At the end of a rough shift getting an e-mail server working again, stressed-out sysadmin goes to get a haircut. "My stylist struck up some conversation to break the ice: 'Looks like you had a long day,' says stylist. Without giving it much thought, I said, Yeah, my boss killed a server and I spent the rest of the day cleaning up the mess. Her jaw dropped. It took me a couple of seconds to realize what I had said. I guess she thought I worked at a restaurant."


This expensive engineering software suite isn't used often, so IT orders three concurrent-user licences. They arrive with a licence file and a single USB dongle. How do I use that for three users? IT asks vendor support. "You install that licence on each user's computer," support guy says, "and they can pass the dongle around when they want to use the application. Whoever has the dongle can open up three instances of the program on their PC -- though I'm not sure why anyone would want to do that."


With a buzz factor that far exceeds its market share, Apple Computer is the darling of technophiles, graphics artists, and vocal nonconformist computer users around the world. But it isn't so popular with a former employee who is filing one of the largest discrimination lawsuits filed against Apple by a lesbian.

The employee, Shaune Patterson who worked as a human resources compensation consultant has filed a complaint in San Francisco. Patterson alleges she was suspended for one month and then subsequently wrongfully terminated from her position, after she complained that her white counterparts, who were junior to her, were making higher salaries than she was. Patterson alleges that the suspension came one day after she complained of racial discrimination. She then amended her original complaint to include claims of sexual orientation and genetic characteristic discrimination. Prior to her one-month suspension, Patterson alleges that one of Apple's managers wrote a memo describing her as a "rather obese-sized, black lesbian". Her lawyer is Waukeen McCoy who was the lead plaintiffs' attorney in one of the largest ever US racial discrimination suits, Carroll v Interstate Brands Corp, which rendered a verdict for $US133 million.

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