No Sunday in the park: rain pushes platforms closer to the precipice

No Sunday in the park: rain pushes platforms closer to the precipice

Reading Silicon Valley weather reports is a dull pastime for nine months of the year: sunshine followed by more sunshine, followed by more sunshine.

But when the rains do set in, things can get a bit more interesting.

And the last couple of weeks' storms have produced a bumper crop of hilarious interviews in the press with Californian residents whose dream homes on the top of a cliff are now rubble at the bottom.

I mean, it's all very sad and everything, but what did these people expect? Didn't anyone tell them the importance of building on solid ground?

Taking Notes

Lotus Notes is a robust product that is built on solid ground. However, according to one of my sources, things may get a bit more wobbly: the story goes that IBM wants to fold Notes into its eSuite family (see Lotus Notes story on page 52), and as a result, Lotus has been given the task of rewriting all of Notes in Java.

Speaking of platform changes, Cisco Systems may be switching over its internal network of print servers. Apparently the company's current infrastructure is based on Linux and works very well, but that hasn't stopped the guys at the top from wanting to mess with it. I'm told that in light of Cisco's ever-cosier relationship with Microsoft, its senior management issued an order that the existing system be trashed in favour of a Windows NT-based setup.

Word has it, though, that inertia has won out, and despite the order from on-high, the printing system is still -- you guessed it -- Linux-based.

Beta testing NT

Beta Systems is switching platforms too, sources tell me. The company, which provides utilities for MVS-based mainframe installations, apparently wants to branch out into the Windows NT utilities market and is shopping around in Silicon Valley for an acquisition.

I have just one bit of advice for Beta: steer clear of companies that emphasise the breathtaking cliff-top views from their headquarters.

Skating on thin ice

For the IBM executives who exchanged winter storms in the United States for the snow-covered mountains of Nagano, Japan, secrecy has been the order of the day.

But after keeping mum about its $US100 million IT systems for the first week and a half of the Winter Olympics, IBM turned its public relations machine on full force when things seemed to be working OK. Learning from its Atlanta fiasco -- in which IBM bragged loudly, then messed up during the Olympics -- IBMers kept a paranoid vow of silence this time. One insider said IBM issued a Nagano-wide proclamation that no one should talk to any outsiders or they risk losing their job.

There was even suspicion among IBM divisions. An in-sider said IBM Japan employees wouldn't let the Lotus developers review interface designs directly with sports federation officials.

Instead, everything had to go through IBM Japan with vital details getting lost in translation.

"Are you from California? Neat!"

I hear rumours that Gateway is thinking about moving and expanding its operation in Irvine, California, where it now has a toe-hold through its acquisition of Advanced Logic Research.

Word on the street is Gateway is having a devil of a time recruiting people to work in South Dakota, although I can't think why.

If the company did move to Irvine, Gateway would have to take the cows off its PC boxes and replace them with a powerful symbol of Irvine's character and cultural identity, like, uh, featureless suburbia.

How's the weather treating you? E-mail me at to let me know.

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