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ShadowRAM: January 2, 2006

Best post-Christmas blog item of the season: “So … for anyone who doesn&'t know this, I work at the Apple Store. (iPods). Today, Dec. 26, 2005 … the day after Christmas, was the worst day ever! We had so many people in our store that they had to send an employee outside to tell people they can&'t come in because we were at capacity—and any more and we would be braking [sic] a law! Returns/exchanges like crazy … Well, it&'s over now, and I am happy … because it&'s over.”

Got that? The heavy crowds at the Apple store were for returns and exchanges. Now it&'s clear why some Wall Street types have recently downgraded the company.

Trying to get Sun and Oracle to explain the database giant&'s pricing on Sun&'s multicore processor-based servers was a lot of work. Maybe almost as much work for Sun and Oracle to actually figure it out themselves.

Greg Stroud, vice president of U.S. partner alliance sales in Sun&'s Global Sales organization, told CRN there were a lot of “top-level” discussions between the two vendors on the issue. “And,” he added, “there was a lot of pressure from Intel and AMD to decide how to do it.”

Sun couldn&'t take the heat in the server blade business but is coming back for a second try. The company is planning to re-enter the commercial server blade market with a new family of Opteron-based blades next year, said Graham Lovell, Sun&'s senior director of marketing for x64 servers. Lovell said that Sun exited the server blade business earlier this year because the heat generated by the blades meant the enclosures needed a lot of cooling fans, making them very noisy.

What&'s in the water in Redmond?

The folks working on Windows Live Messenger have introduced a new “emoticon” into their IM capabilities. Not a new kind of smiley. Not a frowny face. Are you ready for this? They&'ve introduced a goat icon into their bag of tricks. Yes, a goat. The icon can be created during an instant-messaging session by typing “(nah)”—without the quotation marks—according to the Windows Live Messenger blog.

Why a goat? Well, it&'s explained that for charity, Microsoft engineers auctioned off the choice of the new icon to the highest bidder. The Microsoft Hotmail team won. They bid $1,500 and chose a goat. Just keep telling yourself: “Don&'t ask, don&'t ask.”

Now it&'s off to the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where we&'ll be getting our fix of 90-minute cab lines, two-hour airport security lines and amateurishly bad Wi-Fi connections. Last year, it snowed. So we wait this year to see what new inconvenience will get our, uh, goat.

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