Smear Factor
My new PC Mag print column went live last week. It’s about Microsoft’s never-ending fun attempts to smear Linux. It’s also one in a series of columns with pun headlines based on other titles. This one based on the Fear Factor TV show. Another column called the Importance of Being Linux is based on the title, The Importance of Being Earnest — an old Oscar Wilde play. At PC/Computing (and MacUser) we used to have an editor, Jon Zilber, who was masterful at creating compelling pun headlines. This is not that easy and he got to the point where he should have won a Pulitzer for it. Jon was eventually rousted and went into PR. I need to track him down.

Puns are considered by many professional comics (and the public too) as a low form of humor. But when done by a master they can be phenomenal, poetic. This is probably why the characters in Mensa (the social club for people with high IQ’s who want to actually hang out with people with high IQ’s to talk about their high IQ’s) think puns are the highest form of humor. Apparently the Japanese language is amenable to puns and considered an art there too. Fact is most puns are annoying, inane. The website Pun of the Day, proves this.

The thing about Zilber that was interesting was the fact that he stunk at these pun/headlines for years but insisted on doing them. It was one day when some curtain opened for him and each one was gold. Hopefully I can find some of the ones he did for me when I did through my archives of old PC/Computing and MacUser columns to post on this weblog.

  1. Hi John,

    You asked, could Microsoft be behind a smear campaign aimed at Linux in your Smear Factor story.

    Google expanded its Web sites by networking thousands of Linux PC’s in a configuration it says is far less expensive than other options. For a single desktop, Windows seems is hard to match. We’re all running or using Linux when we are using Google, even when we are running Windows. In a way Google makes Linux and Windows compatible on the desktop. Google, like Windows is easy to use. If Google can make Linux easy to use, Windows will not be needed. If Linux is misunderstood, Windows is still a greater mystery. It isn’t a solution if it doesn’t solve the problem. My question is this. What is the problem with Linux?

  2. Imafish says:

    I just wanted to comment to Dermitt’s comment. I just love the irony of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer being the most successful interface to Linux ever. Not just Google’s Linux farms, but all of the Apache servers out there too.

  3. Cyber Lucky says:

    As a K-9 router running WinXD, I can see the point of humans smearing Microsoft. I got lost after chasing a deer a couple of winters ago and ended up lost in a suburban business park. Because of Smart Dog technology, this will never happen again. I just downloaded MS Pigeon for GPS and let me tell you, it is like having a compass for a brain. I just started a new routine using .NET and mapping my territory which is much better than the way I did it before.


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