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NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Demo gods have laugh

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Demo gods have laugh

Sometimes it's tough being a hard-nosed, hard-working tech reporter. I recently had to rough it at a warm, exotic resort in the middle of February.

Yes, it was Demo time again, the conference that showcases new technologies, handpicked by the event's directors, for a small audience of select technology and venture capital icons who pay lots of money to get in.

It was the one conference that Randi had wanted to go to. After all, it's at a fancy resort that is not in Las Vegas or New York. But unfortunately, an emergency at the high-tech company where she works in HR kept her in Silicon Valley for the duration of the conference.

The demo gods

You can practice your tech demo over and over until you achieve perfection, but once you get on stage in front of a group you need to impress, all bets are off.

Digital Ink fell victim to the demo gods at the Demo 2001 event in Phoenix. When company executives came on stage to show off their wireless pen device that uses infrared to read regular ink, there was only one hitch: They'd spent so much time practicing and prepping for the live demo that the pen ran out of ink.

Don't give up on us, Baby (Bell)

Back when a couple of Baby Bells were negotiating to form the company that became Verison, the US Government ordered them to give up owning hosting company Genuity as part of the merger deal. Verison may have gotten rid of Genuity, but word is the folks at Verison consider it temporary.

Sources say that as soon as Verison gives up enough control over the long-distance telephone market in the Northeast to satisfy government officials, Verison officials plan to make a bid to reacquire Genuity.

P2P goes corporate

Even though judges have dealt substantial blows to Napster, peer-to-peer (P2P) technology still ranks high as a favourite among several tech-savvy companies. Federal Express is partnering with Yahoo! and Hewlett-Packard to incorporate P2P technologies with Corporate Yahoo!. And Microsoft is working hard with companies such as WorldStreet to link Microsoft Outlook, Dashboard and Office applications with P2P applications built on top of Microsoft.NET, sources say.

You can't go @Home again

Okay, I've gotten one e-mail from a person who hasn't had any problems with @Home service. But other reports of outages continue to pour in, one of the latest being a 10-day outage in Toronto.

Another reader offered this helpful hint for fellow victims. His local @Home service technicians changed e-mail servers and didn't bother to tell customers. After a little investigation, this reader "found that my e-mail server name went from lh1.rdc.il.home.com to mail.moline1.il.home.com". Some settings adjustments fixed the problem.

"If you want to see these episodes of La Femme Nikita you taped while I was gone, you'll come back over here now," I whispered menacingly into the phone.

Randi's phone dropped and she arrived all smiles 20 minutes later.

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


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