Conceived above a saloon, delivered into this world by a masked man identified by his heavily sedated mother as Captain Video, raised by a kindly West Virginian woman, a mild-mannered former reporter with modest delusions of grandeur and no tolerance of idiots and the intellectually dishonest.


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Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Credibility Down The Crapper II

Story location: https://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,58836,00.html

05:00 PM May. 13, 2003 PT

SEATTLE -- What's true with the iLoo? Microsoft and its public relations firm changed their story -- again -- Tuesday about whether the U.K. division had been developing an Internet-enabled portable toilet.

On Monday, three representatives for the software giant told news agencies, including The Associated Press, that an April 30 news release trumpeting the "iLoo" was a hoax and apologized for "any confusion or offense."

But on Tuesday, the company reversed itself, saying the iLoo was real but now has been killed.

"We jumped the gun basically yesterday in confirming that it was a hoax, and in fact it was not," said Lisa Gurry, MSN group product manager. "Definitely, we're going to be taking a good look at our communication processes internally."

It's a public relations embarrassment for a company famous for micromanaging news releases, interviews and promotional events.

"It's definitely not how we like to do PR at Microsoft," Gurry said.

The iLoo was described as a portable toilet equipped with a wireless keyboard and a height-adjustable plasma screen with high-speed Internet access. Microsoft's MSN division was "in the process of converting a portable loo to create a unique experience" in time for the summer festival season, according to the release.

Several news organizations, including the AP, carried reports of the project. An AP reporter specifically asked whether it was a hoax and was assured last week by Microsoft, its Portland, Oregon-based PR firm Waggener Edstrom and another PR firm in London, Red Consultancy, that the project was real.

On Monday, technology website CNET, based on a tip, wrote that the iLoo was a hoax and quoted Microsoft spokesman Nouri Bernard Hasan as saying, "I can confirm it was an April Fool's joke."

The AP and The Wall Street Journal also were told Monday by two company spokeswomen that the iLoo was a fraud.

On Tuesday, though, Microsoft said it had relied on bad information from a Microsoft employee in the United Kingdom who said it was a hoax, Gurry said. After more talks with people in London, the company determined it was a real project, after all.

The U.K. division likes to run clever and innovative marketing campaigns, Gurry said, and had thought an iLoo would appeal to the British. MSN typically allows its units to tailor their own campaigns to their regions, she said.

But MSN's executive team, which had heard of the iLoo through news reports, took the unusual step of killing the project on Monday, she said, believing that the portable toilet "wasn't the best extension of our brand."

It's still unclear how much work was ever done on the iLoo. Gurry said she did not know how much time or money was spent on it.

The company had said it was building a prototype and was in the process of converting a portable toilet. But MSN marketing manager Tracy Blacher said Tuesday in London that the company had not done that. Rather, Blacher, who described the project in the original news release that quoted her repeatedly, said MSN had some discussions with portable toilet manufacturers, which she said she could not name because she was not at her desk.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Credibility Down The Crapper

May 13, 2003 7:58 am US/Eastern
REDMOND, Wash. (AP) Microsoft Corp. said a company news release that it was developing a portable toilet with Internet access, called an "iLoo," was a hoax perpetrated by its British division.

The April 30 release, issued by the company's MSN Internet division in the United Kingdom, said Microsoft was developing a portable toilet with a wireless keyboard and an extending height-adjustable plasma screen in front of the seat. The iLoo was described as set to make its debut at festivals this summer in Britain.

"This iLoo release came out of the UK office and was not a Microsoft sanctioned communication and we apologize for any confusion or offense it may have caused," Microsoft spokeswoman Bridgitt Arnold said late Monday.

The fake release generated coverage by The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press and Reuters.

The Associated Press previously received confirmation of the project from both Microsoft Corp.'s Waggener Edstrom public relations firm and London-based Red Consultancy, which handles such work for the software giant in England.

