It Was a Very Good Year

Of Martell, Mitnick, Macanudo, Messman.

From: spencer_katt@ziffdavis.com

Sent: Monday, December 20, 2004 12:13 AM

To: eWEEK readers

Subject: Of Martell, Mitnick, Macanudo, Messman

"And nothing has changed, and everything has changed," Spence crooned along with the David Bowie tune "Sunday," as he sat in his armchair by the fireplace, with a snifter of Martell XO in paw, and reflected on how those lyrics summed up the past year. The economy and the political climate didnt change much since December 2003, but the recent spate of mergers means December 2005 might feel very different. Adjusting his fez, the Kitty meditated on 2004s lighter moments.

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"Who let the suits in?" the Mouser mused in January as he watched LinuxWorld erupt into a catfight among vendors such as Hewlett-Packard, Novell and Red Hat, as each claimed to offer the best Linux indemnification policy against any fallout from SCOs lawsuits. The fear and loathing at LinuxWorld might have seemed like much ado about nothing if one could have fast-forwarded to the SCO Forum in Las Vegas eight months later to hear SCO CEO Darl McBride sum up the lawsuits by saying, "We may be wrong, but I doubt it." At Microsofts Security Appreciation event in February, the Gossip Gatherer heard that once-infamous hacker Kevin Mitnick was losing street cred with the security-savvy crowd, in part because his companys Web server got hacked right after its site went up.

Spence pulled a Macanudo Baron de Rothschild from his smoking jacket, cut it, lit it with his Lucienne Agni and recalled the normally sedate Novell CEO Jack Messman waxing Howard Dean-like during his keynote at Novells BrainShare in March. On stage, Messman pumped his fist and screamed, "This year, BrainShare dont need no freakin Windows!"

Drawing on his cherished stogie, Spence decided CeBIT America was not your fathers PC expo when he had spotted Cybertree Technologies booth touting the Breast Liner electronic bust massager. A few months later, attending TechXNY, the Mouser was amused that the biggest line at any booth in the Javits was for Johnnie Walker, which was there to promote its hooch. Attendees needed a good belt after noting the biggest signs in the hall were for outsourcing companies from Romania, China and the Philippines. Spence was still amused after hearing over the summer that Suns automotive electronics system had been picked up by BMW, while Microsoft announced development of a telematics system for Fiat. "Purrfect! The Ultimate Driving Machine chooses Java, but Microsoft is the choice of Fix it again, Tony," cackled the Kitty.

Spence also got a kick out of a new Wi-Fi hacking practice that emerged in 2004 called War-lounging. Apparently, by distributing worms that create global, ad hoc wireless networks, slacker hackers can now perform virtual war drives from the comfort of their parents basement. As the Baron of Babble gazed at the cooling embers, he thought that Sun CEO Scott McNealy, while speaking at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, summed up the economic state of IT in 2004 when he said, "I dont do tequila, and I dont do 40 to 60 percent growth anymore. The hangover is just too much." The Katt, however, refilled his snifter.

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Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt, the Whiskered Wonder, has been the mascot and tipster extraordinaire for eWEEK and its predecessor print publication PC Week since 1984. The Gadabout Gatto makes the rounds of...