Floyd, Shmoyd -- the real wind's blowing over Alpha

Working under the threat of a hurricane warning is no way to get the creative juices flowing. The Whiskered One fought off the distraction of Hurricane Floyd, or Floyd the Barber—or whatever that traveling F-word disaster last week was called—to pore (or was it pour?

Working under the threat of a hurricane warning is no way to get the creative juices flowing. The Whiskered One fought off the distraction of Hurricane Floyd, or Floyd the Barber—or whatever that traveling F-word disaster last week was called—to pore (or was it pour?) through a week's worth of windswept tips and tidbits to bestow upon Rumor Central's loyal readers. Such dedication!

The Eastern seaboard wasn't the only region dealing with high winds last week. Despite the work of the spinmeisters, there's a lot of chilled air blowing between Compaq and Microsoft. A Compaq insider reports lingering bad feelings over Compaq's decision to pull the plug on 32-bit Windows NT development for Alpha. Caught by surprise, Microsoft responded by dumping the 64-bit NT-on-Alpha work it was doing. Now the Redmondians have put up a wall between the two companies, and Compaq has temporarily lost its most-favored-nation status.

An astute reader pointed out to El Gato that Microsoft's new distributed application management tool, AppCenter Server, shares the same name as an existing product of the same ilk from Inprise. Could a trademark dispute be at hand? More important, can Inprise sue over vaporware? Regardless, the Katt commented, Microsoft needs another legal entanglement like Bill Gates needs food stamps.

Speaking of names, the Mouser was intrigued by an e-mail from a company called LapBottom Products. Alas, the developer doesn't have a cure for hemorrhoids; it's pitching a "comfortably padded underside" to keep things cool when you have a notebook on your lap. If Le Chat didn't type while perched on all fours, he'd be all over it.

A personable PR pro put a bug in the Whiskered One's ear about the Next Big Thing from Keng Lim. Lim, who founded Approach Software (which Lotus subsequently purchased) and then co-founded Kiva Software (sold to Netscape in 1997), is on to his third startup, whose goal is to be the "NASDAQ of e-commerce." Other than that, everything's a secret—even the company's name. Right now the group is operating under the stealth moniker "Just Like TV." A coming-out party is expected later this year.

How trustworthy is Network Solutions? A reader posed that question to the Power Meower after receiving an e-mail from the domainiacs touting a new Web-based e-mail service, to which NSI gave out free accounts to all of its domain registrants. The reader was fine with the offer, but he took issue with the fact that NSI notified users of their good fortune via standard, unsecured e-mail.

To compound matters, NSI included easily hackable account information—the user name was the same as the registrant's domain name, and the password was the domain name with "nsi" tagged onto the end. That allowed the curious reader to snag a handful of e-mail accounts for domains that didn't belong to him (just as an experiment, of course).

Responding to last week's Rumor Central item about Sun's oft-delayed UltraSPARC III rollout schedule, a friendly flack for the SPARCsters swears up and down that samples of the chip are already shipping and that volume production is still expected by year's end.

Have a tip? Contact Rumor Central by phone at (781) 393-3700 or via e-mail at spencer_katt@zd.com.

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