Thor dä Hjammer
A weekly column of scurrilous rumour and unfounded piffle
that we swear isn't harmful or degrading to the computer industry,



Dä Hjammer likes to spend his summer days lazying by the pool, sipping ice tea and idling helplessly as the sun turns his Nordically-inclined pale sheen to extra-crispy shade of raw sienna. His musical taste leaning to likes of Willie Dixon or Buddy Guy rather than home-grown talents like The Cardigans, the nail-pounder has never been one to be too partial towards his Swedish heritage. Nevertheless, he always appreciates the good will that naming a wooden horse "Färgen" can bring to a company desperate for some name recognition, in an industry where "MS" usually stands for "Mostly Stable".

Like a Rock
Spinning his wheels like a Saab caught in a mudslide, this tempered impact-tool has more than a passing concern about the weird things happening at VäporSYSTEMS narry these last few months, particularly since what passes as his job hinges on such tribulations. To wit: the pit-crew fine tuning the engine of VäporOS's latest model have been quite negligent in their ability to keep the ratty vibrtations at bay; local testbeds were seen shimmying apart and crashing faster than Kelsey Grammar at the wheel of a Ford Pinto. Add to the fact that the Mjölby boys will be a no-show at August's Macworld has more than a few industry schpeil-meisters concluding that the grand concourse days of Väpor are over.

Days of Thunder
Adding fuel to the mixture, the Hjammer has, utilizing the moraly vague tools at his disposal, obtained at leat 12 resumes from key VäporOS engineers, all steered directly towards the mailbox of a certain Cupertino address that hasn't exactly been keeping their Human Resources gals busy lately. If this is any warning signal, than you can expect this lighting-rod god to be hanging up his torque wrench and heading for a new career, perhaps as a lithe Swedish pop singer. VººT!



Take Me Out to the Ball Game
It's a rare day that dä Hjammer doesn't receive obsecene mail from pubescent tricksters, eager to drive a curveball into his well-oiled fielding glove. But if the foul-tips about the Expo- bound team are true, then the VäporOS engineers will have an easier time opening the salted peanut packages at 35,000 feet than getting the long-rumored VäporOS demo system running in time to tear eager attendees away from the stürm und drang of the Keynote Kops' tuesday address.

Strike 1...
Even if the Rube Goldberg inspired demo system does spew ribbons of cowhide, the return of long hoped-for-dead VäporSYSTEMS founder Jorgën Såagrid is sure to grab the keisters of even the most jaded Expo old-timers; dä Hjammer's scouts camped out in elite coffee bars in the Bay area have assured the bench-sitting Thunder God that Såagrid will not only show his face at the Expo, but may even offer some chaw-spitting chin-music on the current shape of his once grand company, specifically in regards to the questionable plays by marketing director Sven Weinskør.

Foul Tip
The boys from Mjölby really know how to cover the bases; for even if the demo does crash, and Jorgën Såagrid stumbles off the stage in a meager attempt at Dole-inspired sympathy seeking pathos, then those natty VäporOS t-shirts spotted on the streets of San Fran may yet restore the former Dala horse makers to a level of publice indifference that companies spending three times as much can only dream of. We can but pray for a rain delay.



Caution: Inhaling Väpor May be Harmful.
As dä Hjammer grudgingly finishes another afternoon of physical therapy at the Skogssjö nature reserve (with its skiing and running tracks, exercise facilities, bathing in the lake and cafeteria), and the first snows of winter begin wafting gently but inexorably earthward, pregnant with the promise of yet another Skandinavian winter, he realizes with a dim sense of horror that the ankle injury that he recently suffered on these Swedish slopes suggests a yuletide season that will doubtless damn him to a quiet solitude spent composing byzantine opening sentences, turgid with pseudo-literate phrases and references to pop culture which only the most media-saturated among us would even begin to be able to relate to the computer industry. Speaking of the computer industry, like the miasm escaping dä Hjammer's nearly empty pot of Tiger Balm, VäporSystems seems to be rising into the limelight once more.

Low-Speed Chase.
Barely able to make out the sound of voices over the telephone through the buzz from the Butyzoladin, your faithful Thunder God was nonetheless able to pick up a few striking tidbits from well-placed sources in Redmond. Seems that Microsoft executives are in a minor snit over the recent announcement by Ford Motor Company that it had struck a bundling agreement with VäporSystems for it's 1997 Ford Web Explorer.

According to Microsoft's legal department, the Redmond juggernaut had licensed the name "Explorer" to Ford on condition that they sign an agreement never to use the name in any way that might, now or in the future, hint at competition with the paranoid corporate behemoth. In an off the cuff statement overheard in a dark alley from a nearby sewer, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates was heard to whimper that he thought he had bought the word "Explorer," and that he couldn't understand where the smell was coming from but it wasn't him. Microsoft quickly sent a memo to Ford threatening to revoke all end-user licensing for any Windows products currently in use at their Dearborn, Michigan facility.

Clandestine videotape of a closed-door meeting at Ford revealed high-level company officials laughing about the threat, and joking that they could rename their product "White Bronco."

What's next, Poland?
Prepared for the possibility that they might not be able to bully Ford into backing down, the Microsoft legal department has apparently recommended to top level management that the company acquire Sweden in a hostile takeover.

This would give the Washington leviathan a controlling interest in VäporSystems, the quixotic startup that touched off the controversy to begin with. When asked about the potential of an indirect Microsoft buyout, VäporSystems marketing director Sven Weinskør intimated "...we're not worried in the slightest. In fact, we might even welcome the move. Microsoft would provide just the kind of huge cash investment VäporSystems really needs to be able to successfully farm out most of our messier coding to third parties."

Astute readers will recall last weeks column in which dä Hjammer revealed Väpor's plans to open a child-staffed 'code sweatshop' in Calcutta. The plan was evidently scuttled when Kathy-Lee Gifford turned down their offer to manage the facility.

The issue of Sweden's autonomy apparently concerns no one - not even the Swiss. Shares of Sweden were up sharply today in heavy trading.


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