Facebook gets more evil, HP gets more desperate

An action-packed weekend brought news of Facebook capturing somehow even more of your data, HP acting like a car dealer, and an actual life-saving smartphone

It's been a wonderful weekend just brimming with techno-advances; so many that I can't write about just one.

As it turned out that Mark Zuckerberg was up past his bedtime over the weekend, too, coming up with new plans to suck more personal information from our souls.

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His first brainstorm was discovered by readers who clicked on a link to an article on Michelle Obama only to be suddenly served "related articles" with headlines like "Sex in the Oval Office" and "Barack has lost all control of Michelle." Facebook PR ignored the content, instead proudly stating that the site now uses "algorithms" to match your reading choices to other reading material. Of course, said material relates about as much as Marissa Mayer relates to Lindsay Lohan.

But Zuck's best moment came with Anonymous Login. In one stroke he manages to grab all his users' personal information for himself and fly a hugely arrogant finger at his own app customers.

With Anonymous Login, you provide personal information like dreams and fears to Facebook, and he lets you log in and interact with apps that ask the same questions as though you'd answered those sad clowns when you really haven't. So their diabolical business plans take a faceplant while his diabolical business plan becomes even more diabolical and lucrative. Apparently he's in the market for a fuzzy white cat he can bedeck in diamonds and stroke malevolently. Of course, when those apps start losing money, their execs will have to go live under a bridge with the CEO of MySpace and won't be able to afford Facebook marketing fees anymore. I'm sure Zuck's thought of that and come up with a brilliant diabolical solution, though.

HP made my radar, too, with its new approach to renting data centers. In an almost-brilliant move, the company has evolved the concept of co-los into so-los. In this model, you commission HP to build you a data center that's all yours to configure any way to like, but HP maintains control and actual ownership while you lease the thing with the option to buy. Just like when you lease a Lexus, this model means you have lower up-front building/buying costs, instead letting HP eat those and also assume the risk of either your business failing or your frat-boy VC deciding that a data center just isn't right for you because the cost is cutting into money he needs for his private zoo. Call HP now, and you can lease your luxury performance data center at the low, low price of $399 a month (for qualified buyers). 

But the crowning event of the weekend had to be the Brazilian policeman whose life was saved when a bullet from a bad vilão struck his Nokia Lumia 520. Nokia issued a statement saying it would market a new line of Windows Phone titanium Lumias coated with Kevlar in the officer's honor. Apple PR immediately issued a counterstatement pointing out that had the officer been using an iPhone 5S LEE (Law Enforcement Edition), not only would the bullet have been deflected, but bundled health monitoring apps would have checked his pulse for an imminent heart attack. Google issued a counter-counterstatement claiming that its Android Donut OS (beta edition) will someday manage to simultaneously do a ballistics check, call for backup, and return fire with an open source .22 caliber derringer attachment that's guaranteed to probably hit.

Unfortunately, AT&T forced the policeman to purchase a new Lumia at full price because his two-year contract wasn't up and he'd neglected to invest in phone insurance. Later that day, TMZ snapped a picture of Steve Ballmer sitting on his new 200 ft. yacht, the USS Kickin' Back, with a big sign that read "I don't care anymore, suckers!"

I can't wait for next weekend.

This article, "Facebook gets more evil, HP gets more desperate," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, follow Cringely on Twitter, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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