ARN

Bobby gets mouth-to-mouth

And learns that you can't believe everything you see on televisionRose persuaded me to visit another dentist last week, to get a second opinion on whether or not I need all this work done on my mouth. She has a scathing disrespect for people in the medical profession, due, at least in part, I think, to the fact that she's always being warned about her smoking and drinkingIt's on TV so it must be trueShe is right about one thing, though: you can't believe everything you hear.

For example, based on all the ads on television, you would think that IBM is the king of electronic business, but I've begun to see some major weaknesses in its armour.

I hear that both United and Delta airlines recently opted to pick Tibco products for their e-business middleware infrastructure.

For IBM, the loss of these deals is a particular black eye because the airline industry has long been a bastion for IBM. For Tibco, it's a huge deal, because, although the company is widely recognised in the financial-services arena, it is only now breaking out of that box as it rides the wave of interest in real-time, event-driven e-business computing models.

But don't count out other players just yet. SAGA, which grew out of the US operations of Software AG, has real-time event-driven middleware, which is being adopted by MCI WorldCom.

It's also becoming harder to separate the facts from the hype surrounding Linux. Talk to anyone at Microsoft, and Linux is being widely ignored by enterprises. Talk to anyone who dislikes Microsoft (that is, anyone else), and Linux is about to sink Microsoft's ship. For this reason, you can choose to believe this or not: Oracle folks say downloads of Linux-based software from its Web site are outstripping those of other OSes by a factor of five to one.

Still on the subject of what should or should not be believed, I was deluged with e-mails last week from people telling me that it is Sun Microsystems that requires its licensees to include the "Don't use Java to run nuclear power stations" message in Java products, rather than a move by Microsoft to instill FUD about Java.

I accept that this is correct, but that still does not mean I'd trust Visual Basic to do the job. (I wonder what software that nuclear power station in Japan was running.)Finally, I believe the following because it sounds ridiculous enough to be true. A source close to Intel tells me that the sound that accompanies the "Intel Inside" logo on television is also routinely played over the public announcement system at Intel and is the cue for everyone to perform stretching exercises.

Apparently, the company also has appointed "Stretch Leaders" to encourage those who don't want to perform the exercise - presumably because they have their heads in the garbage can, throwing up from the touchy-feeliness of it all.

If someone tried to get me to stretch on demand, my middle finger is the only part of me that would get any exercise. If you ask me, Intel would do better to pipe the sound into the corporate bathrooms; it makes a much better accompaniment for what goes on in there.

I'm very glad (heavy irony) that I took Rose's advice and saw a second dentist.

I've now been told that I need exactly double the amount of work done that the first dentist had prescribed.

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