They're all out to get us, I tell you!

Sure, I may seem like a serious, level-headed corporate sort of fellow, and most of the time I am, but the recent trash-picking antics of one West Coast vendor have me teetering on the edge of laughter, if not paranoia. Who, I ask, is safe?

Sure, I may seem like a serious, level-headed corporate sort of fellow, and most of the time I am, but the recent trash-picking antics of one West Coast vendor have me teetering on the edge of laughter, if not paranoia. Who, I ask, is safe?

For example, could it be that computer viruses are the work of hackers paid by virus and security software vendors eager to foment fears to sell more software? Or maybe the government is trying to demonstrate the susceptibility of the Internet to terrorists.

Then, there are those who believe that the telcos have convinced the government that 9.6K bps is the fastest access speed that can be guaranteed over a POTS line to sell more expensive ISDN and DSL services.

Of course, everyone thinks that some software vendors are out to get us through maintenance and upgrade fees. And those software vendors insist on selling maintenance upfront to provide the fixes to software errors that were left intentionally in the code. How do you know whether you are paying for a legitimate enhancement or paying twice for functionality that should have worked the first time? Simple. You don't.

Well-known is the conspiracy in which processor vendors scheme with application vendors to control how fast a program will execute on a given processor platform. The idea is to slow execution speed for software upgrades to convince users that new and faster hardware is required. This keeps everyone buying faster machines every six months.

And don't get me started on Big Brother. Why do you think wireless devices are so hot? Could it be that wireless devices, of all types, are being subsidized by the government to track individuals more carefully? Coupled with GPS capabilities, Big Brother could follow you anywhere day and night.

I've been told that the labor shortage is fabricated, as well as funded, by a claque of vendors selling outsourcing and ASP services. These vendors contribute millions to universities to step up the minimum standards for acceptance in comp-sci programs. The fewer who can successfully enroll, the fewer who graduate with comp-sci degrees. And the shortage continues.

And while the open-source movement appears benign on the surface, who's to say it's not being funded by subversives? Once these open-source operating systems are adopted in financial institutions, an undetected piece of code in the kernel could begin to systematically collapse the worldwide network of servers, creating mass chaos.