Culture

Star Trek "cerfs" the Net

Vermel's devotion to all things Star Trek is pushing the limits of my tolerance.

Vermel's devotion to all things Star Trek is pushing the limits of my tolerance. "I want to look like a Vulcan!" he screeched. "The operation only costs two grand an ear." I'll happily chaperone the kid to Trekkie conventions, but I'll be damned if I'm going to subsidize mock Spock plastic surgery on his ears. "Pointy ears are out, don't you know?" I asked him rhetorically. "Why don't you get your navel-pierced like the other kids?" Body manipulation is acceptable as long as we can hide it from Grandma DuBaud.

Some Trekkie's know their limits. A prime example, is Vint Cerf, MCI's senior vice president and pere de l'Internet. Cerf flew to Los Angeles last week to meet with the widow of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenbery. Cerf wasn't just there to schmooze Madame Roddenbery though. Apparently, Paramount wants Cerf to consult for a Star Trek spin-off show currently under development.

Cerf and Star Trek are an odd combination. My spies are cruelly silent on details about the show, but I've thought of a working title that would do justice to Cerf's technical achievements (he co-invented TCP/IP): "I.P. on the Enterprise." Catchy, eh?

Teleporting up from L.A. to Mountain View, I hear Netscape spin-off Navio Communications may be contemplating a name and strategy change. The agents de Skinny tell me that Navio is thinking about augmenting its browser technology with information and network services a la WebTV Networks. Apropos of the change, the company may rechristen itself Navio Networks.

Navio could use a little cheering up. I'm told the company lost a deal to supply IBM with browsers for Big Blue's network computers. Competitor Spyglass nabbed the IBM contract instead.

Behind every good browser is a good Java engine, but not on Linux. I hear the Linux port of the new Java Development Kit 1.1, though nearly completed, is in limbo due to licensing difficulties with Sun. The JDK has been delayed before for the popular freeware Unix platform so users are worried about a repeat of the past. I'm worried that you aren't going to send me any tips. Prove me wrong and email me some juicy gossip right now.