Over to Germany, where a couple of odd stories have caught our attention. The weirdest is that of the IT consultant from Germany who procured, killed and ate a willing victim -- but not before they'd shared a wee morsel of the eatee first. I wonder if he was a Hamburger. The slightly more sane story is that of the German Ministry of Economics and Labour, which has warned that Microsoft's 'trusted computing' platform, Palladium, may be more expensive than the alternatives. Microsoft says don't be so silly, as Microsoft always does, but it has to be said that for all one's misgivings about Palladium the good old total cost of ownership -- TCO -- argument is probably where battles will be lost and won. Rather depressingly, TCO is going to be the most important acronym for enterprise technology next year. I'd much rather write about exciting new developments in artificial intelligence, user interfaces, very large database technology and distributed processing -- but nobody's in the mood to buy into anything that doesn't absolutely have to be bought. Any upgrades have to earn their keep better than the alternatives, so expect endless arguments about office applications, operating systems, this or that network infrastructure: and I, bless my cotton socks, will be there, totting up figures and trying to distil drops of data from what I confidently expect to be a veritable ocean of corporate misdirection. It's enough to make a chap peckish. Anyone fancy popping around for dinner?