Palin's email ails, Seinfeld ads fail

Palin's email ails, Seinfeld ads fail

Notes from the field

When stories collide. There’s some weird Cringely mojo going on. Three big stories I’ve blogged on over the past year have converged in a perfect storm of geekiness. First there’s the cosmetically enhanced political canine (aka lipstick pitbull) and current queen of Internet searches, Sarah Palin. There’s Wikileaks. org, the whistleblower site I covered back in February when an offshore bank tried and failed to cut it off at the knees. Then there’s Anonymous, who apparently got bored making life hell for the Church of Scientology and turned his/her/its attention to hockey mums. They’re all together in one story – the “hacking” of Sarah Palin’s Yahoo inbox. Kind of like when the cast of Green Acres showed up in Petticoat Junction.

Anonymous (or someone using that moniker) posted screen captures of Palin’s compromised Yahoo account to Wikileaks, which was inaccessible all day September 18 – no doubt swarmed by people hoping to see candid shots of the Hockey Mum cleaning her guns or rendering a moose in her skivvies. No such luck. The emails themselves? Kinda boring. The bigger news was the fact that the ‘hacker’ may have screwed up and made him/her/itself vulnerable to detection, according to a report in The Register. And the methods used to get into the account – guessing password recovery questions – were so brain dead simple that virtually any script kiddie could do it. Lesson here? If you’re governor, don’t use public webmail services for state business. And if you use public webmail, don’t keep anything incriminating in there.

Yadda yadda? Nada. Like Martin and Lewis, the comedy team of Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld has met a premature end. Oh sure, Microsoft claims this was the plan all along – pay Seinfeld $US10 million to star in two “commercials,” and then say “now that we’ve got your attention, here’s our real ad campaign.” Which is... taking a concept invented by Apple and saying “Yeah, I’m a PC – so what?”Say it out loud, I’m nerdy and proud. Yeah, that’s gonna work. Of course, that is all Microsoft knows how to do – take concepts invented elsewhere and then execute them on a grand scale – sometimes badly, sometimes in mediocre fashion, but never better than the original. Now they’re spending $US300 million to even more firmly cement that idea in people’s brains. Show us your wow, indeed.

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