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Culture

Write once, run anywhere except Chernobyl

The munificence of the Redmond empire never ceases to amaze.

    Before digging this week's dirt, I need to make something perfectly clear to a gentle reader who objected to my analysis of a certain Snap exclamation point-cum-mascot. "Nice bit of self-promotion," wrote the reader. "Tie a struggling start-up venture with a titillating mention of a prophylaptic [sic], and bingo! Instant hits. A lot more efficient than those banner ads, hmm?"

    I am shocked--shocked!--to find myself accused of lapsed journalistic integrity, particularly when it comes to prophylactics. I assure you that I uphold the highest conceivable standards of rumormongering and resent being snapped at by belligerent yahoos accusing me of trying to feed traffic to some sucky Web site or another.

    Speaking of journalistic integrity, I hear that San Francisco's largest daily is throwing its fedora in the ring with yours truly and one or two other gossips to dish up the unverifiable to the gullible. Examiner expatriate and all-around good egg Tom Abate will write a column in a paper with a rich history of publishing unsubstantiated whispers and intrigue. A hearty bon courage to Tom--not that he'll need it. Because geek gossips never sleep, writing a column like this is a snap!

    Meanwhile, I can't stop thinking about that sticky intersection between sex and journalistic integrity. The other day, Trixie came to work sporting a really snappy chemise chartreuse and pointed my browser to a story claiming that 25 percent of workers are using corporate networks to satisfy corporeal urges. The story may have made for good copy, but closer inspection reveals that the study in question used obscenely sloppy methodology, since everyone in the study pool was already under investigation for making whoopie with company resources.

    More slippery figures: This week brings Skintillating statistics from Intelliquest. The number-crunchers joined forces with Microsoft, of all companies, to report that a whopping 89 percent of parents believe that computer skills are important to educational success...with a staggering 86 percent of their children agreeing with them! Quelle surprise! Now at least we know where all of Bill's R&D billions are going. To think Ted Turner would have Microsoft waste it on the U.N. The man in Atlanta has no vision.

    The munificence of the Redmond empire never ceases to amaze. At last week's IE bash, right here in Browserville by the Bay, Microsoft procured rooms for certain honored guests at Japantown's Miyako Hotel. One guest did some comparison shopping once at the hotel and found those MS-provided rooms were priced $30 over the normal business rate. So that's why Windows is so cheap! (Think about it!) Meanwhile, gipped browserhounds rallied 'round the checkout desk and got their $30 back. Let's see if Sun is so lucky.

    Which reminds me, I've been meaning to warn readers: Whoever comes out on top of their latest legal tiff, don't go running your nuclear power plants, life support systems, or aircraft control grids on Java. Both Sun and Microsoft explicitly wash their hands if you do. Poor Vermel. The atomic reactor he's been building in the backyard was really something--and now this. If these software CEOs are so big on kids, they should get out of the courtroom and get back to their dungeons to make Java more nuke-tolerant. And I pray to God they make it snappy! Got a bomb to drop? Lay it on me.