NOTES FROM THE FIELD: 'The Weakest Link' a fan

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: 'The Weakest Link' a fan

Randi's at it again. First it was Survivor: The Australian Outback; now she's hooked on The Weakest Link. Television ain't what it used to be, and all of a sudden, evenings spent at Randi's seem to drag on for hours. What happened to epic tales of mystery, murder and intrigue? Long live the master: Columbo.

Speaking of weak links, while many of you are still unhappy about the Microsoft benchmarking saga, this week a spy has uncovered a slightly different, if not recurring, problem caused by Redmond.

After upgrading his server

from Novell 5.1 to Windows 2000, our friend had problems maintaining connections with Windows 98 clients,

and Windows ME also appears to be affected. You can try the solution at, but you must go through paid support to get it. "Guess you can go where you want to today as long as you aren't using Win 98 and your own network to get there," this spy observes.

And while we are on the subject of all things Redmond, here's something straight from Microsoft's soon-to-be-formed comedy department.

Windows 2000 users may have encountered Microsoft's attempt to sort the big companies from the small. The hair colour of the "Person" icon for a user group becomes grey if the group contains more than 500 users.

User or group functionality is not affected by the "grey" rating, but will Microsoft now be accused of being ageist? Or perhaps its programmers have finally revealed a human side to their work by attempting to show compassion for exactly what happens to hapless IT managers when user groups grow larger than 500? Check out support.

Texas-size troubles

Texas Instruments (TI) is proving that it, too, knows how to shed a pay packet, or more accurately 2500 of them. Six per cent of TI's work force is being laid off, and one insider told me about its management chaos.

The company might be trying to save a buck like the rest of us, but my spy reports a nasty side effect. Sun's latest project, using TI chips that are still in development, is now over budget and falling behind schedule. My spy says engineers are voluntarily joining the official layoff list to escape finger-pointing middle managers.

Still thinking

The "Think With Ink" quote I wrote about recently could have a darker side. I received e-mails observing Microsoft's use of "Think" on its Tablet PC prototype is condensed from former IBM head honcho Thomas Watson's statement: "Machines should work. People should think". As one of my informants points out, Microsoft is not simply after historical inspiration. I agree. If you discover any technical similarities between the Tablet PC and IBM's ThinkPads, let me know.

"I should go on one of these shows; I could win some money," Randi blurted out. "You are the weakest TV buddy - good night!" I retorted on my way home. Even Columbo had his standards.Got some antipodean gossip? Send it on to

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