NOTES FROM THE FIELD: No shoes ain't so bad

After reading some of my e-mail about Verizon, Randi finally stopped complaining about AT&T Digital Cable. "It's like that expression, ‘I was sad that I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet'," she told me.

Many of you wrote that Verizon has some serious problems - and not just with its operating systems support, including Windows ME and Windows 2000 Pro: Customer service seems to be the biggest issue. Then Bell South customers weighed in, saying that the company's DSL service didn't support Windows ME or Windows 2000 either.

Alas, some others offered a solution: installing a small hardware router that does the protocol negotiations lets you run the OS you want.

One SAP employee, saddened by the sorry tale of PeopleSoft taking away its peoplesnacks, wrote in to urge peoplesofties to come over to the other side. According to this SAP worker, his company is offering free beverages, including bottled water, Starbucks coffee, juices, and sodas; free snacks, including cookies, popcorn, and crackers; and free lunch at most offices. Mmmm. customers are having some problems with their e-mail. According to one customer, users can successfully send and receive e-mail, but only to other customers. And users can usually send e-mail to other domains - but they can't seem to receive e-mail from any other domains, except from UUNet or Hotmail. Those who send to Ameritech customers don't even get notified that their e-mail couldn't be delivered, this customer says.

"That could do major damage. What if someone sends an ‘I forgive you' or ‘will you marry me' e-mail and never gets a response?" the customer says. Maybe I'll tell Randi that must be what happened to the e-mail I sent her.

Dell Host, the PC maker's new initiative to provide Web hosting and related services, needs to take some hosting lessons from Martha Stewart. According to some users of the service, Dell's systems are plagued with lost e-mail and problems with server functions. Although Dell claims the e-mail problems have been corrected, one user says the problems persist.

"One of many reps we've talked to told us privately they do have substantial problems, with too few and too inexperienced staff," our user says.

Claimants in a class action suit over faulty disk drives against Toshiba are still waiting for their settlement money. Members of the group were supposed to get $US200 and a voucher for Toshiba products in June. In August, members of the group finally received an envelope - with a letter telling them there was some sort of snafu and that the cheques were not yet in the mail. The letters promised cheques by September, but here it is October, and the group members are still waiting.

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