Dell Plays It Safe With Dr. Evil

The company bets on DataSafe and a faux villain at CES.


Hey, is that Steve Ballmer sharing the stage at CES with Michael Dell?!?" pondered the Puss. The Kitty, who was in the City of Lost Wages to attend the International Consumer Electronics Show, soon realized it wasnt the glabrous Microsoft CEO but rather a Dr. Evil impersonator blithering about as Dell touted his companys new DataSafe backup application. "I can do a better impersonation of Austin Powers nemesis than this guy," groused the Grimalkin. "And I wouldnt be caught dead in such fake rubbery ear and scar prosthetics, either."

As Dell went on to chide his tech rivals for not offering free recycling programs to consumers and challenged the telecom industry to step up in-home fiber installations, the clarion call of the KattPhone broke the Rumormongers Mike Meyers reverie. "Im the Katt Man, need the info—throw me a frickin bone here," said Spence to the caller, who turned out to be an old Penguinista pal. The pal claimed that Linux watchers are wondering if JBoss founder Marc Fleury, currently on paternity leave, might be planning to fly the coop. Several comments from the outspoken Fleury, many of them in a November eWEEK interview with Senior Editor Darryl K. Taft prior to Fleurys leave, have fueled speculation that Fleury might be so disillusioned with Red Hats commitment to JBoss since it acquired his company that he might not return. "Well, the Jokers always wild," laughed the Lynx, recalling Fleurys infamous 2004 ServerSide Java Symposium keynote, which found Fleury in full Batman villain attire.

The pal also noted that Oracles Unbreakable Linux support scheme hasnt seemed to have had much impact on Red Hats earnings so far. In fact, Red Hat seems to be pushing right along, opening a new development center in Brno, Czech Republic, and announcing a radical new test version of Fedora, which should be available by Jan. 23, the pal said.

Bidding his phone pal adieu, Spence headed out of the Las Vegas Convention Center and found himself trapped in a Comdex-like cab line. "Did you hear about MyBlogLog?" asked a heavyset gent in the taxi queue behind the Kitty. "Back off, bub, Ive got pepper spray, and Im not afraid to use it," retorted the Tabby. "No, I mean did you hear about Yahoos acquisition of, the blogging-

community Web site?" said the Puss pudgy new pal. "Oh, yeah," cackled the Kitty. "They paid $10 million for a MySpace clone with blogging tools, no?"

Soon, the Furball found himself watching the fountains at the Bellagio hotel, where folks were buzzing about Microsoft and AMD announcing a collaborative contest that features a trip into space as the grand prize. Details for what the two companies are calling an "online and offline collaborative puzzle game" can be found at "Mmm, Microsoft offering to blast people into space, eh?" mused the Mouser. "Im guessing Steve Ballmer probably has a long list of folks hed like to see win and be whisked off the planet … the Google guys, Linus Torvalds, Steve Jobs …"