Why elite marathoners don’t (yet) wear wristwatch mobile phones

GPSwatchesThirty years and 50 pounds of blubber ago, between various teaching jobs and being fired from computer companies, I wrote for a New York-based magazine called The Runner, which was long ago absorbed by Runners World. I took the gig to force myself to get in shape and it worked, which is why one year I ran the Boston Marathon. Understand that my editor at the time, a guy named Amby Burfoot, had won the Boston Marathon, so my finish well back in the pack was professionally meaningless, but that memory gives me some sense of the scene yesterday in Boston when those bombs went off. I know what the air was like, what the […]

Stop sending me pennies — more bad news for PayPal

paypal1I got a call this week from PayPal Executive Escalation, which I didn’t even know existed and certainly wouldn’t have guessed would be based in Omaha, Nebraska. This was either in response to my PayPal account being restricted as I described in my last column or — much more likely — to the simple fact that I’d made such a stink about it in print. The guy who called was very polite and helpful, too, but what I learned was also disturbing enough that I feel the need to share it with you.

“Do you use an anonymizer?” asked the guy from PayPal. I don’t use an anonymizer, which masks IP addresses, and told […]

We’re PayPal immortals whether we like it or not


Update #2 — After a few hundred people had their penny payments to me bounce, PayPal mysteriously freed my account yesterday. Since then dollars and dollars have poured-in, all to be refunded next week, I promise. So please stop sending me money now, okay? Mission accomplished.

My favorite transfer by far was this one for a $0.01 eCheck (below), which I will make every effort to refund before I receive it, thanks:

Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 10.09.04 AM


Have you ever canceled a PayPal account? I tried to cancel mine today and the company wouldn’t let me.

In one sense it’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to cancel […]

Cringely comes back from the dead… again!

Twain“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” wrote Mark Twain when his obituary prematurely ran in the New York Journal. I can certainly relate to that because it turns out I’m not going anywhere.

Regular readers will remember my pledge last year to retire from this rag and get the hell out of Dodge before all my hair falls out or I starve to death, whichever came first. Well something happened while we were all enjoying those 8000-word blog posts that constituted my serialization of Accidental Empires: I signed a contract with a major publisher to write a pretty significant book that I’m not yet allowed to tell you anything about.

While you might think […]

The Startup Channel

Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 6.40.46 AMWe interrupt this book for a quick update on what’s happening in my so-called career. Shortly before beginning this serialization of Accidental Empires I explained that I would be doing some new projects including a book and a startup about startups — The Startup Channel (thestartupchannel.net). The latter project will now launch in April so it’s time to explain.

The Startup Channel will be an online video channel about startups and startup people. You’ll find it probably on YouTube unless some other Internet video outfit makes me a better offer (hint, hint). We’ll be launching with 40 hours of pre-produced content, which is a lot for online video where the […]