Offend Republicans and Democrats? Me? Don't mind if I do

The Rat took plenty of heat for his list of things to do during a government shutdown [GCN,
Jan. 22, Page 58]. His suggestions apparently have struck some of the more ditto-headed
among us as slams against the Republicans in Congress.


Having always been an equal-opportunity offender, the Rat cringes at the thought of
being considered a mouthpiece of the liberal media. He doesn't even have a spit valve.


Fortunately for the Congress and the White House, the arrival of the presidential
primaries has pushed the budget fight onto the back pages. Absence of a budget has brought
some positive impact--seems like eons since anyone has heard anything from Vice President
Gore's office. Perhaps he's trying to figure out how much government will be left to
reinvent or which font to use on his resume.


Meanwhile, the U.S. government is rapidly closing in on the world's record for
budgetless operations, set by yours truly's ex-wife. With continuing resolutions in place
and the primary season under way, we'll probably see the budget passed sometime after Pat
Buchanan is sworn in.


The government isn't the only organization that can't seem to get anything done without
new leadership. Apple Computer's MacOS licensing deal with Motorola apparently was in the
works for a long time but didn't solidify until there was a change at the top.


Word of an agreement by Apple to license IBM's AIX operating system for servers has the
Rat scratching his head. Announcements don't generate revenue--if they did, Philippe Kahn
would be richer than Bill Gates.


Apple's deficit spending last quarter, though not big enough to inspire a federal
bailout, certainly has worried the Mac users in government--all five or six of them.


One fed with a furrowed brow told the Rat her agency had held off buying any new Apple
systems because of worry about the company's staying power. That startled the Rat--holding
up a purchasing decision based on financial performance? Considering the government's
track record with Desktop III, that would seem like a reason to buy even more Macs.


Despite these woes, Mac users have less to be upset about than users of xBase database
managers like Microsoft's FoxPro.


The only thing Microsoft could do to make it plainer that FoxPro is on the way out
would be to appoint Dr. Kevorkian as product manager. Microsoft continues to invoke the
doctrine of plausible deniability, which Bill Gates apparently purchased the rights to
from the Nixon estate, but word continues to filter out of Redmond that FoxPro will be
merged into Visual Basic after the next version.


The Rat is surprised that Bill hasn't already turned this into some sort of marketing
hype. His usual spin doctors must be busy working with Bob Dole.


Speaking of spin, that's what the Rat's head is doing from all the bad coffee names
being tagged onto Java-related products. There's Latte, Expresso and now, thanks to Argus
Systems Group, there's Decaf security software that allows Java applets to use the local
operating system while keeping them from harming it.


Next thing you know, Groupe Bull will come out with French Roast.


The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad
packets in cyberspace.



inside gcn

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