NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Dumb, dumber and dumberest events of 2003

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Dumb, dumber and dumberest events of 2003

Yes, 2003 was a banner year for sleaze and stupidity. To honor the worst of the worst, I hereby present the first annual awards for Greed, Underhandedness, and Ineptitude, aka the GUIs, or Gooeys, as I like to call them. Winners will receive bronze statuettes of a weasel gnawing on a hard drive. So without further ado, here are this year’s worthy contenders.

Weapons of Mass Delusion Award: Goes to The SCO Group for its efforts to intimidate companies into licensing its software by threatening them with lawsuits. Like a certain deposed dictator, SCO has done an excellent job of hiding the evidence.

Snidely Whiplash Award: Goes to the RIAA for suing file swappers too young to drive. Next I understand they’re going after nursery schoolers for downloading illegal copies of Barney’s Greatest Hits.

Straight Shooter Award: Goes to Larry Ellison, for his threats to swallow PeopleSoft and shoot CEO Craig Conway (but spare his dog).

Conway and canine later showed up at a PeopleSoft conference wearing bulletproof vests. Memo to Larry: When taking aim, remember that Conway is the tall one without the flea collar.

Bart Simpson Overachiever Award: Goes to the US Federal government, whose Internet security procedures received failing grades from Congress for the fourth consecutive year. Agencies receiving a grade of “F” included the Departments of Energy, Justice, and Homeland Security. After the report was issued, DHS head, Tom Ridge, was forced to stay after work and clean the chalkboards.

Gandhi But Not Forgotten Award: Goes to the many companies that moved their IT or support departments offshore and then instructed employees to lie about their location. Please stand up and take a deep bow; now hold that position while we present your statuettes.

Finally, I’d like to present a special Lifetime Achievement Gooey to Microsoft. Whether filling SCO’s coffers with licensing fees, packing its software with dozens of easily exploitable security flaws, or including swastikas in one of its Office fonts, the Bad Boys from Redmond are an endless source of inspiration to geeks the world over. Thanks, now for 2004.

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