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Through The Wire: Hear the One About the Computer Nerd?

A tip for Microsoft: That tape shown by Bill Gates toguests at a Denver luncheon last week is probably not the best pick for the upcomingNational Show.Several cable-industry execs in the audience said they were offendedby the clip, which showed a "stereotypically fat cable-installer guy, with buttcrack," noted one attendee. Not that any National Show attendees headed forAtlanta would actually have a chance to voice any concerns, live, to the JusticeDepartment's No. 1 whipping boy: Gates is acting as his own gatekeeper at the show.He'll only accept and answer questions sent to him in advance via the NCTA.He'll be introduced by Comcast president Brian Roberts, take the dais with aCableData executive, roll tape, answer a few canned questions and leave, according to anassortment of sources familiar with the plans.

Some days, it doesn't pay to open interoffice mail.Matt Wolfrom, corporate spokesman for @Home Network, was chagrined two weeks ago to learnthat a balance sheet accompanying @Home's earnings, forwarded to him by @Home'saccounting department, was infected with a computer virus. Naturally, asMurphy's Law dictates, Wolfrom wasn't aware of the snafu until well after he hade-mailed the document to a press list of more than 100 reporters. "Media culpa,"a weary Wolfrom cracked, after receiving cranky e-mail and voice-mail messages fromsome of those reporters.

It's not every day that you fly to Tokyo for aribbon-cutting ceremony, then find yourself as the guest of honor at a Shinto religiousblessing. That's what happened to Terayon CEO Zaki Rakib on a recent trip toTokyu Cable TV's headend in Japan, marking the launch of Internet service overTokyu's cable plant. He arrived there to find not only a bona fide Shinto scene --complete with vegetables and cheese on a makeshift altar -- but to learn that he was toplay a key role in the blessing. "It involved a priest, and me waving a small branchfrom a tree and bowing and clapping in a specific order," Rakib said. Tokyu is usingTerayon's gear for its high-speed-data service in Tokyo. "And at the end, thepriest waved a bigger branch to -- I guess -- shoo away any bad spirits." Then, theyflipped the switch to Terayon's rack of equipment. "Thankfully, it worked justfine," a relieved Rakib said.

Follow-up: On April 6, The Wire broke the news about theBeach Boys concert that Nostalgia Good TV's sponsoring Sunday night at the NationalShow (update: Word is that Chicago front man Peter Cetera will replace the late CarlWilson), at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. If that's not to your taste, maybe you can wanglean invite to James (Fire & Rain)Taylor, courtesy of The WeatherChannel, at the Rialto Center for the Performing Arts Monday night. And those Georgiapeaches, The B-52s, are performing at the funky little shack called the Fox Theatre,also on Monday night, for guests of Food Network, HGTV and DIY. Alas, MTV says, the rumorsthat it will bring in Eric Clapton or The Rolling Stones for free shows are untrue.

By Kent Gibbons, from bureau reports.