NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Dell spells, email smells

Ever since I spied on her hard drive, Pammy has been stomping around the apartment like Godzilla with a gallstone, so I thought it best to get the heck out of town. I high-tailed it to Scottsdale and snuck into Demo 2004, cleverly disguised as a spa attendant. There I discovered the Gila Monsterita — three parts cactus juice, two parts tequila, one part desert roadkill. After three or four of those, every product looked interesting.

The Circle Game: The good thing about Demo is everything is over in six minutes (kind of like my love life — wait, I’ve used that joke before). That’s how long presenters get to make their pitch and try to collect a wad of VC money as they walk offstage. This year it seems the key to getting investors hot for your product is to present pictures of tiny circles inside larger circles, inside even bigger circles, inside one really big circle. At least, that’s how it was for Grokker2 from Groxis, Fractal Edge’s Fractal:PC, and e.story’s LinkedMinds. I guess there’s something to be said for traveling in the right circles.

EULA Be Glad You Did: Reader, Gary M, has come up with a patch for future wardrobe malfunctions. Just glue a Microsoft end-user license agreement to any potentially faulty clothing. Since nobody ever looks at those, there won’t ever be a problem.

V Is for Visitors: One Dell-bound reader reports a disturbing phenomenon with his Inspiron 5150 notebook. When he moves his finger from left to right across the touchpad, the mouse cursor travels across the screen in an eerie V-shaped pattern. According to Dell’s user forums, he’s not the only one afflicted. Dell says the V movement was caused by electrostatic discharge and that they’ve fixed the problem on Inspirons shipped since December. I think they’re covering up the real cause: Either it’s receiving messages from the alien race known as V (for Visitors), or the Inspiron thinks it’s playing Pong.

Smells Like e-Spirit: UK telecom provider, Telewest Broadband, is apparently testing a device that hooks to your PC and wafts a scent when certain emails arrive. This begs the obvious question: What would an email from SCO’s attorneys smell like?