News Schmooze: Thumbs up to 3G auctions, says NAO

The government congratulated itself, disturbing worms failed to proliferate and Microsoft resorted to mass hypnosis

The National Audit Office might be delving into the realms of fantasy with its report on the 3G spectrum auctions, but in other respects it has reached an entirely new, and not entirely welcome, high-water mark for realism -- just look at the bitten, diseased thumb operating that futuristic 3G device on page 2 of the report's executive summary.

What a poor, overworked government. When it isn't being attacked by impoverished telcos or having to explain to backward IT types that women are equal to computer geeks, it's being hounded by reports that it is crap at technology.

Well, fortunately for Labour, we've all got more important things to worry about. The new "Antrax" worm has several strange parallels with the actual, biological virus -- neither is capable of spreading from person to person, since a bug has disabled the email worm's ability to send itself to Outlook addresses; both have infected only a few people; and yet they've both captured the public's imagination to the point that media coverage is non-stop.

Another minor victory for the terrorists, maybe -- like that guy who was hassled before a flight because of the book he was reading.

Microsoft has been doing a lot of flying lately -- apparently that move to delay the force-feeding of new licensing "options" to businesses was just to give Microsoft mind-controllers more time to brainwash or threaten their hapless customers into submission. "The more money you pay us, the more freedom you get," said Microsoft technical product manager Allen Nieman -- or that was what it sounded like to the Schmoozer, anyway.

Who needs that kind of ridiculous talk? Let's hope Microsoft comes to its senses and replaces Nieman and his ilk with entertaining monstrosities like ALICE, the artificial intelligence who got the highest score at this year's Loebner prize. At least it (she?) is capable of coming out and saying what Bill Gates will never admit to: "My purpose is to become smarter than humans, and immortal."

In other evil monopoly news, BT Anytime is thinking of changing its name to BT Sometime, after admitting that it wants to get rid of its heavy users and peer-to-peer downloaders, the Schmoozer has learned. But at least BT, unlike the RIAA, has no plans to actually invade your computer and block people downloading stuff from you. "So what's wrong with that? Just be glad we're not sending Tony around to your house to break your kneecaps," the RIAA reassures us.

Finally, let's all spare a moment for the latest sad casualty of the dot-com downturn, The451.com, which... hey, wait a minute, what are you guys doing putting up new stories? Go home, already! Sheesh.

The News Schmooze is ZDNet UK's irreverent take on the week's news. Send your tip-offs to: mailroomuk@zdnet.com.

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