Microsoft's tool name change? Machiavelli, Michelangelo or flu?

The Rat managed to avoid catching the Michelangelo virus this year, but one of the
ratlings brought home a potent case of the Rodent Flu over the vernal equinox.


Apparently the Rat wasn't the only one in a decongestant haze, judging by what came out
of Microsoft's developer conference in San Francisco last month.


Skimming press releases to the sounds of the Rikki Lake show (daytime television is the
best cure for the flu. Even germs can't stand it), this Rodent was astonished to learn
that Microsoft has changed the name of its component technology yet again.


First we had VBXes, the add-on gadget standard for Visual Basic controls. When they
went 32-bit and became usable in other development tools and database applications,
Microsoft renamed them OCXes, for Object Linking and Embedding custom controls. A few
weeks back, Microsoft started just calling them OLE controls.


In a clear attempt to befuddle and stupefy Windows developers, Microsoft has renamed
the suckers again. Now they're ActiveX controls. Eh? What? The Rat hasn't heard a less
inspired name for a software product since Taligent's Pink ceased breathing.


The Rat's flu-fuzzied brain quickly began deciphering this marketing maneuver, knowing
it must signal a deeper, more diabolical plan. As another Thighmaster commercial came on,
the Cyber-rodent searched the paranoid recesses of his mind.


Why ActiveX? Was there significance in the Active part of the name? Was the change a
smokescreen, an illusion of Internet action? No, the Rat thought through pounding sinuses.
That was too simple.


Perhaps there was some significance in the ActiveX trademark--was Bill expanding into
other merchandising schemes? ActiveX ActiveWear, maybe? Just the thing for developers to
wear in the trampoline room.


Looking for a historical reference, the Rat wheezed his way to his keyboard and brought
up Scope Systems' Today in History page at http:/ /www.charm.net/~scope/today.html.
ActiveX was born on March 12, the same day as the Girl Scouts. Is Bill planning to seed
the world with ActiveXes through the Cookie Distribution Channel?


This isn't the first time the Rat has detected patterns of conspiracy in Microsoft
activities. He has received evidence by e-mail that adding the ASCII values of either of
the character strings "Windows 95"or "MS-DOS 6.21" produces the result
666. Is that diabolical or what?


Furthermore, Microsoft's Internet announcement presaging ActiveX came on Dec. 7, Pearl
Harbor Day, and Bill's wedding took place in Hawaii. Connection?


Was that grass-skirted wedding party on Lanai really a cover for a ceremony to summon
an ancient Polynesian software god and sacrifice on-time delivery of Windows 95?


Was Bill trying to corner the Hawaiian coconut market so he could implant subliminal
messages to "Buy Microsoft Bob" in every box of Caramel DeLite cookies sold by
the Girl Scouts?


Even in his currently altered state, the Rat couldn't stretch reality that thin.
Draining his last cup of mentholated mocha, he passed out into a dream of a grass-skirted
Bill Gates leading an army of software daemons in Girl Scout uniforms, all bearing boxes
of Microsoft Windows Thin Mints.


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


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