In a probing interview in Personal Computer World, Sir Clive Sinclair reveals that he finds computers rather difficult and does not actually use one himself. This will come as a shock to the millions of people who bought Sinclair computers, but not a big surprise: nobody who likes computers would make computers like that.
The revelation also makes sense of Mole's only first-hand Sir Clive anecdote: the time he ran into the great man at a computer show and found him muttering to himself in the middle of a large exhibition hall. "Have you ever thought how interesting it would be to connect all these computers?" asked Sir Ginge. Mole hadn't; and, in any case, the russet knight had bloodshot, goggling eyes and a highly distracted air, so Mole beat a hasty retreat. Years later, it struck him that Sir Ginge was probably in the throes of inventing the World Wide Web but that the train of thought never quite made it to the end of the line. Instead, he invented the C5 electric midget-carrier - evidence that driving a car, like using a PC, is high on the list of things he doesn't do.
Taste is not a commodity in oversupply when it comes to selling. Seagate Software recently set an admirably lowtone at a software launch, using the slogan Access, Analyse, Report, Share (AARS). This schoolboy witticism was the right level for the journalists, who signalled their approval with raucous, drunken laughter.
They also appreciated the slide depicting a dog - to be precise, a bitch - with its backside in the air. This undignified attitude is supposedly attractive to other dogs, but the exact marketing message is unclear.
Perhaps it simply represents the sort of relationship the company hopes to enjoy with its customers.
If the millennium gives you nightmares, cheer yourself up at Y2Ktrademark.com, dedicated to those who want to make a quick buck out of everyone else's misery. However distasteful you find investment advice for those who want to bet on year 2000 disasters - you cannot help but admire the unbridled cynicism of the slogan: "Y2K Investments - we're betting against you!"
Mole wonders what Sir Clive Sinclair would make of the DataMorf database, advertised via e-mail by a certain Dr Computer. With his antipathy to modern software and unusual notions of community, Sir Clive would approve of Dr C's attempt "to build an intelligent, thinking communal mind". The key to this endeavour is, apparently, that DataMorf "saves information into your computer in exactly the same manner as you store information in your brain". It sounds ambitious, but Dr C may have cracked the problem of how to make software as random, inefficient and error-prone as the human mind. The Spam message that landed in Mole's mailbox, generated no doubt by the marvellous DataMorf and personalised for recipients, concludes: "Thanks for your time... Jim."
The highlight of an otherwise dreary Networks Telecom 99 was a ground-breaking invention from Siemens - a toaster that is remotely controlled via the Web. The labour-saving possibilities are endless. You wake up hungry, start your computer, establish a dial-up connection, set toasting time and duration via a simple menu and, provided you remembered to insert bread in the toaster's slots - or "drives" - at bedtime, your piping hot toast is waiting in the kitchen minutes later. Or let's assume you want to start a house fire: insert two thick slices of bread, leave for work and use your in-car computer to start toasting halfway down the motorway.
You return to a large pile of soot and an insurance investigator.
Siemens is working on a range of other useless Web-enabled devices. Like its PCs, they probably won't work, but they will give you something to do with the two weeks you planned to spend abroad this summer before a Siemens system turned your passport application into toast.
Send your inventions to Jim at the usual address. Happy holidays.
Geoengineering on the sea floor near glaciers would form a new ice shelf to prevent melting
Alterations in capillary blood flow can be caused by body position change
Curiosity rover is in 'normal mode' but not transmitting scientific data back to base
NatWest outage comes a day after Barclays' IT systems shut out customers and staff