Out of a half-baked belief in karma, I will attempt to undo the damage from
last week's series of fabricated rumors by debunking a couple of whoppers
making the rounds on the spam and stock-manipulation circuit.
• Ascend Communications is
not--I repeat, NOT--under investigation for software piracy. Some dishonest
dish has been floating
around to the effect that Microsoft is putting the screws on Ascend
for using Office without a license.
"Sources at the company indicate that they may not have enough licenses for
the popular Microsoft Office product, as well as software development
tools," reads email from the firstname.lastname@example.org address. "The
[Software Publishers Association], which has authorized the
investigation, along with Microsoft expressed concerns about Ascend's
'liberal use' policy, and noted the lack of a license enforcement program
at the company."
The SPA, which merged with and is called the Information Industry
Association (IIA), made an exception to its usual no-comment rule to
debunk this rumor, which it tentatively tied to email@example.com's
"There's absolutely nothing going on with Ascend," said a trustworthy
Skinformant. "We're assuming someone wants to cause some mischief with
Ascend, perhaps a disgruntled employee."
So who's trying to monkey with Ascend, Microsoft, the IIA, and the Rumor
Mill? Only Hotmail knows for sure.
• Neither the FEC, Congress,
Madeline Albright, or your mother is, for the millionth time,
imposing long distance rates for Internet connections. We could bring
Internet access to half the developing world with all the bandwidth being
wasted on this lousy rumor, so stop sending it to me and everyone else on
your spam list. It ain't happening. Pas du tout.
Now that we've dispensed with the lies--and because this is not gloat-free
zone--I am happy to redirect your attention to the news you heard here
first regarding the eToys
IPO. Truth is beauty, and all that.
Ever since we published the gripes of Sidewalk refugees, we've
been getting an earful of other Net slavery stories. The latest come from
Magnet Interactive Communications, whose clients include Digital
Equipment, IBM, MCI, NYNEX, and Dow Jones, among many others. In
addition to making ads for these distinguished companies, the company also
produces disgruntled employees--lots of 'em--and former employees, some of
whom have set up an online gripe shop at Demagnetized.org.
In the interest of fairness, we're not going to reprint all the complaints,
accusations, and dire predictions, and instead will cut to the noble
ex-employee who urges his fellow outcasts to rise above their bitterness:
"No, I didn't like being laid off in a manner straight out of Auchwitz. But
I learned SO much there, and met SO many cool people, that I find that I
keep the positive."
SO cool! Meanwhile, the disgruntled are whispering that a growing cadre of
the demagnetized are coming together to set up shop in the greater
Washington area in the next few months in direct competition with their
erstwhile employer...sounds like a sticky situation to me.
Another employee we know of isn't disgruntled, but maybe his boss is...the
witty Pontin Organization has closed
its doors, by all accounts due to the decree of its creator's boss and
target, the Red Herring's own Mr. Jason Pontin
himself. Ah, la publicité!
No disgruntled employee I, I'm happy to report that the Rumor Mill is very
well managed--by me! But CNET is nonetheless implementing some
management training, just to keep everything in tip-top shape. During a
recent training seminar, company leaders learned about their personality
types. "A's" are analytical, "T's" are "get it done"-type people, and "P's"
are very personable--they're people-people! On learning his type, one
trainee explained that he now realized why he and his former employee
didn't get along:
"I think he was weirded out by my P-ness," he offered.
I'm a people-person, so why can't I get a date? Don't be weirded out folks, just send me your rumors.