Life imitates art'not for the better

In 1893, Munch had a clear view of 21st century IT

The 'do no evil' crowd in Mountain View must be feeling a little like one of Edvard Munch's subjects.

Presidents Day is more than a congressionally mandated excuse for zero-percent car financing. It's more than just a federal holiday acknowledging all our past commanders-in-chief.


It's also a three-day weekend in mid-winter, just in time to ease cabin-and-cubicle fever. So, in honor of great Americans like Washington and Lincoln, the Rat and his family raced to New York to, among other things, look at the works of a dead Norwegian artist.


The Museum of Modern Art had just opened its Edvard Munch exhibit, and the whiskered one was eager to visit the works of the man most famous for his oft-stolen painting, 'The Scream.'


'Edvard must have been in tech support,' the Rat said to his wife as they contemplated a print of the 1893 painting, 'The Scream.' 'I saw a reflection like that in my monitor recently while reviewing the trouble-ticket queue.'


'I don't know, he looks more like a late-comer Google investor to me,' Mrs. Rat responded. 'Or maybe Google's vice president of marketing after last week's congressional hearing.'


Yes, the 'do no evil' crowd in Mountain View must be feeling a little like one of Munch's subjects'and we're not talking 'Mermaid' here, either. With their recent agreement with the Chinese government to censor search results on servers within their Great Firewall, Google drew comparisons to IBM's dealings with the Nazis before World War II. And with profits below expectations, Google turned into the stock market's goat of the week.


With all that bad publicity, you'd think the Googlians might lose some of their 'smarter than everybody' hubris. But you'd be wrong'just look at their latest desktop release.


In addition to revealing plans to port all its software to Linux'
either a technical thumbing of the nose at Microsoft or yet another part of Google's plot to take over the world'the company also released a test version of its new desktop search product. The Google Desktop beta, with its ability to share files , has the Rat doing his own 'Scream.' 'Just what we needed'another way to rip a hole in our security,' he groused.


While most of the wirebiter's network desktop clients are locked down tight, adding another package to block is another step toward despair'another favorite subject of Munch's.


And then there are the laptop users. 'Can you believe this guy?' the furry one fumed about one agency exec. 'He made his notebook's files searchable from his wife's PC at home so she could keep track of his schedule. Never mind that he also managed to sync his laptop with all her spyware in the process.'


'Stop right there,' his better half said. 'Hold that look.' She called, 'See any resemblance?'


'Oh, wow, Dad,' gushed the Rat's youngest, 'you look just like 'Self-Portrait in Hell.' '


The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad packets in cyberspace. E-mail him at rat@postnewsweektech.com.

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