A Slot in the Dark

A one-armed bandit dumps airfare into Spence's lap.

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"Go wild?" pouted the near-penniless Puss as he noted the slogan for the Rio Hotel, where the Gartner Outsourcing Summit was under way in Las Vegas. "I cant even go home." Spence had cashed in his return airline ticket trying to prolong his stay in Vegas and was now desperately attempting to at least break even by winning back his lost airfare at the slot machines. His Hirsuteness had retreated to the casino after becoming depressed at the results of an electronic snap poll attendees were given at a Gartner session. Asked to indicate their major concerns with offshore outsourcing, ranging from cultural issues to domestic layoffs to bad press coverage about their company sending jobs overseas, attendees voted bad press coverage as their least important concern by a significant margin.

The roving casino cocktail waitresses made him feel lots more valued than the poll had, but the Furball still felt anxious as he pumped more nickels into the slots. As his fate failed to line up evenly inside the money-munching machine, a flash of brilliance spurred him to call his editor to say he should stay in Vegas to cover the upcoming Computer Associates annual user conference. Martin Taylor, Microsofts platform strategist and its point man on Linux and open source, will address CAworld on Microsofts shared-source programs. It could be interesting, mused the Mouser, as there have been rumblings that CAs embrace of Linux and open-source software across its product lines has ruffled Redmondites. Spencers editor angrily pointed out that covering CAworld would bring the Howard Hughes-like Hairballs Vegas stay to a month. The Kitty countered that he could investigate whispers that interim CEO Kenneth Cron has made Sanjay Kumar a special projects developer, roiling the CA development corps. "You didnt need an Oracle to predict that," shot back the editor. "But Bill Cosby will be speaking there," whined the wayward wiseacre to the empty dial tone.

As Spence tried to decide which one-armed bandit would take his last few shekels, two business types were chatting about next weeks SunNetwork conference in Shanghai, China. The Katt began pushing money mindlessly into a machine as he overheard his slot neighbors describe a major identity management announcement at the event in which Suns eight products will be converged to three. Spence quit listening when he realized his last pull on the lever had flooded enough cash into his lap to buy a flight home. As the Kitty hailed a cab for McCarran, he got a BlackBerry message from a Katt crony who said JBoss head honcho Marc Fleury was taking mucho heat from angry Java and open-source folks for allegedly posting promotional and competition-bashing messages under pseudonyms on popular Java discussion sites. "I wonder if this will dim their faith in Net postings," laughed the Lynx. "Like the anonymous book reviews on Amazon."

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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...