Honey, whatever happened to that junk grandfather left me? Speaking of offensive language, online-auction powerhouse eBay was forced last week to update its policy concerning how "racially or ethnically offensive [language] may be used on the site." It seems that some sellers were going a little overboard in describing their, uh, historically significant items. "When selling potentially offensive yet true historical pieces, sellers must ensure that the language in their listings shows appropriate sensitivity to those in the Community that might view it," the company said in a statement. "Use of terms that are racially or ethnically offensive to describe items have no place in the eBay marketplace and eBay will not tolerate such material." EBay had a special footnote concerning America's cultural heritage. "Sellers may use such words and phrases in the title and description of their listings within media categories such as Books, Movies and Music, provided that the offensive words are actually part of the title of the listed item."
I know Steve Jobs is charismatic, but... If you're in New York City next week, don't forget to drop by a book publishing party for The Cult Of Mac (No Starch Press, November 2004), a coffee-table tome by Wired writer Leander Kahney, who writes a blog by the same name. The party's at a club called APT (419 W. 13th St.). The book (subtitled: "The Handbook Of The Insanely Insane," or "Arrows In Bill Gates' Heart"--just kidding!) is a chronicle of the Apple underground that, according to a description on Amazon.com, will let readers "explore the little-publicized underbelly of Mac culture, including erotic fiction featuring Steve Jobs and the influence of mind-altering drugs on the Mac's famous interface."
File under: dubious distinctions. Bill Gates gets more spam than anyone, according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. As quoted by The Associated Press, Ballmer told a conference in Singapore last week that Gates gets 4 million E-mails a day, most of them spam. Thanks to Microsoft technology, Ballmer said, only about 10 get through.
Oh, yeah! Well, ALL of my E-mails are spam--except for your industry tips, of course, so send them to [email protected] or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about Enron, eBay, or insane Mac users, meet me at InformationWeek.com's Listening Post.