Brainshare: Time Out of Mind

French diss Apple; Novell nixes demo; Vista calendaring.

The French horn shall now be known as the Freedom horn," the Gallic Grimalkin guffawed when he heard that Apple may drop out of the French market because of a law being proposed in the French parliament that would prevent proprietary music-playing technologies. If passed, the law would force Apple to open up its FairPlay DRM iTunes protection, which the company claims would result in rampant piracy in the EU. "And, henceforth, french fries shall now be known as ... um, iPod fries, yeah!" yelled the Furball, frightening fellow passengers on his flight to Salt Lake City.


The Baron of Babble was heading to Novells annual BrainShare conference. There, Spence couldnt help but feel that the Novellians may have messed up their marketing message touting the upcoming SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 as a feature-rich alternative to Microsoft Windows. Novell promised a demo of the product later in the keynote session, but the session dragged on until, like a Hollywood awards show, the wrap-up music grew louder and louder, signaling the end of the session. An obviously embarrassed Novell flack invited some of the press, aggravated by the absence of the demo, back into the hall to see the omitted presentation. Novellians then jokingly passed off the glitch as all being "part of the plan" but later claimed the keynote session ended without the demo because it would have delayed the start of the 11 a.m. sessions. "So the sessions were more important than showing the bulk of show attendees the desktop Novell is touting as a Windows killer?" one member of the press sneered.

Next, an announcer introduced "Novells vice president of Linux desktop engineering, Nat Friedman, and his partner, Guy Lunardi to the stage. Before starting the demo, an obviously testy Friedman said, "When Guy was announced as my partner, they meant product manager. I just wanted to make that clear." "Not that theres anything wrong with that," said Spence in a "Seinfeld"-esque tone.

Soon, the clarion call of the KattPhone turned up an old tech vet who made El Gato chuckle as he ranted on about how it seems most corporate cultures still dont know how to embrace the Web. Pointing out how the viral video wranglers at YouTube have reportedly been threatened by the legal eagles of the very same companies whose marketing departments have simultaneously been uploading promotional videos to the site, the crony suggested that media companies should create a new legal/marketing position: "ambience chaser." The crony also suggested that rather than Microsoft delaying any Vista releases, why not delay the start of 2007? If Bill Gates decreed that December 2006 should last, say, 131 days, hed accomplish three things: Microsoft could stop apologizing, Jim Allchin could finally retire and holiday shopping could be extended to Dec. 124. "If Bill could stop time," laughed the Lynx, "then wed still be waiting for a Windows Millennium Edition that was worth installing."

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...