Geek week in review

Genuinely disadvantaged. Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage servers went titsup last weekend, giving thousands of legitimate Vista users the bum's rush. And is anybody really surprised? Vista users who were incorrectly flagged as scurvy OS pirates lost the use of their precious Aero interface -- not good, but not quite the WGA nightmare so brilliantly described by my colleague Randall Kennedy. The cause? Human error," according to Microsoft. But not, apparently, by the human who came up with the cockeyed WGA scheme in the first place.

Setting sales. They've reshuffled the deckchairs on the good ship Yahoo again. New/old honcho Jerry Yang has tossed his top sales exec overboard and rejiggered his sales crew, in a desperate effort to keep Google from slipping beneath their horizon. Meanwhile, sharks are circling, fed by rumors Microsoft may acquire will all or part of the Yahoo fleet. (I hope something dramatic happens soon, because I'm now completely out of nautical metaphors.)

Hoops and dreams. The long planned viral video site from News and NBC now has a name: Hulu. "Why Hulu? Objectively, Hulu is short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and rhymes with itself," notes CEO Jason Kilar on Hulu's site. Besides, Yoyo, Dodo, and DumDum were all taken.

Well, shake it up baby. Is Apple planning to finally (finally!) announce it has secured the Beatles catalog for iTunes? That's what's bloggers are reading in the tea leaves of Apple's "special event" on September 5, where it's also expected to unveil the latest iPod. The invitation to the event contains the cryptic phrase "The beat goes on" -- which, according to the moptop cognesceti, are the last four words of the Fab Four's last press release before parting ways in 1970. Cool, huh? Of course, that's the good scenario. The scary one? iTunes is about to release the entire video library of The Sonny and Cher Show. iPod you, babe.

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Robert X. Cringely

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