Wi-Fi Wanderlust

Many fish RNC for Wi-Fi links but in vain; Ballmer declares searchkrieg.

From: spencer_katt@ziffdavis.com
Sent: Monday, September 6, 2004 12:02 AM
To: eWEEK readers
Subject: Many fish RNC for Wi-Fi links but in vain;
Ballmer declares searchkrieg

Spence escaped from the Big Apple before the RNC could get into full swing. The organizers security decision to ditch Wi-Fi access inside Madison Square Garden made bagging the incommunicado convention a no-brainer for the connection-craving Kitty. On his way out, the Beast of Bandwidth noted that activist groups outside the event were setting up all kinds of mobile Wi-Fi hot spots for protesters. Spence sat down beside a placard, and soon the freeloading Furball was back online. Indeed, for a Katt with a laptop, it was hard not to be. Newbury Networks claimed that itd sniffed out more than 7,000 WLAN devices—63 percent of which were access points—in a 2-hour drive through the city.

Spence was glad he was on the outside of the Wi-Fi-free fest for another reason: the trial opening of the midtown Meow Mix Café, where he ordered a hearty helping of Filet Meow. From there, the footloose feline flitted all the way back to Beantown, where he was amused to find that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was in the Hub to speak to the Mass. Software Council. Ballmer brayed before the Brahmins that he was "hellbent" on Microsofts becoming the market leader in search technology. The hairless bigwig also stated that Redmond had previously "underinvested" in the search market and shouted out to the crowd that Microsofts mission to overtake Google and Yahoo will be "a lot of fun for you to watch." Bills benevolent buddy also bestowed more than $400,000 in Microsoft products on The Timothy Smith Network, a Boston charitable organization striving to improve the technological competency of inner-city residents.

The Baron of Babble had retired to one of his favorite eateries for a bowl of "chowdah" when he spied a security maven who said AOLs Nullsoft division just issued a patch for a vulnerability in its Winamp media player. Apparently, the skinning feature, which lets users customize graphics in the software, had become an open door for spyware and Trojans installed by attackers who have exploited an XML document in the file. Spence made a note that the only way to enjoy safe listening might be to dust off his trusty portable turntable and spin his much-used-but-still-playable 45s.

El Gato had just jumped in a cab to head home when The Bee Gees "Ive Gotta Get a Message to You," the KattPhones latest ring tone, blared from his blazer. The caller claimed Google is considering creating an IM service to accompany its Gmail initiative. Before retiring to his litter box, Spence checked his e-mail, turning up a pals note that speculated on whether Redmonds MOM 2005 might be the mother—or mother-in-law—of Microsofts Bob, circa 1995. "Mmm, I always assumed they were both the absentee parents of poor, abandoned Clippy," 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...