Rose is definitely no techno-geek

Rose is definitely no techno-geek

Bobby's sorry that Rose is bored with the gadgets he's been hearing about . . .

After deciding we don't have enough shared interests, Rose last week took me to the Metronome, a swing dance club in San Francisco. Of course, we wouldn't need to create shared interests if Rose was a techno-geek the way I am.

For example, I was excited - and Rose was nonplussed - to hear about a car-based satellite phone under development by Globalstar and Qualcomm. This September each company will launch a version, and by next year both will follow these with enhanced models that have data-transfer capabilities.

While Rose doesn't like gadgetry, she does like my more political tips. For example, she liked my report of turmoil in Sun's internal IT department, and now I have more Sun gossip for her: I hear the company is tightening up its e-mail archiving policy. The e-mail which alerted workers to the policy change also had some sage advice: "Avoid archiving messages that exhibit poor etiquette; for example, messages that criticise competitors or vendors."

I was gratified Sun should pay so much attention to etiquette, but then I read to the bottom of the e-mail, which gives a more cynical explanation: "With proper attention to this e-mail retention program, Sun can better meet business needs at a far lower cost."

Those cost savings will really kick in if Sun ever gets its inboxes subpoenaed - as Microsoft discovered the hard way during its antitrust trial.

Rose has also been enjoying my reports about the vacation restrictions that companies are putting on their IT staff over the New Year's period, but she suspects that the senior management will be vacationing as normal.

Well, if one tipster is to be believed, she may be right. Apparently, Bill Gates and his family have leased Little Palm Island, 25 miles north of Key West, for the entire holiday period. This exclusive resort (which Bill will probably try to rename Little WinCE Island) has no telephones, and can only be reached by boat or seaplane.

Of course, if you were CEO of the world's largest software company, and you knew that everything was going to fall to pieces on January 1, a remote island would probably seem like a pretty good place to be when the s*** hits the fan . . . although I'd be the last one to accuse Bill of that.

I tried to send Bill an instant message to get him to confirm this, but I'm an AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) user, so I couldn't connect.

From what I hear, though, AIM users are having problems even connecting with one another. I heard many reports last week from AIM users saying they could not log on. The suspicion is that, in its quest to thwart Microsoft, AOL has inadvertently screwed something up so some of its own users can't connect either.

Rose was resigned to the fact that the Metronome would be tobacco-free, but was shocked to find that it is also an alcohol-free zone. As a result, the evening was a disaster: without the emotional and physical lubrication that only a vodka tonic can provide, she was quite unable to get into the spirit of things. I guess we'll be looking for a new interest to share.

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

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