Notes from the field -- What's up with Internet commerce

Notes from the field -- What's up with Internet commerce

If you ask me, the main inhibitor that will slow the acceptance of Internet commerce isn't standards, it isn't specifications, and it isn't products. It's the morons that companies choose to call "customer service agents".

I feel particularly strongly about this, especially after spending all week battling my car finance company, which claims I didn't make my payment this month - despite the fact that my automatic electronic payment went through as normal.

Larry clones

Will the real Larry Ellison please stand up? There seems to be a bit of miscommunication - or maybe discommunication - going on at Novell. The company has been telling people that Larry Ellison will be on hand at a San Francisco event that Novell is hosting September 14, but that is, coincidentally, the same date Oracle has set for the launch of Oracle 8i - in New York.

So has Ellison finally found a way to clone himself? No. When pressed, Novell officials admit that Ellison is making a prerecorded video, which will be shown at the San Francisco event.

Speaking of San Francisco events, anyone who thought they were too late to book a stand at Comdex Enterprise show may have found salvation, thanks to the Kodak Professional Division of Eastman Kodak. The company bought stand space at the show, hoping to make a fast buck by selling it to other digital-imaging vendors for $US10,000 a pop. Judging by the company's press release telling people this, I believe they weren't totally successful.

The dark side

Meanwhile, rumours are flying that Transmeta, the super-supersecret Silicon Valley start-up that snagged Linux inventor Linus Torvalds, has turned to the dark side and is now building its portable-device chips so they'll run Microsoft OSs.

"People who should know say that's not true," said a friend of mine who should know people who should know. "But which story is true and which is a smoke screen?" he asked. Curiouser and curiouser.

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