El Gato Basks in a Very Good Year for Tips

On the chilly eve of the Winter Solstice, Spencer once again found himself curled up in front of the fire, postulating on the future.

On the chilly eve of the Winter Solstice, Spencer once again found himself curled up in front of the fire, postulating on the future. For added inspiration, he pulled out this years Litter Box from under his club chair and relived this years best tips.

In his Feb. 11 column, the Kitty noted that a huge Super Bowl ad campaign may have backfired a bit for AT&T Wireless mLife site. The ad-driven visitor surge was more than the site could handle. Folks unable to access the site during the game found only a technical difficulty notice with phone numbers offering immediate assistance. One number mistakenly connected callers to a Wal-Mart pharmacy.

How many senior exec resignations does it take to put a CEO in the hospital? "At least four," mused the Mouser. It seems Spencers prediction in his Feb. 18 column that key operators would be leaving Novell became fact by March 11. The stress rocked CEO Jack Messmans world—he was rushed to the hospital with chest pains after his top execs left.

"DOS still rules ... at least at the Fed" was the headline of an April 1 column that found El Gato wondering whether anyone else had noted the Federal Reserves announcement to bankers that its FedLine service had discontinued plans to adopt Windows NT. More than 10,000 financial institutions use the DOS-based FedLine to transfer billions of dollars daily.

July 22 found the Furball speculating on whether CMGI, whose shares had plummeted from $160 to less than $1, might be looking for a way out of its stadium-naming sponsorship deal with the New England Patriots. Two weeks later—Hello, Gillette Stadium!

In his Aug. 5 column, Spencer alerted readers to an e-mail scam to trick Ubid members into coughing up passwords. The fake e-mails were sent to members under the subject line "Ubid—security, please follow instructions." The e-mail contained a link to a bogus Ubid Web site that asked visitors to enter their log-in and password. Just a few weeks ago, eBay reportedly encountered the same scam.

El Gato predicted in his Sept. 9 report that financially troubled Peregrine Systems would spin off its Remedy division and that BMC Software was the most likely suitor. Sure enough, two weeks later Peregrine announced that it was filing for Chapter 11 and that BMC would acquire the Remedy unit for $350 million.

All this said, nothing was totally predictable in 2002. "Next year, help me think outside the litter box once again," cackled the Kitty.

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...