It's becoming a holiday tradition: Google announces a holiday party for Silicon Valley reporters at its Mountain View headquarters, and Valleywag's invite gets mysteriously lost in Gmail's ever-canny spam filters. The invitation for the December 8 event, held again at the Googleplex's Cafe Slice, is nontransferable, so we can't accept any pass-along invites, alas.But here's a clever idea: The RSVP form allows you to suggest a colleague in your place. It would be a pity if jealous colleagues at, say, the New York Times filled out the form for John Markoff and suggested they attend in his place. I just declined on behalf of AllThingsD's Kara Swisher — though she could always crash as the guest of her wife, Google executive Megan Smith. Here's the full invite:
Once a year, I have trouble falling asleep, I'm just so excited. I say my prayers to the developers of OpenOffice, slide under the covers and just lay there thinking about all the documents I'll get to open in the morning. There'll be text documents, and spreadsheets — maybe even presentation slides! Only after a few hours of listening for the pitter-patter of comma-separated reindeer do I finally fall asleep. Well, that day is here again this year — Document Freedom Day! Google's Zaheda Bhorat can hardly contain her glee:
Google decorated its logo with a St. Patrick's Day doodle today, March 17, the traditional date on which the medieval missionary is honored. Unfortunately, the Pope shifted the holiday to last Saturday, the 15th, to prevent the holiday from falling during Holy Week. We suspect most observers will be too busy drinking green beer to notice, however. Also, it looks like they forgot the "E".
As you gather with those you love to celebrate the New Year this evening and a cloying nostalgia grips you in the gut, consider this: You don't really give a shit what any of these people think about anything anyway. At least not according to the latest findings from Pew Internet researchers. 58 percent of you, they say, go to the Internet for answers on your toughest questions. Only 45 percent seek out friends and family members. So tonight, as the clock strikes midnight and you suddenly see that all those around you shall pass and fade with time, just remember: You weren't really that close anyway. (Photo by angela7dreams)
After falling each month since the summer, a widely watched measure of consumer confidence finally rose again this December. The Conference Board, which conducted the survey of 5,000 American households, said the slight increase is due mostly to short-term optimism. Well, duh: it's the holidays. [The Conference Board]
It seems that every year is Amazon.com's "best year ever." That's no surprise given that the number of people shopping online is growing every year and a huge number of them shop at the 'zon. Every year, Amazon releases a list of holiday shopping minutiae, including popular items and details of a few interesting shipments. Here are the highlights:
Who called a freaking holiday right in the middle of the last week of the sales year? Clearly, the in-duh-viduals who run HR aren't on a revenue-based compensation plan. If you're still working the deals and/or deliverables today, know you're not alone: 25,000 readers have hit Valleywag already and it's not even noon in Santa Clara. My wife is cranking out a new solutions guide, Dave Winer is on Twitter, and Gizmodo is posting like mad even though Denton gave them the day off. What are we eating in the Valley today? Everyone else's lunch. Merry Christmas, lusers.
Many Starbucks sites are open today. Tully's is hopping. Muddy Waters and most of the cafes on Valencia Street are online. But the traitors at Ritual Roasters have locked up and gone home. Same for the Peet's in Pac Heights. Worst offender: Whole Foods (!) is closed and I'm out of organic nutmeg for the veg-nog. Given the contempt and/or twittering condescension the NPR bluestaters in these places usually express for America's Christian demographic, I doubt they're staying home today because it's the baby Jesus' birthday. Clearly, the secularization of Christmas is worse than anyone thought.
Do you think the Internet runs itself today? Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. Here's to the sysadmins. And while we're at it, the unthanked people at your local electric utility, for whom five-nines uptime isn't just a marketing slogan. Central Maine Power, take a bow!