By Constantine von Hoffman
Why is it that I am so fascinated by dead technologies? (Perhaps the same reason I root for The Cubs probably, but I digress.) My office at home is decorated with an Apple IIc, a bunch of typewriters between 50 and 100 years old, a set of lead type and a few printing blocks with pictures etched on them used not-all-that-long-ago by some of our major newspapers. What brings this to mind is the news that Western Union stopped sending telegrams LAST WEEK. Damn. If I’d known you could still send the silly things I’d have sent one to myself just to have. (Some intrepid reporter should ferret this out: Who got or sent the last one?) This should be a real Ozymandias moment for Google, Yahoo, etc.
Anyone know where I can get one of those telegraph clicker thingies or even what they are called? (BTW, Western Union now exists solely as a way to send money to someone and its parent company, First Data, has announced it will spin off WU as an independent, publicly traded company. Yeah, remind me not to buy any of that.)
IT news: No. 1 with a very expensive bullet … Appears that the No. 1 IT story of the week wasn’t the gnashing of teeth over BlackBerry but GM’s decision to outsource $15B in IT work. Am I the only one who thinks that GM is outsourcing the wrong thing? Maybe they could find someone to make them some decent cars.
The number 9 & 10 stories can be summarized as SAP Dope Slaps Salesforce.com. Seems Salesforce is being hit with complaints over system outages and lousy customer service just as SAP is running out its own on-demand CRM service. Which product would you want to be selling right now if you were Salesforce’s sales force?
One for my baby and one for the road … Evite, the events invitation site, has a new app on its site that lets hosts figure out how much alcohol to buy for their parties based on whether guests are light or heavy drinkers. Quoth the AP: “Hosts enter the duration of the party and the number of light, average and heavy drinkers attending. They also specify whether they’ll serve beer, wine, liquor or any combination. The tool then calculates the number of cases or bottles needed.” A few things they might want to add:
- An app that calculates consumption rates and tells you what time it is most likely that people will still agree to having their car keys confiscated.
- A printable list of subtle ways to find out the name of the person you just woke up next to.
I am told by people in the know, that the comments button on this page still works. I have my doubts. Also, for those of you seeking even more allegedly humorous fare, allow me to direct you to my other blog, Collateral Damage, which makes fun of marketing.