I've already written about how the International Olympic Committee tries to cleanse all unauthorized references to its logos, the word "Olympics," and attendant innocent words like "Games" and "Winter" and "2010." And I wrote about the endless Olympic Internet spoilers, thanks to NBC's incredibly asinine scheduling. But the longer they're on, the more chances the IOC gets to act like jack-booted thugs and the more chances NBC gets to blow coverage both online and on TV, until I think we've all come to the same, inescapable conclusion: the … Read more
You don't even have to ask: Of course she has a pink laptop.
Earlier on Friday, toymaker Mattel announced the results of an online contest to name the profession that the latest edition of Barbie dolls would have, and ultimately two were named: alongside "News Anchor" was the popular-vote winner, "Computer Engineer Barbie." Yes, she has a Bluetooth headset, a pink laptop, a smartphone, and hot-pink glasses. Oh, and she wears sparkly black leggings and a neon green shirt patterned with binary code, the sort of outfit that was probably only acceptable among Burning Man attendees in the late 1990s who liked to talk about "cyberspace." Actually, judging by that outfit, a Pets.com sock puppet would make a great accessory for the new doll.
According to a release from Mattel, the unveiling of Computer Engineer Barbie--she'll hit stores this fall--coincides with "a year-long, global brand initiative to inspire girls of all ages." The social-media-centric "I Can Be" poll that pitted Computer Engineer and News Anchor alongside Surgeon, Architect, and Environmentalist (over half a million votes were cast) is a big part of some image repair for the iconic doll, which has often been decked by feminists for promoting unhealthy body image, materialism, conformity, and the pigeonholing of women into traditional roles.
Some of the other options in the "I Can Be" series that were already in stores at the time of the contest are "Ballerina," "Bride," and "Babysitter." Enough said. But, to be fair, the two newest entries are the 125th and 126th careers for Barbie throughout her five-decade history, so there have been some more interesting ones in the mix over the years: numerous U.S. military officers, astronauts, chefs, diplomats, and um, wedding stylists.
The fact that there is a "Computer Engineer Barbie" is notable not only because it's a legitimate new "professional" entry into the series, but especially because computer science is a field in which women continue to be dramatically underrepresented--way more so than among, say, news anchors or architects.
There are, obviously, two sides to this.… Read more
Wow, it's been a busy month for major news events! I hope you didn't miss all CNET's great coverage of the 2010 trade show for electronic consumer goods and devices, held back in January.
And on Sunday, our publisher, CBS, will air a fabulous contest between two teams engaged in a (hopefully) thrilling game of gridiron football. And the opening festivities of the quadrennial snow season international athletic competition will have you glued to your seat on February 12!
Don't know what I'm talking about? That's the point. Welcome, friends, to the way the … Read more
When the biggest pop-culture sensation on television details the adventures of a bunch of loudmouthed, lowbrow twentysomethings, of course the buzz on Twitter is going to be a big deal.
So for the Thursday season finale of MTV's "Jersey Shore," the network has launched a "Twitter Tracker" to see which of the reality show's excessively tanned, middle-finger-flipping cast members are getting talked about the most.
Created in sync with social-media firm Radian 6, the tweet aggregator brings up extremely scientific graphs pulling in data for Twitter searches for the show's characters so that … Read more
After tangling with Google Books over copyright issues, France is hoping to create its own version of the book-scanning service.
Frederic Mitterrand, France's culture minister, announced Tuesday that his country is planning a new French-based online portal to offer its citizens scanned versions of Gallic books and other documents.
The service would initially tap into an existing database called Gallica, which is run by the country's national library and currently is home to under a million documents. But Mitterrand aims to build the online collection by striking deals with French publishers in order to incorporate their books and … Read more
This year for Christmas, I finally decided to give my family something that they've been asking me about for more or less the past five years: I told them that I would clean my room.
No, really. I moved out of my childhood home years ago, but more or less shut the door to my room and didn't change a thing. It's sort of a late '90s-early '00s teenage time capsule. There was stuff in there that had not been touched since the Clinton administration. There were magazines with Justin Timberlake on the cover from an era when nobody expected he'd be cast as a Silicon Valley hotshot in a movie directed by the "Fight Club" guy. There were varsity letters and prom photos and model rockets and Warped Tour '01 memorabilia and pretty much whatever else you'd expect to find in the living space of a kid who came of age in the era of "Can't Hardly Wait" and "Dawson's Creek."
That inventory included one almost perfectly preserved AOL 7.0 installer disc, a CD-ROM that boasts "Faster Than Ever!" and offers 1,025 free hours of access or 45 days, whichever comes first, with no credit card required. (1,025 hours is slightly under 42 days.) On the red-and-gold packaging is the face of a Japanese anime-style character, the edges of the drawing blurred to make the marketing message absolutely clear: This is fast. This is the future.… Read more
The House has passed the first comprehensive reform package of the health insurance industry in decades, which is now up for debate in the Senate. This is a highly complex issue, but there are some quite basic reasons why it's so difficult to accomplish significant reform, and in part these have to do with psychological responses to change and uncertainty.
A few years ago I was fortunate to work with a couple of organizational consultants, and they introduced me to the concept of NICs and PUFs. These funny sounding acronyms give insight into why health care reform is … Read more
J'adore France and the French people. But I'm pretty disappointed with Musee du Louvre, a free but painfully brief virtual tour of the famous museum.
The app consists of four main sections. In Louvre: The Visit, you get a video tour of seven well-known areas of the museum, including The Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa.
However, each "tour" lasts less than 20 seconds, and the default language is French. If you tap the screen to bring up the controls and then tap the language icon, you can select English (or German or Japanese), but there'… Read more
My own fascination with airports started at an early age thanks to the location of my parents' house. I grew up with planes taking off and landing at the nearby airport, and as a student I spent one summer vacation working … Read more
In an interview with CNET News sister site Silicon.com, Canadian author Douglas Coupland reveals his attitudes toward technology and its influence on his zeitgeist-defining books.
Douglas Coupland has been a keen observer of technology's impact on society for almost two decades. Through novels such as "Microserfs," which charts the progress of Microsoft employees during the mid-1990s, and "JPod," which tells a parallel tale of computer game developers in thrall to Google a decade later, he has consistently associated the development of technology with the progress of society.
1995's "Microserfs" paints a … Read more