Welcome to The Funny/Alerts Newsletter. Things have been busy 'round the Peer household. I've taken up a sign language class based on Signing Exact English. This is what they are teaching the children in schools here and is meant to give them a better grasp of the English language and bring them up to the same reading comprehension level as their classmates.
From what I gather from the those who teach it, it works and this is a great stride forward for those with communication challenges. Studies that were done from the Sixties to the Eighties showed that "deaf" children usually graduated from high school with a 4th grade reading comprehension level. This generally never improved as they aged. As you might imagine, this goes a long way to explain why they don't compete on a par with their hearing peers.
I've also been cleaning up the Archive area the last couple of days, changing some minor wording and (most importantly) fixing the way that the pages work. Previously, whenever an old newsletter was opened it would load into the right-hand frame (window).
This wasn't a bad thing, except if the reader clicked their Back button when they were done. The whole site, frames and all, would then load into that right side. Imagine reading two or three in a row and your browser starts looking like two mirrors pointed face-to-face!
What I've done is to go through the whole Archive page and configure each and every newsletter to open into it's own browser window. This way it should look cleaner, make navigation easier and be less confusing.
If you'd like to try it, just go to the web site and click up a couple of pages. When you're done reading it all you have to do now is to close that browser window. The web site will remain open in the background, neat and clean, ready when you are.



Little David comes home from first grade and tells his father that they learned about the history of Valentine's Day. "Since Valentine's day is for a Christian saint and we're Jewish," he asks, "will God get mad at me for giving someone a Valentine?"

David's father thinks a bit, then says, "No, I don't think God would get mad. Who do you want to give a Valentine to?"

"Osama Bin Laden," David says.

"Why Osama Bin Laden?" his father asks in surprise.

"Well," David says, "I thought that if a little American Jewish boy could have enough love to give Osama a Valentine, he might start to think that maybe we're not all bad, and maybe start loving people a little bit. And if other kids saw what I did and sent valentines to Osama, he'd love everyone a lot. And then he'd start going all over the place to tell everyone how much he loved them and how he didn't hate anyone anymore."

His father's heart swells and he looks at his boy with newfound pride. "David, that's the most wonderful thing I've ever heard."

"I know," David says, "and once that gets him out in the open the Marines could blast the **** out of him."

Microsoft chief mandates about-face; plan met with skepticism and applause.
By Dennis Fisher

In an internal memo last week, Gates, chairman and chief software architect of the Redmond, Wash., company, articulated a broad-based plan to combat security and reliability problems in the company's products.

The e-mail, sent to Microsoft employees, outlined Gates' vision for what he called Trustworthy Computing, a design, development and implementation philosophy that he hopes will restore some of the confidence that the company's persistent security problems have eroded in recent years.

"As software has become ever more complex, interdependent and interconnected, our reputation as a company has in turn become more vulnerable," Gates wrote. "Flaws in a single Microsoft product, service or policy not only affect the quality of our platform and services overall, but also our customers' view of us as a company."

At the heart of the plan is a dramatic about-face for Microsoft, with Gates calling for security to be the company's highest priority, taking precedence over even functionality, which has long been the No. 1 concern for Microsoft developers.

Users, however, were less than optimistic about the company's sudden strategy shift.

"They have the capability to pull it off, but in light of their history, I'm skeptical," said Steve Durst, research engineer at Skaion Corp., a software company in North Chelmsford, Mass. "I have a problem with them sacrificing everything in the name of usability. Their security is a catastrophe. A lot of the things that cause problems are just sloppy programming practices. Good coding could go a long way toward good security."

Critics such as Durst point out that in the last six months alone, Microsoft products such as Outlook and Internet Information Services have been the vehicles for the Code Red and Nimda worms and the Goner and other viruses. Security researchers also recently have found several serious vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer.

This is not the first time Microsoft has made promises about improving its products' security. Last spring, the company unveiled its Secure Windows Initiative and in the fall introduced its Strategic Technology Protection Partnership, both aimed at improving the security and reliability of software code. But the company has always returned to usability as its focus. No more, Gates said.

"In the past, we've made our software and services more compelling for users by adding new features and functionality and by making our platform richly extensible," Gates wrote. "We've done a terrific job at that, but all those great features won't matter unless customers trust our software. So now, when we face a choice between adding features and resolving security issues, we need to choose security."

