Once Upon A Time
January 13, 2005 1:29 PM   Subscribe

Sony explains the PlayStationPortable's launch delay. The bestselling PDF, now available on Amazon for $750.
posted by DrJohnEvans (32 comments total)
I think the technical term for this is ROFLCOPTER.
posted by Kwantsar at 1:40 PM on January 13, 2005

Shouldn't that be IDC explains Sony's delays in launching the PSP?

I've gotta start charging for my PDFs. I've been giving them away for free all this time.
posted by fenriq at 1:42 PM on January 13, 2005

I second the invocation of the ROFLCOPTER.
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:42 PM on January 13, 2005

I fail to understand ROFLCOPTER but this is really funny.
posted by xmutex at 1:44 PM on January 13, 2005

I think it's strange that there's no "Better Together" offer that includes Just in Time: Sony Talks About PSP. I'd buy them both if there was a discount.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:05 PM on January 13, 2005

I think we can safely say this is a new art form.
posted by pepcorn at 2:05 PM on January 13, 2005

This one looks better. :)
posted by knave at 2:08 PM on January 13, 2005

As a side note, there are perks to living in Japan. I'm going to go buy a PSP today.

Jealous much?
posted by zardoz at 3:09 PM on January 13, 2005

I'm always impressed by how much wit and care goes into joke Amazon reviews. They're such concise, efficient little nuggets of satire.
posted by fungible at 3:11 PM on January 13, 2005

Customers who viewed this book also viewed:
* Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn

I have to check that out, sounds like a compelling read. Hopefully it won't cost more than a grand to buy the book.
posted by psmealey at 3:12 PM on January 13, 2005

Oh, it's not just a fluke.
posted by nobody at 3:13 PM on January 13, 2005

What fungible said, but even better are the morons who don't get the joke:

I can't believe it.... pointless, useless and sold 700$... people who buy it must have nothing else to do with their money !
Oh and let me guess : all the "5 stars" reviews have probably been written by the same guy, using different usernames.

posted by psmealey at 3:15 PM on January 13, 2005

I know I'm getting old when everything seems like some big giant inside joke.
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 3:25 PM on January 13, 2005

Amazon.com: So big, we don't know how half this shit got in here
posted by timing at 3:29 PM on January 13, 2005

Could somebody explain this link to me and others?
posted by Hildago at 3:49 PM on January 13, 2005

At the risk of ruining the joke (and being misunderstood as a patronizing ass), here comes my explanation for the story's main link:

There is some humor in the second sentence of the post: The bestselling PDF, now available on Amazon for $750. Intuition tells us that it would be ludicrous for your average Amazon.com customer to pay $750 for a PDF, and thus the appositive "[t]he bestselling PDF" is a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor.

This wry setup segues nicely into the real humor -- the link itself, where we find, as promised, a Portable Document Format (PDF) file for sale for $750. The bulk of the humor here is in the content of this page (customer viewings, product details, customer advice, editorial reviews, and spotlight reviews), imagined circumstances under which an average user might happen upon this page (perhaps looking to purchase, or at least pre-order, the new Sony PSP), and the larger context of the consumer electronics industry (products are often targeted for release just before the EOY holiday gift-giving season, sometimes to the detriment of quality; also, the tendency of consumer electronics companies to announce long in advance products with the intention of drumming up interest, only to disappoint potential customers by releasing said product without some promised features, with great delays, or at all).

Now, in the hope of approaching the point, I'll offer up some specific points of humor in the context I've set up:
  • Amazon.com might seem like an odd place to sell an item with a (presumably) small target audience as this
  • Sony had indicated that its new handheld game system ("PSP") would be available for the holidays in 2004, but was unable to deliver
  • Not only does the PDF cost $750, but it's only one page -- probably containing very dry prose *ahem*
  • Given the high cost, it is unlikely that anyone who has shared any info with the larger Amazon.com community about this PDF has actually purchased it
  • The user who recommended a novel (Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: A Memo) probably intended it as a comment on the PSP's delayed release, the price of the PDF relative to its value to him, or both
  • Most of the user reviews written in stereotypical Amazon.com item-review styles ("my kid liked it;" "it was a page-turner;" "I got it as a gift, and it's OK;" "it's a waste of money, and you should buy something else that is commonly mocked as a waste of money, albeit of a different variety;" et cetera) pretending to be actual owners and/or purchasers of the document; given the above points, this kind of contextual humor is quite appealing to a certain type of person
  • There is also at least one comment where a user indirectly admits to not getting the jokes in the other user comments; this makes it funnier, because the people to whom this kind of humor appeals also find the relative impenetrability of said humor to be one of its favorable qualities
I hope this clears things up a bit. FWIW, I find needlessly over-explaining things in this wordy, pseudo-formal fashion to be quite funny. But I'll refrain from explaining that.
posted by timing at 4:54 PM on January 13, 2005

For more reference (why the PDF is so expensive) - this is an example of a white paper from IDC, hence the crazy-high price. Why they are on amazon.com, I don't know. Maybe because parent company IDG is in the magazine publishing business.
posted by Sangre Azul at 4:59 PM on January 13, 2005

DrJohnEvans: awesome!
timing: both your comments were hilarious!

I love the internet so much...
posted by hammurderer at 5:08 PM on January 13, 2005

Timing, you suck. Thanks a lot for ruining it. I hate you SO MUCH.
posted by 40 Watt at 5:13 PM on January 13, 2005

Timing: Man, this is like when they told me Luke was Darth Vader's dad.
posted by TwelveTwo at 5:55 PM on January 13, 2005

who's Luke?
posted by matteo at 6:39 PM on January 13, 2005

He's Darth Vader's son, matteo.
posted by armoured-ant at 7:11 PM on January 13, 2005

Wait, what?
posted by TwelveTwo at 7:38 PM on January 13, 2005

Dammit! in Star Wars? I was just gonna watch that.

Oh, and you'll find plenty of PDFs selling for truckloads of money on amazon and elsewhere. My mom sells essays to companies for ridiculous amounts of money per copy.
posted by svenni at 7:38 PM on January 13, 2005

Timing: that was golden.

svenni: I (along with apparently quite a few of us) had no idea. I would really like to know what's in that essay that couldn't be found out for free. So if anyone wants to spot me $750, I'll summarize it for ya.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 7:47 PM on January 13, 2005

See all 21 customer reviews...

Someone needs to buy World of Warcraft. That'll kill that spare time.
posted by krisjohn at 9:07 PM on January 13, 2005

I could not resist the urge to submit a review. :)
posted by DuoJet at 10:58 PM on January 13, 2005

From one of the reviews:

I then decided to share my second copy with my roomate

That made my day :)
posted by jeffmik at 12:54 AM on January 14, 2005

That made my day :)

Yay! That one was mine.
posted by DuoJet at 4:50 AM on January 14, 2005

Nice one, DuoJet, I laughed at that one too.
posted by Bugbread at 5:55 AM on January 14, 2005

And if you think Sony Explains the PlayStation Portable's Launch Delay is a good read, you will also want to buy the equally gripping one-pager Just in Time: Sony Talks About PSP from the same author at $1,500. Shipping is also free of charge but you will have to download Adobe reader.
posted by terrier319 at 6:40 AM on January 14, 2005

but you will have to download Adobe reader

Luckily, its free.
posted by jeffmik at 9:02 AM on January 14, 2005

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