A grand doesn't go so far

I'm a big fan of merger rumours. According to one of my spies, the latest talk in the corridors at EMC is of a buyout by IBM.

How do you reconcile two fundamentally different world views? First, to the guy who told me to get off the political bandwagon, a note of reassurance: Notes from the Field is, and always will be, a forum for IT news, gossip and rumour. But given that my mailbox continues to bulge with reaction to my comments and the outbreak of terrorism, this subject will not be far from the agenda for a long time.

And that means the answer to my initial question, which seems to inspire many of your views, will take an even longer time to answer.

The ultimate bailout?

I'm a big fan of merger rumours. According to one of my spies, the latest talk in the corridors at EMC is of a buyout by IBM. EMC is in the process of joining the pink-slip brigade, and joining IBM would certainly alleviate any short-term worries -- but of course it all remains to be seen. "[Such a deal] would leave IBM and HP to basically fight it out with all sectors of their businesses," my spy mused.

Meanwhile, if you're looking for some light relief, how about this nugget swirling around the internet: "If you bought $US1000 worth of Nortel stock one year ago, it would now be worth $US72. If you bought $US1000 worth of Budweiser (the beer, not the stock) one year ago, drank all the beer and traded in the cans for the nickel deposit, you would have $US79." In my view, either Nortel's in the wrong business, or beer really is the backbone of this nation.

Nasty Nimda

This virus continues to wreak havoc, but I was surprised to hear from some spies dumping on Symantec and its Norton Antivirus product.

One says the company's website timed out after he submitted credit card details, and further attempts to submit failed, including contact with real people in customer service.

Another of my sources spent more than 30 hours trying in vain to fix his two Windows NT 4 systems, and wryly observes his repair work is keeping him out of bed with his significant other. Norton, he claims, has not restored his systems. We stand warned.

After receiving notice of new permanent instructions from Qwest to reprogram his Cisco 675 router in the wake of its vulnerability to the Code Red virus, my source actually contacted a technician at the telco without being put on hold. And what's more, the techie stepped him through the update process. Qwest might have learned a touch of class at last.

Amber's not herself these days; still feeling emotionally raw. So we've taken to joining the flag parade, taping the Stars and Stripes to the Harley in defiance of fear. God bless America indeed.

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