"I'm sorry I didn't call you". It was Randi on the phone from Australia. "I just decided to do something spontaneous for once in my life," she blurted.

Yes, it was another man. Yes, it's over. And yes, I'm over it too. It's a tough call, but these are tough times and I'm not about to get emotionally destroyed again.

Embarrassing behaviour

It seems the former MarchFirst recently left their digs behind - with a bitter aftertaste, too. One of my spies reports that a bunch of folks in an early round of lay-offs had received expenses and wage cheques from the company after they were laid off, which cleared and were posted to their accounts. But after MarchFirst declared bankruptcy, the money was called "uncollected funds" by the bank and recollected from their accounts. One day they were enjoying company-paid massages; the next, a financial kick in the guts.

Speaking of financial embarrassment, IBM is still cleaning up the mess after the well-publicised backfire over its server group's Linux advertising campaign in which it stencilled a heart, peace symbols and the Linux penguin logo on sidewalks in major US cities.

My sources reveal IBM employees were just as unhappy about it as the city mayors were. In one attempt at redemption, IBM is compensating Chicago, which decided to remove the graffiti itself. That's right, Chicago doesn't need e-cleaning outsourcing services.

Frosty Windows

Redmond, we have a problem (yeah, like that's a news flash), if you want to call 26 lengthy responses to my call for Windows Me vs The Rest debate an accurate sample.

So, for the record, 21 people said Windows Me is a dog, and five stood up to be counted as supporters. Here are my picks of the bunch, starting with the foes.

"To be succinct, my OS must know where an OS ends and programs begin. For the future I'm watching Linux."

"To call it an unreliable and flaky piece of crap is an understatement. It crashes regularly while the kids are playing just a small selection of popular games."

"If Windows Me is so great, why is XP coming so soon?"

And the fans: "Me has a place

for users who have neither the

desire nor the ability to become

technically proficient."

"$US90 for the upgrade [to Me] is a bit much, but unless you've got a lot of legacy gear to keep running with safety pins and baling wire, it's definitely more stable than its predecessors."

"I'll stick with Windows, [unlike Linux it's] an operating system that runs a lot more programs than just Web servers."

"Quit whining about the lady and head to New Zealand," wrote a Kiwi reader. "The weather is better and the people more friendly."

Sure, that might be the case, but I've got some dating to do first. An old dog like me still has a few tricks up his sleeve.

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