Monthly Archives: October 2006

Microsoft act hard

In October 2003 Microsoft fired a long-term temp after he posted a photograph on his blog of G5 computers from rival company Apple Macintosh being delivered to Microsoft’s Redmond company campus.

Hanscom, who worked at the MSCopy print shop, noticed a truckload of G5 Macs being delivered to the campus, and took a picture of them to post on his blog under the title ‘Even Microsoft wants G5s’ accompanied by the description: “Three palettes of Dual 2.0Ghz G5’s on their way in to somewhere deep in the bowels of Redmond.”

Within a week Microsoft got wind of the photo and Hanscom’s boss informed him that he was “no longer welcome on the Microsoft campus.”

In spite of the many messages of support Hanscom received when he posted this news on his blog too – and the thousands of messages full of vitriol against the giant American corporation, the forgiving blogger said he did not blame them. “I goofed. I regret it, but the damage is done.”

To see the original picture, click here.


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An All Time Low

On 10 am Thursday September 5, 2002, a New York office worker, Tripp Murray, sent a chatty email to Mary Callahan, a woman he’d recently taken on a date, asking if she intended to go to a Bon Jovi concert that night and if not suggesting himself as company.

He was surprised to receive a reply entitled All Time Low and starting “Ok first — here is the e-mail I received from Tripp, the new guy I met last week.” Then he was no doubt horrified as he went on to read Callahan explaining how easy this ‘Tripp’ would be to drain of money: “Since we have not slept together, he will of course be trying to impress me and will, therefore, do anything I ask.”

Callahan had clearly hit the reply button instead of forward, an embarrassment that can only have been compounded by the fact that she went on to detail how a recent partner had fallen asleep on her during sex – and the fact that Tripp promptly forwarded the message on to a co-worker, James Salter. Salter forwarded it to others with the message: “Drop what you’re doing and read this. The following is an exchange between a friend of a guy that sits on our desk and a girl he took out on a date. Read from the bottom up. Oh my Lord.”

“Ugly dating scene in NYC,” observed one recipient Sam Greene, sending to several. “Sucks to be that girl this morning!”

Soon the email reached critical mass. “How fast until it hits the entire eastern seaboard?” one sender asked on the afternoon of the 6th, a Friday as he continued to forward it on.

The e-mail “seemed to have made its way around Wall Street”, wrote another.

On Monday morning it was still going. “These things spread fast, thought I’d help out,” one wrote.

By September 11, the e-mail had reached Britain and Spain. By September 12 it was in Australia, now containing the instruction:
“Like the rest of the world go straight to the bottom and read up.”

Readers are invited to do the same… it’s a classic of the form.

From: Tripp Murray
To: Mary B Callahan/US/ABAS/
09/05/2002 10:01

So are you off to the Bon Jovi show tonight in Times Square? Sounds like it is going to some turnout. What division of audit are you in for PWC?

Are you heading out tonight? A friend of mine is leaving for MBA School in France so, he is throwing himself a going away party at Park, ever been? What are the plans for this weekend, recovery from the long weekend or adding just a little more hurt to the situation?

Tripp Murray
TM Capital Corp.

Sent: Thursday, September 05, 2002 10:48 AM
To: Tripp Murray
Subject: All time low

Ok first — here is the e-mail I received from Tripp, the new guy I met last week. If you want to go out, perhaps we can get him to pay for drinks at the Park. Since we have not slept together, he will of course be trying to impress me and will, therefore, do anything I ask. Unlike John, who fell asleep during sex last night. I went over to his place last night around 11:30. We started having sex. When I noticed his eyes were closed for a little too long, I said “John wake up.” At which, point he shot up saying “what’d I miss.” Yes, I think that is a new low.

Let me know about tonight. I think you need company.

From: Tripp Murray
To: Christopher R Cattani
01:38 PM
Subject: FW: All Time Low

Please, read my email first. Then read her email, I think that she was forwarding my email to a friend but hit reply instead. You will love this

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A Grade A Date

In 2002 Jacqueline Kim made the mistake of emailing her unusually materialistic assessment of her date (good kisser, nice car, needs to get a haircut and shower her with presents if he wants to keep her) to a few friends outside her office – some of whom promptly forwarded it on for the delight and amusement of a large proportion of the internet community.

