Notes from the Field: IT Baseball

SAN MATEO (05/08/2000) - Many readers wrote in with suggestions about how to cheer up Madison. Some said that flowers and chocolates were sure winners; others proposed outrageous things such as jewelry and raises.

Ultimately I decided to take a more intimate approach, so I wrote her a note saying how much I appreciate her and her cheery attitude.

Of course, my plan totally backfired. I sent out the e-mail message last Wednesday night, and it was titled "I love your smiling face." She deleted it without reading it on Thursday, thinking it was the "I Love You" worm.

So now she not only suspects that I think she's ugly but that I want to give her a virus too. Amazing luck I have.

Not everyone can be a '10'

I may think that Madison is a hottie, but I don't think the same rating scale should be applied over at Hewlett-Packard Co.

A reader wrote in describing how new HP CEO Carly Fiorina has imposed a stringent human resources evaluation policy.

HP managers are supposed to rate their employees on a scale of one to five, with five being the best. The reader made it sound as though getting a five was the equivalent to finding the Holy Grail at HP: It ensures your life there, but you'll never get it.

The poor individuals who receive the lowest score are immediately shown the door, whereas twos and threes have six months to elevate to a four, the reader says. That plan may need some revamping.

Another reader got a deal with HP that provides a free Jornada handheld with the purchase of a ProCurve switch. HP customer support told him that Jornada production was lagging and that he would not receive his new device for another four to six weeks. That was three months ago, the reader reports.

HP managers must be too busy looking out for No. 1.

Egghead, or bonehead?

Speaking of lagging, another reader wrote in describing his problems getting an Intel Corp. chip from Inc.

He was charged for the chip six weeks ago and didn't receive it, so rather than waiting he cancelled the order.

When he went online after cancelling, he saw that the chip price had dropped 25 percent. He called customer service inquiring whether or not he would have been refunded the difference if the chip had shipped that day. The answer, of course, was no.

However, the company informed him that if the chip price had gone up he would not have been charged the additional amount, leaving the reader to wonder when the last time was that chip prices actually rose.

The sunny side of outsourcing

One of my spies found out early that Sun Microsystems Inc. will begin outsourcing several of its services to AT&T Corp. in July.

The telco will assume all voice services, LAN and WAN management, and server operations for Sun's U.S. field offices.

The transition will take place over six months and will not be publicized "until AT&T has provided consistent, acceptable performance levels to Sun," a memo said.

THAT REMINDS ME: I never figured out where I might take some vacation time.

Some fun in the sun sounds pretty good.

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