PACKET RAT

Baby Rat follows in her dad's pawprints

The arrival of the Rat family's newest member gave the whiskered one a chance to get out of the office just as things were growing increasingly strange.

The call to action arrived while he was planting a plastic bag of W keys in an outgoing undersecretary's office [GCN, Feb. 5, Page 38].

'Might as well pin this on the departees, like everything else,' sighed the Rat as he reached for his vibrating BlackBerry pager.

Seconds later, he was tapping an e-mail alert to all affected personnel while scurrying to meet his better half at the maternity ward. He needn't have rushed.

'This download is taking longer than a QuickTime file of an Oliver Stone movie over a 9,600-bit/sec modem,' Mrs. Rat moaned hours later.

Early the next morning, the new ratling put in her appearance. 'She has your eyes,' the nurse told Mrs. Rat. 'And,' she said to the cyberrodent, 'your' tail.'

Determined to make it the best-documented birth in Internet history, the Rat set about collecting digital media of his latest offspring.

Although the hospital had balked at installing a webcam in the delivery room, he did pull some strings with the resident techies to get an Ethernet drop in his wife's room.

Soon the uploads were streaming to the baby's personal Web site: a gigabyte of digital photos, a streaming audio file of the first cry'recorded with a wireless mike in the delivery room'and 3-D renderings of various biological events. And that was just the first day.

Mrs. Rat, though pleased with her husband's pride in their new child, saw the Web site for what it truly was'a convenient excuse for avoiding the onslaught of baby-gawkers.

When the hordes of relatives descended on the first day back from the hospital, the Rat retreated to his workshop, ostensibly to upload the latest baby telemetry. He would dart out for a few moments, snap off a few dozen digital photos, then disappear for another hour behind the blast doors of his lab.

Meanwhile, his spouse was left to fend off an endless streams of baby advice and deal with the family dysfunctionals that generally accompany such events.

She finally tracked him back to his lab with the baby. 'Here,' she said. 'Take your daughter. I'm going to sleep.'

'But the idea of the Web site was that they wouldn't have to come over in person,' the Rat whined as his daughter tapped on the keyboard with her tiny prehensile toes.
'You tell them that,' his wife said.

The furry one frowned, then stared back at the monitor as he lifted his daughter to his shoulder. The frown quickly changed to a wide grin.

'Hey, dear!' he shouted after his wife. 'She just wrote her first Java applet!'

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

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