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Kattoons are Back – Spencer F. Katt Purrs Again!

OMG, I’m reading eWeek again. Spencer F. Katt has returned!

For years, as soon as my copy of eWeek arrived by mail, I’d immediately flip to the last page inside the cover and read Mr. Katt’s column. After that, I’d turn to the software reviews and see what sort of programs the eWeek folks were putting to the test. This weekly ritual, always a high point of my week, crashed and burned sometime around January of 2009 when the magazine’s editor reported that beginning the following week, Spencer F. Katt would be no more. He was going away into the happy (or not) land of retirement.


My response to this news was to go into denial. This couldn’t be, I told myself. The magazine wouldn’t let it happen. eWeek without Spencer Katt would be like Kellogg’s without high fructose corn syrup. When the next week’s issue arrived, I quickly turned to the page where I would normally expect to find Spencer’s purrings, only to find some boring article (an opinion piece, I believe) in it’s place. I felt betrayed. Spencer Katt had deserted me.

A Spencer F. Katt Kattoon from eWeek

If you’re not familiar with Mr. Katt, let me try to explain. Katt’s column was either an IT based gossip column or a humor column, depending on how you look at it. Each week he’d talk about meeting up with some IT heavy hitter, say a Scott McNealy or a Steve Jobs, and offer some tidbits on what he learned from that encounter. This part of the column was probably true and based on fact, but you never know. The humor part was delightful, weird background stories that explained how that week’s meeting came about. Each week’s column was always accompanied by a cartoon (he called them Kattoons) that illustrated the topic of the column.

Not long after Katt turned-in his final column, The Var Guy wrote a sort of obituary for the column, Who Killed Spencer F. Katt?, and I quit reading eWeek. I kept my subscription active, mind you, but each week I’d just drop the issue into the rotating file without bothering to even glance at the cover to see what was inside. It didn’t matter anymore. Without a little dose of Spencer Katt to whet my appetite, I wasn’t interested in reading about the latest and greatest from the SUSE folks or about some new feature Red Hat was adding to their stack.

Then, a few weeks back (June 6th to be exact) I was about to drop a just received issue of eWeek into the trash when I happened to notice a paw print on the front cover, with text around it advertising “Spencer F. Katt, Katt-y about Skype.” Yep, after nearly a two and a half year absence, Spencer F. Katt was back! He’d evidently been back since sometime in May, meaning I’d missed a few issues, but I didn’t care. All I cared about was that I could have my weekly Katt fix again!

This means that once again I’m an eWeek reader., they brought me back into the fold. As soon as an issue arrives, I turn to the inside-the-cover back page and have a chuckle with the Kattster. Then I proceed to look through the magazine to see if any articles catch my eye. In the last issue I received, dated June 20th, there was a great article on password security, an interesting review of the Droid X2, an article on McDonald’s move to the cloud and a killer article on the technology behind DreamWorks movie magic. As I did in the past, I skip the special advertising sections bought and paid for by the Redmond mafia.

The world may not be purr-fect, but it’s getting better now Katt has returned.

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Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux.

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