E-Mails Can Break Your Heart
Hopefully, this Valentine's Day sees more couples on the upswing than the downswing.
However, for those on the rocks, watch what you say in any e-mails about your
soon-to-be ex or any treasures you might be trying to insulate from the effects
of divorce. An errant, telling e-mail can break your heart. It can also break
This very un-Valentine-like sentiment is just one of the results of a recent
survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). In the survey,
88 percent of the divorce attorneys that comprise the AAML's membership have
seen a dramatic increase in the number
of divorce cases using electronic evidence. Most of that "electronic
evidence" comes from e-mails, with 82 percent of the AAML members mentioning
e-mails specifically as damaging evidence. Text messages and instant messages
are tied for second place with Internet browsing history, at 7 percent each.
The survey also proved that soon-to-be ex-wives are far more likely to use
electronic evidence during divorce proceedings than soon-to-be ex-husbands.
Only 5 percent of the AAML members reported men using this evidence, while 22
percent said women would bring it into the proceedings.
"Many people still don't realize how much evidence can be gleaned from
personal electronics ranging from computers to cell phones and GPS devices,"
said James Hennenhoefer, president of the AAML, in a prepared statement. "In
the Internet age, there is often a very clear trail that has been left behind
and can be easily traced."
The moral of the story is, if you're splitting up, watch your step -- literally,
figuratively and electronically. My divorce was easy. I took the 10-year-old
truck, she took the 10-year-old car and we get along just grand today.
Any horror stories of electronic evidence coming back to bite you -- whether
during personal or business matters? Reveal the truth to me at email@example.com,
and have a delightful Valentine's Day.
Hell Hath No Fury...
It's true that the fury of a woman scorned is best avoided. How about if that
fury is coming from a multibillion-dollar software company? Yes, by now we all
know that Yahoo has apparently had the temerity to just say no to Microsoft's
seemingly generous offer (a 62 percent premium over Yahoo's current flagging
stock price). Think Microsoft is just going to sink into the corner and sulk?
In a statement
released just hours after Yahoo's Monday morning rebuff, Microsoft suggested
it wasn't willing to bump up the price, and it was ready to dig in its heels
for a fight, using the ominous phrasing that it would consider "all necessary
steps" to make sure it acquires its quarry. Microsoft top exec Steve Ballmer
has previously described its original proposal as generous. After this latest
ripple, Microsoft officials said the Yahoo refusal was "unfortunate."
While the initial offer was made with a friendly hand extended, Microsoft has
the desire -- and the capital -- to see it through even if the going gets hostile.
Microsoft's next step could include presenting its offer directly to Yahoo's
shareholders, who are likely fairly nervous right about now and eager to emerge
with a decent return on recently flagging investments.
offer to purchase Yahoo, made more than a week ago, was valued at $44.6
billion, or $31 a share. The payment is structured to be a 50/50 split of cash
and stock. Both sides would prefer a friendly deal, but Microsoft is clearly
ready to do whatever it takes to become "Microhoo."
Hell hath no fury, eh? I think I'd still rather take my chances with Microsoft
than a woman scorned. What's your take on the deal? (I mean the Microsoft/Yahoo
deal, not the woman scorned deal.) Don't scorn me -- let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Shopping Spree Continues
Microsoft is also buying something far less dangerous. (Keep reading and you'll
see why that's kind of funny.) While it tries to keep clicking on "Add
to Cart" to get Yahoo into its fold, it has also scooped up mobile
phone company Danger.
Since the middle of last year, Microsoft has held a series of talks with the
consumer smartphone developer to convince it to sell out to Microsoft. It was
ultimately successful after apparently bumping up the price on several occasions.
As Danger was privately held, we don't know the final purchase price, but we
can bet it's a wee bit less than the almost $45 billion hanging out there for
This acquisition gives Microsoft another platform in the rapidly proliferating
sea of mobile devices with which users (consumers, executives and IT guys) can
access and share information. Danger was originally founded in 2000 by engineers
from Apple and several other companies. Danger's Sidekick phone, manufactured
by Sharp and Motorola, had a unique fold-out screen, but widespread acceptance
may have been limited by its exclusive deal with carrier T-Mobile.
Do we get to call the new company Microdanger? What do you think of Microsoft's
many moves, including its drive into the consumer market for smartphones? Call
me up (so to speak) at email@example.com.
Mailbag: Thoughts on AMD-Based PCs, BlackBerry Outage
Readers share their thoughts on AMD-based Dells after news that Dell would be
their online availability:
I would like to see Dell showing more gaming or multimedia PCs similar
to the XPS line with the AMD quad-core processors.
Over the last year or so, I have purchased approximately 24 AMD-powered
Dell computers for my clients online. I have had NO problems with any of them.
I have had one Intel-powered box which was DOA (out of approximately the same
number), but this could have just been the luck of the draw. As we all know,
Out of all of these machines -- both AMD and Intel -- I have found that
in general, the AMD machines seem to be "snappier" in their response,
and this has been confirmed by feedback from my customers. They like them.
And I will always try to provide what the customer likes. If Dell will not
provide it, then I will find it somewhere else.
And were you affected by the Great
BlackBerry Outage of 2008? Here's what some of you experienced:
I was not seriously affected by the outage, but I've been affected by
several unannounced BB outages. More than once, I've been down for a few days
at a time. Talking with Verizon Wireless tech service and running through
a series of tests has resulted in clearing them (VW) and the device itself
of causing the problem. VW was not aware of any RIM problem/outage. I wasn't
willing to wait on hold for over an hour for RIM tech service (once was enough).
All of a sudden, a couple of days later, service resumed. Never read or heard
any announcement that RIM had a problem.
Maybe the outage needs to affect huge numbers of customers before it's
I noticed when I was unable to send e-mails or retrieve them. I did find
it rather ironic that Dilbert already knew about this problem with the day's
desk calendar stating, "Trust me, it doesn't look good" when Dilbert
asks for a BlackBerry (see my
I had to upgrade my BlackBerry to a different model as the service with
8703s is extremely unreliable with random reboots occurring at all times through
the day. As each reboot could last 45 minutes, this means I am without e-mail,
Internet and phone service for three out of the eight normal business hours.
RIM finally admitted there was a problem with the 8703s but will not do anything
about them apart from suggesting we purchase new phones -- at full price and
with a new two-year contract. Sprint, our supplier, is not interested as it's
a RIM problem.
Maybe you would like to write about this issue in your next newsletter
and hopefully shed some light on it for fellow readers who might be having
the same problem and possibly ask for a statement from RIM as a member of
Tell us what you think! Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
or leave a comment below.
Lafe Low is the editorial liaison for ECG Events.