Notes from the Field

SAN MATEO (04/24/2000) - Last week taught me two very important lessons. One:

Never go so far as inviting readers to bombard me with e-mails to complain about poor connectivity service (no offense meant to those who did). I'll address this issue later in the column. Two: Never send an assistant out of the warm California weather to a cold place such as Chicago in spring.

Mad Madison

Madison was ticked off last week because, due to my bum knee, I sent her off to Chicago to look for tips at Comdex.

The weather here in California has been pretty good, but Madison was stuck in miserable Midwestern spring weather of 45 degrees and rainy.

However, she reports back that Microsoft Corp.'s Vice President of Platforms Tod Neilsen tried to defuse fears about Windows 2000 Professional and the yet-to-be-released Windows ME.

When Neilsen tried to demonstrate the new media player on Windows ME, the system crashed and the demo couldn't be shown. This happened just minutes after Neilsen joked about Chris Capossella's infamous Windows 98 crash a few years back.

Intel no longer inside?

My spies tell me Intel plans to drop the identification feature in its Willamette chip that is due out in the fourth quarter of this year.

The feature, which identifies what system the user is on and sends that information back to Intel over the Internet, is likely being left out due to the user privacy hubbub being generated lately.

E-mail that leaps to my attention

A reader reports that Cisco Systems Inc., the self-proclaimed "worldwide leader of Networking for the Internet," just sent him a notice warning people about leap-year date display problems, more than seven weeks after the Feb. 29 occurrence.

OK, here we go ...

First off, last week I included a section about Dave Winer and complaints he had about his ISP Conxion.

As readers brought to my attention (including Conxion representatives), the problem Winer was whining about was with PacBell's network, not Conxion's.

A Conxion representative said that the company sent an engineer to Winer's house and spent 18 hours trying to fix the problem, only to eventually realize it was something only PacBell could fix.

Therefore, apologies to Conxion.

Second, I got tremendous response from readers griping about their DSL and high-speed Internet access services not working or having downtime.

Here's some news for everyone: The Internet is still an imperfect place.

Although we like to think of it as the panacea to all our problems, it still has flaws of its own.

For those griping about RoadRunner or BellSouth DSL service, thank you, but this column isn't the place for that (see Ed Foster's column, above).

Besides, with President Clinton tackling the digital divide issue, people with high-speed Internet access should feel privileged to even have it.

I'M PROBABLY JUST feeling a bit grumpy (or so everyone keeps telling me) because I've been laid up for so long resting my knee. It's getting better, and I'll hopefully be back to my chipper old self next week.

Send some tips to cheer me up at cringe@infoworld.com.

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