In an e-mail sent last week to The Associated Press, Red Consultancy's Ben Philipson wrote "MSN is really working on building a prototype for the Summer festivals, perhaps Glastonbury ... This is very much a 'toe in the water' experiment to gauge interest so we'll have to see how it goes, although judging from response so far it's really captured people's imagination!"

Malina Bragg, who helps with MSN's account for Waggener Edstrom, also said last week that the project was real.

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Missing In Action

I haven't posted anything recently because I'm back in Pittsburgh helping out with the new grandbaby.

As those of you who have had to deal with newborns can appreciate, the brain is mostly mush at the end of the day. And spending the day with my daughter and granddaughter also tends to drain all the negativism and cynicism, which doesn't give me much in the way of curmudgeonly ammunition.

So, thanks to my old friend Paul Stockhausen (the only insurance salesman I ever liked) for forwarding the following. I'll attribute the author if someone can tell me who it is:

---

Men always hear "the rules" from the women's side. Here's the male perspective:

A toilet seat has two positions. Just two. Learn them.

Sometimes we are not thinking about you. Live with it.

Ask for what you want. Let's be clear: Subtle hints do not work. Strong hints don't work. Obvious hints don't work. Just say it.

We don't remember dates. Mark birthdays and anniversaries on a calendar. Remind us frequently.

"Yes" and "no" are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

You're attached to your old wedding flowers? We're attached to our old underwear. Throw them out, and the next time you pull out the album, you're going to be in for a surprise.

A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem. See a doctor.

Check your oil. Please.

Anything we said six months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after seven days.

If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us. We refuse to answer.

Let us ogle. We are going to look anyway; it's genetic.

You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself. Unless it involves heavy lifting. We're good at that.

Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.

Christopher Columbus and Marco Polo did not need directions and neither do we.

The relationship is never going to be like the first two months we were going out. Get over it. And stop whining to your girlfriends.

All men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. And we have no idea what mauve is.

If it itches, it will be scratched.

If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," we will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying but it is just not worth the hassle.

When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine. Really.

You have enough clothes.

You have too many shoes.

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Copyright © 1987-2017 by Kevin G. Barkes
All rights reserved.
Violators will be prosecuted.
So there.  
The kgb@kgb.com e-mail address is now something other than kgb@kgb.com saga.
kgbreport.com used to be kgb.com until December, 2007 when the domain name broker Trout Zimmer made an offer I couldn't refuse. Giving up kgb.com and adopting kgbreport.com created a significant problem, however. I had acquired the kgb.com domain name in 1993, and had since that time used kgb@kgb.com as my sole e-mail address. How to let people know that kgb@kgb.com was no longer kgb@kgb.com but rather kgbarkes@gmail.com which is longer than kgb@kgb.com and more letters to type than kgb@kgb.com and somehow less aesthetically pleasing than kgb@kgb.com but actually just as functional as kgb@kgb.com? I sent e-mails from the kgb@kgb.com address to just about everybody I knew who had used kgb@kgb.com in the past decade and a half but noticed that some people just didn't seem to get the word about the kgb@kgb.com change. So it occurred to me that if I were generate some literate, valid text in which kgb@kgb.com was repeated numerous times and posted it on a bunch of different pages- say, a blog indexed by Google- that someone looking for kgb@kgb.com would notice this paragraph repeated in hundreds of locations, would read it, and figure out that kgb@kgb.com no longer is the kgb@kgb.com they thought it was. That's the theory, anyway. kgb@kgb.com. Ok, I'm done. Move along. Nothing to see here...

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Crystal Methodist


Laugh while you can, monkey-boy


I am a professional. Do not try this at home.


I canna change the laws of physics


As a matter of fact, I *am* the boss of you.
(as a matter of fact, i AM the boss of you.)


Truly great madness cannot be achieved without signficant intelligence


I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.


Left wing liberal nut job


Flies spread disease. Keep yours zipped.


Eff the ineffable, scrute the inscrutable.


If my answers frighten you then you should cease asking scary questions.


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Nutrition makes me puke


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