Are you watching, Q?
It's official! Microsoft's software is a life saver.
Or at least it was to Charles Afolabi, 37, of Chiswick, London. A student at Tech Connect in Kingston-upon-Thames, Charles was returning home one night on his motorbike from his Windows NT Core Technologies course when he he was hit by a BMW.
The crash sent him hurtling through the air and Charlie landed on his back with considerable force. Ouch! After being rushed to hospital, doctors were amazed to find that the damage was limited to mild whiplash and a few cuts and bruises. And the reason for this miraculous escape? Charles discovered the next day that the Windows text book in his rucksack had a huge dent in the middle and, in true James Bond 'cigarette case deflects vital organ-bound bullet' style, had protected his spine from the force of the impact. We understand Charles was shaken, but not stirred, by the incident.
The Republic strikes back
As a general rule, the French don't generate a tremendous amount of sympathy on this side of La Manche, and when industrial action is added into the equation, relations can turn a little sour.
So it may come as a surprise to some to learn that plans for a Web 'strike' in France is generating support back in Blighty. The French have already staged Web boycotts to voice their frustration at high and disparate internet access costs across Europe, but efforts so far have been either ignored or ridiculed. Internet Moins Cher (IMC) is spearheading the French campaign, but a boycott in December saw usage drop by just 10 per cent. A further strike in January was dubbed 'un joli flop' by Liberation. IMC has links to the UK through the Campaign for Unmetered Telecommunications and, according to reports, the groups are coming together to call for a pan-European internet log-off on Sunday 6 June. PC Squealer thinks it's a nice idea, but why stage a boycott on a Sunday, the day everyone spends vegging in front of the telly recovering from the previous night's excesses, before hauling themselves off to Aunt Doris' for tea? The demand for the internet on a Sunday matches the need for ice cream in winter, or come to think of it, the need for air traffic control disputes in summer.
Accountancy software isn't dull. And to prove it, here's a picture of a man wearing a hard hat and gardening gloves and poking around in the dirt with a big stick. No, actually he's supposed to be clearing land mines. But hang on - what's the connection between accountancy software (dull) and clearing landmines (very dangerous and therefore not dull), we hear you cry? Well, it's all down to those cunning marketing types at Pegasus, who have managed to spice up the details of a supply deal they've signed with Exploration Logistics Group. We are informed that the deal will provide the logistics specialist with financial management information in multiple currencies for their medical, security, and ... wait for it ... landmine-clearing operations worldwide. So there you have it. Accountancy software isn't dull after all.
At the recent RetailVision 99 conference in San Francisco, a number of attendees noted the curious choice of hotel. Although the Hilton Hotel and Towers was plush, expensive and a nightmare to navigate due to its general hugeness, it was no more than a stone's throw from the main attractions of the city. In fact, the nearest attraction could be found by merely turning left out of the hotel and into Crack Alley, not named because of its picturesque and quaint narrowness resembling some of the streets in Paris' Ile de la Cite. No, it was more due to the huge amount of people stumbling around, mumbling incoherently. Now, this is quite obviously a dangerous amenity to have near a hotel full of the world's most powerful retailers and vendors, especially following one of the many cocktail parties and discos where the UK's high street retailers could be seen quaffing the odd alcoholic beverage or two. I mean, those poor destitutes have got enough on their plates without a gang of UK retailers nicking their shopping trolley full of recyclables and playing roller-coaster and cops and robbers on the streets of San Francisco.
Talking in a winter wonderland
PC Squealer has run so many tales of corporate jollies into the Arctic circle in the past few months, that it was starting to feel a bit left out. We've heard of the antics of Aled Miles and his favourite Symantec resellers first hand and we've seen the pictures of Kingston Technologies' Alison Heath looking divine in a sub-zero outfit with more layers than a puff pastry pie. So it was an unexpected pleasure to receive an invite to the nether regions of Finnish Lapland from those charming folk at Nokia's display products division.
It was great to finally get the opportunity to experience what practically everyone in the channel must have experienced for themselves lately. The aroma of the collected droppings of about 100 husky dogs will stay with PC Squealer for a long time. And those senior execs proved they weren't all work, work, work and charged head-on at the task of staying up into the early hours with 30 hard-core European journalists. Nokia UK marketing manager Pete Gamby should be congratulated on his diplomacy in trying to pacify a heated debate between a journo and a Finnish Nokia exec on the reason why England hasn't won a worthy international football competition since 1966. But then again, perhaps Pete has become accustomed to such duties since taking over marketing responsibility for its UK channel?
We think Europress' campaign to push 70s cartoon throwbacks the Smurfs as their latest release of educational CD-Roms is likely to be a bigger hit with parents born in the decade that style forgot, than their offspring. With the help of singing sensation Papa Smurf and his chums - whose names escape us - children and parents alike are set to be transported to the magical world of Smurf village which is 'full of hidden surprises and activities'. In fact, if they complete said tasks they can watch a magic tree grow. Talk about incentives and bonuses. The series is made up of three titles, and while we can see that young children will benefit from learning about Shapes and Colours and Number and Letters, we think they may find the more technical Memory and Logic a little difficult. Well, at least until they are out of nursery anyway.
PC Squealer predicts the release of a plethora of 70s-tastic interactive software featuring the likes of Hong Kong Phooey, Bagpuss and, inevitably, Brian Cant. It's bound to be a hit with nostalgia victims nationwide.
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