Slay as you go
The PC Squealer team likes nothing more than to chew the cud of the IT industry. On the whole, our musings are just that - it's not meant to be prophetic. So it came as a shock to learn that just a few weeks after we discussed the likelihood of the technology rage phenomenon extending to the telephone, a German businessman was clubbed to death with a beer bottle when he refused to stop using his mobile phone in a beer garden.
According to reports, the victim received three calls and also made calls to other friends, despite being told by angry bystanders to turn the phone off. Although the attacker turned himself into the police, the German press is claiming that the incident is one of the world's first examples of mobile-phone rage. Given the number of sales people that can be observed barking into their mobiles in the boozer on a Friday night, it might not be too long, given the German incident, before a night around town becomes a bloodbath.
Rank and file server
We weren't too sure what to make of claims from the training bods at SHX. Its latest coup was a contract with the US Army in Germany. So far then, it's kudos to SHX - well done, fellas, you get a nice trip to Frankfurt. There's a catch, though. SHX is a Microsoft Certified Technical Education Centre and it'll be treating Uncle Sam's Army to courses on Upgrading to Windows 98, Windows NT 4 Administration and Windows NT 4 Core technologies. Here's where the worries start to mount. The most powerful fighting force on the planet is relying on - gulp - Windows? For what?
It presents the image of some poor young recruit getting cut off from his unit in thick jungle, but managing to radio in. "Sarge, I'm pinned down, my M-16 has jammed, I'm wounded and the enemy are advancing on my position - whadda do?" "Well, son, just wait there while I reboot this darned PC to see what Office War Assistant reckons ... " Ian Stone, commercial director of SHX, revealed that since troops had returned from Kosovo, SHX wanted to "make sure the military support staff are back up to speed on systems software before any millennium problems strike". We've all heard the rumours that armies around the world are ready to mobilise immediately following any unsavoury Year 2000 effects, but we didn't think this extended to having the infantry come in and sort out our PCs.
US president Bill Clinton was left fuming last week when it emerged that One Book, a US producer of yellow pages, printed the wrong web address for the US government ... which directs innocent users to a porn site instead of the official White House home page. While it's not inconceivable that Clinton has an interest in the seedier side of the internet's offerings, PC Squealer reckons it could all be part of a cunning plan to throw the cracker community off the scent. How? Well, it has emerged that the incorrect web addresses were also given for the Nasa home page as well as the much-infiltrated FBI website. So the message seems to be that if you print the wrong address for every sensitive website, you go a long way to overcoming your security issues.
Rock 'n' Cobol star
The revelation that Jerry Hall has been seen out with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen must send a chilling message to all supposedly cool guys throughout the world. After netting about £7m from her divorce settlement with Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, it's unlikely that ex-supermodel Jerry is interested in Allen's fortune, estimated to be about £13.7bn. But after being spotted aboard one of Allen's yachts in the South of France recently, perhaps this is a sign of a power shift among the rich and famous away from actors, rock stars and media tycoons, across to programmers, nerds and geeks. Watch out, Liam Gallagher.
Hot on the heels of exciting software releases starring such celebs as Alan Titchmarsh, gardening guru, novelist and author of the cheesiest love scene ever written, Europress has unveiled its latest secret weapon to get ahead in the big money world of garden design software. We thought that attracting Charlie Dimmock's signature was a significant coup for Europress' latest CD-Rom water garden design product, the imaginatively titled Charlie Dimmock's Water Garden Designer. But we thought it was a tad over the top to issue a press release containing no less than 20 pictures of the fiery-haired, bra-less superstar. Just how much excitement can one take?
The world became a lot darker for the guys and gals at Data General last week and it wasn't just because of the planned takeover by storage rival EMC. In a curious case of deja vu, key staff of Clariion, the storage division of DG, had already sensed that the end of their world was nigh and booked a day out with a band of intrepid liggers, aka journalists, to watch Wednesday's total eclipse of the sun from a boat in the English Channel. The event was billed as a meet and greet session, but had the potential to turn into a hello-goodbye affair if Clariion's products are folded into EMC's range as expected. The view from the channel was astounding as the once bright star was slowly shrouded in darkness, leaving only the glimmer of evidence that it had ever been there in the first place. Oh, and the eclipse wasn't bad either.
Sting's sell-out tour
It looks like Sting has put aside his save the planet routine for a while, deciding to reap some Fields of Gold by selling out big style after sealing a massive sponsorship deal with Compaq. The King of Pain will have his Brand New Day world tour propped up by $7m and oodles of kit from the Hounds of Winter. Some cynics have equated this type of commercial bending to the blatant kow-towing practised by George Michael and Madonna, while others are convinced that Satan inks all pop sponsorship deals.
Obviously, Sting's found the Bed's Too Big without someone and has decided that since he has Lost His Faith and there Ain't No Sunshine, he needs Someone To Watch Over Him. Following Compaq's scythe-like relationship with the channel, Sting would be advised to watch his back and scream Don't Stand So Close to Me every time a Compaq executive comes near. Enjoy the tour.
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