Client likes this vendor’s financial application but wants one tiny change: The system must play a sound file when a customer’s account is brought up. It’s not easy, but programmer works it out. Then he calls to double-check with the client: “Do your users have speakers connected to their PCs?” Dead silence. “That,” says programmer, “was the end of the client’s demand for a sound file to be played.” This user’s hard drive regularly becomes corrupted, and helpdesk can’t figure out why. Then the user works late one night when the cleaning crew comes through and sees one cleaner take a huge horseshoe magnet from his pocket and run it all over his keyboard and computer. What are you doing? user asks. Cleaner brandishes magnet proudly and says, “Oh, this is great for picking up stray paper clips.”


A former Microsoft employee has been sentenced to 17 months in prison after fraudulently ordering more than $US6 million in software and then on-selling it to a third party. Kori Robin Brown, 31, was an administrative assistant in Microsoft’s Xbox division when she used her work computer to order millions of dollars worth of high-end software selling it to a third-party for between $50,000 and $100,000.


Los Angeles County is concerned that some PCs are not PC, asking computer and video equipment vendors to consider eliminating the terms “master” and “slave” from equipment because they may be considered offensive. The term “master” and “slave” — when applied to electronic equipment — describes one device controlling another. “Based on the cultural diversity and sensitivity of Los Angeles County, this is not an acceptable identification label,” according to an e-mail sent to vendors last month. The county’s 39 departments also were told to identify equipment with offensive labels. “We got a note back from IBM saying thank you for bringing this to our attention and we’ll take a look at this,” said Joe Sandoval, who wrote the memo. Sandoval is division manager of purchasing and contract services for the county’s Internal Services Department. In May, a black employee of the Probation Department filed a discrimination complaint with the county Office of Affirmative Action Compliance after noticing the words on a videotape machine. The issue was solved by putting tape over the labels and replacing “master” and “slave” with “primary” and “secondary”.

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