Sneak has long been an admirer of the satirical cyanide that drips from the pen of Armando Iannucci, although thanks to office politics, Sneak has been forced to tone down the expletives when doing our best Malcolm Tucker impressions.
But while Sneak has been an avid view of series such as The Thick of It and Veep, it's hard not to have a few misgivings about Iannucci's next project after Iannucci told The Observer he has already penned a script for a show set in Silicon Valley.
Obviously, there's no shortage of juicy material for Iannucci to get his fangs into, with the likes of Apple and Facebook ripe for tearing into while the ridiculous marketing babble that splutters from some executives is almost beyond parody.
But Sneak can't help wondering if Iannuci's famed eye for detail might need a little fine tuning, when dealing with the denizens of the Valley.
“Microsoft, Google, Facebook: you have these twenty-somethings who have a way into billions of households,” Iannucci told the Observer.
Well, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg might still be a bit fresh faced. But Google's Sergey Brin and Larry Page are pushing 40. As for Microsoft, Sneak doubts either Steve Ballmer or Bill Gates can remember the last time they were mistaken for twenty-somethings.
As the good old British summer dwindles away, Sneak couldn't help but wonder: what better way to lift the spirits than an outbreak of positivity. Why then, luckily for Sneak, some clever-minded soul decided to come up with Positive Twitter Day for 31 August.
After a quick dive in to the micro-blogging pool, Sneak already feels autumn's unrelenting doom dissipating like ripples on a sun-kissed pond. Take the cheery message from one tweeter, @alexhern:
— Alex Hern (@alexhern) August 31, 2012
#PositiveTwitterDay is the worst thing on the internet.
And who could not be cheered by the unabashed optimism from Slough Council?
Apparently it is— SBC (@SloughCouncil) August 31, 2012
#positivetwitterday today. Tell us the most positive thing about Slough and why you live or work here.
Sneak is pretty sure that Sir John Betjeman had already covered off all the best bits about Slough in his famous poem (bombs, cabbages, peroxide hair etc). Nonetheless, Sneak doffs its cap at this outbreak of cheerfulness in the face a glum reality.
Sadly, not everyone seems to be taking Slough Council's cheery goodwill to heart.
— Scumbag Millionaire (@sbmillionaire) August 31, 2012
Others, such as cynical tabloid hack @fleetstreetfox were even more down on the whole concept.
Whoever thought of— fleetstreetfox (@fleetstreetfox) August 31, 2012
#PositiveTwitterDay has no idea how the internet works.
That's the spirit guys!
For as long as Sneak can remember, the internet has proved a fount of comical, inaccurate and wrong-headed information.
But while Sneak has wised up sufficiently to no longer try and claim Nigerian lottery winnings, some people it seems are willing to take anything they read at face value – even when that value is patently absurd.
Take the case of the comic 9gag website. Pranksters there were riffing on the comic possibilities of how Samsung might pay the $1bn it has been ordered to hand over to Apple, for nicking the earth-shattering idea of smoothing the corners of rectangles. Wouldn't it be hilarious, mused the writers, if Samsung paid up in five-cent coins.
However, the joke started taking a life of its own, after a handful of bloggers seized on the story, and reported it as fact, along with details of how the payment arrived in a convoy of 30 trucks.
Sneak, of course wasn't taken in for a second. Not just because the US doesn't have enough five-cent coins in circulation to meet a $1bn bill, but mainly because Sneak is certain that Samsung will move heaven and earth to avoid paying the fine.
Even so, Sneak hasn't laughed so hard since watching Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld team up to promote Windows Vista, although for very different reasons to what Microsoft had in mind.
Microsoft's Windows 8 platform was released to manufacturing (RTM) at the start of August and made available for TechNet and MSDN subscribers to download a couple of weeks ago. It ships with a shiny new version of the Internet Explorer (IE) browser, IE 10.
But what about IE 10 as a standalone download? When Microsoft first announced IE 10 at its MIX developer conference last year, it promised that the browser would run on Windows 7 PCs as well as Windows 8 (Windows Vista being something Microsoft would like to forget about).
However, no update on IE 10 for Windows 7 has been forthcoming, despite the browser being ready to roll on Windows 8.
Puzzled over the non-appearance of IE 10 and the lack of any information surrounding it, we put the question to Microsoft and received only this response;
"There are no further updates from Microsoft on this at this time. As soon as we have more information to share, we'll get in touch."
Compared to the rapturous hype-laden adverts Microsoft is using to promote IE9, the silence over IE10 is deafening.
