Using electronic agents as eyes and ears keeps the furry one keyed up
The Rat has detected a distinct thickening in the atmosphere of
paranoia inside the Beltway.
He is acutely aware that feeling paranoid doesnt necessarily mean somebody
isnt out to get him.
Just ask the hordes of angry agency users looking to get a hold of a piece of his furry
To cover his tail, the Rat has been forced to deploy an elite platoon of allegedly
intelligent electronic agents that act as his eyes.
His agents may not be quite as sophisticated as the Smithsonian Institutions
Minerva robot tour guide at http://www.si.edu/lemelson/minerva.htm.,
but the whiskered one certainly places as much faith in them as he does in the Drudge
One of the Rats silicon minions recently got sucked into the ductwork of a
downtown Washington office building, and it happened to pick up audio from a meeting on
the floor above. Using the finest in voice-recognition freeware, the autonomous agent
transcribed the following:
This investigation of the vice presidents phone habits is getting too hot.
Cant we blow up some terrorists or something? asks a female voice.
No, maam, replies a male underling. The president already did
A corncob pipe is slammed noisily down on a desk. Drat! Well, lets see what
other targets for national disdain we can come up with. Whats Bill Gates doing this
Um, let me look at the surveillance logs, says another voice. There
were some vague threats made to Andy Grove at Intel Corp.
I thought he retired.
No, maam, that was just a cover story, says another voice.
Hes working for us now as a special agent.
Thats convenient. So what kind of threats were made?
Lets see. Paper shuffles rapidly. Here we go. Quote: My
lawyers can beat up your lawyers. If you dont do what I say, Im taking my
operating system and going home.
Hot dog. When is he scheduled to be deposed on the Windows 98 thingy?
Were still working that out with his scheduling people, comes yet
another voice. They say it cant be any time before something called
A slightly more industry-aware assistant chimes in, After election day.
That wont do, we need to move things faster. Lets start a
full-fledged investigation of these, uh, threats, and leak them right away. What else do
Well, theres a lot on the tapes about something called COM+ and Windows NT
5, and some screaming about somebody called Jim Allchin.
COM+? Whats that?
Some kind of programming doodad, says the trade-savvy assistant.
No, it sounds like a code word to me, says another. Maybe some sort
Whatever you think of it, dont write me a memo, says the female
voice. I dont want it subpoenaed by Congress. Hmm, a COM+ conspiracy. Say,
could COM be short for communist?
If it is, then the entire Internet is communist. Everything is something dot
Then this could be bigger than I imagineda communist conspiracy to take
over the Internet, and this NT 5 as the signal for worldwide revolution. The
assemblage sits quietly for a moment.
Gee, look at the time, someone mutters. Gotta run.
Dont go anywhere, mister, orders the ringleader. In my legal
opinion, weve got enough for a warrant. Get me the judge.
The furry ones agent was at that moment blown out the exhaust of the
buildings ventilation system, landing on Ken Starrs limo. Before being cited
for obstruction of justiceand trafficthe agent beamed back this report to the
Rat via spread-spectrum burst transmission sent in Basque and Pig Latin.
The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad
packets in cyberspace. E-mail him at email@example.com.