One of the most significant things about the demise of the Soviet bloc was the fact that they had lots of military hardware to get rid of. And utilising legacy hardware is what the IT channel does best.

Fortunately for friends of LAN Systems, some of that cold war investment ended up down here for entrepreneurial types to woo corporate partners wanting to impress the media and customers.

Not only did the idea of going for a quick spin in a Russian Mig 15 with a bunch of networking guys from 3Com and assorted customers appear a great way to spend a Saturday, it was also going to be something to tell the grandchildren and gloat about at dinner parties.

However, some of the shine started to wear off the whole marketing exercise when e-mails from the network distributor's Chris Nixon, self-proclaimed team captain and event organiser, began arriving.

"I understand any operations in and around a Mig 15 aircraft may lead to any and all injuries and possibly to my death," said the document I was asked to sign.

"What to wear: COTTON CLOTHING ONLY, nothing flammable," it continued. (OK, I can live with that.)But when they said they were talking about a supersonic piece of machinery built in Russia in 1954, this IT hack started to get a little more worried.

Still, what could possibly go wrong? These were trained professionals in a state-of-the-art piece of machinery. Well, it was the bee's knees a good 10 years before GMH built the EH Holden.

Apparently, it wasn't the US-busting jet we should worry about though, it was our own fragile shells that needed a bit of pepping up.

Pilots "Ray" and "Trevor" - or "Maverick" and "Goose" as we knew them - proceeded to scare the you-know-what out of us with tales of tunnel vision, blindness, lack of oxygen to the brain, hyperventilation, and fatal swallowing of tongues. Thanks for that.

And don't forget those emergency procedures, which I can assure you did not involve cute flight attendants and oxygen masks, instead we should just calmly climb out onto the wing, bums to the wind, at the steady pace of 220 kilometres an hour. Then just "pull your 'chute and do a star jump", Goose said. Sure. Not a problem.

A particularly tall 3Com lackey, whom Tabloid will be kind enough not to mention, obviously didn't practise his special breathing instructions sufficiently.

He passed out in the middle of a "dogfight" but was lucky enough not to swallow his tongue and die.

As it turned out, for us hardened journalist types the briefing session was as bad as it got.

The loops, the rolls, the fights and the pure thrill of going 900kmh had this IT hack back on the Crownies as soon as the wheels hit the ground (at about 280 kmh), regaling all who would listen of a most amazing experience.

Rugby heaven in vino veritas

The IT industry revealed its true colours last week when it turned out en masse for the official Wallabies World Cup send-off luncheon. The pick of the IT industry helped form a massive crowd numbering around 2500 and they all sat down to wait for what could only be described as "a chef's worst nightmare".

Taboid's on-the-spot reporter, very happily part of the throng as a guest of Veritas, spied two of the channel's usual suspects right in the thick of the action, paying $4750 each for one of 25 signed Wallaby jerseys up for auction on the day.

The two rugby die-hards who proudly made their way up to the stage to depart with some well-earned cash were none other than LAN Systems' Nick Verykios, and NetStar/Anite boss Kent Brooks.

In fact, special mention must be made of Brooks' charitable efforts on the day. He forked out even more hard-earned cash to pay for two tables for 16 boys from Barker College's 1st Grade Rugby team to sample a taste of rubgy glamour. Brooks' son, Shannon, was one of the star-struck rugby devotees to use the opportunity to get footballs signed by the Wallaby squad.

Joke of the week

Apparently, the Bill and Monica saga was one gross misunderstanding. On their initial meeting in the Oval Office, the President actually remarked: "Monica, I want you to hold my calls and sack my cook."

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