"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 7 March 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run XXIV



When did computer industry

commentators start mistaking

their beat for an extended game

of liar's poker? AT&T "blinked."

The FCC "blinked." While it's

not entirely inappropriate to

frame digicommerce milestones in

terms of nervous tics, they

should've saved their buzzspeak

for this past week, when the

mass Netscape divestment was

nothing if not an epileptic

blink frenzy. Why did Marc

Andreessen, CFO Peter Currie, VP

Mike Homer, and Times Mirror all

cash out? Well, sometimes you've

gotta walk the walk, sometimes

you gotta balk the balk.



Then again, maybe they all caught

a gander at 10-89, a visual

dissertation on representations

of computers in the '50s,

partially addressing the

question of what our lives would

be like if our Pentium and

PowerMacs came equipped with

Univac-esque banks of blinking

lights, huge levers, and big red

panic buttons. One out of three

ain't bad - if you haven't

registered any disturbing

reactions to Virtual Boy, you

should be OK.



In the damned if you do, damned

if you don't department,

Netscape is at it again. First

Netscape created non-standard,

Netscape-only extensions to

HTML. Then savvy content

providers began serving out two

sets of documents - one

"enhanced" for Netscape, another

that used plain ol',

committee-approved, boring HTML -

and pushed out one or the

other depending upon whether the

browser identified itself as

"Mozilla." Competing browser

makers, realizing that Netscape

HTML was now the de facto

standard, added support for the

Netscape extensions, only to

have standard HTML dished up to

them, since the servers with

dynamic content were looking for

"Mozilla," and they didn't say

they were Mozilla. So the other

browsers, starting with

Microsoft Internet Explorer,

began calling themselves

"Mozilla compatible" - or,

simply, "Mozilla." Now the

Netscape legal team is churning

out threatening letters,

claiming trademark infringement

of any browser that says it's

"Mozilla" or "Mozilla

compatible" - or lets its users

type in their own identification

string. We always suspected that

dodge ball would be more fun

played alone.



Playboy claims that the "Women

of the Internet" April issue

pictorial is "cyberciting."

Considering their parallel pitch -

that there's nothing virtual

about these hardbodies - it

sounds like a neat trick. But

before you consider the

potential of your officemates as

Playmates, remember that in

order to fill their pages, Hef

and Co. cast a wide net indeed,

and almost anyone with a 14.4

(and 36-24-36) would have

qualified. Of the represented

babes, only one has the

background to suggest she

wouldn't be offended if you

asked to see her SCSI port. But

why whine about such details? In

cyberspace, no one can hear you


courtesy of the Sucksters