Tech Pulp Fiction: I, the Kitty

Tipsters Spillane their guts; social networking on aisle three

It was a hot, sweltering day in Beantown. The Katt had just heard that Mike Hammer scribe Mickey Spillane had bought the farm, but the Tawny Titan couldnt afford to take time to mourn—he had tech gossip to sniff out. Hearing a police siren behind him, the Kitty cut the wheels of the KattMobile to the curb. As the cruiser passed, Spence smirked, and assumed the blue knights were off to assist yet another "vishing" victim. Word was that the latest identity theft scam has been dubbed "vishing," where the crooks use a phony VOIP number—rather than a faux Web link, as in phishing—to trick poor saps into verifying their personal info. "Call any number but the one on your account statements, and youll end up sleeping with the vish," mused the Mouser.


The diligent Drudge traveled on to a local watering hole called Bambinos. Inside, the Furry One greeted a tall Texan who was in town on business. Tossing back boilermakers, Tex told El Gato that Dell shareholders are looking for the computer maker to pay out dividends and that, for the first time in the companys history, shareholders will vote on the question. Dells position is that stock buybacks are preferable to the dividend proposal spearheaded by Dell shareholder Linda Stone-Bush, said the Texan techie. "Well, Dell probably wants to put its dough back into the biz," said Spence, noting that the company plans to open a Dell store in Dallas soon, followed by a New York store later in the year. "Yeah, but it sounds like the same setup Dell tried with Sears," said Tex. "Youll have to place your order on a kiosk in the store and have the PC delivered." Doesnt sound very "direct" for retail, thought the Tabby.

As the Texan connection picked up the tab for the drinks, he left the Katt with a tip that Gateway is launching a new tech support center that will bring 130 jobs to North Sioux City, S.D. Driving back to the office through a thunderstorm, the Puss reluctantly picked up a call on the KattPhone. The caller was a Mac daddy who said Apple may announce movie downloads at its upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference. "I bet theyll be movie rentals, not keepers," balked the Baron of Babble. The caller also told the Kitty that Wal-Mart is launching a social networking site called "Mmm, Im guessing all the posters will list Dueling Banjos as their favorite song," cackled the Kitty.

Back at the office, the Rumormonger said goodnight to the cleaning crew and took a long pull from the bottle of Johnny Walker on his desk. Cruising the Web, the Katt was amused to see that a blogger named Wil Shipley has written an open letter to Bill Gates challenging the Microsoft chairmans recent statement that theres an 80 percent chance Vista will ship by January. Shipley, a software writer for, wrote: "Im willing to risk $10,000 of my money against $30,000 of yours that you do not ship Vista by January." Wishing to get a piece of the action, the Katt called his bookie. "Hey, Vinnie, I think I finally found a sure thing," purred the Puss.


And dont forget me at

Spill your guts at, or give the Katt a howl at 781-938-2627.

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...