Dead or alive?

Well, at least I did not fall for that Bill Gates assassination April Fools' joke, but CNN.com/China sure did. Just before 10pmon Friday, March 28, 2003, the Chinese wife of an IT friend of mine was shocked to see the originally posted CNN.com/China story reporting the assassination of chairman Bill.

Either Amber is running around or she is playing some kind of a prolonged April Fools' Day prank on yours truly. While I was doing my taxes late one night she came in.

"Where have you been?" I inquired. "Just a follow-up to that business dinner from last week, Cringe," she said on her way up to bed.

Bill reported gone

Well, at least I did not fall for that Bill Gates assassination April Fools' joke, but CNN.com/China sure did. Just before 10pmon Friday, March 28, 2003, the Chinese wife of an IT friend of mine was shocked to see the originally posted CNN.com/China story reporting the assassination of chairman Bill.

When my spy got there, the same story was no longer the front-page headline, where it has been originally, but there was now only the small picture link approximately a third of the page down the screen. After running the Chinese text through Babelfish at AltaVista, my spy found out the site had been taken in by its very own American sibling's April Fools' joke. Needless to say, ol' Billy Boy is still alive and kickin'.

The SBC squeeze

The shenanigans at SBC Communications, however, are no joke, particularly for once-happy remote employees. Right now, a spy reports, the company's workers are facing a telecommuting crackdown in IT. Under this new regime, it seems, no one can work at home on a regular basis. Naturally, the company has a number of people who live more than an hour's drive away from work and negotiated verbal agreements upon starting at SBC that they could work remotely, if only part of the week. Tough luck, SBC now says. After having that flexibility for several years, employees are now being told that they can come into the office or quit.

Speaking of squeezes, Linux has just taken a new beating in my book. Red Hat's up2date program, in which one must register a system with a demo account or purchase an enterprise account -- you only get one demo account -- informed one of my spies that because of high load, the demo accounts are disabled for his OS since he's not paying for it! Yes, it's so much easier to FTP all of the individual RPMs to three different versions of Red Hat servers and install them myself.

"Bye, bye Red Hat. I've had it with that company. Back to the free distributions," sir spy grumbled.

Later that night, I noticed Amber had a travel guide book about London in her bag. "What were you doing looking in my stuff?" she growled. Just wondering, is all.

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