Faux gurus offer a less-rich buffet

For accounting junkies wanting to learn more about stock-option expensing, it may be a bit pricey to buy a lunch with the leading proponent of expensing, Warren Buffett.

Last week someone bid $250,000 in a San Francisco charity auction to have lunch with the Oracle of Omaha.

But there was a consolation prize of sorts on eBay: a buffet on "Warren Street" in Seattle (Queen Anne's Warren Avenue North?). The Warren buffet went for $15 after getting nine bids in three days.

The offer: "A terrific buffet-style picnic lunch on the sidewalk on Warren Street," with views of the Space Needle and the city skyline, hosted by "three famed financial faux gurus."

Noting that they have never made a profitable investment, the gurus said it could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn which stocks to short.

Meanwhile the Oracle of Omaha told Bloomberg News he's willing to make three more lunch dates at $250,000 each.

Iowa outlook: Could there be a connection between Iowa's aggressive pursuit of Microsoft in the antitrust case and the admission last week by the governor of that state that he can't use e-mail?

Iowa was a ringleader among states pursuing the landmark case.

Gov. Tom Vilsack admitted his Luddite tendencies to the Des Moines Register. He failed to respond to the newspaper's request for public records; his excuse was he doesn't know how to use his computer.

"I'm 52 years old and I don't know much about technology," he told the paper. "I don't even know how to send a response to an e-mail, that's how technologically deficient I am."

A dubious honor: A chain e-mail letter from Bill Gates is the biggest hoax on the Internet, according to Sophos, a British anti-virus vendor.

But Sophos isn't talking about the mail that Gates sent to customers, news media and partners June 24 about fighting spam.

Sophos said the most prevalent Internet hoax is the e-mail claiming that Gates and Microsoft are paying people $245 or some such amount to forward the mail as part of an "e-mail beta test."

It edged out such classics as "Bonsai Kitten," "Frog in a blender/fish in a bowl" and the Portuguese zinger "Meninas da Playboy."

I have seen the spectrum! Seattle-based Internet service provider Speakeasy last week unveiled WiFi NetShare, a service that allows subscribers to legally share their broadband connection with neighbors within 300 to 500 feet through a wireless Internet connection.

Customers become Wi-Fi "administrators" and charge their own subscription fee to neighbors who share their Internet connection. Speakeasy handles the billing for everyone.

The company said 40 percent of its subscribers already operate Wi-Fi networks through their homes — compared with a 3 percent national average. The service is a way to turn their customers into "Wi-Fi evangelists."

Check this out! FrontBridge, a Marina del Rey, Calif. e-mail security company, has identified the top 10 lines spammers use to trick people into responding to their e-mail.

(The subject lines have not been edited.) Drumroll, please:

1. RE: Information you asked for

2. hey

3. Check this out!

4. Is this your email?

5. Please resend the email

6. RE: Your order

7. Past due account

8. Please verify your information

9. Version update

10. RE: 4th of July

Download, a column of news bits, observations and miscellany, is gathered by The Seattle Times technology staff. We can be reached at 206-464-2265 or biztech@seattletimes.com

Trackinga trend

The market for radio frequency identification (RFID) applications, primarily a tracking technology, is expected to grow to $3.1 billion by 2008.

Source: Allied Business Intelligence