NOTES FROM THE FIELD: A mouse for your nose, Microsoft's piracy woes

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: A mouse for your nose, Microsoft's piracy woes

You know it's been a strange week when you're mulling over cellular plans for your pet. But I seem to be doing just that. Arizona-based PetsMobility Networks is developing a phone that clips to your dog's collar.

Fido can hear his master's voice and, I suppose, respond in kind. I'm not entirely convinced this is a good idea. I can just see Apache running up my cell bills with crank calls ("Do you have Alpo in the can?").

Nothing to sneeze at: Researchers in Canada have developed a mouse pointer that uses your nose instead of your fingers (but, fortunately, not your nose and fingers at the same time).

According to New Scientist, the "nouse" employs Webcams to determine the position of your schnoz, then moves the cursor as you move your head. Instead of clicking mouse buttons, users blink their eyes, leading to the inevitable question: Are you having a seizure or are you just trying to reboot Windows?

Trunk calls: Cringester Ken H. recently discovered the swiftest route to India is to call Microsoft tech support about problems with XP Service Pack 2.

In successive phone calls, he was shun-ted to "Preshant" in Mumbai and "Iqbal" in New Delhi, who both walked him through the same useless script (reboot, restore, repeat). It wasn't until he managed to get the issue escalated to the "research team" in Nova Scotia (most likely employees of Convergys, a Microsoft outsourcer) that he was able to resolve his problem. It seems the Canucks have a nose for this sort of thing.

Pirate program: Just in time for national Talk Like a Pirate Day, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation busted a ring of software counter­feiters and seized bogus Microsoft Office and Windows CDs worth $US80 million.

Apparently the feds relied on tips from long-time Microsoft users, who got suspicious when the Office software they'd just bought ran perfectly for weeks without crashing.

Not to be de-turd: My call for obscure trade shows resulted in an invitation to the Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists' Pooper Scooper Round-Up in Houston.

I guess I really stepped in that one.

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