Golden Gobblers 2012: A year in digital dodos

So many birdbrains, so little time -- but Cringely manages to round up several specimens who deserve to be roasted

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Project Orcans. The Romney campaign's top-secret get-out-the-vote app was a spectacular success -- for President Obama. On Election Day, Orca quickly found itself beached, leaving thousands of GOP volunteers stranded with little or nothing to do. The problem? A massive project failure on all levels, from development and testing to implementation and deployment.

Yes, they did build that.

Charles Carreon. When this attorney accused The Oatmeal's Matt Inman of libeling alleged humor site Funny Junk after Funny Junk helped itself to thousands of Inman's cartoons, he had no idea he was about to take on the entire Internet. But not only did Carreon refuse to back down, he accused Inman of siccing Web vigilantes on him, filed suit against more of his mockers, and tried to block Inman's efforts to donate $210,000 to charity.

Inman eventually won, the charities got the money, and Carreon backed off, but only after he'd posted a video ditty about Inman called Psycho Santa on his website. Hey, Chuck: Just because you're named Carreon doesn't mean you have to act like a vulture.

Thomas Langenbach. The former VP at SAP's Palo Alto labs came up with an ingenious way to make a little extra cash: Go to Target stores, pick up ridiculously overpriced Legos sets (like the $140 "Star Wars" Millennium Falcon), slap a much cheaper bar code tag on them, check out, and pocket the difference by reselling the kits on eBay. Langenbach did this not once or twice but more than 2,000 times, according to law enforcement officials; he was captured in the act on the stores' surveillance tapes and found with bogus bar code printouts in his car and hundreds of Lego kits in his $2 million home.

Despite all of that, the Barcode Bandit recently turned down a generous plea bargain and pleaded not guilty. Apparently Lego's Jailbreak Joe is serving as his legal counsel.

Julian Assange. The Audacious Aussie makes his second consecutive appearance in the Gobblers, thanks to his daring escape from house arrest at a tony Sussex estate to his current abode in London's Ecuadorian embassy, not to mention his punishing schedule of window frame press conferences and celebrity interviews.

We know he was famous for something once, but we can longer remember what it was.

The meme machine. Texts From Hillary, Binders Full of Women, Mo Farrah Running Away, Big Bird Fired, Drunk Nate Silver, Gangnam-style everything, yadda yadda. The average elapsed time between news item to hashtag to fully fledged photo meme complete with its own Tumblr page has been reduced to less than five minutes.

Please, Internet memesters, give it a rest. McKayla Maroney is not impressed.

Who are your top turkeys of 2012? Post them below or email me: Also: Happy Thanksgiving, all.

This article, "Golden Gobblers 2012: A year in digital dodos," was originally published Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry withRobert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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