Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The longest ever email disclaimer ?

Nortel Wins Role in BT’s 21 Century Network
, said a press release I just had from Nortel. The release was 561 words long; the email it was attached to was 193 words long.

At the end of the release was an 1100-word disclaimer which started out "Certain statements in this press release may contain words such as “could”, “expects”, “may”, “anticipates”, “believes”, “intends”, “estimates”, ”targets”, “envisions”, “seeks” and other similar language... ". It included (unless I missed a full-stop somewhere) one incredible 870 word sentence, starting "Further, actual results or events could differ materially from those contemplated in forward-looking statements..." and ends "...or the share consolidation resulting in a lower total market capitalization or adverse effect on the liquidity of Nortel’s common shares. "

You can see the disclaimer in all its glory (in very small type) on the press release at Nortel's site.

The release came from a PR company called Pleon. I'm sure the Pleon peons are consummate professionals, sending this guff out through gritted teeth - but it's fitting that "pleon" means "more" and gives us the word pleonasm meaning "the use of more words than necessary to express an idea clearly".

As Pleon's own slogan puts it - so much more succinctly - this kind of thing is "Beyond Communications"

Friday, January 05, 2007

More IT Anthems -- RockDotRock from Symantec

How about that? Mere days after I revive IT Anthems at ZDNet, a new corporate rock legend is born.

RockDotRock is a band sponsored by Internet security company Symantec. The songs are exactly the corporate speak you'd expect - anthems to Two-Factor Authentication.

Has to be heard to be believed.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Monday, January 01, 2007

My achievements: Penguin Whist

At this time of year, one takes stock of what one has achieved in life. In my case, that's usually fairly depressing. Achievements? Well, none I can think of.

But this year. I've been reminded of a card game I invented 25 years ago. It's called Penguin Whist. My family played it a lot.

Penguin Whist is a variation of Whist - but played with the cards facing outwards.

In fact, Penguin Whist is s a variation of a kind of whist called Silly Whist. Wikipedia describes Silly Whist as a version of Oh Hell, but says the British call it Crazy Whist. In Silly Whist, we used to start with a hand of seven cards, decreasing each hand by one card. We all took turns to bid, and scored a ten point bonus if we made our bid.

Then we thought, being able to see your cards makes it too easy. Penguin Whist starts from one card each and builds up, one card at a time. But it is played with the cards facing out. You can see everyone's cards except your own.

When you have more than two cards you have to sort your neighbour's cards into suits (pick up the hand you're dealt, sort it and pass it on). After a card is led, the other players tell you which cards you can play, in order to follow suit. It's random. It's stupid. But occasionally, with a flash of brilliance, you realise what card to play.

I always lose. My daughter Hannah turns out to be nearly unbeatable.

Actually, if I'm honest, it might have been my brother who thought of it....

I may need to think of another achievement.