Curious Rat

Betteridge's Law On the Verge

The Verge’s Josh Topolsky sure is sore about people citing Betteridge’s Law of Headlines:

For those unaquainted with the concept:

Betteridge’s law of headlines is an adage that states, “Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.” It is named after Ian Betteridge, a British technology journalist, although the general concept is much older.

Does Topolsky have a leg to stand on?

In The Verge’s review of the Acer Iconia W3 tablet, Tom Warren asks the question (on the homepage): “Is Microsoft’s OS Ready for Small Tablets?”:

As these devices become more powerful, this might be the future of the desktop PC: you carry around a single device that plugs into additional ones. As it stands, the desktop mode isn’t optimized for touch.

Answer: No. Actually, Windows 8 isn’t ready for tablets.

Aaron Souppouris wants to know “Will Sony’s rumored ‘Honami’ smartphone resurrect the megapixel war?”:

Most consumers have wised-up to the fact that megapixels aren’t everything, and the larger sensor of the Honami, and different approaches from HTC and Nokia show that some companies are starting understand that.

Answer: No.

Over on the PC side, Carl Franzen wants to know “Will PC sales ever pick up?”:

The PC industry has been unwell for a long time. But the true extent of its decline from the go-go 1990s and early 2000s has scarcely seemed as bad as it does today, in Gartner’s latest quarterly shipment estimates for the second quarter of 2013. The market analysis firm recorded a drop of 10.9 percent in global PC shipments from this time last year, to 76 million total units, with all regions showing a decline from 2012. Worse still, this was the fifth consecutive quarter of declining shipments, which as Gartner notes, is “the longest duration of decline in the PC market’s history.”

Answer: Not anytime soon.

Sean Hollister poses the particularly link-baity question “Will the NSA use the Xbox One to spy on your family?”:

Theoretically, we could trust in the courts. “The Fourth Amendment has been found to be really protective of everything that’s inside a person’s home,” said Faiza Patel, co-director of the Liberty and National Security program at the Brennan Center for Justice.

Patel told The Verge that though the government might be able to argue that it can collect telephone call records because they’re simply metadata, or argue that it can collect Skype video chats between people who aren’t citizens of the US, it would be a different story with Kinect. “If you were collecting information through this Xbox device, then clearly it’s in the United States at the very least, and then the fact that it’s inside your home also makes it more difficult for them,” she said.

Answer: Anything’s possible, but let’s not let the law keep us from scaring readers into fear-clicking our story before we have all the facts.

Back in March 2012, Hollister asked “Will Samsung’s Galaxy S III come standard with wireless charging?”:

Answer: Nope.

And to complete the Hollister hat trick, we ponder “Will Apple allow subscription-based gaming on the App Store?”:

Big Fish Games claimed it would be the first to offer a monthly subscription model for games on the iPad, and that Apple was on board. Then, Apple removed the app without warning.

This was back in November 2011. As of today, we still don’t have subscription gaming on iOS or in the Mac App Store.

Answer: Not yet.

Topolsky can complain all he wants, but “sheep” don’t invoke Betteridge’s Law, they ask stupid questions in their headlines.