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Can CA do the Macarena?

Don't let my name fool you. I do carry some weight.

    Don't let my name fool you. I do carry some weight. My son Vermel, the razor-tongued one, describes my condition as InterButt, which I reckon is an oblique put-down of my obsessive Net surfing and related weight gain. Now that the Macarena is supplanting the wave at football games, Vermel is convinced that taking up the dance might be a small step toward slimness. TV is poison.

    While I'm doing the latest Latin craze, Computer Associates is doing a dance of its own. Insiders say the corporate software behemoth has quietly folded its 4Home Productions division, developers of the decidedly consumerish products Simply Money and Simply Tax. Most employees of the division have either been laid off or transferred to other quadrants of CA. The future of 4Home's personal finance products is foggier than a San Francisco summer. New versions of Simply Money and Simply Tax, which are under development, may be aborted by next year, according to Skinny's agents.

    From the ashes of 4Home, CA has formed a new division to create--what else?--Internet products. An ex-4Homer, Norm Worthington, will reportedly head the division, which is based in Sarasota, Florida. A CA spokesman denied that the company will leave Simply Money and Simply Tax users high and dry, but he did say that 4Home's future is "under review."

    Many things are under review here at Skinny Enterprises, my Internet app and accessory business. For one, I'm wondering whether I should do my part to help Microsoft take over the world or stick to my youthful idealism and buy Unix. If you're in the market for a workstation like me, those NT, Pentium Pro-based "personal workstations" look lip-smacking good. And easier on the pocketbook than your average Unix box.

    Feeling the pinch of competition from PC workstations, Silicon Graphics is prepping its own secret weapon against the Wintel barbarians. SGI has a $5,000-to-$7,000 system in the works that will compete head to head with Pentium Pro boxes, according to Skinny sources. Look for an October announcement.

    Apropos of Pentium Pro, Compaq has gotten that Intel-feeling inside and plans to announce a new line of low-end ProLiants in the coming weeks. The uni- and dual-processor servers should weigh in at $4,000 to $8,000.

    At the rate I'm going, I may weigh in at that range too if this Macarena business doesn't pay off. Tyson tips the scales at 219, while I weigh...uh, that's a state secret. I could tell you, but then I'd have to non-disclose you. Weigh the options: send me a tip or make me head for the cookie jar to salve my depression.