A disappearing vendor ... and a troll who can't hide

Thin-client maker Pano Logic, headed by former Wyse CEO John Kish, has gone out of business ... without so much as a public word to the customers it has left high and dry, or anyone else who might be wondering why.

In fact, the closure was so abrupt and stealthy that last week on Buzzblog I felt obligated to couch my post with the phrase "apparently has gone out of business," although the circumstantial evidence was probably enough to forgo that formality.

The company's previously active Twitter account had issued its last tweet Oct. 22.

The same went for Pano Logic's Facebook page, where anxious customers were leaving messages like: "Why has the management and investor sections of your website been removed?" And: "What is your post-bankruptcy plan for support and parts?"

The latter question was posed by Sean Kubin, a senior associate at Network Data Services in North Little Rock, Ark. He told me that he posted that message after he and his coworkers went to extraordinary lengths to contact the company by phone and email, efforts that proved futile ... with one exception.

"We needed tech support and couldn't get anyone to pick up the phone or return our messages," Kubin said. "Finally, some (Pano Logic) VP picks up the phone - he just happened to be there cleaning out his desk - and he says that out of the blue everyone was told they were gone."

Desperate for more information, Kubin said Network Data Services pressed its contacts at technology wholesaler Ingram Micro to see what they knew. "A couple of days later they got back to us and said we had a scoop; that (the closing) had something to do with a cease and desist order that (Pano Logic) couldn't fight," Kubin says.

Who knows whether there's any validity to the cease and desist thing? Guessing is one thing that happens when nobody who really knows is willing to speak up.

Pano Logic was founded in 2006, raised more than $35 million in venture capital and employed some 50 or more people.

Then went poof!

You'd think someone would feel a responsibility to explain.

So far, at least, you'd be wrong.

Why the hurricane Twitter troll shouldn't be prosecuted

Last week a New York City official was urging the Manhattan district attorney to consider bringing charges against one Shashank Tripathi, who goes by the obnoxious name @comfortablysmug on Twitter and used that account to spread alarmist lies during Hurricane Sandy. Charging Tripathi would be a bad idea, in my opinion, not to mention unnecessary.

While irresponsible and just plain rotten to the core, it doesn't appear that what this fool did rises to a damage level calling for criminal prosecution. After all, if we're going to bring the force of law to bear on those who use the Internet to spread falsehoods, we might find ourselves atop the slipperiest of slippery slopes ... and almost certainly the most crowded one.

Tripathi, who did apologize, was forced to resign his position as a political consultant. If he gets to keep his day job on Wall Street he will be lucky; if not, he will receive little sympathy.

But most of all, the same Internet that this guy so blithely abused during a time of crisis will make sure that what he did is not soon forgotten.

Just Google his name.

All the legal system could do is fine him a few dollars.

Want to dish about Pano Logic? The address is buzz@nww.com.

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.