Notes from the Field: MS exec walks plank, anti-piracy program yanked

Notes from the Field: MS exec walks plank, anti-piracy program yanked

If your Internet access seems sluggish, just blame slow readers at the National Security Agency. reports the existence of a double-super-secret room at AT&T's St Louis network operations centre, which the NSA could allegedly use to tap into big chunks of US Net traffic. I understand the room is behind a moat filled with sharks with laser beams attached to their heads. Meanwhile, spooks are also allegedly harvesting info from social networking sites like MySpace, according to New Scientist, but they're just doing that to meet girls. (Memo to NSA: That's just a joke, guys. Don't hurt me.)

First Gates, now this: After 13 years of service, Microsoft veep, Martin Taylor, is looking for a new job. Microsoft declined to say why Taylor abruptly left the company the same day one of his pet projects, Windows Live Messenger, was released. However, I've uncovered the real reason: It seems a routine scan for pirated software turned up copies of "Googlers Gone Wild" on Taylor's hard drive. I hear the hot tub scene with Larry and Sergey is especially steamy.

Disc-less wonders: Dell's not the only hardware maker not shipping discs with new systems. Reader, Dennis M, claims he dropped $US47 on new Windows CDs after his Lenovo ThinkPad T41 went belly up. That was after he spent three days trying to reinstall from a boxed copy of XP. It's like one of those MasterCard commercials. Cost of manufacturing a CD: less than $US1. Cost of customer loyalty lost because you're too cheap to ship them: priceless.

Help for the (dis)advantaged: Responding to users' howls of outrage, Microsoft has changed its Windows Genuine Advantage program (so that it phones homes only occasionally instead of all the time). In related news, the NSA says it will only read every third email it secretly captures.

The year of the loon: Good news! China says it will put a man on the moon by 2024. The bad news is it will be one of the dissidents turned over by Yahoo, and China has no plans to bring him back.

Send your hot tips or XP installation discs to and you may receive a dirt-cheap Cringe bag in return.

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