NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Dell takes heat, Feds cheat

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Dell takes heat, Feds cheat

Some things just lose their luster when the buzz wears off. That must be why Oracle cut its takeover bid for PeopleSoft from $US9.4 billion to $US7.7 billion.

Rumour has it Larry’s blushing bride, Melanie Craft, needed the extra scratch to redecorate Chez Ellison; she plans to wallpaper the entire mansion with $US100 bills.

Dell Is still hot: Since my item about Dell’s smokin’ SX270s, my inbox has been stoked with complaints from angry users and Dell support techs tired of putting out fires — literally.

One Dell technician claims he’s handled several calls from users whose PowerEdge 1650 servers have caught fire, and says Dell has been quietly trying to replace all 1650s before the Federales issue a recall.

My spies say Dell is overhauling its support ops to handle the conflagration, and is instructing techs to glue themselves to each caller until the problem is solved (or the fire department shows up).

A company spokesperson said there were no safety issues with the PowerEdge 1650s, and that Dell was “working to proactively correct the issue with affected customers”.

No word on whether they’ve issued oven mitts to their onsite support squad.

Diminished capacitor defence: Dell’s dilemmas could be due to a flood of counterfeit capacitors that have plagued motherboard makers for at least two years. According to Gary Headlee at, the crummy caps have affected nearly every board maker. Take a bad capacitor, stick it in a poorly ventilated box, crank up the CPU cycles, and add marshmallows — it’s the perfect camping treat.

Third-degree burns: The General Accounting Office reports at least 28 high-ranking US government officials are sporting spurious sheepskins from online diploma mills. Do you suppose the Feds got suspicious when department heads at the National Nuclear Security Administration claimed to have studied under Professor Homer Simpson? Maybe this is how Dell’s system engineers got their degrees.

Time warped: Got my invite to the eighth annual WarpStock fest, proving that despite all appearances to the contrary, OS/2 is not dead. It is, however, having its food cut into teensy little pieces.

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