High-speed IT trouble

We blame computers for a host of problems: Lost data, missed deadlines, brain-cell obliteration. But speeding tickets?

According to news reports, Honda Motor Co. Ltd. is recalling nearly 8,200 of its 2004 motorcycles because of a computer glitch that could prompt their drivers to go too fast.

Yeah, like they need an excuse.

The program error causes the digital speedometer on some of the motorcycles to understate vehicle speed by about 25 per cent, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. “This condition can result in the vehicle being driven at an illegal or unsafe speed,” the NHTSA said in an advisory on its Web site.

So next time you’re pulled over, try blaming the vehicle’s on-board computer: “The computer made me do it, officer.” And make sure to have a copy of this column on hand, just in case.

The spy who loved IT

So you want to be a spy? Try waiting on tables first, and work your way into espionage. After all, even Bond had to start somewhere.

A new Web site launched by the Israeli spy agency Mossad (www.mossad.gov.il) aims to attract recruits for “special tasks” as well as intelligence analysts, waiters and drivers.

Former agency chief Efraim Halevy began this more open hiring policy in 2000 by placing advertisements for case officers in the Israeli press. This was a big change for an agency whose motto is the biblical proverb “Without subterfuge, the nation falls.”

The Web site serves up a detailed job application form, in which candidates provide information on their education, employment, military service and language skills, among other things. However, there is no section on aiming a cigarette laser gun or seducing enemy operatives. Or for that matter making menu suggestions.

God 3D

Moving from spies to spires, the world’s first 3-D Internet church opened recently, billed by its British operators as a first chance for believers to log on and worship interactively.

Bishop of London Richard Chartres gave the inaugural sermon via a speech-bubble from his cartoon persona at the first service on the “Church of Fools” at www.shipoffools.com.

Some two dozen people signed up as cartoon worshippers for the service, sponsored by the Methodist Church but organized by the multi-denominational Ship of Fools project, which says its name is deliberately self-deprecating to avoid pomposity.

As well as worshipping, those logged on were able to move around the church and down to its crypt, talk to each other, and give money to a collection plate via mobile phone.

If nothing else, this sure beats getting up early on a Sunday morning to attend a real church service.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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