Rose basks in fame's glow

Rose basks in fame's glow

Rose was very happy to run into a reader of this column last week. She was singing to James Brown in a San Francisco bar, and was approached by a guy who asked, "Do you by any chance know someone named Cringely?"

Generally, Rose likes the notoriety she's gotten through this column, although at times she complains about her portrayal as "a Betty Ford in-patient waiting to happen".

Mine's a double. They probably need a stiff drink in Sun's internal IT department. Apparently, the head of the company's internal IT department wants to outsource all internal support of data centre services, and shut down all internal data centres. The same source says Sun is also switching from Cisco to Nortel as its preferred networking supplier - and that as a result Cisco is considering tearing out its $40 million worth of Sun machines.

If Microsoft staffers are laughing over this, they will have less to laugh about over the holidays this year. After I said I hadn't heard what restrictions the company was putting on New Year's holidays, two readers let me know.

I'm told the support department has a vacation freeze from mid-November through to mid-January, and key Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) employees cannot take a vacation from November through to early March. My MCS source questions why they need to be on hand for so long, wryly asking, "What are you going to do for a company that is not compliant after the fact - hold their hand and reassure them that it is not going to fall apart?"

Still on the subject of New Year's vacations, I heard from the St. Louis-based brokerage, A.G. Edwards, which took exception to what I said about its holiday restrictions. First, the company says that out-of-town vacations have been banned from January 1 to January 7 - not all of December and January as I stated - although between December 28 and January 14, all vacations "must be approved at the department manager level". (Hmmm. I wonder how many applicants will get their requests approved.)For me, the most worrisome thing, though, was the response to my comment that the IT staff are speculating they will be issued with ankle bracelets for tracking purposes, an idea the author of the letter said "is just short of ridiculous".

Let me say that it is not "just short of ridiculous", it is completely ridiculous. If A.G. Edwards' management thinks differently, then I'm glad I don't work there.

Maybe I should start labelling the jokes in this column for the humour-impaired.

I should also say that a reliable source in the Electronic Funds Transfer industry tells me that its vacation restrictions are not as stringent as I said. Although war rooms are being set up, and the staff is being assigned, there are no restrictions on vacations. Apparently, those who do have to work are allowed to do so remotely via modem, to lessen the unpleasantness.

Having set the record straight, it's me who needs a drink now, although one reader will be picturing me alone. Ironically, in the same week that Rose was spotted, I received an e-mail commenting, "I don't think Rose is real."

I often have trouble believing it myself.

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

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