From: Jacqueline Kim…

Subject: The dish…

The update

Well…Mr. Casey O’Brien showed up at my door at about 8:15ish. Sporting a pair of cute jeans, a button up and a black jacket. For his outfit I would give him about a B. As for looks, he was cute but on the shorter side and his hair was a little too long. Far from a mullet but longer than I would prefer but let’s not dwell on that because he can kinda get away with it. So for looks, I would probably give him another B. Car- BMW, like I stated before. A great car, he’ll have to get and A for that. He gets and A+ for his manners and politeness. Marcie, he opened the car door everytime! Super polite. Overall general appearance will cap at a B+.

AS for the place we went to, another “A”. The Tasting Room is an excellent date place. I was never the wine connoisseur but I’m gradually thinking I could become one. We had 4 glasses each of different white wines and a cheese flight, which was the perfect food mecca to go with the wine. Place is awesome, I recommend all of you guys to attend this place for a night out with your man/woman. We also headed over to this place called the Black Duck. Another great place! The date place itself gets an overall “A”.

By the way Girls- this summer we must hang out on Randolph, so many awesome places!

I can go into great detail of what we talked about and such but, that would make for an extremely long email.

The date ended with me getting intoxicated but not like crazy intoxicated, but I was drunk. No hangovers. I’m assuming he was fairly intoxicated but since he was driving, I didn’t want to know, so I never asked.

By the way, as for myself, I get an overall A+ for how damn cute I looked. I sported a pair of fun longer Capri pants from Guess in a darker khaki color with my white shirt from Hanger 18, that has my lower back showing with my new cute fitted black jacket with empire sleeves from Armani. I was a BABE. He didn’t stand a chance. My worries of not being cute were so swept under the rug with the outfit I pulled off last night.

Before jumping to any conclusions, YES, I stayed the night, only because I semi passed out on his couch and he was polite to ask if I wanted to head home and I just said he could take me home in the morning, NOTHING happened. Honestly only a kiss derived from this date and it didn’t even happen at his place. I believe it might have been executed at the Black Duck but I’m not so sure on the exact time and location. But can I add, GREAT kisser. The date kiss gets an “A”. Really, I haven’t had that great of a kiss since, well we won’t go there but it has been a long time. I might have to go with the fact that I might have mastered the skill of French kissing, no joke. As long as I have potential to work with, I can execute a pretty intense kiss.

Lauren- you would have loved Casey’s attitude. Actually I think all of would have appreciated how he called me out on my stupid logic of thinking. Somehow, it came up on how random it was for us to meet and shit and how when he said the very first time we talked for me to give him a call and my response was, “Really, I’ll let you know now, I won’t call you, so I suggest you write my number down and give me a call”. Hence the wait of a week or so for his first initial call was due to my shallowness or whatever you would like to call my way of playing the field. Doesn’t really matter, he still called and I didn’t.

So, question is, where do I stand on the whole outlook of Mr. Casey O’Brien and the date…The car, the money, the job, the cute apartment, the boat-which by the way only seats 6 people, so I really don’t consider that really amazing, his mannerism and his great kiss will probably lock in another date but…I can tell you now unless he cuts his hair and sends me gifts, it won’t lead me to seek anything more than my 1st 30 year old FRIEND (Oh by the way, I think he’s only 29, but still, I’m rounding up). Plus, the summer is just around the corner and guys are EVERYWHERE, I need to keep the options open and my schedule free to lock in some other great summer flings…

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed the day in the life of Miss Jackie Kim and please feel free to comment on my date, my outfit, the kiss, or whatever else. If you need any more major details of the date please contact me in one of the following ways: phone, email, personal visit or text messaging.

Oh, I might be heading to a Cubs game with him next week. We’ll see.

Oh by the way ladies- His cute friend Brian, is single and also a day trader.

Which by the way, being a day trader is pretty money, literally in a sense but he gets to throw on lounge wear for work and is home no later than Noon.

Are you kidding me? Where was being a day trader on career day in Elementary school?

Jacqueline Kim
Major Gifts & Planned Giving
American Heart Association, Midwest Affiliate…

The subject of the assessment, Casey O’Brien later confirmed that this was a “pretty accurate” assessment of their evening together – and said they had even gone on a second date, until news of the increasingly infamous email terminated their budding relationship.

Meanwhile Jacqueline, who had put her office phone number as well as email contact details on the message, was inundated with enquiries from readers outraged by her singularly unromantic attitude (and near complete failure to comment on her date’s personality). Several of these correspondents claimed that they received the following standard reply:

The email that you are referring to was, indeed sent by me (along with a lot of cynicism) to my friends. I am sorry that it has been re-distributed and erroneously taken seriously so many times.

