[The following post was written by my longtime friend and fellow humorist, Steve Fisher. You can check out Steve’s humor blog at Fishful Thinking.]
Hello and welcome to Windows 8, the new PC operating system from Microsoft. Now that you’ve successfully installed our new system – perhaps on the third or fourth attempt (sorry about that) – we’d like to give you a quick tour of its many amazing new features and applications. Let’s get started, shall we?
As soon as you launch Windows 8 for the first time, one new thing you’ll notice right away is that your computer is now completely fucked up. Don’t worry. Shortly after we rolled it out several months ago, some minor technical glitches were discovered, which we quickly resolved in an update to all users.
Following that update – which unfortunately resulted in a number of aircraft dropping out of the sky and a partial collapse of the electrical grid in the northeastern U.S. – we issued a second update which resolved all of the issues caused by the first one. That is, with the exception of a repeated system crashing problem, which was subsequently resolved by our third update.
Since then, via a continuing series of further updates, we have successfully corrected nearly all of the remaining system issues. Thus you can now simply switch on your computer and enjoy the full benefits of Windows 8 without your PC bursting into flames (update 15), your hard disk melting (update 23), or your printer exploding (update 156). And, if you’ve managed to read this welcome message so far without experiencing an epileptic seizure caused by rapidly pulsating pixels on your monitor (update 259), then we’re very happy indeed.
If there’s one thing nearly every American can agree on it’s that having aerial surveillance cameras capable of eavesdropping on our every move from outer space is a wonderful thing. Oh, sure, sometimes surveillance cameras can be used for evil, like the time they caught me doing 45 in a 35 mph zone. But video technology can also be used for good – say, to observe remotely whether employees are wasting time at work playing video games, when they should be wasting time pretending to make sales calls.
That at least appears to be the thinking behind a new, state-of-the art mobile video robot called the Ava 500, a name most experts consider a far better selection than the original idea: the Self-Navigational Operations Observational Prototype (SNOOP for short). The Ava 500 is the world’s “first self-driving business collaboration robot,” according to the manufacturer’s cheery marketing brochure. Now, business executives can collaborate with employees without leaving their corner office, using a mobile robot with a two-way video camera that lets them roam the halls or join in on team meetings remotely. Employees will love it.
Want to check in on your crew of illegal Mexican factory workers to see if they are keeping pace with their production quota of 1,500 sneakers per hour? No problem. With the press of a button, you can remotely walk along the assembly line floor to inspect the quality of their work, without leaving your yacht in the Caymans. Hey, looks like it’s already been ten minutes and Pedro’s still not back from his five-minute lunch break. Uh oh. Looks like Pedro’s got some ‘splaining to do.
In our increasingly technology-bound culture, cell phone use has exploded over the past decade. A report in late 2011 indicates there are now more cell phones in the USA than people, and three times more cell phone users than Americans who can locate the United States on a map of North America.
People use their cell phones to do all sorts of things – a few have even been known to use them to place phone calls. But mostly, people use their cell phones to text thought-provoking comments like Hey.
Studies indicate that the dangers of cell phone texting extend far beyond texting while driving. Health experts have recently argued that texting should be avoided during any of the following “high-risk” activities:
As a successful entrepreneur and highly sought-after business guru, I am constantly being asked by people trying to climb the latter of success “How can I ever become as successful as you?” Well the short answer, of course, is “You can’t. Don’t waste your time trying.” That said, there are still several things you can do to ignite your career, including offering to have sex with your company’s president or blackmailing the CFO with photos from last December’s Holiday Office party. But these strategies are best reserved for the experienced career climber. For someone with your more modest level of talent and ambition, how about we start with something a bit more basic, shall we?
One of the most important things every business professional can do to improve their chances of getting promoted is this: Awlays proffread yoru wrok.
How we communincate in righting can leaf lunglasting impassions about us. Weather its an emale massage, a business mammo or a for mall propostal, it is criticial to revue your work for accuratecy. By making egreekious grammer and spoiling misteaks, it can from in the mind of the reader a severally negative impersonation abort you. They may persleeve you too bee someone who is lazey, careles, disogranized or somewon who simply can’t finnish their
I can’t stress how pearamount it is to careflee skan your work for posse ball tie pose. Remember, how you communionate in rightwing may be the differents between getting a raze and getting fried. I could knot be moor serialous about this then I are.
When you think of Google, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? In my case, it’s the fact that I’m still kicking myself for not listening to my day trader buddy Rocco, who told me back in 2004 to buy 500 shares at $45.
But the second thing that comes to mind when I think of Google is this: innovation.
Among Google’s most impressive innovations is Google Translate, which lets you translate a phrase from one language into any of more than sixty other languages – even Latin – which comes in really handy if you’re considering becoming say, the Archbishop of Kent.
Imagine you’re in France on a business trip and you’re hungry. Google Translate will take this English expression: I am very hungry. Let’s go to McDonalds so I can order a Happy Meal.
And turn it into this perfect French translation: Je suis très faim. Allons au McDonalds pour que je puisse commander un Happy Meal. Je déteste ces odieux, arrogants bâtards Américains.
