Folder switch in Windy City leaves Windows 98 scan in general shock
The Rat sent his spies to the recent Spring Comdex to see what they could see.
As usual, the cyberrodent's legions did not fail him. They managed to record some of
the events leading up to the ill-fated Microsoft Windows 98 demo during Bill Gates'
As the Rat is sure you've heard, the soon-to-be-launched operating system crashed
spectacularly while trying to operate a scanner attached to a Universal Serial Bus port.
Now we have meaningful new interpretations for what USB stands for--something along the
lines of Unrecoverable Software Bug. The Chicago event coincided with Microsoft Corp.'s
briefing to a federal appeals court about the restraining order placed on the company's
bundled distribution of Internet Explorer with Windows 95.
So the world's richest man was a little busy the previous weekend, getting briefed by
lawyers and marketeers in the trampoline room of his galactic headquarters.
That was when the furry one's spy managed to ferret his way into the ventilation
"We don't want to stress the software just yet," a Win98 engineer was telling
Bill. "We want to scan something that isn't too complex, so the scanner doesn't
overwhelm the driver with bits."
"All right," said Bill as he bounced, "put some black-and-white images
in a folder in my briefcase that meet that paradigm. Nothing robust. A smiley face, a
Dilbert strip, a photo of Steve Ballmer ... something immediately recognizable by the
audience but without too many shades of gray."
Then it was the lawyers' turn. "We're fairly confident we can get the restraint
lifted by the court," said the lead suit.
"None of the judges on the panel is a Netscape Communications Corp. stockholder.
And we have some ammunition to weaken the Justice Department's credibility on this case.
We've doctored some photos of Janet Reno and Jim Barksdale that will mysteriously appear
in the judges' morning papers. We've also taken the liberty of preparing a special version
of 'Boogie Nights.' "
Cut to Chicago. Bill takes the stage for his demo, not knowing that a flight attendant
on the plane--a Netscape counterintelligence operative--has cunningly switched the
contents of the two folders in his briefcase.
The demo engineer looks on in horror as Win98 Beta 3 goes up in flames when the scanner
tries to handle a shockingly retouched color picture of the attorney general, instead of
the high-contrast, black-and-white image of Steve Ballmer.
Meanwhile, the panel judges pick up their morning papers and gape at Ballmer fondly
embracing Jim Barksdale.
The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad packets
in cyberspace. E-mail him at [email protected].