While I am sure that the email has offended you, I can assure you that your anger doesn’t equate to the feeling of being misunderstood by so many people you’ve never met. I will get over it, and hope you will to. Thanks for writing.



PS – Email is a powerful thing, I’ve learned my lesson and hope that many can learn from my mistake too. I do find it quite humorous that my original email has been rewritten by this time and does not even compare to the brief update that was originally written. I only deserve half the credit for my sarcastic email. The remaining props is rightly deserved to the many people I don’t know who have added a paragraph here and there and creatively put a spin on the original email.

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Impossible is nothing

Getting your CV noticed is half the battle in today’s competitive job market. And so, to a certain extent, Yale student Aleksey Vayner’s decision to include a video presentation with his eleven page application to a New York bank could be seen as inspired. Unfortunately, however, the contents of the video proved him to have the tactical subtlety – not to mention hubris – of the World War one generals who told their men to walk slowly into machine gun fire.

Entitled “Impossible Is Nothing” the video is a seven-minute paean to the sheer awesomeness of Mr Vayner, together with his own philosophical musings on the theory of success – and how he is bound to achieve it.

Following on from a classic opening salvo where Aleksey appears to ask himself a question about how great he is (“Aleksey. You’re known as someone who has studied the principles of personal development for a long time. By allowing yourself to be guide by these principles, you’ve coincidentally become a model of personal development and an inspiration for many around you…”), we’re greeted with the inspiring sight of the young man lifting weights (495lbs if we believe the text on the screen!), serving a tennis ball (at 140mph!), performing a very difficult rotating jump while skiing, and – in an extended sequence – ballroom dancing with a skimpily clad lady, while himself wearing a tight black polo neck.

“‘If you’re going to work, work. If you’re going to train, train. If you’re going to dance, then dance, but do it with passion,” he proclaims before spinning the lucky girl around the room.

Elsewhere he advises his listeners to “Ignore the losers… When people tell you that you won’t be able to achieve something, cross them out of your life, because they’re directly interfering with your success.”

He also explains that “success is a mental phenomenon not a physical one. It must first be conceived internally before it manifests externally.”

So that’s clear.

Finally, wearing a white karate suit, he bows to camera, emits a piercing howl and smashes a pile of bricks with his bare hands. “Impossible is nothing,” he says again as the credits roll, naming him as “Aleksey Vayner, CEO and professional athlete.”

Sadly, for Aleksey, rather than gain him a job, when he submitted the video to financial services firm UBS AG, it instead won him international infamy.

The video quickly became an internet phenomenon as it was forwarded first around Wall Street (with helpful comments like ‘What NOT to do when looking for a banking job,’ ‘This is pure gold,’ and ‘Typical Yalie’) and then around the world.

His 11-page resume, meanwhile, added to his notoriety thanks to his claims that he was the CEO of his own investment firm, that he founded a charity helping young people, and that he could cure people using his knowledge of Chinese medicine.

Web cynics quickly began to claim that his ‘investment firm’ was a fake, and that it plagiarised its mission statement from another firm; that his ‘charity’ Youth Empowerment Strategies seemed strangely similar to an entirely unconnected charity – with exactly the same name; and that his self-published tome about the Holocaust (‘Women’s Silent Tears’) ‘borrowed’ entire sections from an online Holocaust Encyclopaedia.

Also disputed are Vayner’s assertions, printed in the college humour magazine Yale Rumpus, that he was once employed by the CIA and mafia and that he once gave tennis lessons to Harrison Ford.

Watch it on Youtube

And for those of you who weren’t fast enough, don’t have a high enough internet connection, here’s a complete transcript:

Impossible is Nothing


Impossible is nothing

[Voice off camera] Aleksey. You’re known as someone who has studied the principles of personal development for a long time. By allowing yourself to be guide by these principles, you’ve coincidentally become a model of personal development and an inspiration for many around you…

[Camera fades in, Aleksey is sitting, slicked black hair, pursing his lips thoughtfully]

AV: Although success is different to every individual, it’s generally accepted that people are much happier when they grow, develop and are good at what they do.

[Now his name is on the screen in shimmering silver letters]

Interviewer: How does someone like yourself become very proficient in the fields much faster than others?