Such talk sits in stark contrast to past pronouncements from Gates and other Microsoft executives and has softened some of Microsoft's harshest critics.


Linux Raking in Enterprise Support 
By Peter Galli
Additional reporting by Paula Musich

Much of the talk that Linux isn't ready for the enterprise was put to rest last week as a string of large companies, ranging from E- Trade Group Inc. to DreamWorks SKG, announced deployment plans for the operating system.

At the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo here, large IT customers cited the competitive advantage Linux provides in terms of price and performance for their change of heart on the platform.

"There is no question... that Linux is now ready for prime time," said Harry Roberts, senior vice president at Boscov's Inc., in New York. "I was unsure of this a year ago, but developments over the past 12 months have convinced me. In addition, it can provide a less expensive alternative to Windows. Microsoft [Corp.] is becoming increasingly unfriendly to the enterprise."

Boscov's, which operates 35 department stores in the eastern United States, is consolidating its Windows NT server farm on a single IBM z900 running Linux. Boscov's has also moved its print and file server workloads from 44 Windows NT servers to Linux virtual servers on the z900. The company said it plans to move its e-commerce and database applications to a Linux mainframe over the next few months.

Other business sectors converting to Linux include financial services and digital animation companies. E-Trade, of New York, announced last week that it was dumping its Solaris servers from Sun Microsystems Inc. in favor of Linux servers from several vendors.

E-Trade has converted a large portion of its middleware and Web servers to an open architecture running Linux. "Open systems and open standards give us more performance for the same or less money," said E-Trade's chief technology officer, Joshua Levine.

The company plans to replace more than 300 customer-facing databases, application servers and Web servers with Linux boxes, based on the fact that open-source software contributed significantly to the estimated $65 million E-Trade's IT department saved last year, said Levine, who expects more savings this year.

Another financial services company, Salomon Smith Barney Inc., of New York, has deployed an IBM mainframe running SuSE Linux 7.0, which allows it to continue using its communication infrastructure. The company plans to use the mainframe to provide hundreds of virtual Linux guests, said Doctor Robinson, Salomon's senior systems manager.

In the digital animation arena, recent converts include Pixar Animation Studios and DreamWorks, both longtime users of Silcon Graphics Inc. Irix-based workstations.

Pixar has ported 300 million lines of code to Linux and is two months into the deployment of its move from SGI to IBM IntelliStations. "Linux has given us a competitive advantage and greater absolute performance, productivity and creativity among our staff," said Darwyn Peachey, Pixar vice president of technology, in San Francisco.

DreamWorks, of Glendale, Calif., has replaced its SGI computers with Linux boxes and announced last week that it would be collaborating with Hewlett-Packard Co. to optimize its animation software for the IA-64 architecture.

"This will be the world's first Linux IA-64 render farm, giving DreamWorks' artists the ability to create larger, more complex images," said co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Another barometer of Linux's acceptance is the growing base of enterprise management software supporting it. Last week, Computer Associates International Inc. announced 23 products in support of Linux.

IBM's Tivoli unit is working on support for multiple Linux images on the IBM zSeries.

"I Wish You Enough"
by Bob Perks

I never really thought that I'd spend as much time in airports as I do. I don't know why. I always wanted to be famous and that would mean lots of travel. But I'm not famous, yet I do see more than my share of airports. 

I love them and I hate them. I love them because of the people I get to watch. But they are also the same reason why I hate airports. It all comes down to "hello" and "goodbye." I must have mentioned this a few times while writing my stories for you.

I have great difficulties with saying goodbye. Even as I write this I am experiencing that pounding sensation in my heart. If I am watching such a scene in a movie I am affected so much that I need to sit up and take a few deep breaths. So when faced with a challenge in my life I have been known to go to our local airport and watch people say goodbye. I figure nothing that is happening to me at the time could be as bad as having to say goodbye.

Watching people cling to each other, crying, and holding each other in that last embrace makes me appreciate what I have even more. Seeing them finally pull apart, extending their arms until the tips of their fingers are the last to let go, is an image that stays forefront in my mind throughout the day.

On one of my recent business trips, when I arrived at the counter to check in, the woman said, "How are you today?" I replied, "I am missing my wife already and I haven't even said goodbye." 

