Notes from the Field: Dell-AMD love flowers, Microsoft charges by the hour

Notes from the Field: Dell-AMD love flowers, Microsoft charges by the hour

Microsoft recently announced the hardware requirements for Vista, and the answer is: more than you got. PCs that meet the minimum specs will be dubbed Vista Capable - which, if history is any indication, means they will run slower than a three-legged Saint Bernard. Machines with enough oomph to chew through Vista's groovy graphics will be called Premium Ready. And if you buy a new PC before Vista ships? Sorry, no free operating system upgrades. That's sure to boost sales this holiday season.

Big love: In the worst-kept secret since Prince Charles began playing kissy-face with Camilla, Dell and AMD have gone public with their forbidden love. Later this year Dell will introduce a line of Opteron-based servers, its first non-Intel machines ever. Dell also vowed to go on a diet and improve its pitiful customer service, while AMD said it would kick Intel's butt if they didn't stop calling Dell in the middle of the night and hanging up.

TelaAzul da Morte: Microsoft has a plan to compete with the $US100 hand-cranked PC: selling computers just like prepaid calling cards. For the past year, Microsoft has sold FlexGo PCs in Brazil with 10 hours of prepaid use - nine of them probably spent waiting for Windows to boot up. When time runs out, the machine sits there like a boat anchor until you buy another card. With 512MB and 80GB drives, these FlexGo models might be Vista Capable but they're definitely not Premium Ready. How do you say blue screen of death in Portuguese?

From Russia with 'love': Blue Security thought it had a clever way to fight junk email - a free service that flooded spammers with opt-out requests. But then a Russian spam-merchant known as PharmaMaster played 'Who's your daddy?' on the security firm, taking its site offline via a DDoS attack, then doing the same to its ISP, backbone provider, the security firm hired to thwart the attack, and the firm's paying customers. Blue Security quickly decided to exit the anti-spam biz and find a safer line of work - like, say, tasting food for Osama bin Laden.

Got hot tips or less lethal ways to fight spam? Send them to and you may receive a crafty yellow bag.

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