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Microsoft busts a move on Dimension X

After months of rumors that Microsoft would buy San Francisco-based Java and VRML developer Dimension X, my agents tell me that the Redmondians finally made a real move yesterday. My moles tell me that Karl Jacob, chief executive Dimension X, has all but signed his name on the dotted line and that the two companies may be busting out the bubbly any day now.

I normally spend my Thursdays grooming my chia pet, but I had to drop everything today to file a special edition of the Rumor Mill when this latest rumor came into my virtual mailbox:

After months of rumors that Microsoft would buy San Francisco-based Java and VRML developer Dimension X, my agents tell me that the Redmondians finally made a real move yesterday. My moles tell me that Karl Jacob, chief executive Dimension X, has all but signed his name on the dotted line and that the two companies may be busting out the bubbly any day now.

Rumors about the price tag for Dimension X range from $18 million to $40 million, but I think the smart money is somewhere in between. One source told me that the deal has taken so long because Jacob has been holding out for more dough.

When I had very little dough, I lived in an apartment building with the world's lamest plumbing system. All it took was one toilet flush downstairs to make my shower the temperature of the Potomac in January or to cause my WaterPik to spew scalding hot water. I never knew what to expect. It's a miracle that Mrs. Heckett, my long-suffering building super, managed to keep the plumbing network running at all.

The Internet is the same way, except that it's run by gearheads who drink Jolt instead of sexagenarians with large key rings. A spy tells me that Sprint recently lost a number of key gearheads that kept its Net backbone up and running. In fact, the dearth of knowledgeable router rats may have been a major cause of last Friday's meltdown of its backbone, I hear.

Apparently, when Sprint's veterans passed the baton on to the new network plumbers they didn't tell them everything they needed to know about running the network. Insiders tell me the Sprinters misconfigured its routers so that a problem with one of its smaller ISP customers, MAI Net, was amplified throughout the entire global Internet (MAI's problem was triggered by a faulty Bay router).

Basically, MAI flushed and the rest of the Net suffered with a lot of help from Sprint. Don't the guys running this Internet thing have degrees?

Whether you work for RotoRooter or Sprint, running the network--pardon my French--is a crappy job. No one is ever happy. That's especially true at Brigadoon.com, a small Washington state ISP, whose employees haven't gotten paid in six weeks, I hear. What's ticked some Brigadooners off even more is that the company is donating free Internet access to a number of nonprofit organizations while the worker bees are still waiting for their checks. They may have to reclassify their tenure at Brigadoon under the volunteer work category on their resumes.

ISPs are such easy targets for abuse, but "push" technology companies are becoming even easier to sling darts at. "Most people don't know, [PUSH] is really an acronym," said Tony Davis, the head cheese of Lanacom at this week's Internet Showcase in San Diego. "It stands for People Under the influence of Software Hype." Davis may be right about the push hysteria, but he suggested an even more horrible definition for the acronym. "Productivity, User choice, Speedy, Holy Grail." Keep pushing, Tony. Keep pushing. Lay off the silent treatment, dear readers. You have been awfully tight with rumor-mongering. Take mercy on a rumor monger and email me your juiciest tales.

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