By Harry McCracken | Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 9:22 pm
74. There but for the grace of CompUSA go I.
After a disappointing Christmas and a failed bid to find a buyer, Circuit City–not so long ago the nation’s largest purveyor of consumer electronics–folds. It liquidates everything in its remaining stores, down to the toilet-paper dispensers in the bathrooms.
75. Danger, Will Robinson!
For almost an hour, Google flags every site in every search result as potentially being a carrier of dangerous malware. Google honcho Marissa Mayer explains that someone accidentally added a slash mark to the list of risky sites, prompting the search engine to mistakenly believe the entire Web is hazardous.
76. The Digital Wonderland awaits.
President Obama signs a bill delaying the U.S.’s transition to all-digital TV broadcasting from February 17th to June 12th. The transition has been in the works for years, but demand for discount coupons on converter boxes has outstripped federal funding for them, and millions of households still aren’t ready to receive digital TV.
77. Later, he said everyone on Planet Earth would buy two Pixis apiece.
Roger McNamee, founding partner of Palm investor Elevation Partners, needlessly sets expectations for the Palm’s Pre smartphone absurdly high when he says every original iPhone owner coming off a two-year contract will dump Apple and buy a Pre. Four days later, Palm disowns McNamee’s irrational exuberance.
78. Compelling evidence!
Microsoft releases What Price Cool, a “white paper” on the “Apple Tax” imposed by Macintosh prices. It’s full of charts and numbers, but they use Mac prices that are months out of date and scrambled data (at one point, the report takes the MacBook laptop to task for not including a keyboard). The analyst who prepared the report blames early deadlines and production errors on Microsoft’s part.
79. This from the company that still sells Deuce Bigalow on iTunes.
Apple initially rejects e-book reader Eucalyptus from the iPhone App Store on the grounds that it’s obscene, pornographic, offensive, or defamatory. The app’s crime: Among the public-domain works it can be used to download is…the Kama Sutra.
80. The gifted star of The Fly will be missed. Only briefly, though!
Michael Jackson dies, and the discussion on Twitter proves that the hot social networking site is the very best place to follow breaking news. Then word gets out that Jeff Goldblum has fallen to his death on a New Zealand movie site. It’s a hoax, but the Twitterverse is traumatized all over again–proving that Twitter is the very worst place to follow breaking news.
81. How Orwellian.
When Amazon discovers that copies of George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm sold to Kindle e-reader owners were pirated versions, it uses the Kindle’s copy protection to remove the e-books from purchasers’ libraries and refund their money. The decision is deemed stupid and thoughtless–by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who says the company will learn from the mistake.
82. Wait, wait, don’t tell me.
In a letter responding to questions from the FCC, Apple denies that it’s rejected Google’s Google Voice telephony app from the iPhone App Store. Instead, it’s “still pondering” whether to accept it, a month after rumors first surfaced that the app had been nixed. Four months later, the pondering apparently continues.
83. And Taco Bell was never a taco company.
In an interview with the New York Times conducted in the wake of Yahoo’s decision to outsource its search features to Microsoft, Yahoo boss Carol Bartz says that Yahoo has “never been a search company.”
84. Danger is a subsidiary of Microsoft.
Users of Danger Sidekick smartphones on T-Mobile’s network experience an extended service disruption. Then Danger owner Microsoft says that it’s having trouble restoring those users’ data, and doesn’t have a workable backup. A few days later, Roz Ho, Microsoft’s ironically-named VP of Premium Mobile Experiences, announces that the company thinks it can get most, if not all, of the data back.
85. I’ll believe it when the Failwhale files for unemployment.
Onstage at the Web 2.0 Summit, Twitter cofounder Ev Williams declares “scalability today isn’t an issue for Twitter.” His remarks come during a week of frequent brief outages, and the day before the Twitter status site reports “a high rate of errors…caused by overconsumption of resources on our webservers.”
86. Who knew?
Microsoft strikes a deal with Fox to embed Windows 7 promotion in a Family Guy TV special. After viewing a rough cut of creator Seth McFarlane’s show–replete with gags involving feminine hygiene, the Holocaust, incest, and deaf people–it changes its mind.
87. I call Mr. Heat Miser to the witness stand.
When Verizon Wireless runs ads snarking at the spottiness of AT&T’s 3G network–including one that sends the iPhone to the Isle of Misfit Toys—AT&T sues. The court case mostly serves to draw attention to…the spottiness of AT&T’s 3G network. AT&T soon abandons its suit.
I could go on–candidates for this list are still rolling in, and with eleven days left in the decade there may well be more to come. I’m going to cut the list off here, but if you’ve got more nominees–and I know you do–please discuss ’em in the comments…