Dont Spit Blue at Your Customers ...

At last week's Windows Hardware Developers Conference in Anaheim, the Furball wondered if schlockmeister John Waters hadn't taken over the PR chores for Microsoft

At last weeks Windows Hardware Developers Conference in Anaheim, the Furball wondered if schlockmeister John Waters hadnt taken over the PR chores for Microsoft. Certainly the video presentation by Brian Valentine, senior vice president of the Windows Division, seemed like an outtake from Waters infamous film "Pink Flamingos." While videos of Gates and Ballmer in silly situations have been well-received in the past, Valentines film seemed to rub attendees the wrong way.

The video had Valentine working his way through a cafeteria where all the food was blue. Cramming piles of the revolting blue matter on his plate and into his mouth in a frenzied food fest, the almost-crazed Valentine sat at a table of very preppy young people. Stuffing a mass of blue matter into his mouth, Valentine then spewed the blue mess all over his horrified table mates. "Dont spit blue at your customers; write compatible device drivers," hollered Valentine after blowing the blue chunks.

A number of delegates to the conference told the Kitty afterward they were surprised by the video, which they felt was not only in poor taste but also continued Microsofts current campaign of rubbing everybodys noses in the blue-screen-of-death debacle of the past. "Mmm, adds new meaning to the term, blue-plate special, doesnt it," gulped the gastronomic Grimalkin.

It seems Waggener Edstrom flacks have been up to their old PR tricks again. The Kitty had mentioned during one of his audio reports last month that WaggEds Chuck Humble sent tech journalists a list of "10 questions to ask Sun about Web services."

The lists intent, pro-Microsoft, was to arm reporters who were going to attend Suns ONE announcement with venomous questions. Sun then had a field day putting together an item-by-item list of sarcastic responses to old Chucks previous missive, including puns about his surname.

So, the Katt was amused last week to see WaggEd serving up yet another round of 10 questions. This time, the target was content management developer BroadVision, which is a rival of WaggEd client Vignette. This latest list of questions attacks BroadVisions claims of Java compliance. But it also came with a unique visual aid—a bottomless cup labeled BroadVision.

Sun has found a way around pesky layoffs with a new performance process. A tattler leaked a March 21 memo to the Katt from HR executive Crawford Beveridge that outlines a management policy from CEO Scott McNealy.

The internal memo outlines a three-tier rating system for reviews, starting in July. According to the memo, 20 percent will be rated "Superior," 70 percent "Sun standard" and 10 percent "Underperforming."

For that 10 percent who barely manage to limbo under the third-tier pole, the memo outlines a PIP (Performance Improvement Plan) to get the employee up to snuff. The PIP is drawn up by a manager and signed by the employee, who must live up to the guidelines set in the PIP within 90 days. For those who continue to rate as "Underperforming," theres a prompt exit plan that lets the worker stay on payroll for a whole week.

"Mmm, I bet even Gladys Knight has a better severance package for her PIPs," mused the Mouser.

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...