Stories by Robert X. Cringely

Who will be king of the Geeks?

Now that the election is finally over, all that's left are about a zillion new government appointments. But I know the denizens of Cringeville are particularly interested in one post above all: who the new administration will call to serve as the nation's first CTO.

Is Yahoo dead?

The problem with writing about the endless Microsoft-Yahoo-Google mini-series is eventually you run out of metaphors. So I'll quote Michael Corleone: "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in."

I'm a PC, she's a Mac. Are you a sucker?

Why should Bill Gates, Jerry Seinfeld, and Deepak Chopra have all the fun? Microsoft's I'm a PC site now lets any Tom, Dick, or Mary share the spotlight -- for five seconds at least. The 'softies want you to upload a blink-or-you'll-miss-it video stating exactly why and how you're a PC. "Winning" entries will get to have their five seconds of fame on a TV commercial. (But, sadly, not a US$10 million paycheck.)

Geek Week: Obama gets gamed, Google Apps shamed

Game on, dude. In what it hopes will be a game-changing move, the Obama campaign is taking out ads in, of all places, video games. The Obamanistas are placing billboard ads inside nine EA games on the Xbox Live network, hoping to reach 18- to 34-year-old males who'd rather twiddle their joysticks than pull a voting machine lever. It's a smart idea, though I think inserting Obama into Grand Theft Auto and having him bust a cap in McCain's a** was overdoing it a bit. [Note to the ironically impaired: I'm just kidding.]

AdSense, nonsense: Does Google have too much power?

Google's ad programs have made it possible for thousands of small businesses to a make a go of it in the Net economy. Get on Google's bad side, though, and it's like waking up a hibernating grizzly bear -- you'll be lucky to escape with all your limbs intact.

Geek Week: Sleazy campaigns, MS & Google make peace

A gaffe and a half. God bless YouTube. Make the smallest mistake and it's captured forever and replayed a billion times. During a rally this week John McCain called his supporters "my fellow prisoners" [video]. (Maybe he thought he was back at the Hanoi Hilton.) Meanwhile, at a rally in Florida, Obama supporter Jim Pacillo introduced Joe Biden as "the next vice president of the United States, John McCain" [video]. (He also said, "we have a simple pretty choice in this election.") In the past, such slip-ups would have been forgotten. Now they're immortalized. So my question is, who should feel more insulted, the GOP prisoners or the faux McCain?

Crimes, anonymity and the Net

An ingenious bank robber dressed as a road maintenance worker pulled a heist worthy of Hollywood last week, thanks in part to the Internet.

RealDVDs, surreal lawsuits

Like a Brachiosaur sinking into a tar pit, the recording industry as we've known it for the past 70 years is very nearly extinct. But unlike dinosaurs, the RIAA is trying to drag everyone else into the pit with it.

Tech firms faking job ads to avoid hiring US workers?

Ask the Programmers Guild that question, and their answer would be an emphatic "yes!" The US-based organization has accused Hewlett Packard of advertising for jobs it has no intention of filling -- at least with US citizens -- on the Idaho Department of Labor Web site.

The RIAA vs ... well, everybody

Most sane humans would greet a law suit from the RIAA the way you'd welcome a surprise audit from the IRS. Not Ray Beckerman. He says, "Bring it on, bubba."

Is Sarah Palin more popular than porn? Search me

In the past two days there have been a bunch of news stories about what America searches for -- and by extension, what Americans are most interested in. The results are either a) surprising, ii) totally predictable, or Z. highly dubious. You be the judge.