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Tag Archives: Microsoft

Most Awkward Use of Gloria Estefan Song?

23 Jan

Back in 1989, Gloria Estefan was pretty much on top of the world. She had a new lead single, “Get on Your Feet,” which would become the name of her forthcoming world tour (that tour was cut short by a near-fatal bus crash). The song rose to number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Since then, the song has been used sparingly, but extremely effectively, in pop culture. My vote for most awkward use has to come from Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, who went nuts to the song during his introduction at an internal employee-only pep rally back in 2001. This is the type of dance I do in my room when no one is watching.

So that would be the pick for most awkward, but then Parks & Recreation used the song in this amazing bit. This is so awkward, but hilarious.

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Nobody at Microsoft Store Opening Cares About Microsoft

20 Oct

So this is the type of thing you can get away with when you’re an incredibly wealthy corporation. Microsoft opened a store today right across from an Apple Store at the University Village shopping center in Seattle. It looks a lot like an Apple Store.

This opening is happening right in their own backyard, after all Microsoft is based just across Lake Washington from Seattle. I’m sure Microsoft wanted a great turnout. Perhaps coincidentally, the company also decided to offer a Black Keys concert and a OneRepublic concert the very next day— for free. What’s the catch? You have to be one of the first people in line to score your two free tickets to one of the shows.

Lines for the opening started forming the night before. Some people waited overnight for the grand opening. The Microsoft promotion worked like a charm. There were tons of people waiting in line for the store to open. Then, reporter David “Goldy” Goldstein from The Stranger asked them what Microsoft product they were most excited to buy.

Can you guess what they answered? Is this a brilliant promotional move by Microsoft or an epic fail because no one cares about their actual products?

Steve Jobs Dead at 56

5 Oct

Legendary Apple co-founder and technological innovator Steve Jobs has passed away at the age of 56. He had waged a public battle against pancreatic cancer for the better part of a decade.

Jobs was a visionary who fundamentally changed the way people interact. The iPod, iPad and iPhone are just a couple of his inventions.

The company’s Board of Directors posted a short message online. “Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”

A statement from the Jobs family said tech visionary passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family. “In his public life, Steve was known as a visionary; in his private life, he cherished his family. We are thankful to the many people who have shared their wishes and prayers during the last year of Steve’s illness; a website will be provided for those who wish to offer tributes and memories. We are grateful for the support and kindness of those who share our feelings for Steve. We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief.”

Tributes poured in from around the world, including the White House. “Michelle and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Jobs. Steve was among the greatest of American innovators – brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it… The world has lost a visionary.”

Microsoft c0-founder Bill Gates offered his condolences to the family and paid tribute to his longtime rival. “The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.”

Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page said Jobs’ focus on the user experience influenced him as he launched the world’s greatest search engine. “I am very, very sad to hear the news about Steve. He was a great man with incredible achievements and amazing brilliance. He always seemed to be able to say in very few words what you actually should have been thinking before you thought it.”

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote a short statement on his wall. “Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.”

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo paid tribute in a tweet. “Once in a rare while, somebody comes along who doesnt just raise the bar, they create an entirely new standard of measurement.”

Speaker of the House John Boehner used Twitter as well. “Steve Jobs changed the world for the better w/ his innovations & genius. R.I.P.”

Here’s a collection of celebrity reaction to the sad news.

Lastly, for those people who have not seen it, here’s Jobs addressing Stanford University in 2005. His speech is moving and well-worth a look.

R.I.P. Steve. You truly changed our world.

Amazing News Clips You Should Watch

19 Apr

This past couple of days has given some great clips from TV. Here are four of my favorite. You should take some time and watch them.

1) Fault Lines: Fast Food, Fat Profits (Al Jazeera): You probably don’t think of Al Jazeera first when you think of great news documentaries, but maybe you should. This short 20-minute documentary talks to all players in the food wars, and does a great job of explaining the problem briefly.

2) Paul Allen on Gates, Microsoft (60 Minutes): The co-founder of Microsoft has a new book out called Idea Man that offers an inside look into the founding of the world’s most important tech company. Allen seems to have an ax to grind, but you can make up your own mind. He rarely does interviews so this is a rare look.

