27/07/2001 I started the week with an example of corporate madness; it seems only right to up the ante and finish with one of governmental bureaucratic insanity. An old pal drops me an email forwarded from BASDA, the British Applications Software Developers Association. Take it away, BASDA: "We have received a letter from Local Authorities Co-ordinating Body on Food and Trading Standards (LACOTS) - Environmental Focus Group, telling us That many of our Members are likely to be in breach of the EC's Packaging And Essential Requirements Regulations. It seems that some Trading Standards authorities are considering taking enforcement action in relation to computer software where they believe that 'the goods are considerably smaller that the outer packaging', or, in other words, your boxes are too big. This may seem laughable until you understand that where prosecution is successful, the Company may be subject to a fine of up to five grand per offence and each box constitutes an offence. When asked to specify what 'too big' means, Trading Standards were unable to give us any guidelines except to say that it is related to what the consumers will accept." Which is quite the barmiest thing I've ever heard. How big IS a bit, anyway? They might have some point where you buy a box thinking it contains a manual, only to be fobbed off with a poxy PDF file on a CD-ROM, but it's not like you're flogging two ounces of cornflakes in a box the size of a Stonehenge menhir. The most frightening possible consequence of this is the sudden reversal of media size. Imagine loading XP from 8" floppies... Oh well. In the immortal words of Cicero: Quantum materium materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materium possit materiari?