Minderbinder Lives

6:00 PM -- Almost lost in today's big Sprint WiMax news was the release of the Mylo, Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE)'s new wireless communication/entertainment device.

It's a bit of a Swiss Army knife -- WiFi device, VOIP phone, IMer, photo viewer, Web surfer, music player, neurosurgery tool, God knows what else -- and it's clearly a slightly desperate attempt by Sony to re-capture the consumer-device magic it had in pre-iPod days, but it actually looks pretty cool.

I'm having trouble getting past the name, though. Mylo? It may stand for "My Life Online," but for hopeless literary snobs of a certain age it'll always be the first name (re-spelled) of one of the priceless characters of post-World War II American fiction, 1st Lieutenant Milo Minderbinder, the blissfully corrupt entrepreneur of Catch-22:

Minderbinder: Nately died a wealthy man, Yossarian. He had over sixty shares in the syndicate.

Yossarian: What difference does that make? He's dead.

Minderbinder: Then his family will get it.

Yossarian: He didn't have time to have a family.

Minderbinder: Then his parents will get it.

Yossarian: They don't need it, they're rich.

Minderbinder: Then they'll understand.

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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