3) China’s Ghost Cities (Dateline Australia): This short clip looks at the property bubble that’s forming in China and how many of their cities lie unoccupied. It raises bigger questions, like how long can China sustain its current rate of growth? Fascinating perspective from all sorts of people.

4) Three Cups of Tea Controversy (60 Minutes): One of the more inspiring tales of charity work in the past couple of decades may be a hoax. Greg Mortenson says that when he descended from K2 (the second highest mountain in the world), people in a small town nursed him back to health. In response, he promised to build them a school. A successful book and charity followed. It may all be false though. Incredible report and brilliant reporting.

Arrogant Celebrity Chefs Give Everyone a Bad Name

27 Mar

Nathan Myhrvold is a genius— not many people would dispute that. Among his many achievements in life include:

He worked at Microsoft for 13 years, eventually serving as Chief Technology Officer and creating Microsoft Research. He has applied for more than 500 patents. In his spare time, he is a prize-winning nature photographer, enjoys paleontology, finished first and second at the World Barbecue Championship, studied classic French cooking in France and moonlighted at a Seattle restaurant during his time at Microsoft. Education-wise he had his PhD by age 23 and participated in a graduate program under the guidance of Stephen Harding.

Yeah, so he’s also ridiculously rich. For the last couple 0f years, he’s taken out space in a quiet Seattle suburb and run experiments on a number of different things (for one, he thinks he can stop hurricanes through a new device). Mainly, though he’s been focused on food. That’s led up to the publication of this 6 volume, 40 pound monster of a book called Modernist Cuisine. This picture doesn’t even do it justice:

Modernist CuisineDid I mention the price yet? $625 for the whole set, though likely on sale for less at Amazon. So here’s where my problems start with this book. Myhrvold fully admits that even a well-equipped casual chef could only replicate about 80 percent of his recipes. Who knows what well-equipped actually means (if it means sous vide machines and centrifuges, I’m not).  That’s all fine. People release a whole bunch of stuff that most people cannot afford to do.

However, Myhrvold has been making the rounds on talk shows promoting the book, as if we can afford to buy it. Even after buying the book, in order to prepare the recipes, one would not to invest hundreds (if not thousands of additional dollars into a kitchen). Now, it may be revolutionary, but there is no NEED for these techniques. With so many people in the world going hungry, Myhrvold could not and has not answered why the world needs his technology. His response actually seems to be, “Because I’m a rich guy who can afford to play with big fancy gadgets.” I expect roughly .00001 percent of the world will ever have access to the technology to make these recipes.

Again, that last fact is not the problem. My anger arises from the fact he took to the Today Show and The Colbert Report (click here to see the clip) to sell the book. Very few people in those audiences will be able to afford or want to buy the book. So the point of doing those shows is to flaunt his work and wow people. What an egoist. Look at the clips below.

Hand it to Matt Lauer, he’s not buying any of it. He points out the practicality arguments against the book and seems unimpressed by the taste of the food. Colbert is a bit more enthusiastic about the whole thing, but still takes a few digs at Myhrvold.

Though his book may be every bit as revolutionary as everyone claims, Myhrvold has not convinced anyone in the general population that they should buy it. I actually think these televised appearances hurt his ability to sell it. He comes across as a rich, mad scientist.

Another chef seems to have forgotten the economics of restaurants. Ferran Adria is the head chef at El Bulli, voted the World’s Best Restaurant five times. It will close for good this July, not because it couldn’t afford to stay open, but because it will become a culinary institute in 2014. In an interview with Bloomberg he described his plans for that foundation:

“Who will come? It doesn’t matter. Everybody will want to come and every year we will have different guests. If we need feedback, we will get it. If we don’t, we don’t have to have it. Our priority is creativity. That is our challenge.”

Adria goes on to tell people his life has become wearisome because he constantly has to ask people to come to his restaurant. Oh woe is you. Most chefs would kill to be in your position and comments like the one above shows a complete disregard for the customers who actually pay (LOTS) of money to eat at your restaurant. This is a growing sentiment I’ve heard several times from master chefs. They forget that the customer is the one who ensures they can pursue that creativity by paying a premium to come to the restaurant. It may be “wearisome” but I’ve you didn’t care about customers, you picked the wrong industry to enter.