NHS care.data leaflet shovage: Like a 'notice for Earth's demolition' posted to Alpha Centauri
Plus: It's good to know that PARODY Is still legal
Quotw This was the week when Google advised its tech spec-wearing minions not to be "Glassholes".
That's right, the Chocolate Factory has simultaneously caved in to the zinginess of the moniker for those sporting Google Glass and made the term that much less cool... Of course, the Choc Factory's marketing folk were a being a little bit naughty by pretending that only certain Glassholes are really Glassholes - the ones who are obnoxious in their use of the tech specs. Of course, everyone knows a Glasshole is someone who uses tech specs at all, but let's let them give it a try, shall we?
Google has stuck a new list of dos and don'ts for its ocular contraption on its website, including this caution:
DON'T Be creepy or rude (aka, a “Glasshole”). Respect others and if they have questions about Glass don’t get snappy. Be polite and explain what Glass does and remember, a quick demo can go a long way. In places where cell phone cameras aren’t allowed, the same rules will apply to Glass. If you’re asked to turn your phone off, turn Glass off as well. Breaking the rules or being rude will not get businesses excited about Glass and will ruin it for other Explorers.
In other Choc Factory news, Google and Apple have decided to stop the madness of Flappy Bird clone games as devs who just wanted to pay their respects to the brief life of the mindless game with their own copycat apps were rejected by app stores. Both the App Store and Play Store stopped allowing flappy homages, with Ken Carpenter of Mind Juice Media just missing out on a slot. He tweeted:
This is just not my fucking week: Rejected. "We found your app name attempts to leverage a popular app." Which app? FB doesn't exist!?!?!
BlackBerry and T-Mobile US got into a little argy-bargy this week after the mobile operator offered to switch its BlackBerry customers over to iPhones. BB loyalists were mortally offended when they received emails offering them financing on new the iPhone 5S mobe, described as a "great offer for BlackBerry customers". One unhappy customer tweeted to T-Mobile chief John Legere:
Dangerous ad @johnlegere - I'd abandon tmobile long before @blackberry #tmobilewho
Eventually, Legere jumped on Twitter himself to try to run some interference on the backlash:
BlackBerry users, I'm hearing you loud and clear. Let me work with the team and get back with you.— John Legere (@JohnLegere) February 16, 2014
Checked with team. We may still send emails w/ device choices, but you don’t have to give up your BB. We continue to support @00negative— John Legere (@JohnLegere) February 17, 2014
But that wasn't enough for BlackBerry chief John Chen, who found Twitter wasn't enough to contain a rage that had to be channelled into a blog post on the issue. He said:
I want to thank our loyal customers for your commitment to BlackBerry. By expressing your outrage directly to T-Mobile through tweets, calls and comments in the media and on blog posts, you sent a powerful message that T-Mobile could not ignore. Your partnership with our brand is appreciated by all of us at BlackBerry, and draws a sharp contrast with the behavior of our longtime business partner.
I can assure you that we are outraged too. What puzzles me more is that T-Mobile did not speak with us before or after they launched this clearly inappropriate and ill-conceived marketing promotion.
Legere seemed pretty unfazed by this bucket of ire, however:
Was going to engage John Chen on Twitter, but turns out he’s not here. I'll check MySpace. Don’t worry @BlackBerry Something in the works!— John Legere (@JohnLegere) February 19, 2014
In Blighty this week, concern is mounting over the lack of public awareness about the health care authority's plan to slurp all doctor-stored medical records. NHS England's care.data project is coming up soon, but health bodies have warned that patients don't know their medical records could soon be shared among public health services.
Pamphlets were sent out to 26.5 million households in January, but the NHS did nothing to help distinguish the important information from the usual detritus of takeout menus and junk flyers folks get through their letterboxes.
The British Medical Association said:
With just weeks to go until the uploading of patient data is scheduled to begin, patients remain inadequately informed about these proposals.
Today we call on the government to ensure public trust in the system by properly informing the public about care.data before the currently planned data extracts commence, and produce evidence this has been achieved prior to uploads taking place.
And Reg readers are also worried about the scheme. Roger said:
We’ve definitely not received the leaflet. We do check all the mail receive, we get very little junk mail, and it certainly wasn’t mixed with anything else.
I did ask at our surgery a couple of weeks ago and they seemed unsure what I was talking about. But that’s nothing new.
While Dennis said:
Had I not seen your initial article nothing would have registered when the leaflet floated through the letter box with the junk mail.
And John complained:
This leaflet, badly written though it apparently is, is important enough that the mailshot should have been ADDRESSED to each person on the NHS's records, and POSTED, rather than having been sent through the junk mail. As it is, it's the equivalent of the planning notice for the demolition of Earth in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy*.
British vacuum-maker Dyson was on the receiving end of a Samsung sueball this week, with the Korean firm claiming for compensation after Dyson dropped its patent suit against it.
The, ahem, hoover firm had accused Sammy's MotionSync technology of patent infringement and filed against the firm in the UK High Court, but it voluntarily dropped the suit a few weeks later. But Samsung said the damage was done and filed its own suit in Seoul:
We are initially seeking ten billion won compensation from the UK-based manufacturer, however, the amount will increase depending on how the court proceedings go.
Samsung’s marketing activities were negatively affected by Dyson’s groundless litigation, which is intolerable.
Dyson snapped back:
We patent our technology, and naturally defend it. It is surprising that a company over 100 times bigger than Dyson is so worried. The patent system offers us some protection but not enough: with an army of lawyers, hidden prior art is occasionally found and ways to design around existing patents identified.
And finally, the NSA and Department of Homeland Security have given up on trying to shut down an internet site selling parodies of its logos on T-shirts and coffee cups and the like. Online retailer Zazzle has a line of merchandise featuring the NSA logo with some new mottos, including "We're peeping when you're sleeping", "Spying on you since 1952" and "The NSA, the only branch of government that actually listens".
Unfortunately, a po-faced Uncle Sam wasn't too keen on the satirical apparel and claimed that it was illegal under the 1959 National Security Agency Act, which prohibits the misuse of the agency's logo. The online shop immediately stopped sales, but the artist behind the merch, Dan McCall, took advantage of the press by selling plenty of it and getting donations to fight the man via Paypal.
Advocacy group Public Citizen joined in last year, suing the NSA and the DHS for their takedown notices, which they claimed broke First Amendment safeguards and abused government power. The agencies have decided to settle the case with no admission of wrongdoing, but $500 and a permission slip for McCall, who said:
I'm glad the case helped reaffirm the right to lampoon our government. I always thought parody was a healthy tradition in American society. It's good to know that it's still legal. ®
We draw the reader's attention to the relevant passage from HHGTTG, wherein we witness an exchange between Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz and the people of Earth while he prepares to destroy the planet:
"People of Earth, your attention, please… This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council. As you will no doubt be aware, the plans for development of the outlying regions of the Galaxy require the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system, and regrettably, your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition. The process will take slightly less than two of your Earth minutes. Thank you…
"There's no point in acting surprised about it. All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for fifty of your Earth years, so you've had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it's far too late to start making a fuss about it now…
"What do you mean you've never been to Alpha Centauri? Oh, for heaven's sake, mankind, it's only four light years away, you know. I'm sorry, but if you can't be bothered to take an interest in local affairs, that's your own lookout. Energize the demolition beams.”