Everything Amazon Announced Amazon Kindle Scribe Amazon Halo Rise Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED Prime Day 2: Oct. 11-12 Asteroid Crash Site Inside Hurricane Ian's Eye Refurb Roombas for $130
Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
No, thank you

Bad apples fall from grapevine

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.

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 ethicaluser@hotmail.com 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 ethicaluser@hotmail.com's email.

"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.