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I'm taking my best shot

I'm taking my best shot

As a kid, I summered at my great uncle Elmer's dairy farm. There was nothing palatial about this estate. Just 100 acres of cows, corn, and a farmer's daughter who lived down the lane and offered anatomy lessons in the hay loft. When I turned 12, I got my first rifle, a Winchester .22 under over. A favourite trick was to stand on the ridge about a quarter mile from the farm pond, aim for the centre, fire the gun, and count until I saw the ripple form in the water and move toward shore.

I now realise this prepared me well for my current employment. Like the kid with a shiny rifle, I take aim, fire, and wait for the ripples.

I shouldn't have been surprised, then, to find in my inbox an official statement from Delbert Yocam, responding to "speculation" on his assent to the executive suite at Apple Computer. Sayeth he: "My focus is completely on running Borland International and on our exciting new strategic direction . . . as the leading provider of software tools and middleware. [This] will enable the development of a new generation of corporate information networks, or InfoNets." Rarely have I seen great success in a middleware strategy (middleware is all that stuff that Microsoft eventually builds into the operating system) or in the creation of new buzzwords.

The Apple rumour mill has been turning at top speed. Among the more interesting bits was that Amelio was pondering a run for governor of California and had hoped an Apple turnaround would be a boost to his political aspirations.

He said, she said

Another rumour had Amelio calling an emergency board meeting to announce his resignation for personal reasons unrelated to Apple or its financials.

Apple has hired an executive search firm to find the next CEO and perhaps even chief operating officer for the company. Some insiders believe Mike Markkula, the company's vice chair and puppetmaster, will orchestrate Steve Jobs' ascension to the chairman's seat. That would bring all the benefits of Jobs' vision and pizzazz with little of the downside of his mercurial personality.

A little feedback has rippled down from Microsoft concerning a problem I reported with the pow() function on Alpha computers. A Microsoftie told me he'd seen the problem on Intel machines, too, but could fix it by adjusting code optimisation during compile time. He added that the results of the pow() in the debug version will differ from the results in the released version. Good information but still unsettling.

One Baby Bell got wind that Hewlett-Packard is planning to discontinue HP ORB Plus, its CORBA 2.0 object request broker implementation that runs on HP-UX, Windows NT, and Solaris. Developers on the project are moving on to other things, and HP will form a partnership with another ORB vendor.

I have no idea where that old .22 is today. It's just as well, given the endless opportunities for pot shots that I seem to encounter every day.


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