In his Dec. 10 column, El Gato cited a Gartner study that stated that about 25 million users are enrolled in Microsofts Passport system. The part that amused His Hirsuteness most was the studys claim that only about 7 million of those users actually realized theyre using it and that about 1 million have actually used it beyond Microsoft Web sites.
The Kitty found out just how true that 1 million figure might be when a fairly (admittedly) computer-illiterate gal pal asked him if she could use his home computer to check the denomination of a Starbucks gift card she received over the holidays. The card, which didnt specify a cash value, stated that gift balances could be checked online at Starbucks.com.
Later that evening, after the Furry Ones friend had used the Katts machine, the Kitty went to clear his cache and found three Passport cookies sitting there.
"Lucy, you got some splaining to do," the Furball fauxly fumed at his nontechnical friend. "Did you get a Passport while you were checking out your gift card amount?"
"I dunno what I did," sighed the Lynxs lady friend. "It said I should register or something while I was putting in the gift card number."
"Oops, there goes another Passport ID," groused the Grimalkin. "And not a caped crusader from the Liberty Alliance in sight."
The Kitty coincidentally heard from another Katt crony, who forwarded El Gato an e-mail from Microsoft about security issues, which addressed the tipster as "Dear Microsoft .Net Passport member."
The tattler said he proceeded to click on the member services link. It required his e-mail address and a password, which prompted him to click on the "I forgot my password" link. It asked for an e-mail address, country, state and ZIP code. After entering the info, it let him "change" his password. He then got to peruse his profile. To his chagrin, it didnt contain anything more than what he had entered right before the password "change" screen.
At least his curiosity cleared up one thing, claimed the tattler: He was now definitely a Passport member.
Gartner predicts that 40 million folks will use an ID service on at least three Web sites by 2003. So, if a potential competitor like Suns Liberty Alliance doesnt release something soon, Passport will become the single ID service provider by default.
The Puss noted a warning on his pals card: "After 12 months of nonuse, a $2 per month service fee will be deducted from the remaining balance until depleted."
"Drink up fast, friends," cackled the Kitty. "Time is not a luxury in the new millennium."
Spencer F. Katt can be reached at email@example.com.