Business-to-business auto-mation

Business-to-business auto-mation

Veronica sauntered into the room and shook the hand of the Human Resources representative. Apparently I'm required to have HR present at every intern interview. Veronica is the first of several interviews I have set up with intern finalists. Other finalists are Jimmy, Madison, and Charles.

Veronica seems well qualified for the job, with a background in e-commerce. But I wondered how good she would be at tracking down tips. The HR person asked her what kind of car she would be if she could be any kind of car. A Ford Mustang? A Chevy truck? A minivan?

What that has to do with tips - or anything else - I have no idea, but it's best not to question HR.

Speaking of cars, there seems to be a little bit of a media battle going on between Ford Motor and General Motors (GM) over who was the first to do a business-to-business auction. Ford put out an official press release with Oracle, saying that the team had beaten GM out by holding the first one.

They must have forgotten that GM held a business-to-business auction last September, unloading a bunch of old presses and heavy equipment to the tune of $US8 billion. It's easy to see how Ford and Oracle could overlook such a tiny number.

Parametric, a billion-dollar supplier of CAD/CAM tools outside of Boston, plans to reinvent itself next week. About two years ago, the company launched a manufacturing process re-engineering tool called Windchill that is now being adopted by every major company (such as Lockheed Martin, Airbus, General Electric, Intel, and Motorola). But its name still isn't as well-known, as, say, Microsoft, so the company will apparently be renamed.

At the same time, they've hooked up with a startup company called NetIdeas that will make Windchill available as an application service provider to midsize companies. The head of NetIdeas is Kevin Hand, former CIO at Lockheed Martin.

You Win2K, you lose 2K. In the midst of all the flack about the reported 63,000 bugs in Windows 2000 that turn out not to really be bugs, poor Microsoft probably doesn't need anymore trouble right now. But I can't resist reporting a tip from one reader who just got his copy of Windows 2000 Channel readiness kit, containing evaluation copies of Windows 2000, Windows 2000 Server, and Windows 2000 Professional. These are 120-day evaluations. After that you must buy the software to continue using it.

But there's a catch, as our astute reader points out. In the Win2000 Quick Start Guide, a note marked IMPORTANT says: "Windows 2000 Professional doesn't include an uninstall feature. Installing Windows 2000 is a one-way process. You won't be able to return to your previous version of Windows after Setup is complete."

Huh? You load it, you are stuck with it. Then your 120 days expire, and it shuts your computer down. If it sounds like a virus, and acts like a virus, then . . .

I thanked Veronica for talking to us about the intern position. From across the room. The kind of car she would be: a yellow VW Karmann Ghia. Oooo.

Robert X. Cringely is a regular contributor to ARN's sister publication Infoworld.

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