Not-so-clever photo editing

Mashable reports on an unbelievable blooper from a company that really should know better.

Microsoft published at least two different versions of an ad, editing the photo in one. The change made was to replace the head of a black man–and only the head–with the head of a white man. While the change is not as noticeable if one only sees the Polish version of the image, it’s glaringly obvious if one sees both versions.

This was a PR disaster in the making from the beginning. To their credit, Microsoft did issue an apology in a prompt fashion. But really, you’d think Microsoft would know better. So should their ad agencies. It would make more sense to have extra models and shoot two pictures. It’s understandable to localize advertising, but it’s inexcusable to be this sloppy and this insensitive about it.

Internet addiction rehab

Ars Technica reports on a rather bizarre and dubious new development: the first US rehab for Internet addiction disorder (IAD). The Heavensfield Retreat Center’s reSTART program in Fall City, Washington, is offering a 45-day treatment program for US$14,500 and has already begun enrollment.

It’s a great deal, I suppose, if one believes IAD is a legitimate diagnosis to begin with. Previous Ars Technica articles show the American Medial Association (AMA) recommending to include IAD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) V only to reverse its position later.

And I think the AMA was right to reverse its position. The opening of reSTART definitely arouses my skeptical side. My instinct and my personal experience tells me that what doctors are diagnosing as IAD is not the illness itself, but more likely just one symptom of something else; that “something else” of course will vary from patient to patient.

Maybe reSTART will help someone, and that’s great. But I have to at least put the question to its founders: if the AMA doesn’t think IAD is a legitimate mental illness in and of itself, how do you justify treating it as one?