Ballmer realises Hungarian student wasn’t saying ‘egg hunt’ to him

Bluescreen: Alex Kidman satirises the IT industry making no exceptions even for kernels.

There are some things in IT that you can count on as constants and this week’s news has been one of big companies playing to their strengths. Microsoft of course knows what it’s good at. Being a target for one thing and in the absence of pie-lovin’ Bill we instead got Ballmer being egged on  — but probably not in the way that he’d like. Yup once again a leading Microsoft person has been presented with free food as though the poor multi-billionaire couldn’t afford it himself. And it’s not as though Ballmer’s merry marchers haven’t been busy enough besides.

For a start they’ve been throwing up a smokescreen by allowing you to view the rest of the  universe from your PC via the worldwide telescope project. Bluescreen says “smokescreen” because it distracts your attention from the fact that your PC probably isn’t updating Vista to Service Pack 1 like it’s meant to. Unless of course it is without telling you (and presuming Vista hasn’t crashed in the meantime) but you might not know regardless (and that much convolution might leave you bewildered) depending on what hardware your notebook vendor bothered to put in your notebook. You know that nice notebook with the “Made for Windows Vista” sticker on it? Well Bluescreen hates to have to tell you this but the sticker lied.

Google’s dependable and constant as well. It would very much like to control and index every last bit of your data as evidenced this week by the launch of Google Health. Yes that’s right — Google not only wants to know about all the unsavoury searches you indulge in when you think nobody’s looking it’s also interested in unsavoury results of your latest prostate exam. Bluescreen for one could do without the phrase “targeted advertising” when it comes to prostates. Although in that context it might be easier to tell Google where to stick its ads.

Telstra meanwhile remains constant in its approach — specifically that it would like your money. Quite a bit of it in fact – Sol’s beach Villa isn’t going to build itself you know — but as always it’s prepared to be rather sneaky about it launching this week a promotion in which you can get a free laptop if you sign up for a Next G business wireless account. That all sounds pretty kosher until you realise that the $700 laptop you’re getting will set you back three and half grand — more if you go over your download limit without being adequately warned. If you were to theoretically speaking get a bit keen on US TV shows not yet broadcast in Australia and go 10GB over your limit? That’d be another three grand in Telstra’s pocket thankyouverymuch. But of course Telstra would never fail to warn you about going over the limit? Right Telstra? Hello? Funny… the phone line’s gone dead.

That could be because Bluescreen’s been investigating Optus’ latest deal which allows you to snip the home phone line entirely in favour of a mobile solution. Having recently had a run-in with Optus in a matter of mobile telephony (a complicated matter involving random SMS messages to China DHL tracking numbers and idiotic call centre staff who must be being jabbed with cattle prods lest they stray from the script*) Bluescreen will tread carefully here** and simply point out the unbridled joy that SMS spam could bring your home phone line as well as congratulating Optus on somehow managing to reinvent the mobile phone — but with a fixed physical location and line rental when no physical line exists at all. Bluescreen would like to say that spending money on a product that doesn’t exist is innovative but then Bluescreen remembers how an awful lot of the IT industry operates and hastily retracts the statement.

While we’re in the land of interesting statements and products that some people might not wish existed it’s also been a week of ups and downs for component makers. Intel is no doubt secretly drawing up plans for processors with more cores than Tasmania*** while ATI drew the ire of Steam users for well being as popular as Creative apparently. Who gets to wear the disgruntled face in that relationship?

Meanwhile NVidia wanted to show it could play with the big boys by making claims about its GPUs that may be true  — but only if you want to spend roughly 15x the cost of a CPU on one of its highest-end graphics processors. Of course eBay is there to “help” you get over your GPU costs by giving with one hand by reducing listing fees while taking with the other with mandatory PayPal fees. It’s such a caring company you see. Well it cares about its bottom line at the very least. That’s almost like actually caring — isn’t it?

* Bluescreen is guessing here about the cattle prods. Bluescreen feels that this may be an exceptionally accurate guess. The bit about DHL tracking numbers and random Chinese SMSes is sadly all too true…
** for once…
*** Regional jokes sponsored by the Tasmanian tourist board.