Could it be that Microsoft is having problems back-porting IE 10 onto Windows 7, or is it just that the firm doesn't want to dampen the popularity of IE9 by pushing out the new version too soon?
Perhaps if someone on the IE developer team is reading this, you could get in touch and let everyone know what the story is with IE 10?
Corporate branding is a funny old thing. You need something timeless, yet current; chic, but unpretentious; appealing, yet cool and refined – a bit like Sneak himself really.
So, you can imagine there was plenty of debate and discussion at Microsoft when the company decided it was time for a logo refresh. After all, the firm's logo has been around since the dawn of time, technologically speaking, so a change was needed, particularly in this most important of years with the launch of Windows 8.
No doubt a raft of cocaine-addled design agencies were called in to submit pitches and explain the "thinking behind the creative" to the suits at Redmond, who, in a move that will surprise no one, appear to have chosen the blandest logo in the world.
Four colours in a square and a straight font in charcoal – was that the best they could come up with?
"The new Microsoft logo takes its inspiration from our product design principles while drawing upon the heritage of our brand values, fonts and colors," Jeffrey Meisner, senior manager of Corporate Blogs at Microsoft, attempted to explain.
Going on to display an impressive command of the kind of waffle so beloved of artistic types the world over, Meisner attempted to explain why the logo is so clever.
"The logo has two components: the logotype and the symbol. For the logotype, we are using the Segoe font which is the same font we use in our products as well as our marketing communications."
"The symbol is important in a world of digital motion. The symbol's squares of color are intended to express the company's diverse portfolio of products."
Four colours represents the entire array of products Microsoft offers? Is that enough, really?
Well, the firm is clearly proud of the outcome, explaining that it'll now be used on its website, stores and across television advertising. Although, when Sneak ventured to Microsoft.com, he had to squint to see the new logo, hidden away in the top corner.
The trouble with being immensely wealthy is that you have to worry about all kinds of threats from unscrupulous people wanting to access that immense wealth, as Sneak knows well.
This is why many of the rich and famous in the Silicon Valley bubble live surrounded by security personnel, with pin-code gates and blacked-out windows, to keep themselves very much to themselves.
Unless, of course, they happen to have teenagers who want to share their lives on Twitter and Facebook, which can cause complications for security staff, as those protecting billionaire Michael Dell discovered to their chagrin.
It turns out Dell's daughter has been posting all kinds of information on the sites that could prove dangerous to the family, such as future locations, events and holiday destinations, which undoes all the security team's efforts to keep such information as hard to gather as possible.
Her Twitter account has now mysteriously disappeared and it's likely the security bods at Dell are having a few stern words with her about it all, and you can imagine Michael will have something to say too.
See, even if you're stupidly wealthy you still end up with teenage offspring doing stupid things that need reprimanding, whether that's drinking cider down the local park (sorry Mum), or undermining a £3m security effort.
06 Aug 2012
Sneak has long been a devotee of the comic Texts from a Dog blog but can't escape the feeling that Swiss sheep herders have taken it too much to heart, and are making it a partial reality. They're giving their livestock automated collars that send SMS warnings when predators approach.
The collar is being designed by Jean-Marc Landry from carnivore research group Kora, who's already carried out "tests" using 12 unlucky sheep and muzzled Czechoslovakian wolfdogs, according to science website Phys.org.
A full prototype of the sheep-saving collar is expected to be ready this Autumn and further testing is planned for 2013.
Worse still for any hungry hounds, as well as the ability to send texts to the sheppard, there are also plans to add automatic weapons to the collars. Researchers are reportedly looking at ways to let the collars scare off predators by emitting a loud noise or spraying a chemical repellent at attackers.
There's currently no word on whether the collars will make it to the UK, but Sneak is praying not. After all, do we really want to contend with a woolly, wandering warrior when navigating the sheep-infested UK countryside?
01 Aug 2012
If there's one thing Sneak is sure of, it's that the launch of any hot new web-based service will accompanied by a frenetic land grab, as users pile in desperately fighting to snaffle to best user names.
Needless to say then, Sneak was somewhat surprised at the lackadaisical approach Microsoft has taken to ring-fencing user names for its newly launched Outlook.com service.
Within hours of the soft launch, one user had already laid claim to 'donotreply' – a common address used by admins.
I just got email@example.com --- can't wait to see all the spam I get.— Ryan Hoffman (@tekmaven) July 31, 2012
Other wags had managed to land firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Sneak meanwhile prefers to stay above such tawdry name grabbing and hasn't registered for the service. The fact that the only address on offer was Sneak123xbg@outlook.com had nothing to do with the decision.