She then looked at my ticket and began to ask, "How long will you... Oh, my God. You will only be gone three days!" We all laughed. My problem was I still had to say goodbye.

But I learn from goodbye moments, too.

Recently I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together. They had announced her departure and standing near the security gate, they hugged and he said, "I love you. I wish you enough." She in turn said, "Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Daddy."

They kissed and she left. He walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?"

"Yes, I have," I replied. Saying that brought back memories I had of expressing my love and appreciation for all my Dad had done for me. Recognizing that his days were limited, I took the time to tell him face to face how much he meant to me.

So, I knew what this man experiencing.

"Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever goodbye?" I asked.

"I am old and she lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is, the next trip back would be for my funeral," he said.

"When you were saying goodbye I heard you say, "I wish you enough." May I ask what that means?"

He began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone." He paused for a moment and looking up as if trying to remember it in detail, he smiled even more. "When we said 'I wish you enough,' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them," he continued and then turning toward me he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory.

"I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye."

He then began to sob and walked away.

My friends, I wish you enough!


[thanks to Larry Trentham for this one]


Computer users are divided into three types: novice, intermediate and expert.

Novice Users - People who are afraid that simply pressing a key might break their computer.

Intermediate Users - People who don't know how to fix their computer after they've just pressed a key that broke it.

Expert Users - People who break other people's computers.


Almost 150 years ago, President Lincoln found it necessary to hire a private investigator, Mr. Alan Pinkerton. He was actually the beginning of the Secret Service.

Since that time federal police authority has grown to a large number of agencies - FBI, CIA, INS, IRS, DEA, BATF, SS, ATF, etc.

Now comes a proposal for another agency: The "Federal Air Transportation Airport Security Service."

Can't you see it now, the new service in their black outfits with their initials in large white letters across their backs?


S' more wonderin'

Ever wonder about those people who spend $2.00 a piece on those little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backwards... NAIVE.
Isn't making a smoking section in a restaurant like making a peeing section in a swimming pool?
OK... so if the Jacksonville Jaguars are known as the "Jags" and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are known as the "Bucs," what does that make the Tennessee Titans?
If 4 out of 5 people SUFFER from diarrhea... does that mean that one out of five enjoys it?
There are three religious truths:

1) Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. 
2) Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian faith. 
3) Baptists do not recognize each other at the liquor store. 


·If you take an Oriental person and spin him around several times, does he become disoriented? 
·If people from Poland are called Poles, why aren't people from Holland called Holes? 
·Why do we say something is out of whack? What's a whack? 
·Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery? 
·If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled? 
·If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular? 
·When someone asks you, "A penny for your thoughts" and you put your two cents in... what happens to the other penny? 
·Why is the man who invests all your money called a BROKEr? 
·Why do croutons come in airtight packages? Aren't they just stale bread to begin with? 
·When cheese gets its picture taken... what does it say? 
·Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist but a person who drives a race car is not called a racist? 
·Why are a wise man and a wise guy opposites? 
·Why do overlook and oversee mean opposite things? 
·Why isn't the number 11 pronounced onety one? 
·"I am" is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that "I do" is the longest sentence? 
·If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn't it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed? 
·If Fed Ex and UPS were to merge, would they call it Fed UP 
·Do Lipton Tea employees take coffee breaks? 
·What hair color do they put on the driver's licenses of bald men? 
·I was thinking about how people seem to read the bible a whole lot more as they get older; then it dawned on me... they're cramming for their final exam. 
·I thought about how mothers feed their babies with tiny little spoons and forks so I wondered what do Chinese mothers use? Toothpicks? 
·Why do they put pictures of criminals up in the Post Office? What are we supposed to do, write to them? Why don't they just put their pictures on the postage stamps so the mailmen can look for them while they deliver the mail? 
·If it's true that we are here to help others, then what exactly are the others here for? 
·You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive. 
·No one ever says, "It's only a game" when their team is winning. 
·Ever wonder what the speed of lightning would be if it didn't zigzag? 
·Last night I played a blank tape at full blast. The mime upstairs went nuts. 
·If a cow laughed, would milk come out her nose? 
·Whatever happened to Preparations A through G? 

[thanks to Lee Peer for these]


Rather than defeat your enemies, seek to transform them into allies