My pockets are stuffed full of business cards from people I do not remember meeting, my head is thumping like a flamenco dancer, there's margarita salt on my laptop, and I can't seem to locate my pants. That can mean only one thing: I just returned from my annual pilgrimage to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Stories by Robert X. Cringely
Cringely here, reporting from CES in Vegas, where rude beasts walk the earth (at least, the ones that don't crawl or slither), impeded in their forward progress only by hip-deep mounds of tablet PCs. Everyone appears to be tapping, swiping, and gesturing on some kind of sleek black touch-sensitive device, when they're not squinting at blurry 3D screens waiting for their turn with the polarized glasses.
Today a lot of people are mourning the possible loss of Delicious (or, as it used to be known, del.icio.us), following news that Yahoo is planning to sell or otherwise dispose of the popular Web bookmarking service five years after acquiring it.
The ballots have been cast, the votes have been counted, the results are in, and once again, I was robbed. Instead of being named Time's Person of the Year, they gave it to that sweaty creep Zuckerberg.
It's been All WikiLeaks, All the Time here in Cringeville lately. And why not? As I noted last time out, this is the biggest thing to hit the WebberNets since Tim Berners Lee dreamed it up 20 years ago. We're still unraveling the implications and probably will continue to do so for months if not years.
We are at war, and I don't mean the literal kind. It's the first all-out cyber war, not between nations but between factions: those who agree with what WikiLeaks is trying to do, and those who oppose them.
If WikiLeaks' Julian Assange were in memoir-writing mode, I'd bet "How to Win Friends and Influence People" would not be among the likely titles.
I'm fascinated by how technology's center of gravity shifts over time. For a long time Microsoft was the 900-pound gorilla (careful where you stand -- it's got a bad case of gas). More recently Apple and Google have taken turns dominating what we talk about when the topic is tech. Now it's all Facebook, all the time.
You'd think the drinking water in Silicon Valley has been replaced with baby formula, given how childish some of the biggest companies in tech have acted this year. First on the Romper Room roll call is Steve Jobs, who has thrown tantrums over Adobe Flash, Android, lost prototypes, the tendency of his uberphone to lose its signal when held the wrong way, and various other prickles that have lodged in his big boy pants.
You'd think grown men would have better things to do than squabble like rabid squirrels fighting over a Brazil nut. But when it comes to the future of mobile computing, there is no such thing as fighting dirty. And more and more often, it all starts with Steve Jobs.
It's been months since the last major Facebook privacy debacle. I was beginning to lose hope. Thank goodness, then, for the news that the world's biggest social network has fumbled the ball yet again.
First, let's get one thing straight. You can consider tugging on Superman's cape. You can probably spit into the wind without severe repurcussions. You can suggest that Michael Arrington likes to dress up in women's clothing and go clubbing in his size 14 stilettos. You can do and say all kinds of things on the Net that would be otherwise considered vulgar or even dangerous in civilized company.
What do you get when you mix a tottering giant from the InterWebs' formative years with the new breed of post-first-ask-questions-later news blogs? We're about to find out, now that AOL has swallowed up TechCrunch.
God, I love the InterWebs. Years from now, scholars dissecting the complete disintegration of journalism in the 21st century will look back at us and say, what the frak? The example du jour: The Facebook Phone rumors, which were sparked this past weekend by TechCrunch and continue to burn.
The problem with the Internet these days? In a word: socialism.