THE JOHNNY AND JIMMY SHOW
Those controversy-averse scamps at Computer Associates have decided to stick with tradition by not injecting too much controversy into their annual CA World conference this year. Former US prez Jimmy 'Give me a peanut' Carter will this year keep alive CA's penchant for wheeling out keynote speakers who were once world famous for achieving, err ... not very much actually, then disappearing into the ether as soon as they were toppled. Last year, you probably won't remember that former Prime Minister John Major (John who? - Ed) presented a keynote at the event in New Orleans. PC Squealer has been informed that bookmakers have now refused to take any more bets on next year's event being fronted by William Hague.
SEX STILL SELLS
Most of us are still waiting for the e-commerce revolution that some pundits said would take us by storm more than a year ago, but sex is still the sector which dominates online activity, according to research by market analyst Datamonitor. The group said that of the £875 million spent on products on the Web, £603 million was frittered away on adult-only material. And that figure is set to soar as Web surfers continue to realise that a few clicks with your index finger is potentially much less embarrassing than being discovered by your mum, wife or an old lady, flicking through the mags on the top shelf in your local newsagents. Datamonitor says the $1 billion industry will triple over the next five years to reach $3.12 billion in 2003. Hurrah.
SAY TRA TO YOUR TROUBLES
E-commerce may not be chugging along at the speed that some would have predicted, but it is hard to deny the elevated role that the humble PC now plays in our lives - and the accompanying frustration that invariably follows. This year, we've already documented the growing phenomenon of network rage (PC Dealer, 3 March), but it appears that technical glitches and the odd hang-up may affect more than just network managers. As if we didn't know already, Compaq is bringing this problem to our attention with some research that unsurprisingly concludes 'verbal and physical abuse of PCs is a common occurrence in the work place'. So tell us something we don't already know. Well, to lend some credibility to this exercise in stating the obvious, Compaq has now formulated the acronym TRA (technology-related anger) to help us all cope with the stress of it all. We're sure that'll be a big comfort. The research even goes so far as to suggest that computer rage is now more prolific than 'the commonly known' road rage, and adds that 'two in five blame computer jargon for exacerbating the issue'. This startling statement comes from the same jargon-aware organisation whose PR company just this week issued a press release that included the everyday term 'Web-tone availability'. Anyway, now we all know that Compaq understands the idiosyncrasies of computer hell, we can all expect its machines to be completely hassle (and jargon) free. But if you know any different, please don't hesitate to let us know ...
- ... then again, you have to ask whether Compaq has put computer rage into perspective alongside that other terrible modern phenomenon - lawnmower rage.
Yep, European environment ministers are considering reducing the maximum noise level for more than 50 types of garden machinery as greenfingered goings-on continue to touch tetchy neighbours' raw nerves. Gardening guru Alan Titchmarsh said recently that he thought modern gardens sounded like motorways, and a representative for the Noise Abatement Society said noise pollution was a huge problem, adding that 'a lot of people go into the garden to relax'. And presumably to get away from the stress of their home computers for a few minutes.
CARDIES OFF - LET'S PARTY!
For those of you recovering from Comdef, we thought we'd try to make you feel better by pointing out that being trapped on a boat with 500 fellow professionals (?) for three days with nothing but alcohol to block out the suffering is likely to be nothing compared to the misery of airports worldwide as we approach the new millennium. According to a Sunday Times investigation, airports in Paris, Spain, Italy and Luton may be unable to achieve bug compliance by the end of the year, and are rumoured to be on an 'at risk' list drawn up by the International Air Transport Association.
The airport at Naples in Italy doesn't expect to complete the work until June next year and the BAA, the British airport authority, has described some situations as 'worrying'. With flight disruptions restricting departures from the UK and bar closures in the UK due to a lack of staff, your best bet might be a quiet evening in with a big mug of Horlicks and your favourite Val Doonican LP.
DEVILISH DESKTOP OUT ON A LIMB
Bix, a specialist CAD reseller, has taken a rather novel approach to the press by using images of death to promote its latest products. A recent press release about the 'object printer' claims to make a plastic model out of whatever has been designed on the desktop. The accompanying picture is enough to send a shiver down Freddie Kruger's spine, revealing that the magical machine could also double as an altar for the black arts. Resting on the embodiment of evil was a skull, half a leg and what looked like an air freshener, but could be an as yet unidentified human organ. On closer inspection it is also absolutely clear that through the window of the evil apparatus you can see Elvis and definitely Lord Lucan. Look closely.
It sounds fascinating, though - a machine that makes a model of whatever you've got on your desktop? You could make a model of anything like ... well, we'd better not go in to that, but it would certainly take the old 'photocopying bits of your anatomy' gag to another level.
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