January 27, 2010

Apple’s latest . . . marketing mis-step

Filed under: Humour, Technology — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 13:53

AdRants has a bit of fun with Apple’s choice of name for its latest rapture-of-the-nerds tech device:

Apple Introduces New Feminine Protection Product: The iPad

According to an explosion of tweets following Steve Jobs’ announcement of the iPad, the device’s new name isn’t going over so well:

– For now the iPad’s really exciting, but wait until they release the iTampon

– iPad: You only need to plug it in once a month

– Wow – its the iPad. Wonder if it comes in 2 sizes (maxi and mini)

– I guess it’s Apple’s “time of the month”

– The Apple iPad: for all your heavy (work) flow days

– Our little iPod has hit womanhood

– To recap: the iPad will come with an iRag (to keep it clean) + some iBruprofen (to keep it working smoothly) + iWings (protection plan)

H/T to Virginia Postrel, who wrote “And so the jokes begin…Apple needs more female marketers”.

Update: Francis Turner sent a link to the official announcement photo.

More serious coverage of the new product from The Register.

Welcome to Canada . . . this is our variant of English

Filed under: Cancon, Humour — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 13:28

SherryGrammarian would like to extend a welcome to all the soon-to-be-arriving Winter Olympics visitors and offers some explanations about the variant of English spoken in (parts of) Canada:

Like the country itself, Canadian English suffers from a bit of an identity crisis: Do we speak the tongue of our British heritage? Or do we employ the vernacular of our closest geographical and cultural neighbour, the United States?

And in quintessentially Canadian fashion, we’ve come up with an offend-no-one resolution: a little deference, a little defiance. Canadian English is the bastard child of a queen and a cowboy.

We honour the monarchy by minding our p’s and q’s, and in using u’s in words like “labour” and “flavour.” In Canada, you enter the “centre” and catch a feature at the “theatre.”

The last letter of the alphabet retains its British pronunciation yet appears American in words like “organize” and “realize” — but we draw the line at calling the bearded Texas rock band “ZedZed Top,” and for that we will not apologize.

[. . .]

And (Americans, take note), “rout” is what my hockey team does to your hockey team. “Route” — pronounced root — is the path to the nearest donut shop.

Where Virginia is headed, will Ontario follow?

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Economics, Law, Wine — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 12:31

HRH Prince Charles and his political tin ear

Filed under: Britain, Environment, Media — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 07:28

It’s been a long-standing — and safe — practice for members of the royal family to avoid controversy (at least, controversy in topics not actually involving members of the royal family). Prince Charles apparently didn’t get the memo recently:

The Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia is under government investigation for fraud, data manipulation and withholding or destroying scientific data in defiance of freedom of information requests. Many of the disgraced scientists working at the CRU were closely involved in putting together the now ferociously suspect Fourth Assessment Report for the notoriously unreliable Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) headed by the lethally compromised Dr Rajendra Pachauri.

Is this really the best time, you might wonder, for the future King of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to praise the CRU for the “quality” of its work and to dismiss the Climategate scandal as a “little blip”? (Hat tip: Roddy Campbell)

Well the Prince of Wales clearly thinks so or he wouldn’t have paid a visit to Norwich yesterday to deliver a jolly little fillip to the beleaguered scientists. In his sublime wisdom, Prince Charles clearly believes they have done no wrong at all.

Is it open season on Toronto’s pedestrians?

Filed under: Cancon, Randomness — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 07:16

Toronto has had a remarkable spike in the number of pedestrian fatalities this month. Last year, two pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in the city. This year (so far) there have been 14. There are a number of possible answers as to why this is happening, but you can always trust politicians to leap at the answer that inconveniences the largest number of people:

That increase prompted City Councillor Bill Saundercook (Park-dale-High Park) to lobby for the city to reduce speed limits in areas identified as hot-spots — those areas with a high amount of pedestrian activity.

Mr. Saundercook, who co-chairs the city’s pedestrian committee, says decreasing the speed limit by 10 kilo-metres per hour in those key areas will increase reaction time and hopefully prevent the kind of accidents that have been happening over the last three weeks.

That may or may not help: the police have not definitely identified excessive speed as the primary or even major contributing cause to the high number of fatal accidents. If past experience is any guide, it might actually frustrate drivers by forcing them to go slower than the “natural” driving conditions in that area, encouraging more speeding. Of course, the city is looking at a big budget shortfall, so increasing the chances for issuing speeding tickets might be the real reason for the suggestion.

Constable Hugh Smith, of Toronto Police traffic services, said that all the fatalities so far this year were preventable.

“All the fatalities this year have been due to some kind of human error,” he said. “These were either pedestrians walking into a live lane of traffic or a motorist not taking the time to come to a stop, or turning a corner unsafely.”

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