Today's tech debates: Zuckerberg, Microsoft, Uncle Sam

Digging through the virtual reader mailbag today I found some great responses to my posts on a variety of topics, including Facebook movies, Microsoft phones, and government wiretaps. Here are some of the more interesting ones.

First off, I wrote a couple of posts about Facebook, its boy-wonder founder Mark Zuckerberg, and their Hollywood makeover. But Cringester K. S. saw a different Mark Zuckerberg on screen than I did when watching "The Social Network" recently.

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... Too bad the movie doesn't show me the true Mark Zuckerburg. I wish I could go to dinner with him. I felt he was marvelous in his retorts during the depositions. I saw personal weaknesses (like we all have) and otherwise felt Mark Zuckerburg (while unusual) was being taken advantage of by most everyone else. It is amazing and intriguing that six years ago face book did not exist, and today 1 in 14 people of the entire world’s population know and use Facebook.

Along those lines, reader A. M. asks, "Is Zuckerberg different?" He wonders whether there's a geek-genius gene possessed by the likes of Zuckerberg (and Gates and Jobs) that the rest of us just don't have:

I've recently caught myself asking if every successive generation of kid wonderkins have the exact same traits? You've obviously followed the Jobs and Gates of the tech world and know their personalities quite well. Is Mark Z just the next person with similar traits (and possibly upbringing), or is there something truly different and unique about him? Is there a pattern of some sort that could be developed into a program that would allow people to answer a questionnaire to determine the likelihood that they will become the next nerd ruler? Can this be retroactively applied to the Edisons and Watts of history - and possibly even farther back?

Rather than nerd DNA, I suspect Gates, Jobs, Zuck, and Tom all possessed a perfect storm of intelligence, ambition, determination, innate geekiness, good timing, and plain old dumb luck. We should all be so lucky.

Earlier this week, I asked readers if they'd consider buying a Windows Phone 7 device. Reader P. J. C. summed up most readers' sentiments in a rather grisly fashion:

Screeeeeeecccchhhhh. Suddenly you are in a ditch on a lightly traveled road, out of sight of any other traffic. You're trapped in the car so you reach for your trusty Windows 7 phone and dial 911.

Suddenly a BSOD with the message: System Error at #abcyouaresoscrewed

The only sound is the steady drip, drip, drip of the blood leaking out of your nicked femoral artery onto the floor mat.

Can't wait to get mine.

Still, even those whizzy non-Windows phones aren't all they're cracked up to be. Former Windows smartphone user S. J. says he swallowed all the Android hype and got a Samsung Captivate with Android 2.1. He immediately ran into problems getting Bluetooth to work the way it did with his AT&T Tilt -- for example, it won't do voice dialing, and it unpairs itself when he plugs the phone into his computer. But that's not all. He writes:

Granted it takes some getting used to how to navigate and set things up, there were some features that seemed to set themselves no matter what I did. The screen went off after 10 seconds no matter what I set it to, and the phone locked every time even though I set it to be always unlocked. Then I downloaded a couple of digital clocks and put them on the display –- well, they were there to stay. I gave up trying to get rid of them.

It felt like I spent the better part of a week trying to get it to work the way I wanted it to, and got nowhere.

I hear ya. I too am a former AT&T Windows Mobile user who swallowed the Android hype, buying a Moto Cliq. Now I'm saddled with an "ancient" mobile OS that T-Mobile refuses to upgrade, along with a phone that's buggy, crash prone, and increasingly slow, with a battery lifespan shorter than a tse-tse fly's.

S. J. says he's going back to Windows Phobile. I'm not ready to take that drastic step just yet, or go anywhere near AT&T. When is that Verizon iPhone coming, exactly?

Finally, I'd like to leave you with a few words from a reader who goes only by "Wanda" and her prose poem regarding the U.S. Justice Department's desire to snoop on VoIP services and encrypted Net communications ("Government wiretapping: Coming soon to a computer near you?"). Here's one stanza in paranoid pentameter:

my thoughts on this is once you open that door

(and with their penchant to control)

give them an inch and they will control the whole thing!

doubt me? look around you.

we have no freedom of the press when the press gets into bed with the government...

when we lose the internet

we lose our ability to speak out

to remain a free thinking people, and

where does the control of it end ???

Got tales of woe and/or prose poems to share? Email me: cringe@infoworld.com

This story, "Today's tech debates: Zuckerberg, Microsoft, Uncle Sam" was originally published by InfoWorld.

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