A Microsoft employee in Fargo, N. D., has won an annual contest for intentionally bad fiction. Dan McKay, an analyst in the company's Great...

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A Microsoft employee in Fargo, N.D., has won an annual contest for intentionally bad fiction. Dan McKay, an analyst in the company’s Great Plains division, won $250 for his winning entry to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

The literary-parody event solicits bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. It would be easier to read Windows code than McKay’s entry:

“As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual.”

That’s bad, all right, but Microsoft has seen worse fiction — such as in 2003, when the company promised it would deliver its next operating system this year.

Yahoo!’s next

Microsoft had a little fun last week in response to the outcry that Apple Computer‘s Cupertino, Calif., campus was missing from the new MSN Virtual Earth mapping site, which is being beta tested.

Turns out that Microsoft was using 14-year-old images for Cupertino, and Apple hadn’t built out much of its office space back then.

On the MSN Search team’s Web log, Virtual Earth program manager Steve Lombardi wrote:

“Our full plan is to, of course, remove each of our competitor’s headquarters from the map, but we just didn’t have time to get to this in the beta. By the time we get to our final release, we’ll have this feature nailed down.”

They’re not talking

Sign No. 12,827 that Google is overhyped in the media: The company put out a press release that it was hiring two chefs, and reporters wrote about it.

A Reuters headline about the news was a study in ridiculousness: “We want new chefs, Google shouts to the world.”

Almost as silly is Google’s new policy of not talking to reporters from News.com for a year.

The company is miffed, according to News.com, by an article that disclosed personal details about Chief Executive Eric Schmidt that could be discovered through Google searches.

Google’s self-imposed timeout hasn’t deterred News.com‘s coverage of the company. But now the site’s articles about Google refer to the drama.

Download can be reached at 206-464-2265 or biztech@seattletimes.com.