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Intel and Microsoft want to give you a home server in exchange for 17 syllables of poetic artistry.

Seeing as how, according to the companies' just-announced Home Server Haiku Challenge, a "home server is like having a samurai in a box," it's fitting that a haiku-writing contest would be just the culturally sensitive gimmick for the holiday season.

And so all you need to do is to emulate The Vapors' 1980 hit, "Turning Japanese," and describe "how a home server would bring peace of mind to YOUR life - or why you really want one - in a haiku." You have until December 11 to refine your home-server lust into 17 well-chosen syllables.

One wrinkle: a Twitter account is required. As the obligatory fine-print rules state, "In addition, you must have a Twitter account to use the contest tool which will post your haiku entry to your Twitter account." Haiku, of course, being one of the few literary forms that might fit in a tweet.

Three winners will be chosen based on "originality (40%), relevance to Home Servers (40%), staying true to the haiku form (20%)." With only 20 per cent of your score based on staying true to form, it seems safe to stray from a haiku's five-seven-five syllabification system.

The three top haikuers will receive either an HP MediaSmart Server EX490 or an Asus Home Server TS Mini. After those top prizes, the schwag quality drops off noticeably, with the next ten winners receiving a 16GB Zune HD, followed by another ten taking home Western Digital 1TB desktop drives.

This contest won't be the first time that haiku have been pressed into high-tech service. At the turn of the millennium a widely distributed parody of supposed Japanese haiku-based Windows error messages included such insights as:

Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Windows is like that.

A later Mac-centric collection - instigated by your Reg reporter - began with:

It's been a bad day.
'[Insert app name] Just Quit.' How?
'Unexpectedly.'

Perhaps, however, the haiku that best describes the reaction that the Microsoft and Intel Home Server Haiku Challenge may evoke was submitted by a commenter to that Mac-centric collection:

A sight to behold
Mac Geeks counting syllables
using their fingers

Gives a whole new meaning to "digital content-creation," doesn't it? ®

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