The Null Device
The Apple Macintosh now has 12% of the US notebook market. I wonder what proportion of those run OSX and what proportion's owners tried it, didn't like it and installed Windows XP.
As part of a section on the significant chunk of the population of Poland moving to Britain, today's Grauniad has a slightly facetious guide to British culture (in English and Polish).
1 Why do you ask people "how are you?" if you don't care about the answer?
Britain is a nation built upon appearances. We pretend to be richer, happier and probably nicer than we actually are, and glean some small grain of superiority in doing so. Asking "how are you?" is the quotidian incarnation of this trait. We don't actually care how you are, we are merely giving some semblance of caring, so that at all times we can retain the moral high ground. For further examples of this, perhaps study Keeping Up Appearances, the early 90s BBC sitcom starring Patricia Routledge, or the letters page of the Times. It is also worth pointing out that to be asked "how are you?" in a disgruntled British fashion is perhaps not so affronting as to be bid "have a nice day!" by some sunny-side up American.
4 Why do women here wear open-toed sandals in deepest winter?The guide goes on to cover such perplexing phenomena as the prices of rail tickets, the full English breakfast, and the peculiar habit of eating chips with vinegar (something I never understood either).
In Britain, women are highly prized for their hardiness. We have a popular saying: "Is she rugged as a goat? Then she is for me!" Hence a woman spotted out on a February evening in the most northerly quarters of the isle wearing nothing but a short, skimpy frock is valued far above any woman in a sensible coat. A less extreme interpretation is for a woman to sport open-toed sandals, regardless of the inclement weather; to us, it is as erotic as a burst of cleavage, or a glimpse of a lady's ankle.
Hundreds are dead or missing as floods hit North Korea. I wonder if the death toll was exacerbated by North Koreans feeling compelled to save their portraits of the Dear Leader or die trying.
And another (vaporware) Wi-Fi Skype/VoIP phone has been announced: the Edge-Core WM4201, like the BCM and Netgear Skype phones announced before it, is said to ship in July 2006. As with the BCM phone, there is no sign of anyone preparing to sell these to consumers.