When a 17-year-old Canadian lad triumphs over Microsoft, you can bet it will appear in this column. The Canadian teenager, who caught the attention of the software giant’s lawyers by registering www.mikerowesoft.com, has agreed to give up his Web site in exchange from some pretty serious perks.


will pay the cost of switching over to a new site, provide training for certification on Microsoft’s products, a free subscription to Microsoft’s developer program Web site, and an Xbox video game console with games, as well as an invitation to bring his parents along for a visit to Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash., headquarters for an annual technology fair.

Apparently, the company felt the original site sounded too similar to “Microsoft” to leave it in the hands of the budding Web designer from Victoria, B.C. “”All along I just wanted to prove a point that the small guy can win against the giant corporations,”” Rowe wrote on his Web site recently.

Microsoft initially took a hard line against the Canadian teenager, offering to pay him only $10 for the incidental cost of giving up his site instead of the $10,000 that he had he demanded. Bill Gates has untold billions, and the kid gets offered $10. Can you say “cheapskate?”


Upgrade to onions; onions have layers


This is one for the ages: Various news agencies reported recently that German police are investigating after an angry man returned a computer he had just bought saying it was packed with small potatoes instead of computer parts.

The store replaced the computer free of charge, but became suspicious when he returned a short time later with another potato-filled computer casing, police in the western city of Kaiserslautern said. Police are now investigating the man for fraud.

This incident raises so many questions: Why did the store replace the original potato-filled computer? Why did the angry German push his luck with the second machine? And why didn’t he upgrade to onions, turnips or rutabagas? This is the 21st century, after all.

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