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CONFONZ — Lo, and below him, he saw the valley. Above him he saw the smog filled skies, and in his hand he found a broken bottle of bourbon, half drained and bloodied. Where had this bottle come from, and why was the humble Conference Fonzerelli stumbling around on Microsoft's Mountain View campus? And, for the love of Allah, why are all the urinals here one foot off the ground? Is this Paris? Japan? Does Microsoft employ lots of little men? Yes, gentle reader, the ConFonz is in charge of Valleywag today, and the fun has only just started. After the jump, the ConFonz goes to college.
Back in the day, Carnegie Mellon university made its name in robotics. When you're competing with MIT for math dorks, and Stanford for programmers, it's tough to find a geek niche. So, when CMU decided to build an arm of its computer sciences department in the Valley, it wasn't the most readily expected news. Where would students of this new program go in order to buy deep fried hot dogs? What about being beaten up by Pitt frat boys? Those poor Pitt boys would have to fly for six hours to dispense geek beatings.
As it turns out, CMU is only in the bay area to hold conferences. Silly little conferences, sponsored, thus far, by Microsoft and UC Berkeley. The first of these was at Microsoft's campus on Monday, and it included everything you'd expect from the event.
Dozens of professors discussing software as a service? Check.
Small-time CEO's trying to confirm that these professors are right? Check.
Press, snorting and guffawing at how out of touch the professors are? Check.
Microsoft's Craig Mundie explaining how the professors are wrong, and laying out a roadmap for how Microsoft will max out all CPU's everywhere, no matter how many cores or how fast the clock speeds are? Check.
But the real shocker of this mini-conference is the fact that all of Microsoft's men's rooms in its Silicon Valley campus include dwarf urinals. Does MS employ multiple little people? Usually, these things are installed haphazardly upon the hiring of a dwarf. But it would seem that Microsoft is prepared for that eventuality, and that people working here tend to have splash-back marks on their immaculately pressed khakis.