The state of the channel. Had a chat with a couple of dealers about the term 'dealer' not being a dirty word anymore. "VARs exist," said Martin Clark, managing director of Lapland, "but they're really dealers. Let's not get angst-y about it." Clark, who is not one to shy away from the short arm tackle, also started having a go at hybrid companies (ones like SCH and Computacenter, that do a bit of dealing, distribution, consultancy, servicing, retailing etc) and direct vendors. "If you're going to lay down with dogs, you've got to expect to come up with fleas," he said. Eh?
I didn't get to hear the explanation as the bloke in the office next to me starting shouting something down the phone about not giving him the large one, whatever that meant. As my neighbour started threatening to go around to someone's house and sort them out, I was cut off from my chat with Clark. I didn't get to speak to him for the rest of the day. Oh well, that's the channel sorted anyway.
The Networks '97 show. A champagne breakfast and first class rail tickets courtesy of Compaq is a fine way to travel to Birmingham, unless someone spills champagne over you and you spend the rest of the day smelling of booze. Having had champagne spilled over me and then smelling of booze for the rest of the day, Compaq wobbled on about its Tandem acquisition and how it plans to dominate the server market forever. Dull.
Moved to the press office bar to add to my morning's cologne and headed for a meeting with Citrix. But wait. What about my boozy breath? I passed the TDK stand and saw some mints. Ah TDK, my saviour, I thought. While waiting for Mark Templeman, vice-president of Citrix to turn up, I noticed that the mints had a best before date of April 1997. Thanks TDK. Any chance of a sponsored stomach pump?
The day ended with a game of train carriage cricket which had the inevitable ring of "it will end in tears" to it. Sure enough, a bottle of red wine, a £1,000 suit and an unhappy AST and Kyocera PR man put an end to the game. Shame.
Digested the previous day's notes and did a bit of NC bashing. When to lunch with Tony Dowling, a bloke who runs a PC assembling business in my building. "So what's the state of the assembling business then Tony?" I ask. "It's a bit of a dog," he said. I suddenly thought of Clark and his dog and flea analogies. What is it with dogs and the IT industry?
Discovered the joys of teleworking while looking after my 13-month-old son. The parrot was whistling like a painter and decorator, Rosie and Jim were on the TV, singing some song about loopy lobes and I was doing a desperate ring around looking for news stories.
A call to Compaq revealed (perhaps not unsurprisingly) that the company had had enough of news this week with Tandem and the Networks show dominating events. Microsoft's press office said it had nothing of interest coming up in the next week and then I discovered Microsoft plans to release its first beta version of Memphis next week. Oh yes, they were right, nothing of interest.
Spent the morning caked in make-up and reading news for the IT Network, a business TV channel. It's a bit of a laugh although there are no jokes, the coffee's lousy, the studio's stuck in the middle of nowhere, I had no brolly and it was raining heavily. There again, it's good to pretend you're Michael Buerk for a couple of minutes, even if you are reading something that all the studio crew start yawning to.
Less make-up (it would have run in the rain) I headed for London Bridge. Tried to make sense of the effects of the Communications Decency Act verdict. What are they? Nothing, according to the Metropolitan Police. That's good then. Isn't it?