NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Job drops, Dell flops

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Job drops, Dell flops

If it could happen to Daniel Geer, the @stake CTO fired last week for releasing a report that criticised Microsoft, it could happen to me - what with all my whining about Redmond bugs. But my tough-as-nails editor insists I have nothing to worry about. “If an army of telemarketers has the right to annoy millions of American citizens,” he tells me, “surely you do as well. Besides, nobody else will work this cheap.”

Pink parachutes: These days I’m just happy to be working at all. In August, HP quietly revealed it’s dropping another 5000 from its payroll, bringing total cuts since the Compaq merger to more than 20,000. IBM 86’d a mere 400 employees in September, a drop in the lunch bucket compared to the 15,000 it shed earlier this year. And Gateway is canning another 1300 minions, or nearly 4000 since the end of 2002. Sounds like some techno giants have signed on to the Dr. Phil Corporate Diet Plan for shedding excess employees.

Rhymes with hell: Some Cringeheads are reporting serious support problems with Dell. One tipster who bought a refurbished Dell and ran into technical problems was told he had to wait five days before someone could help him — that’s how long the tech said it would take for his system information to reach their support database. It’s comforting to know somebody’s still using the Pony Expressfor deliveries.

Netscape unblocked: A faithful reader recently installed Netscape 7.x, then discovered its built-in pop-up blocker automatically allows ads from AOL business partners, including and You mean America Online makes exceptions for its marketing partners? Next you’ll be saying that Microsoft Windows poses a national security risk.

The Cringe crew is nothing if not ingenious. Among the many hangover cures submitted were mega-doses of Vitamin C, Imodium A-D with a chaser of Gatorade, warm cola, and chocolate Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Some even suggested I not drink so much. Talk about a cure being worse than the disease.

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