Pray for the blue swamp -- and other Microsoft mysteries revealed

Who's feeding the patent trolls? What's inside Google's ships? What else smells besides a Dell? Submit your conspiracy theories below

On this day 50 years ago John Fitzgerald Kennedy was shot and killed by an assassin or assassins. I don't know where you stand on the lone gunman theory, but I am not a believer in magic bullets.

That is, however, all I have to say about the matter. I felt compelled to mention it, being such a momentous day and all. Instead, I'd like to talk about what my faithful readers have had to say over the past month. They've been quite vocal on a wide range of topics, from Google's mystery barges to Microsoft's mascots, with stops along the way for patent trolls, American heroes, and cat urine.

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Swamp things

A few weeks back I got all hot and bothered by IE11's new anime mascot, Aizawa Inori ("Move over Clippy -- there's a new Microsoft spokesmodel in town"). A reader who goes by the handle Dasoku (and is apparently fluent in Japanese) noted the following:

If you look at the kanji for her name (藍澤 祈) you will find that her family name (Aizawa - 藍澤, means blue swamp and her given name (Inori - 祈) means "pray."

Given the MS color scheme and the history of IE, these names seem somewhat ironic.

I never thought of this before, but you know, Steve Ballmer does bear a striking resemblance to the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Another mystery solved.

Stacked overflow

My post on Microsoft abandoning its "stacked rankings" method of evaluating employees ("Microsoft pulls rank -- and makes its smartest move in years") garnered a handful of responses from readers who've suffered under similar schemes.

"Occasional reader" R. S. L. writes:

I work for a large international manufacturing company. Supposedly following Jack Welch's program of getting rid of the bottom 10% of your employees annually, management is required to rate their employees and only a certain percentage "can" be rated outstanding and a specific percentage "must" be rated poorly. With job openings requiring a satisfactory job rating, managers rate good employees poorly so they cannot leave the department, and rate poor employees well so they can leave the department. It's a convoluted world we have created.

That it is indeed.

Lava the one you're with

In "Meet Lavabit's founder: An American hero hiding in plain site," I lavished praise on Ladar Levison for his willingness to stand up to the NSA and fight their attempts to de-crypt his secure email service.

Cringester M. C. writes in agreement:

I believe that there are FAR too many articles of this nature (i.e., the Feds trampling on our individual freedoms and setting the stage for something very bad) and I'm of the opinion that what we've known as the greatest nation in the history of the world is in deep jeopardy right now!! The boys in charge in D.C. these days ARE NOT looking out for our collective best interests. They have other plans for us, which if they're successful in executing, we will not like very much!

Now all we need are another 200 million just like him.

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