Bill Gates takes a holiday

Right now it seems we are all work and no play. Amber saw me hunched over my PC typing furiously in order to hit this column's deadline. Comdex was on, so the trade show fun continues. "You can relax over Thanksgiving," Amber assured me.

Speaking of Comdex, one of the interesting products on show was Microsoft's Tablet PC. My spies tell me that although the hardware is yet to be finalised, the demo model is a 3kg unit. If you were to visit the Microsoft stand, however, you could see on display a lighter 1kg version built by Fujitsu.

Also on Microsoft, a reader told me about a programming glitch in Microsoft Outlook which I've tested as true. If you add US holidays to the Outlook calendar in Office 97 (yes, some of us are still refusing to upgrade), it will put Thanksgiving down as November 29. The correct date is actually November 22, as every good turkey retailer knows.

My informant muses that perhaps Bill Gates has decided to change the day he celebrates Thanksgiving, and expects the world to follow? If that were true, we could read about the upcoming launch of "Microsoft Thanksgiving.Net". Just swipe your National ID card and punch in your Passport password for "free" entry.

Meanwhile, some of my more vocal readers chose to attack me over my comment last week about money wasted on the Microsoft case and "feeding hungry third-world mouths". I stand by my opinion that at this stage the Department of Justice has completely failed to understand and apply proper remedies to Microsoft as a result of its actions. As for the other comment, the point remains that the millions spent chasing Microsoft through the Justice Department could have been better spent through a more effective avenue such as the Federal Trade Commission.

More layoffs

Telecommunications outfit Level 3 Communications looks like it too is suffering from the economic slump, despite all the work it's doing at the World Trade Centre disaster site in New York. One of my spies claims it will lay off 750 employees this month. In addition, it will be dissolving its entire voice-over-IP group and all associated products.

And now a clarification: BMC Software responded to my column last week to say they are not "bleeding money" as my spy claimed. In the merry-go-round rumour mill, we can at least put that one away.

"You're not a very popular guy this week," Amber mused. Such is the life of a columnist, not a "communist", as one reader so eloquently put it. But I wouldn't trade it for the world.