Reader rabid: Fox News, Windows 7, and Winnie the Pooh

The residents of Cringeville weigh in on Rupert Murdoch's battle with Google, Windows 7, and spokestoons

While you're doing whatever you do on Vets' Day, I'd like to reach deep into the mailbox and share some stuff the fine folks of Cringeville have been e-mailing me.

Let's start with my recent post about Rupert Murdoch's apparent decision to snub Google and its search bots (once he erects a pay wall around his conservative media empire). That generated a lot of comments and a handful of e-mails, some of them scorching. My favorite one comes from a reader named B. W., who found it on InfoWorld's sister site,, where my content is occasionally syndicated.

[ Find out how Cringely kicked off this kerfuffle in "Fox News takes on Google" and "Will Windows 7 change our minds about Microsoft?" | Stay up to date on Robert X. Cringely's musings and observations with InfoWorld's Notes from the Underground newsletter. ]

I've censored the nasty bits in case the kids are in the room but left the rest intact:

I think that the juvenile, self serving and left wing rant by your amateurish internet writer, Robert X. Cringely, is one of the reasons why I don't subscribe to your irrelevent magazine anymore. Since the website is free, I don't have to lay down my hard earned bucks to be insulted by morons like Cringely anymore.   The laugh, as they say, is free.

Pay attention you idiots!  As Rupert Murdoch takes the "pay for content" model to new heights and is making money for News Corp and it's shareholders, [censored] like Cringely still don't get it while he [censored] to his image in the mirror and takes magazines like PCWorld down the tubes. Enjoy the ride, you moronic [censored]!!

The laugh, as they say, is most definitely free. Thanks, B. W.

On the other hand, semi-regular Cringe correspondent B. H. has this to say:

There is the down side to Murdoch's strategy:  loss of readership. If there is no way of seeing what kind of stuff Murdoch's sites offer, fewer will venture there and fewer still pay for a pig in a poke.... Others keep touting the popularity of Fox News, that it has the largest audience.  So did the Coliseum of Nero's time.  Those viewers are after spectacle, such as listening to Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck.  There's a reason why disaster movies always hit big.

My two cents: I deliberately avoided ranting about the content of Murdoch's sites, aside from noting their right wingishness. But to some people, anyone who doesn't express their adoration for Fox News is some kind of bomb-throwing radical. This is why it's almost impossible to have a reasonable conversation on important issues in this country; everyone has been pushed to extremes, often by the media, when the truth is almost always somewhere in the middle.

In other news, reader M. A. just bought an HP Mini with Windows 7 Starter pre-installed, which he says does not allow him to change his desktop themes. He has a simple question: Why not? He says he's asked on Microsoft's forums and got nothing but "corporate doublespeak" in response:

I'd really like to see them give this back to the users (remember us?) in SP 1 of Starter. If you write about it, it might get Microsoft's attention. They could actually do something nice for their users.

Consider it done. But Microsoft doing something nice for users? That truly would be the dawn of a new era.

Finally, several readers had ideas as to whom should replace Peter Griffin from "Family Guy" as Microsoft's new spokestoon. Among the top suggestions: Roseanne Barr, Dick Cheney, Jessica Simpson, Linus Van Pelt, and Winnie the Pooh. They're as appropriate as any other cartoonish characters, I suppose. For some reason, though, I'm leaning toward Pooh. How about you?

What's on your mind this day? Share your thoughts below or e-mail me:

This story, "Reader rabid: Fox News, Windows 7, and Winnie the Pooh," was originally published at