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Culture

Sneaking Sally through the Valley, while Wired hits the Alley

I can't wait to get out of this damn penguin suit and back into my trusty fedora. With New Year's parties coming up, I've spent the day being fitted for a tuxedo, which of course makes me look even more like a secret agent.

I can't wait to get out of this damn penguin suit and back into my trusty fedora. With New Year's parties coming up, I've spent the day being fitted for a tuxedo, which of course makes me look even more like a secret agent. The name's Dubaud, Skinny Dubaud. Shaken, not stirred. Hey, I'm beginning to like this. Holmes had Moriarty, Bond had Dr. No, Eliot Ness had Capone. All I need now is a worthy archrival:En garde, Mercury News!

I've just learned that San Jose's daily rag has hired a tech gossip columnist as part of a larger effort to beef up its tech reporting. No word yet on the woman's nom de plume, but anytime I can help out a fellow--so to speak--rumormonger, I'm delighted. How about "Silicon Sally"?

But Skinny's sources say the new damsel of dirt might not have smooth sailing through the muddy South Bay waters. Merc staff is reportedly divided over the merits of a rumor columnist, with some staffers fearing a pseudo-Skinny would--gasp!--damage the paper's credibility with its Silicon Valley sources. Come on, Merc, let down your hair, button up your trenchcoat, and show us what you got!

On the other coast, rumor winds are swirling through the grimy streets of New York's so-called Silicon Alley. Seems that the first-rate culture e-zine Feed wants to hire an editor who would clandestinely double as Gotham bureau chief of Wired News. Why all this skullduggery? According to the job description, the gig would mostly entail Wired work, but with crumbs from the Feed bag thrown in, including writing, editing, Photoshop work, and ad sales. Editing and ad sales? Tsk, tsk, that arrangement sounds like a recipe for unseemly influence. By the way, Feed inked a deal last month to provide content for @times, the New York Times' AOL site.

No such worries for Steve Jobs. The man will get about $120 million from Apple's $400 million buyout of Next. A former but still-vested Next executive, who also gained a pretty penny from the purchase, fed some numbers to a group of MBAs at a recent party, according to my soiree spies. The MBAs crunched the numbers quickly and figured that Jobs is at least nine digits richer.

Some bottoms at Be are undoubtedly still sore--that was quite a thump when Apple yanked the rug out from beneath their feet--but they've still got newsgroups and developers humming over their unfinished OS. The latest print issue of MacTech Magazine, which bundles Be OS developer release 8 on CD, hits the streets next week. Subscribers are sitting pretty, of course, and bookstores and newsstands are reporting a lot of walk-up interest. MacTech circulation is normally about 30,000, said a rep. Keep an eye on the circ numbers for the upcoming month.

Meanwhile, Apple's OS product line manager Vito Salvaggio has already posted job openings on Mac-related mailing lists. The company needs product managers "to work on future releases of the Mac OS and System Updates," Vito's message reads. "Help drive product definition and marketing strategy for future OS releases."

Any takers? Maybe after a few drinks tomorrow night. As you make the rounds of New Year's parties, keep your ears peeled for rumors. Loose lips? Think tips! Then write 'em down and email 'em to Uncle Skinny.