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Victoria's Secret code

We get all kinds around here--all kinds of rumors, that is. Some tend to get personal, and none more so than this anonymous note regarding my personal secretary: "Hey DuBaud--Why don't you wake up and smell the turnover? Rumor has it that Trixie Pixel was seen on the arm of a scout for a hot online lingerie emporium. Maybe it's time to give your secretarial staff an extra month's salary, before all your talent gets raided!"

    We get all kinds around here--all kinds of rumors, that is. Some tend to get personal, and none more so than this anonymous note regarding my personal secretary:

    "Hey DuBaud--

    "Why don't you wake up and smell the turnover? Rumor has it that Trixie Pixel was seen on the arm of a scout for a hot online lingerie emporium. Maybe it's time to give your secretarial staff an extra month's salary, before all your talent gets raided!"

    An extra month's salary--what do I look like, AOL? Maybe the more germane question is what Trixie looks like. The answer is, I regret to report, that she looks quite a bit like something out of a Victoria's Secret catalog.

    After a few panicky moments contemplating life without Trix, I set about doing a little digging about the competition. Already somewhat familiar with the site, having given it a cursory glance after its recent launch, I had a peek behind the scenes and found, quite to my surprise, that Victoria's slip is showing.

    "The important part to repopulate on errors so the shopper does not have to retype everything," hidden site source reads. "We need to know what type of element we are dealing with. This is based off of the name. This could be changed to if IE 3.0 supports it!"

    Now is Trixie going to go running off to a site that hasn't even tested for IE 3? Je crois que non!

    "Here No Billing Information exist," the source continues. "This should never happen to a registered shopper. We'll code this only for a guest shopper and get picked on later. The form really accepts two addresses if the shopper wishes to enter them. We therefore need to get clever with JavaScript to correctly build up the urls and do some error checking to prevent real messy handling."

    Messy seems to be the operative word here. And I don't think it will be too hard to convince Trixie to stay, either. She doesn't have to take my word for it about Victoria's Secret, after all--she can go straight to the source.

    To Victoria's Secret, Trixie should add one other company to her list of developmentally challenged potential employers. The author of the lingerie shop's coding woes? IBM Global Services.

    Ammonia Blossom, the love of my 12-year-old son Vermel's life, is interested in slim models, but not the kind you find in Victoria's Secret. Ammonia posted this dispatch from the Palm Developer's Conference last week.

    "I was expecting the launch of the much-whispered-about-but-never-confirmed Palm IV or Razor device, which had been rumored to be slimmer than existing models and sporting an enhanced display. Instead, all I got was the announcement of the Palm VII--a PalmPilot with an antenna--and a washed up comedian attempting to placate us with extremely tired one-liners. Was 3Com trying to distract us from trying to figure out what happened to Palms IV, V, and VI? Give me a break!

    "After Palm founder Donna Dubinsky's keynote, Saturday Night Live's Kevin Nealon showed up to entertain the troops. Quickly abandoning canned Monica Lewinsky and Michael Bolton jokes written on index cards, Nealon pandered to the crowd of Palm developers with unspeakably insipid Windows CE barbs.

    "'Gates should have to USE a palm-size PC--as a suppository,' Nealon cracked. It was a relief, but somewhat puzzling, when Forty-niners quarterback Steve Young showed up to give away a pair of SuperBowl tickets. The adorable Morman cleared up the mystery of his presence thusly: 'I am directly obligated to do this, because I play at your stadium,' Young told the 3Com audience."

    Speaking of 3Com, they might want to rethink the "utility" metaphor they've been trotting out recently. (3Com and its networking competitors have given us a lot of hot air about how their equipment needs to become more reliable, like the electric, phone, and water networks.) 3Com honcho Eric Benhamou was scheduled to deliver a speech to a group of the company's clients earlier this week in San Francisco--and then the power went out, leaving countless bandwidth-geeks to wander aimlessly through the darkened hallways of the Westin St. Francis.

    More Bay Area hijinks: a little-known tax might put out the lights for some big computer resellers coming to SF's Moscone Center for the Macworld Expo this January. Perhaps in an effort to pay for upgrades to its deservedly maligned public transportation network, the city appears to be upping efforts to enforce a rule that applies to out-of-towners who sell goods on the convention center floor.

    According to this rule, SF gets an extra 10 percent of gross receipts--above and beyond the 8.whatever sales tax.

    One vendor headed for the Expo said he was informed by exposition managers--after having paid for the booth--that he has to apply for what is known as a "transient merchant license" with SF. The license costs $500. All sales of goods over $5,000 are subject to the 10 percent fee.

    "I sold $2 million worth of goods at last year's show," complained the disgruntled Mac purveyor.

    Computown--the only reseller based here in town--stands to make out like a bandit. But the others may sneak through a loophole:

    "If I only take orders and ship it out from my warehouse, then I don't have to pay," said our vendor, some of his gruntle restored.

    Touché, Willie!

    Last week we wrote that Microsoft had taken to needling members of the press; now they're trying to fatten us up. Redmond has sent us all cookies--the kind for the arteries, not the hard drive--adorned in colored icing with a plug for the Expedia travel site. Except--oops!--Microsoft's culinary calligrapher didn't get a full bowl of alphabet soup for lunch and branded the cookies "Expeia."

    That's the way the cookie crumbles! Meanwhile, put some icing on my cake and send me a rumor.