Norwegian hacker Jon Johansen, who won global fame after releasing the DVD encryption-cracking program DeCSS, is back in the news again. With his January acquittal due for appeal tomorrow, Mr Johansen has added Apple to his list of enemies by releasing QTFairUse, a program which helps users of Apple's iTunes online music service make copies of their tracks. If this sounds like a good excuse to go out and buy an iPod for Christmas, think again. The software can only make copies of songs that you have already bought, and buying iTunes is impossible in Asia. What's more, iPod owners have been finding out that there is an ugly secret hiding under that shiny white exterior: as ipodsdirtysecret.com reveals, your iPod has a very short shelf life. The March divorce of Neil Bush, brother of United States President George W. Bush, has yielded some interesting background on China's semiconductor business. According to documents uncovered by the Houston Chronicle, Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing agreed to pay Mr Bush US$2 million in stock over five years, despite his lack of business acumen - the former financier was banned from banking after the collapse of his Silverado Savings & Loan. At the hearings, the lawyer for Mr Bush's ex-wife, Marshall Davis Brown, asked why Grace, backed by Jiang Mianheng, a son of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin, would want Mr Bush on its board of directors. 'You have absolutely no educational background in semiconductors, do you?' asked Mr Brown. 'That's correct,' Mr Bush replied. 'And you have absolutely over the last 10, 15, 20 years not a lot of demonstrable business experience that would bring about a company investing $2 million in you?' 'I personally would object to the assumption that they're investing $2 million in me,' said Mr Bush. But like the mysterious women who kept turning up at his Hong Kong hotel rooms, Mr Bush did not object to the offer. California has always managed to take linguistic sensitivity to extremes. Last week, government officials in Los Angeles County sent out a warning to computer firms and contractors, asking them to stop using the terms 'master' and 'slave' on their equipment, saying the terms are unacceptable and offensive. A staff member apparently complained after noticing that a video machine had parts labelled master and slave. For those who have never opened an electronic device, the terms refer to one device that controls another. The county's Office of Affirmative Action Compliance has since carried out an 'exhaustive search' to root out similarly outrageous computer components and replace them with something more politically correct. The county's purchasing head also wrote to suppliers, including IBM, asking them to 'review, identify and remove/change any identification or labelling of equipment components that could be interpreted as discriminatory or offensive in nature'. Other terms in obvious need of a rethink would be client and server, which is demeaning to waiters; floppy disc, which degrades the impotent; AC/DC power supplies, which humiliate heterosexuals; FAT sectors, which oppress persons of size; and male and female jackplugs, which clearly discriminate against the transgender community. If you have two plugs of the same sex, you apply a gender mender, which would appal the gay and lesbian community, while the alternative term 'sex-changer' would get at the transgendered again. Gossip, rumour or ignominy to share? Write to Neil Taylor at email@example.com .