NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Geeks board big boat, SCO barely stays afloat

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Geeks board big boat, SCO barely stays afloat

Complaints about misbehaving Quicken and TurboTax software keep pouring in, along with theories about what's behind the mess. So far readers are split between Intuit's less-than-stellar coding skills and a nefarious scheme by a large software company with a vested interest in hobbling its competitors. I'm betting more on ineptitude than intrigue.

Where's Gopher? Taking offshoring to its logical limit, entrepreneurs David Cook and Roger Green announced plans to buy an old cruise ship, park it just outside US territorial waters and stock it with 600 software engineers. They hope this Love Boat for geeks will circumvent visa hassles for foreign-born engineers and help tech executives avoid 22-hour flights from San Francisco International Airport to Bangalore. When not coding, engineers can play shuffleboard or go for romantic moonlit strolls. No word on whether they've hired [The Love Boat's] Captain Stubing as pilot.

Delisting? Delovely. SCO has avoided getting booted off Nasdaq by finally filing its 2004 paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Fans of SCO Court TV are still waiting for the firm to file evidence in its suit against IBM. However, there's no truth to the rumour that CEO, Darl McBride, is taking SCO's engineering team on an extended sea cruise.

Totally Spies: What do you get when you mix a brand-new hard drive with a fresh install of Windows XP Pro? A dozen pieces of spyware. That's what reader Steven C found when he scanned his hard drive with Lavasoft's Ad-Aware after the install. The spies were Windows Registry entries for Alexa, a Web-tracking tool tied into IE's Related Links feature. Microsoft killed Related Links in Service Pack 2, shortly before releasing its own anti-spyware package. A coincidence, I'm sure.

Update This: Cringesters are awash in bogus emails that claim to be reminders to run Windows Update but end up installing malware. In other words, users are being nagged by Microsoft to install software that turns their systems into zombies under someone else's control. Sounds like a typical day at the office to me.

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