Clean break

As the first birthday of the merged Hewlett-Packard and Compaq approaches, the company undoubtedly is getting ready to tell us how smooth the integration has been and how much it has achieved, but all may not be as the company says.

There is no way I am going to follow Amber to England, but this just might be a clean break, at least for me. "You are just jealous that I got such a great new position in this economy, Cringe," she smirked. Nope.

Sibling rivalry

As the first birthday of the merged Hewlett-Packard and Compaq approaches, the company undoubtedly is getting ready to tell us how smooth the integration has been and how much it has achieved, but all may not be as the company says.

I've been told that, for contractual and legal reasons, some parts of HP still must be referred to by their original names. Seems fair enough, but the new HP apparently is driving some contract holders absolutely nuts, particularly those within the government. The result is that the Compaq arm sometimes undercuts bids from the HP piece of the company. Who's on first?

Speaking of undercutting, a spy who works for a Crystal Decisions partner says the company is practicing similar sales tactics to those I reported are all too common at Dell. That is, Crystal Decisions requires partners to provide contact information of prospective customers, only to pass the tip along to inside or outside sales, who then call the customer to offer discounts for buying directly from Crystal.

Big Brother?

Another spy, who is a security administrator at a bank, recently spotted an IP owned by US broadband provider RoadRunner performing scans against his network. So he sent a report to RoadRunner's abuse email. The response that came in confirmed that it is a machine from RoadRunner, performing scans on outside systems to help customers.

Hmm.

Not so long ago, EDS won a contract with the US government -- the Navy and Marines specifically. Well, one of my spies, who just so happens to reside within one of the aforementioned divisions, reports that the EDS folks are quite behind schedule, have run severely over budget and are causing users migraine headaches. I even managed to get my paws on an anonymous PowerPoint outlining the problems, such as telling users they would receive and be charged for 17in monitors, but instead are delivering 15in ones, and a change to the email system that resulted in internal emails taking as long as two days to deliver. Fearing reprisals, the creators opted not to put their names on the presentation, according to my spy.

I needed to clean the pipes out, so to speak, so I took Apache to Golden Gate Park for another long-run -- 14 miles. "I can still fly back for the marathon," Amber tried. But do I want her to?

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