Wise Guys on WHO Radio - April 24, 2010

Brian Gongol

I managed to spill a little bit of pop on some of my electronics while making my way into the studio today, which offers the perfect excuse for a "teachable moment" -- if you ever spill on your own electronics (like phones, laptops, GPS devices, iPods, and so on), your first goal should be to avoid short-circuiting by quickly getting the electronics out of the liquid and cutting off the power. It's not necessarily a catastrophe for your electronics to get wet -- but it can be if they're wet and powered at the same time. That's can cause things to short-circuit.

By the way, we're not talking about the 1986 film with Ally Sheedy and Steve Guttenberg.

Dan doubted my claim that we speak a unique form of accent-free English here in Iowa. Wikipedia backs me on this.

You need to be sure you have a dead-man switch for your computer passwords: Make a checklist of your important computer passwords, seal it in an envelope, and put it in a safe-deposit box at a bank. You don't want the unthinkable to happen -- a debilitating car accident, for instance -- and to leave your family without the necessary access to your online profiles, which they might very well need even if you're unable to help. If you get hurt or killed in an accident, your family needs to be able to get to tools like your online banking accounts and your e-mail. But you don't want to save those passwords in a place where a thief could find them inside your house -- hence, you need a safe-deposit box.

Gizmodo got a "sneak peek" at the new iPhone, supposedly because an Apple employee left his prototype behind at a bar. Dan thinks it was a legitimate accident. I think it's a publicity stunt. Apple's feeling pressure from the new Android-based phones, as well as other smartphones that do a lot of what the iPhone used to do exclusively. An "accidental" leak of their prototype is a good way to get publicity for some developing features while maintaining plausible deniability about anything the public or reviewers don't like. There are just too many holes in the story, which requires that someone was so drunk he left behind his phone (even though he knew it required extra caution and could cost him his job), that someone else recognized that the phone was special -- and deliberately chose not to hand over that phone to the bartender, who undoubtedly could have obtained the owner's name from a credit-card receipt -- and that Gizmodo would be willing to take the risk of participating in an exchange of what appears to be stolen property, since anyone who finds a lost item is obligated to make some kind of good-faith effort to find the owner before taking it for his or her own purposes. If I got drunk and left my car at the bar wtih the keys in the ignition, someone else would not be justified in taking that car and selling it to Car & Driver magazine before they returned it to me. That would be theft. So would be what Gizmodo has done with this prototype iPhone. Hence, I call "foul" and say it's a publicity stunt coordinated (or at least winked-and-nodded-at) by Apple itself.

McAfee made a pretty big mistake with an update to its antivirus software this week. They're promising to help users hit hard by the error -- which left Windows XP users with useless computers.

Verizon is promising to release the HTC Incredible soon -- it's another Android-based phone. A caller asked whether he should get the new phone or get a slightly older Android model. In my experience, users should wait about 3 months after any new phone is introduced before buying -- it simply takes that long for the operating system (OS) and the applications to mature enough to work right.

Microsoft lost $713 million on the Bing search engine last quarter. That's a pretty massive hit to take on the bottom line.

Thanks for listening this week. Don't forget: You can hit me up under the username @briangongol on Twitter, where I share the occasional observation throughout the week. It's a good way to funnel us your comments about the show, too!