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Culture

CMPers on the go

CMP bit the bitter earth last month with its acquisition by Miller Freeman, which promptly shut down Windows magazine and laid off 100 employees (about 6 percent of total). CMPers were rewarded for sticking around through the closing act, to the tune of $4,000 for every year of service, plus 20 percent of their 1998 salary. Miller took over on June 4 and CMP paid up on June 18.

CMP bit the bitter earth last month with its acquisition by Miller Freeman, which promptly shut down Windows magazine and laid off 100 employees (about 6 percent of total). CMPers were rewarded for sticking around through the closing act, to the tune of $4,000 for every year of service, plus 20 percent of their 1998 salary. Miller took over on June 4 and CMP paid up on June 18.

"The money is either called 'the gift' or 'the bribe,'" said one former CMP employee, who collected and quit.

One CMP property bleeding talent is Information Week, which has lost senior editorial staffers Karyl Scott, Sean Gallagher, Tom Stein, and Bruce Caldwell. Gallagher headed up product testing and 10-year veteran Caldwell was lead management reporter.

Departures are said to be just beginning, where staffers don't like the smell of life under perestroika, Miller-Freeman-style.

While Miller Freeman tries to figure out how to make money out of CMP, the folks at online groceries delivery site WebVan are cooking up what Skinformants speculate will be a "monster" private placement.

WebVan ain't talking, but that's not stopping the rest of the Valley.

"Perhaps the biggest private funding round in history," speculated one Skinsider. "Could approach the $1 billion mark."

Now that is a lot of TV dinners.

Compaq maybe thought it was really cooking at PC Expo the other week with a swing dancing routine designed to hype its eight-way servers, but reports from theatrically astute witnesses pegged it as "thoroughly disgusting."

"It was basically this Ed Sullivan-esque routine of three dancers arm-in-arm singing and dancing about the most esoteric computing technology one can imagine," reported one dismayed spectator. "Certainly arcane enough to render Lester and Louise visiting from the Mid-west completely mystified. It went something like this: non-stop-computing...blah blah blah!...high availability...blah blah blah...4-way...8-way...anyway you want it...blah, blah, blah."

All I can say is that mixing the computer and entertainment businesses is thankless work, and I feel Compaq's pain.

Which reminds me to congratulate my boss for topping that Marketing Computers journalist power list. I'm still hurt that I'm not on it, but the boss was a shoe-in. After all, what other tech news editor has a hotel named after him?

One last thing to ponder over the weekend: try searching Yahoo on the following string: disney women arial tiger. Then ask yourself, is Hester Prynne designing Web pages for Yahoo?

Scarlet letters are one thing; purloined letters quite another. But all I'm really interested in is your rumors.