learn something new every day,'."

Sneak asked Sainsbury's, while he was playing Ping Pong, doing a Sudoku, and wrestling an alligator, for the official policy on mobile phones at the till, and was told that the firm will serve people whether they are on a phone or not.

"It's clear that this story has touched a nerve as the weight of discussion and comment indicates," added a spokesperson.

"Whilst we appreciate the points made, given Ms Clarke was unhappy with our service, we did feel it was appropriate to apologise to her."

Well that's good. Any chance of a free tin of baked beans?

Government COO goes to dangerous lengths to prove PC boot up claims

12 Jun 2013

Like many wage slaves, Sneak has a morning routine that involves nipping off to make a cuppa while waiting for the office PC to boot up. But while this strikes Sneak as a bit of productive time management and multi-tasking, Sneak was shocked by V3 revelations of the IT woes that befall many civil servants. Apparently, Whitehall workers have time to cook and eat a full English before their computers are ready to use.

But not everybody was so shocked. Indeed, one Daily Telegraph columnist sniffed that her sources had cast doubt on the claims made by Stephen Kelly, the government's chief operating officer, that it takes him seven minutes to boot his computer.

Clearly Kelly is not one to let such slights pass without comment. So on Wednesday he got colleagues to video him logging on to his laptop and posted the results on YouTube. However, by Thursday the video had been removed, no doubt after Kelly was taken to task by his seniors for posting a video showing his PC logins, and yet again criticising public sector IT.

For those with more pressing things to do with their time than watch seven minutes 18 seconds of inactivity, Sneak can provide an abridged version: it took more than three minutes before Kelly could log in, and a further four minute pass while his personal account is loaded. Meanwhile, his iPad is timing the log on attempt.

“The iPad's losing the will to live,” he notes at one point. We feel its pain, we feel its pain.

So in many ways, it's good to see that Whitehall mandarins have a good grasp on the IT issues affecting their users. However, Sneak looks forward to the day they have similar levels of awareness over the wisdom of videoing inputting your log credentials to highly sensitive government computer systems and posting it on the internet.

About IT Sneak

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

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