Microsoft and Novell go kablooey, Second Life gets gooey

Sometimes even $440 million can't buy you happiness

Britney and K-Fed. J. Lo and P. Diddy. Microsoft and Novell. The marriage made in Open Source Hell may yet dissolve in public bickering over who left those dirty Linux patents on the bathroom floor. Microsoft believes its $440 million buys it an exclusive relationship with all flavors of Linux, whereas Novell sees the deal as more of an open arrangement. Both sides have agreed to disagree for now, but I bet this pairing implodes faster than Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson. If anybody releases a tape of Ballmer and Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian doing the nasty, I’m outta here.

Goo tube: Second Life got an unwelcome visit last week from Sonic The Hedgehog -- or, rather, a worm that replicated the virtual varmint’s golden rings throughout Linden Labs’ 3-D landscape. The “grey goo” attack gummed up Linden’s servers, temporarily trashing teleports, bollixing bank accounts, and causing avatars’ clothing to disappear. I don’t know what Second Lifers are complaining about -- I can’t get that much action in my first life.

Paper tiger: When Cringester Scott M. bought a laptop from Tiger Direct, he was promised an $80 rebate after he mailed a copy of the carton’s UPC label. The problem? No UPC label. Maybe it’s just a simple misunderstanding. (Tiger did not respond to requests for comment.) But judging by the volume of similar complaints on the Net, Tiger’s rebate promises appear to be toothless.

Raw deal: Cringe fan Eric R. points out I dealt poker champ Doyle Brunson a bad hand when I called him a “cardsharp,” which means someone who cheats at cards. The correct term is “card shark,” a good player who preys on weaker fish. I feel like such an ace (in the) hole.

Hold the starch: As Jeff N. was reading a Gmail from his wife about their cleaning lady, he noticed a Google ad for a cleaning service that specializes in the part of a man’s body normally removed during a bris. Apparently you can outsource that. No word on what they charge for pick up and delivery.

Send hot tips to cringe@infoworld.com and you may receive a cutting-edge bag for your troubles.

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