IT tales from the crypt: Where zombies walk the earth

It's getting pretty scary out there

The roots of Halloween come from the Druids, the intellectual caste of the ancient Celts, who believed that on Oct. 31 the lord of the dead, Samhain, would call together the dead and for that night they roamed free in the physical world.

These days, the undead’s place has been taken by kids in scary, funny or ridiculous costumes roaming the earth in search of sweets and other treats. (But not blood. Forget about blood — the current vampire craze has to be about over, right? On TV, it seems there are more vampires than cops. Go into a Target and you’ll see bright pink T-shirts for 4-year-old girls with the sparkly lettering, “I (heart) VAMPIRES.” Surely, that must be a stake in the heart. They’ve become as cuddly as Care Bears.)

In the IT world, however, evil spirits still run free. In recent months, the evidence has turned up here and there in products and projects that would seem to be spewed from the underworld.

Back in February, GCN’s Greg Crowe wrote about killer cell phones and what they just might be doing to our brains, in parts one, two and three. Some folks claimed that the threat is more imagined than real, which is just what they want you to think. That’s what they wanted Kevin McCarthy to think in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”

And if radiation from cell phones doesn’t get you, their apparent ability to hypnotize people into texting while driving, turning them into reckless zombies even though they know it’s dangerous, might take you. It has to be a spell of some kind; why else would someone do that?

Speaking of the undead, was that tale of swine flu turning people into zombies really a hoax? Or was it covered up by the H1N1 scare?

Zombies, of course, are always with us in the IT world, and they come in different forms. You could be sitting in front of one type of them right now and not know it. They are everywhere, unseen.

There also are entire IT projects  that fit the zombie M.O., eating up precious resources while showing no actual signs of life. Think the undead don’t walk the earth? The IRS modernization project has been at it for decades.

Perhaps even more scary, sometimes the mad scientists behind the projects try to revive them. The FBI, for one, has called in Dr. Frankenstein to try to bring Sentinel back to life.

But fear not, readers, for the forces of good are ready to rumble, too.

The Defense Advance Research Projects Agency, for one, has enlisted Batman and Robin to the good side.

And if those blood-sucking counts, countesses and teenage heartthrobs ever get out of the kiddie aisle, the U.S. Vampire Service stands at the ready.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.


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