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While Microsoft crashes DevCon, others dig dirty DVD

I've heard beer brewing is the favorite past time of more than a few Redmondians, but you wouldn't have known that last week.

When I'm not out dumpster diving or eavesdropping around Silicon Valley smorgasbords, I like to blow off steam by brewing my own beer. Sadly, my beers are bit schizo. My hefeweizen doesn't know if it's a pilsner, my stout tastes like an ale. I drink each glass of home-brew with a slice of lemon and an open mind.

I've heard beer brewing is the favorite past time of more than a few Redmondians, but you wouldn't have known that last week. Microsoft brought out the hired guns at a local brewery in San Jose in a valiant effort to lure programmers away from the Netscape developer conference.

The promise of a few brewskies and some pub grub on Bill's tab--and a word from the sponsor on Microsoft's push technology--drained a few geeks away from the Netscape conference. But Netscape managed to minimize the defections with a clever counteroffer of foozball and air hockey tables. Who says this industry is all about work?

While Microsoft was crashing Netscape's party, a seemingly innocent email sent from the Microsoft Network was crashing an Exchange server at another high-tech company recently. My moles tell me the company switched to Exchange for less than a week before its server choked on a message received from msn.com; the meltdown was replicated on more than one Exchange server. The company has suspended its Exchange rollout until Microsoft can fix the glitch.

For the five or six porn-o-philes who actually believe that the Communications Decency Act will pass the Supreme Court's muster, there will be a legal interactive alternative to smutty Web sites. A story from news service twice.com says that the first two X-rated movie titles in DVD format will be released July 8. All of you auteurs out there will be thrilled that the discs are the first to use the "user-selectable multiple camera angle capabilities" of DVD. I can hear the cash registers ringing already.

A little cold cash can fix all kinds of problems. For example, eTRUST, the electronic commerce and privacy coalition backed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and CommerceNet, recently renamed itself TRUSTe. According to my spies, the story behind the baffling name change is that Entrust Technologies, a division of Northern Telecom, was afraid people would confuse it with eTrust so it flexed its trademark muscles. It's pure coincidence, of course, that Entrust also ponied up some cash to become an eTRUST contributing partner. I trust we'll hear no griping from TRUSTe. Griping is in my genes. Do you want to hear less of it? Email me some juicy rumors now.