E-tales: IT's speedy

The IT sector has been through tough times in the past year or so, but maybe not everyone. A Computerworld staffer, travelling to work in a chauffered Mercedes, looked out to see a sleek black Mitsubishi 3000GT cruising past, its personalised numberplate reading 'IT BOY'.

The IT sector has been through tough times in the past year or so, but maybe not everyone. A Computerworld staffer, travelling to work in a chauffered Mercedes with all the other potential victims of some pneumonic plague or other, looked out his air-conditioned splendour to see a sleek black Mitsubishi 3000GT cruising past, its personalised numberplate reading "IT BOY". Or perhaps he's just the winner of some male model contest.

Number crunching

And speaking of personal registration plates, another reporter wonders who owns the small van seen quite often tooling around the capital with the plate PCMCIA. Shortly after the vehicle first came to our notice, that unwieldy abbreviation for laptop enhancement cards (the name of the committee that defined the standard) shrunk to the somewhat tidier "PC card" -- as we guess has the value of the investment. On the non-computer front, a Wellington man has picked up one, possibly in the normal run of early XXXnnn plates, which may be of use in some card game: AKQ777.

Virtually sold out

The seventh "Oscars of the internet", the Webbys, have been cancelled, at least in their physical form, organisers citing the bad US economy and fears about travelling to Dot Com Central, San Francisco.

The event, awards for which will be given out online on June 5 this year, have been dwindling in size and relevance since the crash. Each category garners two awards, one publicly voted and the other based on votes from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, which includes media celebrities as well as high-profile IT names. Two New Zealanders are included in the invitation-only academy, former IDGNet editor Russell Brown and industry commentator Paul Reynolds. Still some excellent sites among the nominees here.

Running wild

Oh no, now everyone's into blogs. For those interested in the tedious run-up to the US election next year, already getting gravel under its wheels, "maverick" politician Gary Hart (yes, he of Donna Rice and the wandering trousers) has started a weblog, reports Wired.com. The former Colorado senator and 1988 Democratic front-runner for the presidential nomination is not officially a candidate, but you wouldn't know that from Garyhartnews.com.

Better red than dead

And speaking of those-who-don't-want-a-free-trade-deal, the US Congress has released, after 50 years, the hearings of US senator Joe McCarthy, the Republican senator from Wisconsin.

Those of younger disposition may not know of the browbeating tactics of McCarthy, who purported to be flushing Communists out of the ranks of, among other Red-friendly areas, the army, artists, writers and actors. Despite threats that those who didn't co-operate would serve jail time for perjury, none did.

The New York Times notes that McCarthy was censured by the Senate in December 1954, amid public outrage over his conduct during the army hearings.

"He was by this time drinking heavily, historians say, and died three years later, of liver disease, at age 48."

The transcripts note that perhaps the most recurring phrase in these executive session hearings was not the familiar "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist party?" of the public hearings, but the closed hearings' "In other words". "The chairman" would relentlessly rephrase witnesses' testimony into something with more sinister implications. See here.

Sartorially speaking

Computer Associates has reiterated a dress code, first instituted two years ago, which calls for employees to wear business appropriate clothing.

"Our HR department recently revised the code to ensure that the attire of CA employees communicates professionalism, pride and respect for both the company and out customers," says CA spokesman Bob Gordon. The dress code was revised "in recognition of a business environment in which many companies are moving away from casual dress," he adds.

According to The Register, however, there is another explanation. An industry rumour is that CA chief executive Sanjay Kumar was showing a group of customers around CA's headquarters and the party ran into a group of geeks clad in jeans, t-shirt and sneakers. An embarrassed Kumar apparently issued a directive for employess to sharpen up sartorially. Even if this is the beginning of a trend away from casual dressing in the IT industry, rremember that the name Big Blue is reputed to refer not only to the colour of IBM's corporate logo but to the colour of the suits mandated by management for certain customer-facing staff.

Eye oop me doock

And one more from the email circuit, a variation on the Windows for ... (some nationality/ethnic group/accent/etc)

Word for Northerners!

The installation process automatically modifies their Windows start button

All the usual Word menu option are there, but in a language your Northern England employees can understand

Even the warning messages have changed

And if all else fails, they will have a help facility that folks from Barnsley and Bradford can understand

So what are you waiting for? Me to go to the foot of our stair?!

At a touch of a key Northern Word can convert it into proper English.

Edited by Mark Broatch.

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