Bobby's not in disguise

Bobby's not in disguise

Rose and I went to San Francisco's Castro district for the Halloween parade last week. We had a great time, but because fashions can get pretty exotic in that neighbourhood, deciding who was in costume and who was just wearing his or her everyday clothes proved difficult.

The SAGA saga continues

It's also proving difficult to decide who is doing what at MCI WorldCom.

Following last week's tip that the company is using the SAGA technology that grew out of the US operations of Software AG, I heard from an employee at the company.

He was asking which part of the company is using SAGA because the company has made so many acquisitions that it's becoming impossible to find out internally what projects are underway.

While this may be amusing, it also highlights what I've been hearing elsewhere - that MCI WorldCom has grown so much and so quickly that it's (barely) controlled chaos at the company.

Of course, that situation will get worse if the company's proposed merger with Sprint goes ahead - maybe the US Judiciary Committee, which is looking at the monopoly issues raised by the planned merger, should rest easy.

I predict that competition will only increase as a new market emerges for luring away all the disgruntled MCI WorldCom-Sprint customers. Another telecom company that seems to have grown too far too fast is Bell Atlantic. Criticism of the company's customer service has been circulating for years - particularly following its merger with Nynex - and I hear that, in the latest efforts to clean up its act, the company is requiring all potential new employees and those employees being promoted to undergo psychological testing to make sure they understand the `Bell Atlantic Way' (whatever that is).

Kiss my ASP

Cisco's employees seem happier, but that may not prevent a potential departure: Apparently, Peter Solvik, CIO of Cisco, who is widely credited with building the company's electronic-business infrastructure, is the driving architect behind an application service provider (ASP) called Asera. Asera is widely regarded as the poster child for what an ASP should actually be, and pundits expect Solvik will have to work full time at Asera within the coming year.

Still on the subject of Cisco, I heard something that falls under the category of `do as I say, not as I do'. Apparently, to create the event-driven, real-time computing architecture for Cisco's vaunted electronic-commerce operations, Cisco is using Talarian's application development tools, even though Cisco is a major investor in Talarian's arch-rival, Tibco.

Finally, a source informs me that, in its quest to find new markets to dominate, Microsoft is working with Boeing on providing Internet access on aeroplanes, by wiring planes with an infrared network from a company called Spectrix.

I wasn't the only one having difficulty working out who was in costume. One guy, who was trying to hit on Rose, asked me, full of wide-eyed innocence: `So what's your costume? Night of the Living Dead?'

Funny thing is, I hadn't dressed up.

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