Notes from the field: HP execs zip lips, Microsoft's DRM trips

The HP spying scandal has claimed another fall guy - or, in this case, fall gal. Chief counsel, Ann Baskins, resigned after declining to testify about her role before Congress. Former spymaster, Patricia Dunn, said the long-time employee "bled HP blue ink". The good news for Baskins: her red, yellow, and black cartridges are still full, and with an exit package worth roughly $US3.7 million, so is her bank account. So far, CEO and new board chair, Mark Hurd, has managed to keep his scalp attached.

Meanwhile, reader John R wonders whether HP took its own "Go Far. Keep Your Secrets Close" ad campaign a little too seriously. By "far", they probably didn't mean prison.

V for Viodentia: Microsoft is suing an individual known only as "Viodentia" for hacking its PlaysForSure digital rights management software like a rat nibbling through a package of Cheez-Its. Viodentia's FairUse4WM software lets users who've bought content protected by Microsoft's DRM play it on non-PlaysForSure devices. Microsoft claims the diabolical fiend must have pilfered its source code, because how else could any mere mortal hack one of its products? I suspect Microsoft's real goal is to unmask the mysterious V and reveal his or her true identity ... before V blows up Parliament, or something like that.

Total Recall: Add Fujitsu, IBM/Lenovo, and Toshiba to the list of PC makers issuing recalls for Sony's red-hot batteries. For those of you keeping score at home, the total number of recalls stands at slightly more than 7 million. And that whirring sound you hear is Sony cofounder, Akio Morita, spinning in his grave.

Gender Bender: Cringestress Marlena E said a recent column in which I said some geeks "wear fake Rolexes to impress chicks" wrongly implies all IT pros are men. She's got a point. According to the Information Technology Association of America, one out of three IT workers is a chick in her own right. My apologies if I treated the fairer sex unfairly.