Guy Kewney's Diary

MondayOh my head.

It's not alcohol, it's Quake. The office network is full of really smart Quakers. I don't mean Friends; I mean people who can shoot a rocket into the floor, and at the moment that the grenade explodes, they jump, and go two storeys into the air, onto a level that you can't jump to.

You don't want to know. But the important thing is, Quake is supposed to be really, really amazing on a Voodoo Rush chip from 3DFX (as mentioned in previous Diaries) and I have one due. Overdue.

And it has arrived.

"We'll send you the drivers," they say. The drivers I have are dated June. How much more recent can they be?

"Erm, we'll send you the latest."

Toshiba's customers keep phoning me while I'm trying to play Quake. Er, that is, while I'm trying to finish "Trends" for PC Mag. And they say: "We've bought some 32 Meg SIMMs for our portable Tecras, and it doesn't work."

Toshiba says: "We'll call you back when we find out what's going on."

Sun says I must come to next Tuesday's announcement "It's right in the PC territory; we're competing with Compaq on servers." Really! Fascinating. You do realise that today is the deadline for Trends for PC Mag October?

"Yes, don't worry. It's all under embargo till November."

Tuesday

The last Kewney's World bit has caused anguish. "Do you realise," says an irritated ISP, "that Microsoft isn't out to control the browser market?"

Yes, I'd just about cottoned on to that. It has to do with the Java world, right?

"Wrong! It's entertainment. If your default browser is Netscape, what is the first page you see when you launch it?"

Easy: Yahoo.com. I always start there, because it's easy.

"No, no, no; for the average punter?"

Yes, it's home.netscape.com, and it takes you straight into Netscape's product of the day, and the site of the day, and so on. "Yes, that's what Microsoft is after, the default home page. They want the world to log onto Microsoft.com, and read whatever they are selling."

True, but if Microsoft becomes the next CBS or BBC or Turner TV, what do I care? I'm in the PC business, not the TV world.

"Ah yes, but Microsoft is actually forcing all its entertainment channels to include non-Netscape features. So if people sign up as Microsoft channel entertainment providers, they have to agree to include ten features which will break Netscape."

I said that last month.

The office is frenetic: last day for PC Mag Trends. Where is the Sun story? What about this "must write" stuff about servers? "It's embargoed till next month," they say. But I'm writing stuff which comes out next month! "Oh, don't worry, Guy. It's all under wraps till October!"

Wednesday

Microsoft again. The head of OMG, the Object Managerment Group, has resigned, to join Novell. Chris Stone has turned CORBA object request broker standards into a universal standard. Microsoft, however, wants to get DCOM imposed as the universal standard. Which will win?

That's easy; the one that works.

Microsoft has to port ActiveX to Sun, HP, AS/400, Linux, VAX, Data General, and so on. It all has to work as well as it works on Intel. Don't make me laugh. "Oh, but Software AG is doing that!" says the Ovum analyst. When? "Oh now." Now? "Well before the end of the year."

It is really refreshing to meet an industry analyst of undoubted expertise, who has not yet met the Microsoft Month. "Which year?"

Thursday

"It's a secret, but WolfPack is shipping."

This from Tandem. Tandem owns the interconnect technology, ServerNet, which links two "nodes" in an NT network. A cluster with two nodes will ship soon, and Compaq will resell it under the Compaq badge. And it's huge. And will it impress the IT world?

"Well, it can cope with really, really big multi-gigabyte databases."

So can any midrange system I've ever met. What's special about this one?

"Ah, it's new."

Run away!

Friday

Sun has been pestering me all week, to go to next Tuesday's announcement. It's a "secret" and they won't tell me what is happening.

Today, browsing around the Web, I find an interesting announcement from PCweek.com. Sun is setting up a rival server product to Compaq.

Odd. I thought this was under strict embargo till November edition. But no, the PC Week stuff shows prices, availability spec.

I phone. "Ah. You will be coming next Tuesday?"

But, what is going to be news? What is to be announced beyond what has appeared in PCWeek.com? "Erm, no nothing."

So, I can show up on Tuesday, and write about something which PC Mag readers will hear about in November issue? Who will be interested?

"Sorry, Guy."

Sun deserves to be ground under Microsoft's heel. And I bet their Compaq-killer server doesn't work, either.