Rat finds more fun at FOSE than free stuff- vendor inquisitions

 Nevertheless, the Rat managed to get his paws on a few vendors and extract
some answers. The Gateway 2000 Inc. people were the easiest to corner-their company bolo
ties were custom-made for this purpose. 

 Software vendors were more slippery, having learned long ago not to wear such
accessories. When pushed, they retreat in a hail of free T-shirts. 

 Many FOSE vendors seemed confused by the latest changes in government procurement
policies. "It took us forever to figure out the General Services Administration
schedule thing," one complained. "Now we don't know if that was even worth it.
What does the government want, anyway?" 

 Obviously, it wants free mouse pads, mused the furry one. Perhaps the giveaways at
FOSE are just a sign of the times. 

 Meanwhile, the vultures are certainly circling in Cupertino, Calif., waiting to pick
off the giveaways from Apple Computer Inc.'s restructuring. From the sounds of
teeth-gnashing on the left coast, right now Gil Amelio may be the most popular guy among
headhunters in Silicon Valley. 

 But there's at least one friendly place those skinned from Apple can turn to: Next
Software Inc. 

As Apple cuts, Next is hiring. And in an act of kindness to his new subordinates-er,
owners, Steve Jobs has agreed to interview Apple refugees first for the new

 It almost seems that Next is back in the hardware business. This merger is beginning
to look more like a Next takeover. 

 "Well, at least my job is safe for a while," mused the Rat as he eyed the
FOSE crowd. "Or at least as long as Congress doesn't get any bright ideas from
Connecticut's outsourcing deal." 

 The Constitution State plans to outsource almost all of its systems infrastructure,
and state employees aren't happy about it. In fact, they may have to come up with their
own bids to keep their jobs, or become contractors themselves. 

 At that pleasant thought, the wired one muttered, "Back on the bus, kids,"
and pointed his help desk charges' noses toward the grindstone again. 

The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad packets
in cyberspace. E-mail him at rat@gcn.com.

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