Here is a good reason why IT support cannot be handled remotely. User complains that the data he’s entering into the database is disappearing. IT checks, and sure enough, for every new entry the user makes, an old one vanishes. Show me what you’re doing, IT says. “Sure,” says user. He pulls up an existing record, selects “edit” and starts entering new customer information. Why are you editing instead of adding a new record? asks perplexed IT. “Oh, I used to but this way is much faster,” says user.


The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) continues to hunt down evil-doers engaged in music piracy but their zealous means continue to baffle GBU. As readers know from last week’s column, the RIAA recently took action against a 12-year-old girl, one of 261 defendants being sued. More recently they charged a 66-year-old grandmother who allegedly downloaded the rap song I’m a Thug. However, Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyer Cindy Cohn had the charge withdrawn after proving the woman uses a Macintosh which cannot run the software needed for the Kazaa file-sharing service. The woman was using an ISP that does not assign IP addresses to any one user, which created the confusion.


A lawsuit alleging that IBM overlooked higher-than-usual incidences of cancer among workers at its manufacturing facilities should be dismissed, the company has argued in the Superior Court of California. Four plaintiffs charge that IBM concealed evidence of “systemic chemical poisoning” among workers at its former plant in San Jose, said Richard Alexander, of Alexander, Hawes & Audet in San Jose. IBM sold the plant to Hitachi last year when it sold its hard-drive business. If the motion to dismiss is not granted, jury selection for the trial is set to begin later this month. More than 100 cases are pending against IBM and other chemical companies claiming that chemicals and materials used in the manufacture of semiconductors, hard drives and circuit boards caused abnormal medical problems among IBM employees. The plaintiffs allege that four people in the case developed forms of cancer after working at IBM, and other IBM workers at plants around the US have endured unusual rates of cancer and birth defects.

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