Did You Hear...?

What does it take to be Microsoft Corp.'s homeland security director? First off, more than 10 years' experience as a senior federal exec.

Second, a top-secret security clearance'polygraph test preferred. Third, federal contacts that can be exploited to 'establish oneself as a trusted adviser to the Office of Homeland Security staff' and 'be proactive in influencing requirements' of forthcoming requests for proposals.

They've apparently filled the job, by the way, but the name is'that's right'top-secret.

ASIC rain. Splish, splash, crunch'the sounds of Smart Dust devices drifting down onto the sidewalk. According to a Computer Sciences Corp. forecast of disruptive technologies that will change our world radically in coming years, Smart Dust devices will be the size of grains of sand but packed with sensors, processors, radios and power supplies. They will monitor weather conditions, air pollutants'and us.

'A molecular electronic device is 60,000 times smaller than the tiniest transistor,' CSC foresees. Yep, that's definitely small enough to clog up eyes and noses and about as welcome as acid rain.

Brain-boggling. According to England's Bloor Research and the University of California's Berkeley School of Information Management and Systems, the next two years will see more data created and stored than in the entire history of the world so far. Data will mushroom from 6 billion gigabytes, or 6 exabytes, at the end of last year to 24 billion gigabytes by the end of next year, they say.

Our calculator chokes on that many zeros, but we have a suspicion the real culprit is spam e-mail. Er, hmm'that's not the kind that comes to [email protected].

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