To Vegas and Beyond

El Gato picked up his bags from the carousel at McCarran and braced himself for the dreaded cab corral.

El Gato picked up his bags from the carousel at McCarran and braced himself for the dreaded cab corral. But—surprise! He had his pick of fare-starved cabbies, eager to shuttle him to his pseudoswanky digs at the Hard Rock Hotel, where the paper-thin walls provided easy listening for items of interest—including tips.

The paucity of people made him think back to when tech journals embedded more reporters in Las Vegas for N+I than thereve been covering Operation Iraqi Freedom. One optimistic vendor accounted for the low attendance by gleefully informing Señor Katt that there were no tourists at N+I this year—only well-qualified buyers. "Insert your own Baghdad Bob joke here," mused the Mouser.

The show folks claimed that attendance was up for the paid tutorials—which may lend credibility to the qualified-buyer theory. On the other hand, when the organizers removed half the seats in the keynote hall, no doubt to make it appear more full after a less-than-capacity turnout for Ciscos John Chambers, there was enough empty floor space to hold a Lambada contest.

Indeed, the Furball was shocked to see Chambers saunter unescorted to the press area and ask journalists if they had questions theyd like answered. The Katt had flashbacks of a Comdex keynote about five years ago when the Windy West Virginians handlers almost wrestled an eWEEK editor to the floor for attempting to ask their sacred superstar CEO a question backstage.

Later, as Spencer fueled the local economy at the blackjack tables, a Katt crony whispered that BMC is in discussions with Identify Software to license the latters black-box technology for inclusion in BMCs Remedy help desk software. The tipster wasnt sure if the discussions would end with a simple swap of Insight IP for swag or if BMC was interested in buying the whole can of tuna.

The next morning, his hungover Hirsuteness hopped on a plane to Beaverton, Ore., to check out what was cooking with developers of the 2.5 Linux kernel. After several Bloody Marys, he conjured visions of the old Oregon Trail computer game—and was happy to see when he looked out the window there werent scores of scarlet fever victims and provision wagons being swept down streams. In Beaverton, an insider at IBMs Linux Technology Center told the Kitty that the latest challenge there has been how to keep and reward programmers when they find out the code theyve worked on doesnt always make it to the Linux development kernels. "They sound as temperamental as rumor columnists," cackled the Kitty, who similarly hates it when editors cut his stuff.

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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...