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12/15/2006
03:30 PM
John Soat
John Soat
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IT Confidential: A Holiday Gift List For A Deserving Industry

Who's been naughty, who's been nice, in the computer industry?

Dear Santa Claus Representative of the Holiday:

I’m writing you with a list of gift ideas for the deserving people involved in the computer industry. (You still do that gig, right? Fly around the world and hand out gifts? Given the increasing level of animosity, and the proliferation of shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missiles, I wouldn’t blame you if you gave it up.) It’s been a tough year for the industry, what with the stock-option scandal and the Hewlett-Packard investigation, and almost everyone could use a little holiday cheer. So, here are my gift suggestions:

1) Sets of handcuffs--sans keys--to all data managers, executives, and support personnel with access to their companies’ hundreds of thousands of records of customers’ personal data, with instructions on how to hook the handcuffs to their laptops and then attach them to their wrists. Expedite to: Boeing, Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

2) A Nintendo Wii system to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, so he can practice his hacking, slashing, and sword fighting in the virtual world instead of on the software industry.

3) A Black & Decker power saw, a bottle of Johnny Walker Black, and a copy of the Black Crowes’ "Shake Your Moneymaker" to Jim Balsillie, chairman and co-CEO of Research In Motion, the maker of the BlackBerry PDA, so he can see there are plenty of products that use the word "black." Oh, and a Samsung BlackJack, so he can realistically compare it with the BlackBerry Pearl.

4) DVDs of An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore’s documentary about global warming, to all data center and facilities managers, so they can consider their growing problem with heat in the proper context. Depending on their political affiliations, they can use the DVDs to (A) motivate upper management to take more aggressive action to deal with the problem or (B) blame the problem on Al Gore.

5) A T.M.X. Elmo doll to Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd, who has to deal with not only another round of layoffs at the computer maker but questions from congressional investigators about his sale of HP stock right before the controversy over internal investigative techniques was revealed. If Elmo’s cutesy antics and laughter don’t lift Hurd’s spirits, maybe the methamphetamine inside will.

6) A Nike + iPod Sport Kit to Steve Ballmer, to help him keep to a rigorous exercise regimen. According to University of Washington researchers, the RFID chip in the Nike shoe can be tracked up to 60 feet, so Linux advocates can keep up to date on Ballmer’s meetings with Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian in real time.

7) Copies of Thomas Friedman’s book The World Is Flat to IEEE, the Programmers Guild, and the Communications Workers Of America; copies of Lou Dobbs’ book Exporting America to Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, etc.

8) Finally, an Apple MacBook to Jim Allchin, outgoing head of development for the Windows operating system at Microsoft, for his incredible honesty in admitting Apple’s superiority to Windows in an E-mail exchange with Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer ("I would buy a Mac today if I was not working at Microsoft."). Granted, it was written three years ago, and it was a dramatic statement to make a point, but let’s face it, things haven’t changed all that much. Except Allchin’s job.

That’s all for now. Will write later if I think of any other gift ideas. And cancel that PlayStation 3.

You know what makes a nice gift? An industry tip. Send one to jsoat@cmp.com or phone 516-562-5326. Happy holidays, everyone!


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To find out more about John Soat, please visit his page.

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