It is with relief and sadness that I write my last this eWeek column. Relief because its one less deadline in my hectic week. Sadness because I wont get to irritate readers with, for example, my questioning last week whether Linux is getting traction in the enterprise marketplace. So allow me to digress. I started writing the Page 3 column in the May 6, 1991, issue when we were called PC Week. I miss the old name, but "e" is in these days, and "PC" is out. The column sat at the bottom of Page 3 and wouldnt become This PC Week and rise to the top of the page for three years. Last May, the switch to This eWeek reflected the publications name change.
That May 6 front page was a doozie, almost comical. It carried a picture of Compaq CEO and co-founder Rod Canion. The soft-spoken Texan, using uncharacteristically strong language, was describing the low-price PC cloners giving Compaq fits at the time. "Theyre not flies," Canion scoffed. "Theyre predators."
Did he sense that, within months, those predators would do him in and usher in the Eckhard Pfeiffer era? I wonder. Our nickname in the newsroom for Pfeiffer was "Crazy Eckie" for his low-price approach to selling PCs. We could hear his German accent: "Our prizes are inzane."
A story teased on that front page was "Meet the man behind OS/2 3.0" (Dave Cutler, then working on OS/2 at Microsoft). The stories feel so old I expected to turn the page to see who won the Battle of Bull Run. My column was about Microsofts trying to prop up a lackluster SQL Server with a 2.0 version.
Ten years worth, or approximately 1,000 columns, plus the 450 Ive written as a pundit for The Boston Globe from 1995 to 1999 and Computer Reseller News in the 80s speak for themselves. Include a column I still write for The Wall Street Journals Web site in that 450 tally. Suffice it to say, no one ever accused me of holding back.
A few confessions and observations before I sign off:
• About 70 percent of these columns were written on a DOS word processor called XyWrite that I grudgingly retired four years ago. Yes, I succumbed to Word, but XyWrite in its day was a better product.
• Yes, I did buy the Mac as promised last fall, and its lived up to my expectations. If computers were cars, the Mac would be a Lexus for its reliability and elegance. The PC? An AMC Gremlin.
• The executive I like the most is Microsofts Steve Ballmer. Aggressive, yes, but I can identify with someone whose head explodes when things dont get done. Hes got a good personality to boot. How hes avoided the stain of the anti-trust trial Ill never know.
Well, thats it. Im becoming an editor at large at eWeek and have committed to write a monthly column somewhere in these pages. My new endeavor is as editor in chief of www.ZCast.tv, a streaming-media news channel from Ziff Davis Media. You can get your fill of me there. Bye-bye.