And speaking of books, they're not looking too good over at Midway Airlines, which has filed for bankruptcy protection. Presumably, thousands of passengers suddenly had no tickets, and about half -- or 700 -- of Midway's staff was laid off.
The amusing irony I discovered at the conference was that while this news broke, IBM was trumpeting its alliance with SAS Institute and its chief executive and founder Jim Goodnight, who also owns most of Midway Airlines. Of course, SAS is a data analysis company -- it should have seen this storm coming.
Another company battling the downturn is Computer Science (CSC), which according to my spy is tightening its belt by telling employees not to take vacations for the next 90 days. CSC hopes to squeeze more billable hours from employees, but my spy predicts the revenue will drop significantly in 90 days when disgruntled employees all go on vacation. Management is serious about saving dollars. An internal memo has banned employees from using limos while travelling.
I'm sorry, but it's my weekly "What's up with Microsoft?" This time a reader reports that he responded to a Microsoft email to download Windows XP release candidate 2, only to be told after submitting his credit card number that download instructions follow via email several days later. Talk about Microslow.
Also still suffering from slow internet speeds -- or no access at all -- are Qwest DSL users, many of whom emailed me with more tales of woe after my report last week detailing the telco's troubles with Code Red. The good news, if you can call it that, is that Qwest has posted FAQs and work-arounds on its site. Customer service complaints aside, the problem was with a vulnerable web interface on the Cisco 675/678 DSL routers Qwest sells with its DSL service.
Finally, keep an eye on your credit card statement. A reader reports he found a $US400 charge from Network Solutions for a domain name he never bought. He got the charge removed after a fraud investigation, but as a result it happened all over again on the new account he opened. Suffice to say, he no longer has a special "computer professionals" credit card.
"Wanna play the pinball machine in the lobby?" Amber asked. She might not yet have a "real" IT job, but Amber sure knows how to act like a techie. I could easily get used to this.
Email your favourite IT conference stories to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.