NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Dell gets friendly with AMD

Okay, okay, I hear you. A Harley-Davidson Sportster is not a hog, as I asserted last week. Forgive me for betraying my lack of bike savvy, but the Harley Davidson culture doesn't come too easily for a techie. As for Amber, we had a great time riding, but we had to cut it short. The bike's thin on passenger space. Houston, we have a problem.

What problem?

It seems as though cellular outfit Nextel Communications must have an Human Resources problem, if my spy's tip is true: Nextel is about to outsource its entire IT department.

Speaking of outsourcing, it has been widely circulated in the press that the PC Texan is surveying customers about what the chances are they might buy a box equipped with an AMD chip. My spy has offered a tip that discussions between Dell Computer and AMD may have progressed, emphasised by the fact the chipmaker has been spotted shopping for land in Austin, Texas, just a few miles from Dell's HQ.

Them's fightin' words

So now I'm just being straight-out provocative. A reader contacted me last week in response to a comment I made recently about who trusts vendor-sponsored research.

"The answer to that is easy: Macheads," he wrote. "Every Macintosh enthusiast will proclaim any "independent" study showing some alleged advantage of Apple's wares, despite the fact that by just checking the fine print you can find Apple's fingerprints all over them."

Apple fans, consider this an invitation to come forth with your legitimate defence. And for anyone else, I'd love to see evidence of "vendor vote tampering," regardless of platform.

The new Napster?

Finally, here's a tip for you Napster junkies who are no doubt mourning its demise. A 16-year-old contacted me touting his own file-sharing technology, File Leech. Check

Meanwhile, I think one of my spies may have found the real reason Napster's on the downward spiral. This warning appears in the end-user licence agreement of Napster's software: "11. The software is not intended for use in the operation of nuclear facilities, aircraft navigation or communications systems, or air traffic control machine in which case the failure of the software could lead to death."

You see, where markets' and user base are concerned, you just need to think a little bigger these days.

"My butt's sore," Amber complained. It seems I also need to start thinking a little bigger if this relationship is to go anywhere.

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