Channel Surfing in San Diego

Cisco shenanigans; Mac OS X malarkey; Alienware, dude!.

Is that Zfone?" laughed Le Chat. "Zhen it must be for me." The Gallic Grimalkin was giddy when he heard that PGP creator Phil Zimmermann had released public beta software, called Zfone, for securing VOIP. The Z-man claims his new software can secure VOIP connections without depending on PKI, key certification, certificate authorities, SIP signaling or servers. Zimmermann says the Zfone public beta, which is available at philzimmermann. com, performs its encryption voodoo in a peer-to-peer manner with other Zfone encryption users.


Suddenly, a pulsating pounding punctured the Puss privacy ponderings. The attention-deficit-disordered Drudge refocused on the fact that he was attending Ciscos Partner Summit in San Diego and that a troop of drummers had just taken the stage to herald Cisco bigwig John Chambers keynote. "Thats enough, Ringo," yelled the disgruntled Grimalkin. "Is this how you plan to drum the new channel program into our heads?" The Furballs fury drew chuckles from a fellow attendee who told the Katt that changes in Ciscos partner incentives have some folks fuming. Spences seat mate explained that partners with Silver status and a master specialization certification are eligible for the same incentives as Gold partners. Cisconians claimed theyre aware of the concerns of some Gold partners and plan to address the matter. Suddenly, a cacophony from the Kittys khakis alerted him to a call from a network nabob who claimed that Ericsson might be looking to acquire Juniper Networks router business.

Soon, fed up with drums and channel swimmers, the Rumormonger found his way to an Irish pub called Hooleys. There, he met up with an Intel exec he had befriended at the chip makers recent Intel Developer Forum. As the Guinness flowed, the Intel-ligent one told Spence that back in the day—the days of Apples Mac OS 9, that is—the Cupertino computer maker had issued so many warnings about switching to Intel chips, and would then renege, that Intels development teams took to archiving their work each time the Mac maker said it was close to signing on the dotted line. Even Mac OS X had a secret x86 twin, dubbed Marklar, which might not have seen the light of day had not Apples turtleneck in chief, Steve Jobs, finally committed to Intel chips last June, chortled the chatty chippie.

Later, back at his hotel, Spencer received a call on the KattPhone from a tall Texan who said that although most Dell execs saw their base salaries rise, bonus checks would be a little smaller for the Austin Powers-that-be this year. The Austin American-Statesman reported that CEO Kevin Rollins bonus dropped to $1.8 million, from last years $2.1 million. "Maybe Dell is planning to use the money it saves on bonuses to acquire high-performance PC maker Alienware," the Texas tipster quipped. "Thats the Area 51 of the rumor files," laughed the Lynx. "Some of the Scullys and Mulders out there believe the deal has already been done."

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt, the Whiskered Wonder, has been the mascot and tipster extraordinaire for eWEEK and its predecessor print publication PC Week since 1984. The Gadabout Gatto makes the rounds of...