NOTES FROM THE FIELD: It's the same old story

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: It's the same old story

You know Bobby, all you ever want to do these days is ride that Harley," Amber complained. "It's fun to do other things sometimes, too." It's OK with me if she thinks that way, so long as she comes along for the ride.

Service pack redux

Microsoft's service packs have been creating a number of headaches lately. For starters, when Windows XP Service Pack 1 is installed - at least through the express version from Windows Update - a change is made in Outlook Express that affects Microsoft's competitors' software file attachments. The attachments become labelled as "dangerous".

In particular, Adobe Acrobat 4.0 document attachments are tagged this way. However, the dominant virus carriers in the world - Microsoft Word documents with macros - are not blocked, the spy says. And when said spy created an Acrobat document with just a few lines of text, Outlook blocked it. The real headache came when my spy had to visit every system he had upgraded to SP1, and uncheck the setting that made all this happen.

There is also an issue with Service Pack 1 for IE 6, as it breaks the browser so one can neither click on a link that opens in a new window, nor right-click to do the same, another spy said. It also broke the IE printing ability. Also, my spy said, reinstalling IE 6 doesn't fix the problem.

Dog food

It seems the folks at Pervasive don't enjoy the flavour of their own dog food. My spy went to Pervasive's Web site to order a developer's kit for Pervasive SQL product and received an error message giving away a dirty little secret I imagine Pervasive would prefer to keep under its hat: it is running Microsoft's SQL Server database, at least in some instances. From that, I can only presume that Pervasive's own database is either too difficult, too expensive to maintain, or simply not robust enough for the company's taste.

PDA in the Dell

A Dell executive told my spy that Dell will be introducing PDAs later this year. Although that has been previously reported, my spy did manage to ascertain from the exec that Dell will issue a handheld running embedded Windows XP with some voice-command functions. Expect it around Christmas, the spy said.

To placate Amber, I agreed to stop at her favourite little place in Stinson Beach. But by the time we got there, my riding may have given her a touch of motion sickness. "I don't even feel like eating," she said. The ride home wasn't much for her, either.

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