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The biggest rubes, boobs, and noobs of 2006

The year 2006 is almost history, so this is the time for awards. I like this one, presented yesterday by one Robert X. Cringely in Cringeville: The MOONies, honoring the most Morally Obtuse, Offensive, and Noxious behavior in high tech.
This year’s MOONie winners will receive a handsome statuette of Steve Ballmer bending over and dropping his trousers, affectionately known around Redmond as The Google Salute. Along the way a few tips of the Cringely fedora to deserving folks who made the tech world a better place.
So without further ado …: The biggest rubes, boobs, and noobs of 2006, tirelessly seeking out new lows in high tech

Was it The Fool, speaking Dutch?

Real (Dutch) Beatles fans know the answer to the question: in which song, written and recorded by The Beatles a sentence is spoken in Dutch? The answer is ‘I Am The Walrus’, where someone says ‘Dat zouden ze wel willen’ in the dying seconds of the song.
In English that would haven been ‘they should (have) want(ed) that’, or something similar. Play a bit with the settings of you favorite MP3 player and you will find it.
Translation in Dutch at @ DutchCowboys

WiFi as The New Danger

A little more than a year ago, I wrote a column (‘Stralingsangst‘), for the newspaper I’m working at, about Fear of Elector Magnetic Fields. Publication resulted in a number of angry letters to the editor. Written by those readers who are very busy with all kinds of sickness and disease, te result of EMF caused by GSM, GPR and UMTS networks in The Netherlands.
Translation in Dutch at @ DutchCowboys
In the discussion aftermath, I repeated a prediction I’d made earlier, when Google started to build its WiFi networks in Mountain View and San Francisco.
My prevision was: ‘So far we haven’t heard anybody complaining about WiFi, but we can wait until the people that are so busy with GSM, GPRS and UMTS, catch sight of WiFi.
The moment has arrived.

iPod in Space

If you look carefully at the large version of this image you will see an iPod attached to a Belkin external battery pack on the equipment rack directly in front of European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter.
According to Sydney Morning Herald: the iPod doesn’t appear to be used as part of the experiment – it’s more likely that it’s used for recreational purposes.

@ The Market Place

During the renovation (initially a one year project, for a number of reasons finished in 3 years and 3 months), and after moving back into our little 1895 house we’ve become fanatic Marktplaatsers. Marktplaats means MarketPlace, it’s the original Dutch eBay, as a matter of fact taken over by eBay, but still running on the original platform, same layout, same name, even while eBay operates in Dutch at
We found our moving boxes at Marktplaats, sixty good boxes for thirty Euros (‘only one time used’), en we’ve sold three quarters of them for the same amount after the removal, on Marktplaats again (yes: ‘only one time used’).
Translation in Dutch at @ DutchCowboys

Phones for sale

I’m gonna say bye bye to my collection of old black phones. Until 1997, when ISDN arrived, followed by ADSL a few years later, five or six of them were still working in our little old house.
A telecom guy who walked in once shook his head and said that it was impossible to hook more than two of them one standard line as they were dragging to much energy, but they were always working.

Fifty percent of Google users do not scroll

Almost half of all users of Google in The Netherlands rather enter a new search word than bother to scroll. Google hits and ads that don’t show up in the very first result screen are becoming futile.
That is, according top the results of a survey presented by Ronald Verschueren from NetMarketing at a meeting for members of NIMA (Nederlands Instituut voor Marketing) in Baarn.
Translation in Dutch at @ DutchCowboys

How to handle Internet Errata?

How to handle errors published on a website? I’d never thought about it until 1995, when an evident error caught my eye, while reading The Daily Planet, then still King in the Land of the Blind Men, those who’d not seen the Internet light yet.
I mailed the webmaster, listening to the remarkable name of Francisco van Jole, and I remember I was very surprised when a reply arrived in the very same minute I’d send my remarks. Not only the webmaster, but even the man really existed, in that tenderly awakening digital world!
Translation in Dutch at @ DutchCowboys

International Passport’s Record Bureau

You gotta see it to believe it: the World Passport Record Bureau web site – where you can search the online database. They have over 6 Billion Passports currently on file, and everyone can check them all.
According to the site: under the recent International Passport Act (INPA – enacted on Nov 2, 2003), every country in the world is required to make available to the public a digitized copy of each and every valid passport issued, in their respective country.
While the big question is this is all true and legal, the site works for sure. I tried my own name and sure enough my passport came up, complete, number, photo, all. Now what?
See for yourself: