Declan McCullagh has a story explaining what happened to Microsoft’s Web sites this week. They were brought down by a DNS configuration error that they couldn’t figure out for nearly a day. I’m sure that many people are disappointed that they can’t blame (crackers | script kiddies | Network Solutions | Windows 2000 | Bill Gates) for this.

Today, Salon runs some tales of dot com layoff woe. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that people who are incapable of running a business are also incapable of putting one out of its misery in a decent enough manner.

Working to address the global shortage of IT workers, Cisco is educating thousands of people around the world in network engineering. This program is incredibly farsighted and a great example of how businesses can work to improve their own bottom line and also create positive global change if they’re creative.

Perhaps it’s Perl day here at rc3.org. I’m working on a Web application as a favor to someone, and I’m writing the whole thing in Perl, which is a nice change from the Java I’m writing at my day job. It’s nice to get myself back in a Perl frame of mind again. Unfortunately, I’m trying to apply some of the concepts I’ve learned programming Java back to my previously hackerish Perl programming style with limited success. I really just need to dig into the object-oriented Perl stuff, but I’ve been in a hurry to get code written and haven’t done so yet. Anyway, A Beginner’s Introduction to POE looks helpful. I won’t be using POE itself, but some of the design concepts might be useful.

LWN interviews the incomparable Larry Wall. I try very hard to never miss a Larry Wall interview, although this one seemed a bit more by the numbers than most of them.

So, Atomz.com has introduced a hosted content management application that they’re trying to sell. The big news is that it includes a patent-pending templating system for building Web pages. When I read that, I nearly spewed water all over my keyboard. Templating systems for Web publishing have been done to death. Everybody and their brother has them, hell, if you’ve been around long enough you’ve probably written one. These days, when I read “patent-pending” about Internet software, I automatically think, “greedy idiot.”

Pair.com just upgraded the OS on rc3.org’s server from 2.2.x to 4.1.1. How exciting. The big news is I now get to read my mail in a recent version of Mutt, instead of the antiquated one I was running before. I must say that I’m incredibly impressed with the job Pair.com did on this, the site was down long enough for the machine to reboot, and when it came back, everything seemed to be in perfect condition. Knowing what nightmares OS upgrades can be, it amazes me that Pair.com has the process down so well.

The Slate 60: the 60 Americans who made the largest charitable contributions last year. Bill Gates once again leads by kicking in another 5 billion bucks to his foundation. Ted Bauer weighed in at number 8 on the list for his $40 million to my alma mater, the University of Houston (a.k.a. Harvard on the Bayou), and a $25 million gift to a lesser institution (a.k.a. Harvard University). Larry Ellison donated about 15 million bucks to create an institute to study how to prevent aging, for some reason that made me laugh. Chris Klaus, who I used to chat with on IRC back in the good old days, donated $15 million to Georgia Tech. The ultimate #hack regular makes good story.

Boy, the Dubya years are going to be even worse than I expected. Listening to the news in brief on NPR this morning on the way to work, I heard about several absolutely moronic and assinine policy changes that Bush is alrady proposing. From the State Department: harsher sanctions against Iraq (our brutal war against Iraqi children continues), and a proposal to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (take that, Palestinians). On the domestic front: using Federal funds to bribe parents of kids in “failing” public schools to send their kids to private schools. Things really, really aren’t looking up.