NOTES FROM THE FIELD: American originals

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: American originals

Amber went out last week to get the new Springsteen album. "I didn't even realise that your generation listens to Bruce," I said. She smirked at my referring to her as being of a different generation than me. "Of course we do, Cringe. He's an American original."

Potential patent problems

Speaking of questions of origin, while the Mono project pushes forward with its open-source version of .Net, a spy speculated it just might find itself facing some patent issues, looking down a gun held by none other than Microsoft. At issue is whether the open-source .Net projects will be legal or illegal for commercial use. My spy said Microsoft is deferring patent questions to the European Computer Manufacturers Association (ECMA), the standards body Microsoft put the CLI (Common Language Infrastructure) through, but getting the list of patents from ECMA has not been easy. That's not to say there are no patents, just that they are not widely known as yet. The danger in all this, my spy said, is that if projects such as Mono cannot use the CLI, its products will be rendered unable to operate on a cross-platform basis. That's not exactly in the spirit of Web services now is it?

What price Starbucks?

Another spy reports Data Junction is trying to buy its way into an award given by a high-tech news Web site, which will remain nameless because the site has nothing to do with it. To solicit votes, Data Junction e-mailed some customers, promising a free cup of Starbucks coffee. That's right: the e-mail instructs readers to go to a specific site, vote for Data Junction, request to have your results e-mailed to you, and forward them to Data Junction. Come September 20, you get a certificate in the mail to use at your local Starbucks for a free cup.

Snooping suspected

Yet another spy has reason to believe that someone is poking around Chase's network and lifting credit card numbers. My spy received a card from Chase and then decided not to activate it. Later, the spy received a call from Chase saying someone overseas was using it to pay water bills via the Internet. Chase's rep explained that after about six months, if the card is not activated but the customer doesn't complain about not getting the card, Chase activates it anyway. The thing is, because my spy never used the card, nobody even saw it other than Chase, the spy, and, um, whoever was using it to pay those bills.

Now Amber is playing Springsteen's new CD, The Rising, over and over and over. "Don't you just love this CD, Bobby?" The funny thing is, she can't even remember when Born in the U.S.A. came out.

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