Every now and then I dip into the View from the Bleachers Reader Mail Bag to check out reader comments. I like to hear what my loyal following has to say about my recent posts. It may surprise you to know that my humor blog is (hardly ever) read by people all over the world – from Melbourne to Moscow to Mogadishu, and everywhere in between.
Whenever I wonder whether anybody is paying any attention to my posts, I need look no further than the blog’s comments section to discover that spammers from around the world are regularly checking out my web site. How flattering, I must say. And they always have something positive to say.
As a professional humorist and three-time Golden Globe nominee, I have found that coming up with original, entertaining topics to write about each week is a formidable challenge. But when I stop to read the highly personal reader feedback of spammers from places like Istanbul, I am reminded that this labor of love is well worth it. One week I had over 800 comments from an eclectic collection of web sites, most of which, I sheepishly admit, I had never heard of. At the risk of sounding immodest, the feedback from these spammers has been almost universally effusive. Many times, the comments are surprisingly coherent, if you can just decipher the mangled spelling.
[Background: Last week, I spent 19 hours over five days dealing with the tech support call center from my Internet Service Provider (ISP) – all because I installed their software “security program” from one of their email offers, which mucked up my computer, making it completely inoperable.
Below is the actual enthusiastic letter of appreciation I sent to my ISP. Because I don’t wish to embarrass my ISP by name, I have chosen to alter the company’s actual name to protect its identity.
Everything written below is the 100% truth of my actual nightmare experience. Well, perhaps 90%. – tej]
Can I just say, I AM YOUR BIGGEST FAN! Your commitment to keeping your customers satisfied has never been more on display than over the past five days. In that time I’ve gotten to know many of your tech support team members so well, they almost feel like family to me now. I am writing to tell you how grateful I am for everything that you have done to restore my faith in large bureaucratic, monopolistic utility companies for which their customers are merely numbers on an income statement spreadsheet.
My original plan for last Saturday had been to go on a nice long day hike with my family. Little did I know that at precisely 9:07am that morning KOMKAST was going to radically change my agenda for the next five days. What an educational experience it was. Can I share it with you?
[To LISTEN to an audio podcast of this week's column, press the PLAY button arrow below.]
Last week I told you about the phenomenal Watson Super Computer from IBM. Watson appeared on the TV quiz show Jeopardy! and completely dominated the competition against his two human opponents, the two most successful champions in the quiz show’s history.
As a result, I told you about Republican plans to vet Watson as a possible 2012 presidential candidate. And so far, so good. You can read last week’s column here.
As I mentioned last week, thanks to incriminating photos I have of House Speaker John Boehner, this reporter has obtained exclusive access to a private debate prep session in which GOP strategists pitted Sarah Palin against Watson in a mock presidential debate. The candidates’ responses showed pronounced differences in approaches to confronting the nation’s problems. Here is an excerpt from that debate, moderated by Larry King.
King: Do you believe global warming is a real phenomenon, and if so, do you believe man has played a part in escalating it? Watson?
[To LISTEN to an audio podcast of this week's column, press the PLAY button arrow below.]
Last month, the nation was introduced to the world’s smartest computer: the IBM Watson. Watson is an example of the incredible strides made in artificial intelligence (A.I.). With four terabytes of storage capacity, including all of Wikipedia. Watson knows the answer to virtually any question, from Lady Macbeth to Lady Gaga.
Even more impressive than Watson’s depth of useless trivia is his … er… its ability to answer questions in a natural language. Fittingly, Watson made his television debut on Jeopardy!, challenging the two most successful contestants in the show’s history, neither of whom were computers.
It was a grueling competition of man vs. machine, reminiscent of IBM’s Deep Blue vs. Grandmaster Garry Kasparov in chess. Watson was gracious in victory, never bragging or trying to fist bump his fans (which may have been in part due to his lack of fists). Watson easily trounced his two non-digital opponents. In his Final Jeopardy answer, contestant Ken Jennings acknowledged the lopsided outcome, writing, “I welcome our new computer overlords.”
Visit Snopes.com, the myth-busting web site and you will discover something new every time. And in most cases, what you’ll discover is that a lot of things you always thought were true were in fact LIES!
For example, just last week I discovered to my great relief that swallowing a watermelon seed will NOT cause a watermelon to grow inside you – this according to Snopes.com – unless, of course, you also accidentally consume Ortho plant fertilizer mixed with large doses of Miracle Gro potting soil, drink two gallons of water per day, and sit under a sun lamp with your mouth wide open for 30 minutes a day for two months. But even then, the chances are slim. And it probably won’t be edible.
Every day, people send me well-intentioned emails, passing along what they naively believe to be an informative news alert or a warning about some health or safety risk – most of which turn out to be utterly false. Oh sure, to be fair, every now and then the warning turns out to be helpful information I can actually use in my daily life – like the warning against wearing sweat pants made of bacon while snuggling in the wild with a bear cub within 100 feet of its mama. Just no way that’s gonna have a good outcome. Thank God I received that email just in time, right before my vacation to Yellowstone. Could have turned out badly.