Bobby's spats with Rose really are nothing

Bobby's spats with Rose really are nothing

Rose persuaded me to join a gym last week. She claims it's for my overall wellbeing, but if you ask me, she's more concerned about my rapidly expanding waistline.

I protested that I don't have the time to commit to going to the gym, but she already had that one answered - she had managed to find San Francisco's only fitness club that boasts Internet access from its cardiovascular machines.

"You can do all your Web research while you exercise," she said.

I agreed to Rose's request with- out an argument. I've had enough of arguments.

There seem to be a fair amount of those going on at IBM at the moment. A well-placed source has told me stories of internal politics, a mass exodus of important staff, and a resulting lack of development of some core technologies needed for the company's electronic-commerce platform, specifically Payment Server. Apparently, the company failed to pri-oritise development of Payment Server, meaning that it is not as tightly integ-rated with IBM's Net.Commerce platform as it needs to be.

One potential customer of Net. Commerce who has seen this stuff in action described the product as "a complete joke".

There's intrigue of a different kind over at Dell, I'm told. A reader got in touch last week, following my tip that Dell is using Compaq (nee Tandem) Himalaya servers for its Build to Order system.

Apparently the thing that has really gotten up Michael Dell's nose is not just that the company is using the Himalaya servers (he apparently tried to get rid of them but realised it would have cost too much), but that even now the company is having to spend money with Compaq in order to upgrade them.

If I were Compaq's CFO, I'd break that out as a separate line item in the company's next financial report.

I normally don't report tips that I suspect come from vendors' PR hacks, but I must admit that I'm intrigued by this one.

I got an e-mail last week from someone who says that in about two weeks he'll be telling me about a new, free instant messenger that supports Microsoft's, AOL's, and Yahoo's systems, simultaneously.

I don't know whether it's true - and I'll be interested to see how AOL reacts following the debacle over its interoperability with Microsoft Instant Messenger.

Finally, a confession: I should have done more research before I wrote about Microsoft's URL problems recently.

My thanks (yeah, really) to everyone who e-mailed me to say I was the victim of a hoax, when I said that a URL on Microsoft's support site included the words "Bill", "Gates", and "anus". It was pointed out to me that it is possible to type anything after the question mark of the page's real URL and still have the page load. A less sincere thank you to those who suggested alternative (mostly obscene) URLs.

Now that's the kind of research I can do while I'm at the gym. I love this technology-convergence trend: I'm just waiting for Compaq to launch its first notebook with an integrated rowing machine.

Robert X. Cringely is a regular contributor to ARN's sister publication Infoworld.

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