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This Mouse Won't Hunt

That seems a bit far-fetched. Moving from Internet game-hunting to real-life versions of "The Most Dangerous Game" seems like a slope that's more slippery than Rick Santorum's views about where homosexuality will lead our society.

Shooting animals through an Internet connection might seem distasteful to those who oppose hunting on moral grounds to begin with, but using a broadband connection to bag game isn't any better or worse than doing it in person. I can't say whether I think that Dale Hagberg should have a right to hunt despite being paralyzed -- that will be a matter for Rep. Davis and 14 statehouses to deal with.

___About Random Access___
Random Access is a daily column by Robert MacMillan that explores the latest trends in technology and how they are changing daily life.

Random Access won't tell you why a new gizmo will revolutionize your ad server. It will tell you about episodes from daily life -- exasperated waiters who use blogs to vent about their customers, whole runs of salmon injected with nanoparticles for individual tracking in Norwegian fjords and the growing number of DJs who are sick of being sidelined in favor of iPods. (Only one of these stories is fake.)

Most of what you see will be culled from news sources and blogs from around the world, though we will supplement Random Access with original files on the novel, unusual, bizarre and reactionary happenings in the world of technology and society.

E-mail: Send links and comments.



_____Recent Columns_____
Syntax Error (washingtonpost.com, Apr 21, 2005)
You Are What You Click (washingtonpost.com, Apr 20, 2005)
Imminent Domain (washingtonpost.com, Apr 19, 2005)

Just Offshoring

You've probably heard a lot of news reports about "offshoring" and "outsourcing," the practice of transferring jobs to cheaper labor markets overseas. Technology and lots of other companies like it because it saves them money and prevents them from having to procure lots of costly and difficult temporary worker visas for foreign talent to work back here in the states. Lots of unemployed Americans aren't so hot about the practice because they see it as taking jobs out of America. The practical effect, as many of you know, is that your customer support call might get answered in Bangalore rather than Bangor.

Two high-tech executives, however, think they might be able to move outsourced staff a little closer to the United States -- just off the coast of Los Angeles, as a matter of fact. Sourcingmag.com reported that entrepreneurs Roger Green and David Cook plan to position an old cruise ship just off the coast of El Segundo and set up a 24-hour-a-day programming shop, "thereby avoiding H-1B visa hassles while still exploiting offshore labor cost arbitrage and completing development projects in half the time they'd take onshore or offshore."

"The scheme first came to Mr. Cook one day while he was cutting his grass in San Diego. With his unusual background as a super-tanker captain and an IT professional, the idea made a lot of sense to him. He took it to Mr. Green, with whom he'd worked before and who has served as both a buyer and provider of outsourcing services, and they saw the possibility of creating a new form of IT sourcing," the site reported. "A year ago, they formed SeaCode, Inc. with Mr. Cook serving as CEO and Mr. Green as COO. They've signed on a marketing director and CTO and, even more importantly, found an investor. Start-up costs won't be cheap. A broker right now is searching for just the right ship to buy -- somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million." The advantage? It's a big, big time-saver for harried execs, Green told SourcingMag.

The company plans to use U.S. Internet connections and telecommunications access. On a very practical level, it also plans all sorts of first-class amenities for its residents as well as frequent ship-to-shore service via boat and helicopter: "These workers, they say, will each have private rooms with baths, meal service, laundry service, housekeeping and access to on-board leisure-time activities. Picture the Love Boat with a timecard."

Hillary Clinton, Italian-Style

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) successfully reclaimed the Internet address HillaryClinton.com after an international arbitration panel ruled that Michele Dinoia of Pineto, Italy, who registered the domain in 2001, was using it in bad faith. USA Today columnist Eric Sinrod, an attorney with the Duane Morris law firm, reported that Dinoia "used the domain name to direct Internet users to a Web site that displayed a generic search engine, links to commercial Web sites, and exposed users to pop-up ads and pay-per-click search results. Also, the domain name bookmarked itself as a visitor's homepage each time his or her Internet browser was opened." Based on what I wrote about papal domains in yesterday's column, the next logical question is whether Dinoia's next battle will involve the Vatican.

From the Mailbag...

Speaking of the Vatican, reader Sarah Nichols in Kansas City, Mo., came up with this tongue-in-cheek suggestion for how the Holy See could get more cozy with the Internet: "Can't get to confession? Don't have time to swing by and see your priest to tell him of the evil thoughts you had about your boss on the drive home? No need to worry. Simply go home, and confess online. Rosary in hand, you'll get instructions for the 10 Hail Marys you must say right from the comfort of your computer chair, or couch if you're wireless. Better yet, confess at work, and save even more time. That's certainly a justifiable use of company resources, don't you think? Plus, how convenient would it be if you could also go to Mass, take communion and then socialize with your fellow churchgoers afterwards, all online? Wouldn't more people go to church? Now ... if only they could equip computers with automatic incense and communion dispensers."

Send links and comments to robertDOTmacmillanATwashingtonpost.com.


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