Quick Hits – May 28, 2004

E-petition to save Cherry’s contract

In response to reports that the CBC will not renew Don Cherry’s contract with the CBC network, concerned fans have put together a Web site, SaveDonCherry.ca, which includes an electronic petition for other hockey fanatics to sign in support of keeping Coach’s Corner. “Essentially, the CBC plans to cancel Coach’s Corner despite the fact that the program is the highest-rated CBC program, despite the fact that Don Cherry is the most popular CBC personality and has become a Canadian icon,” according to the Web site. Creators of the site said they hope the e-petition will “send CBC a message: that Canadians want Coach’s Corner on their televisions and that Canadians want Don Cherry on during Hockey games! Let’s tell CBC to stop its political posturing and keep Don Cherry on our TVs.”

Gaming boosts self-esteem

Researchers from McGill University’s Department of Psychology have created and tested three computer games that they claim can help people enhance their personal confidence. In EyeSpy: The Matrix, players are asked to search for a single smiling face in a matrix of 15 frowning faces, with the hypothesis that repeating the exercise can train players to focus their attention on positive rather than negative feedback. In Wham! players register their name and birthday, and once the game is in action, the player’s personal information is paired with smiling, accepting faces. The resulting experience is similar to being smiled at by everyone, the researchers said. For Grow Your Chi, the researchers combined the tasks of Wham! and EyeSpy: The Matrix. Players try to nurture their inner source of well-being by responding to positive versus negative social information. The team’s first research results on Wham! will be published in the peer-reviewed journal Psychological Science in July. Publication of research on EyeSpy: The Matrix is forthcoming in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

Spam king launches clothing line

Spam king Scott Richter is going from being the virtual monkey on your back to literally on your back. The man recognized worldwide as the embodiment of junk mail — the world’s third-largest spammer according to the Register of Known Spam Operations — recently launched his SpamKing clothing line, which will be marketed under the SK brand. The clothing will be sold online and will be aimed at the hip-hop, grunge and skateboarder crowd, according to Richter, president of Westminster, Col.-based OptInBig.com. The hats, shirts and panties will sport sayings like “Just opt out” and “Click it.” What about the catchy “Die Scott Richter, Die”?

Thanks for nothing

A Scottish teen spent the past six months helping Microsoft fix a hole in Windows and in return got squat. Nineteen-year-old IT pro Matt Thompson played software Good Samaritan when he found an error in Redmond’s Jet Database Engine while working for a client of his employer, Aberdeen IT. Thompson swapped code with the behemoth for months, helping it remedy a bug in which a hacker could get complete control over an affected system. For his trouble and diligence, all Thompson got was a lame one-sentence thank you on Microsoft’s Web site — not even a lousy Xbox. “Mr. Thompson said that he initially had difficulty convincing Microsoft it had a problem,” the BBC said. Welcome to the club, kid.

Suicide bombers beware

The On Track Innovations public relations team recently held a brainstorming session where they came up with a brilliant news peg for a press release regarding the Cupertino, Calif.-based firm’s smart card solutions. One flack was reported to have said, “I know, let’s include a catchy headline that mentions suicide bombers. Nothing works better than inundating the public with fear to increase sales.” Unconfirmed sources say the flack’s colleagues enthusiastically agreed, and a new media advisory was born. Sent in e-mail format to a ComputerWorld Canada writer, the subject line read, “STOP SUICIDE BOMBERS DEAD IN THEIR TRACKS,” and the first paragraph elaborated on the theme: “Suicide bombers STILL get through from Gaza to Israel. With OTI ‘Smart ID’ in place they won’t.” The company said would be conducting live demos of its latest security technology at the CardTech/SecurTech show recently held in Washington, D.C. Logging Off was left wondering whether that meant OTI would use real suicide bombers in its demos.

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