NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Dog days of summer

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Dog days of summer

"Did you know that man used to use dogs practically as servants?" Amber asked me. "I feel like we are servants to this pooch." Come to think of it, sometimes it does feel like Apache is the master, with us feeding him and constantly cleaning up after him.

Humble servants

Speaking of servitude, a spy told me that a contingency of iPaq users feels like a beta group for the born-again hardware giant because Hewlett-Packard's handheld product group has been stricken with a case of disorganisation. Customers bought their systems and then were plagued with unresolved problems - created by GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications), Bluetooth, backlight, and even add-on sleeves - to which HP offered only the soft-reset or hard-reset options, the latter of which erases all data and programs added by the user. In some instances, HP stonewalled the questions altogether, my spy said. Now the so-called beta testers are unhappy with HP. The thing is, they paid cash for the privilege of doing HP's dirty work; not six months after the customers purchased their handhelds, HP issued a new model with none of the problems found in the previous version.

Sign of the times

Another spy reported that an accounting scandal similar to those grabbing headlines and plaguing WorldCom and Enron took place at Pinkerton Computer Consultants. The "funny" thing is that when the company sold out to venture capitalists and the principals got more than $8 million each, the venture capitalists paid 50 cents in the dollar for each share of stock in the employees' ESOP. Neither the principals nor the corporate officers lost any money on the ESOP purchase: they cashed in their shares before the venture capitalists paid 50 cents in the dollar. Top officers got rich; employees got screwed.

Right back at me

This week a spy took issue with a recent column in which I said the Navision folks were brainwashed by Billy and the Boys in Redmond, who recently gobbled up the Swedish vendor. I said the company was rushing to get its Web services support out the door before the deal closed. My spy said Navision has not been brainwashed; rather, it has been using Microsoft's software more than some divisions inside Microsoft do themselves. That use of Microsoft software, my spy said, was one of many reasons Microsoft bought Navision. It's all semantics, I say.

Amber is still pushing for a summer vacation and is trying to brainwash me a little. "Tick, tock, Cringe, summer will be over soon," she keeps saying over and over.

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