NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Readers hot and cold over Me

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Readers hot and cold over Me

I've thought about calling the missing person's bureau, but somehow it doesn't seem worth it.

Randi's gone. It's a hard thing for a tough-minded guy like me to understand, but if she's somehow managed to find a better guy in Australia (is that possible?), then hasta la vista, baby.

Thanks to all for the relationship advice, and to my Australian readers for their offers to join the spy ranks (one even claimed to be a crocodile hunter). If you see a tall, curly-red-haired Yank with an Aussie, remind her what she's missing.


Speaking of people coping with things on their minds, my travels took me to NetWorld+Interop recently, where I listened to Intel honcho Craig Barrett deliver an uninspiring keynote, defending negative opinions of the Internet. I could understand that all his staff layoffs have clouded his enthusiasm. But the amusing thing was that Barrett used the repeated on-stage wireless microphone problems to publicly lay into Motorola for his continued hassles with dropouts. Ouch!

Of course, the other big gossip at N+I was news of 3Com's 30 per cent layoffs. Speculation is rife about what's happening to 3Com's NIC business and why the company apparently overreacted on the pink-slip front.

Me, Me, Me!

No, I'm not on drugs - despite the accusation made by some pro-Microsoftie (not that there's anything wrong with that) after my observations about Windows Me problems and my preferences for Windows 95 or Linux.

As a true news scout, I rely on many informants for advice and try to remain impartial.

One reader has suggested a debate on the merits of Me vs alternative operating systems. I invite your comments.

To get you started, here are a few morsels from my spies:

"I have found that the reliability has increased and the frequency of crashes has decreased with each new release [of Windows]."

"Windows Me boots faster and shuts down faster than Win9x."

"I've had a terrible time trying to Ghost WinMe and thought I had some serious hardware failures on my machines. I never made the connection that it was WinMe [until now]."

"I went on a trip, and it was rare to watch a full DVD without [Me] crashing in the middle of it."

Amusement factor

And to add some sparkle to the debate, another spy points out that Microsoft's spell checker in Outlook gets worried if you use the word "VALinux". The alternative it offers is "Valium". I tested the same word with Word's spell checker and got "vanilla".

"It has been a while, but how about you look up good ol' Pammy?" one reader counselled. I'm sorry, but even Rose is out of the picture. To reinterpret recent comments from Craig Barrett and John Chambers, history doesn't need to repeat itself this year.Got some antipodean gossip? Send it on to

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