21 Nov 2012
I found it hard not to get excited about a marketing release I received this week entitled "Sock company saves the lives of a family of chipmunks". But I couldn't help but think that the real story here lies in the very existence of an "online sock subscription service". (No, I don't know either.)
"We pride ourselves not only on our high-quality sock subscription service, but also on our etiquette tips for gentlemen," said Mark Hall, managing director and gentleman creation officer (oh, God, really?) of Socked.co.uk.
A quick perusal of the sockist's website does indeed find a selection of badly punctuated truisms designed to help us fellas, such as "the sexiest curve on her body, is her smile" (not if she's missing half her teeth).
On top of these dynamite lessons in gentism, Socked.co.uk also offers monthly, quarterly and biannual "sockscriptions" wherein they send you four pairs of plain black socks for the ridiculous price of £9.99.
I think I'll stick to five pairs for a quid off Romford market. And I'll just have to live with the guilt of giving those poor chipmunks a death sentence.
I wasn't surprised to learn that the hip young gunslingers of Silicon Roundabout reportedly take an envelope-pushing, ideas-showering, off-the-wall approach to staff benefits.
According to the good folk from Tech City industry jobs fair Silicon Milkroundabout, typical Shoreditch start-ups are offering unconventional staff perks including whisky club membership, remote control helicopters, unlimited holiday (eh?) and wakeboarding trips. And, yes, of course I know what wakeboarding is.
Silicon Milkroundabout co-founder Pete Smith said: "Start-ups need to be inventive in what they can offer employees that the City and big tech companies can't, and the ultimate benefit is the chance to play an integral part in a growing company."
I dunno; call me old-fashioned, Pete, but I've always thought the ultimate benefit was working for a stable company that paid you a monthly wage to do your job.
I was typically delighted to receive the latest startlingly unequivocal piece of research from market watcher Plimsoll this week.
According to the firm's abacus fondlers, there are 88 "classic acquisitions" among "the UK's largest 906 ict resellers [sic] companies". These potential buyouts are the typical "underperforming businesses that predators would usually look for".
However, the Plimsoll peeps are advising any potential channel acquirers to look instead at a considerably smaller pool of debt-free, growing and profitable firms.
"There are 17 firms in the ict [sic] resellers industry that buyers should be looking at," mused chief analyst David Pattison, suspiciously precisely.
That may be, Dave, but it feels a bit like saying that, when I stumble out the Dog and Duck on a Friday night, I should spend that bit extra on a four-course dinner at The Ivy, rather than £1.49 on a doner roll from Kebabarama on Dagenham Heathway.
Computer says WHOA!
I've always had a soft spot for supercomputing; there's something deliciously manly about those sleek, throbbing machines full of raw computing power. So imagine my disappointment that the UK has lost ground in the biannual list of the world's most mighty computers. The US holds the two top spots, with Cray overtaking IBM as the vendor behind the most powerful PC. Japan, Germany, China and Italy also make the top 10.
The UK doesn't feature until 16th, with the Blue Joule machine in Daresbury dropping three places on the rank it achieved in June. Our presence in the top 20 has also fallen from two to one, with the DiRAC machine at Edinburgh University falling to 23rd.
The winning machine, aptly named Titan, has 560,640 processors, including 261,632 Nvidia K20x accelerator cores, and packs a stonking 17.59 petaflops on the Linpack benchmark. Phwoooooooaaaar!