TOP TEN LISTS are popular with journalists; top five lists even more so with those of a lazier disposition. Here, then is our guide to IT-related things you should avoid doing at all cost.
10. Never, ever, feel tempted to write the word 'Microsoft' with a dollar sign instead of an 's'. It wasn't even funny the first time, several decades ago, and it just makes you look like a prat. For similar reasons, 'Microshaft' should also be avoided. The use of 'Micro$haft' carries the death penalty in several countries.
9. Never write a letter to a newspaper or Website. Your righteous indignation, however deeply-felt and sincere, will be treated with derision and pinned to the office wall. Really cruel journalists may even replace all the letter esses with dollar signs.
8. Don't start a blog. No, really, just don't. If anyone wanted to read your opinions, you would be offered a job as a columnist on a national newspaper, for which you would receive £10,000 a week, minimum. The fact that you aren't being offered this kind of money should be seen as a clear message from God that nobody wants to read your drivel.
7. If you already have a blog, you should, at all cost, avoid putting a crass and corny message at the top reading something along the lines of 'Fearless, Incisive Journalism'. Rest assured that the presence of such a message in no way makes you fearless or incisive. Or a journalist.
6. Never queue all night to buy a new Apple product. Apart from the risks of catching a cold and meeting some seriously-disturbed people in the queue, you will invariably be disappointed. Half the advertised functionality won't be there; it will be easily scratched; the battery will wear out and cost $99.99 to replace. Worse still, two weeks later you will be dismayed to discover that the price has dropped by 50 per cent.
5. Avoid starting any list comprising more than five things. It is an unwritten law of journalism that you will run out of inspiration after the first five, just as the pubs are about to open and the news editor is screaming for your copy.
4. Avoid visiting sites such as Amazon or Ebay after drinking and never do so after midnight. You will be unpleasantly surprised a few days later when the postman delivers six CDs you already own and a rubber French Maid's outfit (worn once, some staining).
3. Don't decide to replace all your old vinyl albums with downloaded MP3s. There'll always be a better way of buying music coming down the track RSN. And you still haven't replaced all your vinyl with CDs as you decided to do back when Brothers in Arms came out, have you? On no account store all your albums on an Ipod. It will break.
2. Don't buy a mobile phone that claims to do anything other than allow you to make phone calls. People will point at you and laugh. On no account use an amusing ringtone. There is no such thing.
1. Avoid social networking sites such as Facebook. These are frequented by people you'd really rather not meet. Second Life should also be avoided as it is populated by people who don't have a first one. Turn off your computer. Go outside. Meet someone who's never heard of Ubuntu. µ
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