NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Tricks up sleeve

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Tricks up sleeve

I managed to pull off a surprise party after all. With a little chicanery, we convinced Amber and her twin sister to meet each other at a local favourite restaurant and when they got there, so were all their friends. "You really caught me off guard, Bobby," Amber said. "I never figured you had a trick like that up your sleeve." That and much more, my dear.

Swirling rumours

I'm not the only trickster, though. The economy may still be down, but several of my spies buzzing around JavaOne last month overheard some folks talking about potential purchases. Acquisition rumours continue to swirl around CRM app vendor E.piphany. In fact, the gooeyest sticking point in the bidding war is apparently the actual price that one of the big, but as yet unnamed, software houses is willing to pay to compete more forcefully with Siebel.

In the portal market space, another spy reported that Plumtree has gathered its fruits into one basket and hopes to find a buyer for its portal infrastructure and people power. No word on any takers yet, but I will keep you posted.

Meanwhile, my spy said that continues to push into the enterprise as it nears a systems integration pact with CRM service provider Wheelhouse.

The new meaning of free

Another spy pointed out that while most versions of Linux come with a small up-front price tag, Mandrake Linux seems to be taking that one step further.

The company, on its Web site, requests that before downloading its Linux software, prospective users offer their support by joining the Mandrake Linux Users Club, for a fee ranging from $2,500 to $100,000, depending on which options a particular company elects.

Shooting the messenger

One of my spies wants to know more about the mysterious AOL instant messenger that came and went. According to the spy account, on Thursday, November 15 of last year, he was out on special spy training, could only access the Web from a direct connection, and when he went to AOL's site he was greeted with an entirely new Web site featuring full instant messaging. The thing is, this was available on Friday morning, but sometime between 8am and 10am, it disappeared. "I've been waiting patiently for the new site to reappear, but to no avail," the spy said.

After the surprise party, a bunch of revellers found their way back to my place and everyone was doting on the pooch. It wasn't long before I noticed Amber sulking a bit, no longer the centre of attention.

"It's supposed to be my birthday party," she said. I detect a bit of jealousy of Apache within Amber, I believe. I'm a bit green myself, since I missed out on riding the Harley this weekend.

Sulking never helps. Send tips to

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