Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, October 12, 2021

So much for putting your trust in cloud computing. T-Mobile’s Sidekick phones, whose storage of individual devices’ address books, multimedia, etc. on offsite servers was touted as a key selling point, have suffered a monumental outage that wiped out up to 1 million people’s phone data:

The phones are made by a Microsoft Corp. subsidiary and sold by T-Mobile USA, which say many Sidekick owners’ information is “almost certainly” gone… Microsoft spokeswoman Debbie Anderson said Monday that there was a still a chance some of the lost user data could be restored from a backup system. Engineers were working at it in the Microsoft data center where the failure occurred, she said.

The phones were troubled by a data outage a week ago. Service was intermittent last week, and then users started reporting that their Sidekicks were wiped of all personal information.

“This has been a terrible experience,” said Mary Boyle, of Silver Spring, Md. She lost more than 500 contacts, 100 pictures, a to-do list and dozens of Web site passwords. She also spent about eight hours on the phone with T-Mobile’s technical support last week, trying to deal with the outage, she said.

Yeah, yeah, everyone should back up their data, whether it’s on a phone or a computer. But not only do most people neglect this chore, the fact is that the Sidekick wasn’t designed to accommodate such an individual failsafe:

The Sidekick’s remote data storage feature was ahead of its time and served as a selling point for the device. It meant that if someone lost a phone, the contents could easily be downloaded to a new one. But the Sidekick didn’t complement the remote storage with a convenient way to save all data locally. Most newer phones, such as Apple Inc.’s iPhone, are designed to back up a user’s data when the device is connected to a PC.

Basically, it looks like if you own a Sidekick, and you’ve let the battery run all the way down, you’re out of luck. Quite a disintegration for the once hipper-than-thou phone-slash-accessory. It’s gone from Paris Hilton-endorsed coolness to tech toxicity.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 10/12/2021 11:29 PM
Category: Tech
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the buttergretz effect
Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski saw fit to link back and expand upon my little post on what might have been had the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs swapped cities/arenas in the early 1980s, the proposal of which recently has been alleged by former Oilers owner Peter Pocklington. Much thanks to Wysh for the added exposure in the hockey blogosphere.

I was inspired to comment on the Puck Daddy blog on some of the further ramifications from this what-if-ing. Included in that is Wysh’s point about the New York Rangers’ Stanley Cup drought possibly having extended well past 1994, since they wouldn’t have had a cash-poor Oilers franchise from which to import Cup-winning ringers that year (in which case, the New Jersey Devils’ new Prudential Center arena might have a seat count representing the year 1940). Another commenter pointed out that the Calgary Flames would also have been affected in this scenario; since they arrived in the province in 1980 (from Atlanta), I’d speculate that they, not a relocated Leafs team, would have become Alberta’s favored team.

Anyway, since I went a little long in my commenting on Puck Daddy, I figured I should bring that verbiage back to this blog, for personal posterity’s sake. So here it is, and if it doesn’t speak for itself, at least it’ll leave some cryptic puckery for future pondering:

As for team mergers, it’s the NHL’s distinction to have fostered the last one among the 4 big leagues: 1977, when the Minnesota North Stars basically swallowed the Cleveland Barons (formerly the Golden State/Oakland Seals, answering the question, “Whatever happened to the now-extinct 6th team from the 1967 expansion?”). The major consequence of that deal is that it brought the Gund brothers into the league, who later moved on to the expansion franchise in San Jose.

Minor quibble: The league was already set on Sunbelt expansion before Bettman, under President-For-Life John Ziegler. If anything, to further the never-was scenario, I’d think they’d have started planting flags in Florida and Texas earlier, in the late ’80s — and maybe achieve a favored-nation-status with ESPN that extends to present day? (Hah!)

Anyway, Gretzky would be the central figure here. Reminds me of similar speculation from some AP writer 10-15 years ago, who wondered what would have happened had Bobby Hull never signed with the Winnipeg Jets, thus strangling the WHA as a stillborn. Ultimate upshot: Gretz enters the Draft in the late ’70s, gets picked by the Leafs in the 2nd round (due to size concerns), and goes on to lead his hometown team to glory. (If anyone can track down that anonymous wire article, I’d be a happy camper.)

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 10/12/2021 10:46 PM
Category: Bloggin', History, Hockey
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Oh, how winter tends to sneak up on you around here. Last week, temperatures were hovering just below 70; this morning, it’s 46 degrees. I seriously felt as though it might start snowing during my morning walk.

And then there’s the surest sign that wintertime’s arrived: The Rockefeller Center ice rink, which I noticed being erected last Friday, is officially skate-worthy in time for today’s Columbus Day opening. I’m catching reflections of skaters drifting across the frozen sheet right now.

Since I’m now spending most of my days here anyway, I’ll have to strap on the blades and do a couple of laps one day soon. While suppressing the urge to body-check my fellow skaters, of course — especially the tourists who can’t seem to resist getting in your way…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 10/12/2021 08:51 AM
Category: New Yorkin', Weather
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