NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Sackings no Red Herring

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Sackings no Red Herring

Job security sure isn't what it used to be. Last month published reports said the chairman of Red Herring, a magazine that serves the venture capital and high-tech communities, fired one of its founding editors.

The chairman, Tony Perkins, fired his brother, Michael Perkins. The two were co-authors of the very successful and prophetic The Internet Bubble and worked together for years at Red Herring.

"Maybe Michael is pursuing his dream, Bobby," my girlfriend Randi said. "Maybe he really wants to be a full-time author."

Maybe Randi is right. Not only did Michael Perkins co-author the bubble book, he also published last summer a novel he co-authored about murder in the venture capital/high-tech world. Let's just hope the research he did for A Cool Billion doesn't give him any ideas about offing the guy who fired him.

Pentium to diss Java?

Although the Wintel partnership has certainly seen better days, word is that Intel may be trying to make amends with the big M. Those with their ears close to the ground report that the new Pentium IVs don't work with Java, the technology produced by Microsoft rival Sun Microsystems. (Intel insiders, do you care to comment?)This probably has nothing to do with the fact that Microsoft agreed in its settlement with Sun not to sell Java anymore. Then a few days later Microsoft announced migration tools for moving from Java to the .NET platform.

Another rumour begging for some inside information is the one about the Ventura desktop publishing system. Users report that Corel is stonewalling when asked for answers about the future of the product. Any Corel insiders care to fess up and let me know what's going on?

Broadband a four-letter word?

Long-suffering @Home users seem to report outages in one area or another every week. This time @Home has had widespread DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) service and e-mail outages since February 7. Service is affected in California, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania and several other states.

Calls to the customer service folks did not prove enlightening to @Home customers. "They are acting as if they haven't a clue what is wrong or when it will be fixed," one poor @Home victim said.

Just try navigating the Byzantine procedures in the Intuit software's rebate program. It may be easier to use the paper form. Or ask to opt out of the company's program to provide customer information to other companies. One customer did just that and was told via e-mail that she needed to send her street address and phone number. However, the tagline on the e-mail read, "Please do not reply to this e-mail, as we will be unable to respond to you."

"Why not do your taxes the old-fashioned way, Bobby?" Randi asked. "Take them to an accountant." She doesn't understand the tech goober inside me.

Robert X. Cringely is a regular contributor to ARN's sister publication Infoworld

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