E-tales: Radar guns

When Axon boss Matt Kenealy and gen-i head Garth Biggs allowed themselves to go on the record last week questioning the significance of the Linux market they probably didn't realise they were straying into dangerous territory.

When Axon boss Matt Kenealy (left, above) and gen-i head Garth Biggs allowed themselves to go on the record last week questioning the significance of the Linux market they probably didn’t realise they were straying into dangerous territory.

Dangerous because of the depth of feeling common in the Linux community. Within a short time of being published online, the story, Linux just a blip: integrators, had them talking in the NZLUG (Linux user group) mailing list. One correspondent commented thus: “I seem to recall some folks at Pearl Harbour saying dismissive things about blips on the radar too ...”.

Having had a taste of the scepticism with which their words were greeted, what do you suppose Kenealy would be saying to Biggs? Send your suggested photo caption to Mark Broatch. The best entry wins a Computerworld T-shirt.

Boxed in

A gift from Microsoft to IT editors of baby rimu trees from Microsoft came with a "don't trample on innovation" message. Apparently Microsoft is like a small sapling, at risk of being trampled by software pirates. However, one reporter taking the tree home to plant it found it was nailed tight into its box. The reporter wondered what this said about Microsoft's business approach while grappling to break the box open without killing the tree in the process.

I don't like Mondays

Okay, it's an easy target, but we mean, really. Following in the wake of Enron, Agilent, Availant, Accenture, und so weiter, PwC Consulting last Sunday said it was renaming itself "Monday" to try to distance itself from parent PricewaterhouseCoopers and gear up for a public share offering.

"A real word, concise, recognisable, global" etc, said its new head, Greg Brenneman. But in this day and age of 24/7 and the commingling of work and play, surely the start of everybody else's work week is redundant. Though Monday's child ("fair of face") surely beats out the likes of Tuesday Weld and Wednesday Addams at least ... well, that's it for us. If you have Flash 6 you can see the firm congratulate itself here.

Hackers do good

It took just five hours for a Swedish programmer to crack the password to a Norwegian history museum's database, whose administrator had died without revealing it. The museum, which is devoted to Norwegian linguist Ivar Aasen, put out a hacker distress call at the beginning of June for a bright spark to crack the password. The clever clogs turned out to be Joachim Eriksson, a programmer for Swedish game company Snowcode, after the centre posted the database file (created with DBase III and IV) on its website. It took Eriksson just an hour to find the correct password and the unencrypted files of the database, a digital catalogue to a collection of more than 11,000 books and manuscripts, and the password -- "ladepujd" -- was the backward spelling of the last name of Reidar Djupedal, the researcher who assembled the collection and unconveniently died in 1989. The moral of the story: hackers will break anything, given time and incentive; don't use passwords comprising your name, unless you suspect your time on earth is severely limited; and don't die.

Send no money ... just data

One you may have missed, just after the collapse of Enron. Someone claiming to be Frances Kellyng, the "oversight" officer for Global Crossing and Enron companies in the area of network services, is on the trail of lost assets.

"As you know, both companies have declared bankruptcy, but in November, 2001, before all of the bad news was public, CEOs John Legere and Kenneth Lay, began re-allocating various resources into safe areas, off-shore banks, and storage media away from company properties."

These apparently include two million NiMH batteries in an abandoned salt mine in Kansas, two container loads of fibre-optic cable and 224 terabits of bandwidth hidden in supposedly dark fibre. Send Kellyng just 50GB of data for every terabit that you can use. It can include "digitised cultural patrimony, personal data of citizens companies, GIS and cartographic information, geologic and soil surveys, newspaper data banks, and consumer spending habits for your country".

Seen and herd

UK-based Saw-you.com works by users inputting their physical appearance, interests and favourite hangouts into a cellphone. If you are in a trendy bar, for example, and you see someone who catches your eye, you send a short text message to Saw You which then goes to its subscribers who have registered as regulars of the bar. You can also narrow down your search by inputting physical details about the person you fancy. It has a New Zealand section but no sightings are registered yet. Go for it.

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