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(#1) "Say Pierre, Isn't That Netscape?"

Date: Tue, 05 Mar 96 16:01:24 -0500
From: "Pierre" <somewhere in France>
Subject: Boss page

Hi Don.

Here is a lovely boss story. For some times I had been trying hard to keep my boss from noticing that I was spending one hour a day+ on the net. As we all know Netscape had thought about the surfer-worker inside of us and has included a number of options that let you customize the browser. Amazing how few people can tell you're using Netscape if you hide those buttons and disable the graphics.

Then I learned I could use a custom background. First I turned it white - text-editor style. I changed the colors so everything (links and all) would be black and white. Goodbye bright-orange sites! I reached the next step when I saw that one could actually select a bitmap and use it as a custom background, which would override any URL wallpaper. So I used a blank Lotus spreadsheet background. Perfect. Anytime I was surfing no one but the keenest observer would suppose I was working on Lotus!

Then I realized that our IT people sent monthly a detailed statement of our department activities, and that it was possible to trace any unusual increase of the monthly IT billing to the guilty PC by tracking its IP address. That's when I realized I had to take that into account too. So each week or so I would swap my IP address with the one of a colleague. Pretty smart, huh?

Then - next step - as we moved I supervised our new layout so that no one could come in from behind and go "Say, Pierre... wait, isn't it Netscape?". At that point I considered myself the ultimate office surfer. Apparently there was nothing else I could achieve.

Well, apparently. The story is not over yet. As I discovered a couple of weeks ago my lovely boss, although she's an able manager and a great-looking woman, is close to the definition of computer illiteracy... So one day she asked me if I was speaking German. (I'm supposed to, it stands on my resume). "Pierre, could you please translate that invoice for me?" "Why sure, let me download a German dictionary via NetScape." Download? NetScape? she appeared puzzled. So I did the trick. Later I explained here it was also possible to get French phone numbers via InterNet, currency rates, and other 'useful' office functions. Now she's actually encouraging people to use Netscape. Before I could surf right in front of her nose. Now she knows I do that and she's proud I do so.

Immoral ? Well, if they had given me a real mission I would be working here instead of surfing. The only thing I'm paid for is to show up at work. So I don't feel too bad about that.


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