NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Cisco is shamed, Microsoft gets gamed

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Cisco is shamed, Microsoft gets gamed

I almost didn't turn in my column this week because I was so busy messing around with Google Maps. It seems if you type brothel or bordello and a post code, Google Maps spits out all kinds of intriguing results. For example, a search for cathouse and our post code turned up HP's corporate offices. They must be having quite a time since Carly left.

Dad, Can I Borrow the Source Code?: Cisco CEO, John Chambers, is sleeping easier now that the cops have nabbed the 16-year-old mastermind suspected of stealing Cisco's router source code last May. The Swedish teen is also suspected of hacking university and US military networks. I understand his parents took his Xbox away as punishment.

Did We Say Ultimate? We Meant Ultra Easy: Microsoft recently sponsored an online contest where IT pros from 20 European countries could answer security-related questions and compete for a free trip to a tech conference in Amsterdam. Microsoft called it "the ultimate IT security arena," but that was perhaps putting it a bit too strongly.

Test-takers quickly figured out that by hitting their browser's back button they could resubmit answers until they got the right one, or simply pile on points well beyond the daily maximum. After three days, Microsoft's Gatekeeper crew shut down the game, vowing to return once they'd finished wiping the egg off their faces.

Healthy, Wealthy, and ... Alright, Just Wealthy: Meanwhile, the House of Redmond has announced Windows OneCare, a subscription service offering firewall, anti-spyware, and other tools to keep your PC healthy. Microsoft is currently beta testing OneCare on its own lab rats - I mean, employees - and pricing is still up for grabs. That's like somebody selling you a leaky boat then offering to rent you a life preserver.

The Robert X Files: eBay got shut down for two hours earlier this month when its hosting provider, Qwest Communications, had a power outage. Google suffered a brief DNS outage the day before, and Comcast's DNS servers went down twice in April. Every party denies being hacked, but you gotta wonder.

My theory: That Swedish teen was a lot busier than people think.

Got hot tips or paranoid conspiracy theories? Send them to and you may cop a cool bike bag.

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