Friday, October 19, 2007

Pogue’s Imponderables

Questions that N.Y. Times technical writer David Pogue doesn't have answers to. If you know the answers, fill him in at
* Why is Wi-Fi free at cheap hotels, but $14 a night at expensive ones?

* What happens to software programs when their publishers go out of business?

* Would the record companies sell more music online if it weren't copy-protected?

* Do cellphones cause brain cancer?

* What's the real reason you have to turn off your laptop for takeoff?

* Why can't a digital S.L.R. camera record video?

* Wi-Fi on airplanes. What's taking so long?

* Who are the morons who respond to junk-mail offers, thereby keeping spammers in business?

* I'm told that they could make a shirt-pocket digital camera that takes pictures like an S.L.R., but it would cost a lot. So why don't they make one for people who can afford it?

* How come there are still no viruses for Mac OS X? If it has 6 percent of the market, shouldn't it have 6 percent of the viruses?

* Do shareware programmers pay taxes on all those $20 contributions?

* How are we going to preserve all of our digital photos and videos for future generations?

* Why are there no federal rebates or tax credits for solar power?

* Why do you have to take tape camcorders out of your carry-on at airport security, but not the tapeless kind? Couldn't you hide a bomb equally well in either one? (Actually, I have about 500 more logic questions about the rules at airport security, but I have a feeling they'll remain answerless for a very long time.)

* Laptops, cameras and cellphones have improved by a thousand percent in the last ten years. Why not their batteries?

* SmartDisplay, Spot Watch, U.M.P.C., Zune… when will Microsoft realize that it's not a hardware company?

* Why don't public sinks have foot pedals?

* Why don't all hotels have check-in kiosks like airlines do?

* Five billion dollars a year spent on ringtones? What the?

* How come cellphone signal-strength bars are so often wrong?

* Do P.R. people really expect anyone to believe that the standard, stilted, second-paragraph C.E.O. quote was really uttered by a human being?

* Why aren't there recycling bins for bottles and cans where they're most obviously needed, like food courts and cafeterias?

* Why doesn't someone start a cellphone company that bills you only for what you use? That model works O.K. for the electricity, gas and water companies —and people would beat a path to its door.

* Why doesn't everyone have lights that turn off automatically when the room is empty?

* What's the deal with Palm?

* Why are so many people rude on the Internet?

If you know the answers, by all means—fill us in at

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