[cut back to his pensive face]

AV: Well thank you… I guess the first thing that the person needs to understand is that success is a mental transformation. It’s not an external event. To…be successful… you must first…know… exactly what you want to achieve. Second, you need to commit to the sacrifices that it will take to achieve your goal. And third, you must believe beyond any reasonable doubt that you will achieve your goals.

[Cut to shot of AV powdering his hands… Then his face looking red, sweaty]

To be able to reach for your goals with such a level of certainty and determination you need to be able to take care of the base first…

[Camera pans out. We see that AV is on a bench. Lifting weights! A concerned looking trainer stands behind him. A message on the screen says 140 pounds each].

…which is your physical conditioning.

[He lies back, takes the strain – and lifts!]

Failure can not be considered an option.

[He lifts! Lifts! Lifts!]

It has been my personal experience that your physical fitness reflects directly in your mental sharpness. And in the energy level that you have to take care of your tasks.

[He drops the weights]

If you train to provide your body with the level of energy and intensity it needs to pursue your tasks, you inadvertently train your mind too.

[Now he’s bench pressing – writing on screen says 405 lbs]

Always push your limits. Always push your comfort zone. And as you train to expand and step outside your comfort zone you come to realise that the things that most people regard as impossible are actually completely within your grasp.

[495 lbs!]

Many people believe that successful people are lucky. I completely disagree with that notion. Successful people think in very specific values that create opportunities for them which they can seize. An average observer thinks that that’s luck.

[A new scene. He’s ski-ing down a mountain. Text on screen says Olympic valley National Qualifier]

Luck doesn’t jump into anyone’s lap!

[The skier performs a jump, twists in the air]

Success requires persistence and perseverance, attention to detail and, of course, patience.

[He lands! The scene moves back to the interview chair, where he is smiling benignly]

People around you may tell you that you will not succeed. Ignore them!

[He’s now on the tennis court]

When I was little, I couldn’t run. So many tennis coaches said that I couldn’t play tennis. When I mastered that, they said: “yeeeahh, but he’s a big guy…”

[On the screen he’s punching the air, having just won a point]

“… and his reactions are terrible so he will never be a real player because he can’t serve and volley.” Hmmm.

[We see him serving. Text on the screen says 140mph. Lots of shots of volleying]

When people tell you that you won’t be able to achieve something, cross them out of your life, because they’re directly interfering with your success. Ignore the losers. Bring you’re A-game, your determination and your drive to the field and success will follow.

There’s another peculiar thing about success. Everything you do, you must pursue with your entire heart…

[Cut to Aleksey in a tightblack outfit, in a dance studio, spinning a scantily clad beauty on his arm]

… Live your life openly. Go all out for what you want to achieve and believe in. If you’re going to work – work. If you’re going to train – train. If you’re going to dance – dance. But do it with passion!

[Cheesy music plays – and he’s dancing – glasses off!]

While physical training might make you stronger, and mentally sharper, things like dancing will teach you how to pursue your goals with your entire heart.

[Back to interview chair]

When all this is said and done, we come back to one fundamental truth: Success is a mental phenomenon not a physical one. It must first be conceived internally before it manifests externally.

[Cut to him standing in a white karate robe, glasses still on, behind a tower of bricks. He bows.]

Behind the clarity of your goals determination, persistence, passion patience – lies one main tenet. Napolean Hill said it best: “What you can conceive and believe, you can achieve. You must first believe beyond any reasonable doubt that success is possible. Remember to achieve success you must first conceive it and believe it. Impossibility is just another term, another opinion. It should have no bearing on your success whatsoever.

Remember, impossible…

[On screen, he shouts and raises his hand]

…is nothing!

[The bricks are split! He bows. Titles play to dramatic music. Titles read Aleksey Vayner CEO and professional athlete.]

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Setting The Wrong Tone

I was five minutes late. It didn’t go down well with the power hungry new team leader. The proof was in that fact that I was publicly roasted and humiliated.

Not that there was much point being on time because all the phones had gone down – and to ice the cake, the computer system collapsed as well.

Free time, we thought… so I pulled out My MP3 got on with surfing the net…

Which, according to the team leader, “wasn’t appropriate.” I pointed out that the phones were down so it couldn’t interrupt anyone or my none existent work. This response, it seemed, wasn’t appropriate either. I learned that the hard way when she grabbed my arm (I still to this day don’t know why I didn’t put a claim in) drag me into a side room.

She laughed the physical abuse off with some nice quiet banter and reasoning about not undermining her authority. But when I decided to make a stand and said I was still going to listen to the MP3 player, Team leader went and got the office manager.

