May the Farce Be With You

Geeks vs. Nerds; free, as in pizza; blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.


Sent: Monday, August 15, 2005 12:03 AM

To: eWEEK readers

Subject: Geeks vs. Nerds; free, as in pizza; blah, blah, blah, blah, blah

Facing another sweltering week in Boston, Spencer sought a cooler place. "Its not so much the heat as the humidity, but if you cant stand the heat," clichéd the cat, "go West, young man!" That meant to LinuxWorld in San Francisco, where its always 65 degrees. Having overdosed on Vista Beta 1 the past week, Spence also wanted to get free of Microsoft, but he couldnt shake the Redmondites, who were sprinkled over the city like kitty litter, perhaps to absorb open-source spillover.


Sightseeing, the Katt went to Lucasfilms new digs at the Presidio but was turned away as tours are verboten. He did see three Microsofties walking out clad like Darth Vader and two stormtroopers. The furtive feline followed them to the Moscone Center and LinuxWorlds Golden Penguin Bowl tech-trivia contest. There, Bill Hilf, Microsofts Linux guru, and his Nerd team faced a Geek team led by Googles Chris DiBona. The Geeks beat the Nerds handily, with the Nerds not knowing stuff like when Windows 1.0 was released. They said 1984, but it was 1985. Moderator Jeremy Allison, of Novell, told the Google team they couldnt use Google Search in the contest. Turning to the Microsoft team, he said, "But you can use MSN Search as much as you like. ... It wont do you any good!" Mee-ouch!

On the street, Spence found a new Microsoft weapon against open software: free food! "Why spend 10 bucks on a burger at Moscone when you can have a free slice on Microsoft?" read a flier. The pizza in mention was being served across the street at the Moscone Pizzadelli, where Microsofties Mike Hall and Dan Javnozon were talking about embedded software. Asked why Microsoft had to "bribe" the open-source crowd with food, one exec asked why even the "kindest gesture" was misunderstood. "We just cant win," he said.

Spence fled to his hotel room, and, finding "SpongeBob SquarePants" on the tube, kicked back to check e-mail. One pal sent a link to Steve Ballmers talk at Microsofts Worldwide Partner Conference last month, which featured classic Ballmer lines as he charged up the crowd. "Weve got Lotus Notes opportunities ... coming out the yin-yang," he said. "Youve got the NetWare install base, youve got the Notes install base, youve got the NT 4.0 install base, youve got the Office install base, youve got the Exchange install base. And despite all of the hullabaloo about BlackBerrys and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah—theres only a few million of them installed worldwide." "Squidward!" cackled SpongeBob from the TV. "We already played babble like an idiot!"

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...