She point blank said that I was not supposed to be using the MP3 in work time – and that any personal electrical equipment including mobile phones should also be switched off. Fair enough. Meeting over.

I went back to my desk in a brown stew. Five minutes later the office manager came to talk to my team leader (who incidentally sits next to me). I realised that I’d forgotten to turn my phone off when, less than five words into their conversation, it started going off. To make things worse I also realised that the night before I’d foolishly set the ring tone to a very offensive song about bestiality. For further details see Blink 182.

It was a real ground-please-swallow-me-up moment. One that was made no easier by the fact that the while of the rest of the office saw and heard the whole thing and spent the rest of the morning laughing at my expense.

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A load of bollocks

The fact that the office of the building firm I work for is completely open plan is annoying when I want to take a snooze, but does present some unique opportunities for amusement.

A few weeks ago for instance, we all witnessed a young man hurrying past our desks, looking harassed, and nervous and most definitely late for the interview he was due to attend in my boss’s cubicle.

My boss sat him down, quickly flicked through his CV, which he hadn’t bothered to read before and started off: “So then Harold…”

At this point I was a bit confused, because when I’d read through the CVs and help my boss decide on the candidates, I thought this guy was called John…

“How did you get here?” asked the boss, not the most welcoming of openings, considering the candidate’s clear anxiety about his lateness (and a bit harsh considering he was only actually five minutes past the due time).

“I got a lift.”

“Can’t you drive.”


At this point the boss flicked through the CV again, clearly seemed to spot something which contradicted this answer, frowned and said: “Well then, you’re wasting my time.”

The young man looked mortified at being humiliated in front of so many people like this, not to mention the man he had hoped would soon employ him.

Unsure of the correct etiquette and whether to stay or go (I later learned that this was his first ever interview), he just sat in stunned silence as my boss proceeded to phone the recruitment consultancy who had sent him their way – and inform them that they were all a bunch of “bollocking morons” for sending him such “a lying little bollock” with such a lot of bollocks on his CV that they really should have checked before sending him on to him. Not to mention the fact that he was clearly a “dweeb:” who would be entirely unsuited to manning diggers and building site work – even if he could drive.

It was at this point that I finally twigged. My boss had the CVs mixed up and thought he was supposed to be interviewing a site manager rather than a graduate office intern.

When I went and whispered the sorry truth to him he was so embarrassed that he offered to hire the by now utterly bemused graduate on the spot.

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Bad council

In October 2006 David Clutterbuck, a 72 year-old Conservative councillor, found himself the laughing stock of the nation thanks to a joke he forwarded on to fellow council members at Bournemouth Borough Council.

Ironically enough, the joke itself was determinedly unfunny: a description of the trouble Noah would have floating his ark nowadays thanks to the need to consult planning rules, building regulations, environmental impact studies, fire and safety regulations and the RSPCA over animal welfare.

It was Mr Clutterbuck’s additional observation that raised eyebrows. “I imagine now it would be illegal to only have animals of the opposite sex!” he wrote and pressed, “reply all.”

Naturally, the more sensitive councillors in a town with a large and thriving homosexual population quickly spotted the potential offence his comments might cause – and shopped him to the papers.

“I don’t know whether I’m daft but I still don’t know what I have done to upset them so much,” responded Mr Clutterbuck in response to the subsequent furore. “I have never even remotely done anything against anyone who was homosexual.”

He added: “It’s absolute nonsense. I’m not apologising. I have not done anything wrong.”

When asked if he was homophobic, he replied firmly in the negative. “I’m not homophobic at all and I never have been.”

This admirable assertion was slightly muddied, however, by his subsequent remarks.

“I was brought up as a Christian and have Christian beliefs and I do think that certain things are wrong but these are my thoughts and I keep them to myself.

“Like a lot of people my age, until I was 18 it was an illegal offence and there are certain things that are inherent in us.

“As long as they do it behind closed doors I don’t mind, but they [homosexuals] control the media, the television. They have much stronger control than they should have.”

Mr Clutterbuck, who has been a councillor for 19 years, said he has had more than 100 emails supporting him. One of these emails stated: “Well done Mr Clutterbuck. It’s good to know there’s at least one Conservative left in the new Conservative party. Please don’t let them pressure you into apologising. Your country and sanity need you to stand your ground.”

It is unknown whether the writer was employing irony or not.

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