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The Net will (not) be televised

The experts keep saying that Net surfing is distracting us from television. But in my son Vermel's case, Net surfing has given him a new reason to stick with the boob tube: TV shows about the Net.

    The experts keep saying that Net surfing is distracting us from television. But in my son Vermel's case, Net surfing has given him a new reason to stick with the boob tube: TV shows about the Net. Whether he's watching The Site or CNET Central, the kid is gripped by what one medium has to say about another. Still, it's obvious that he's jonesing for a hyperlink to click when he's glued to the tube.

    Wired is having a tough time cracking the TV nut. I've written about problems at Netizen TV before. Now, the Wired folks are thinking about canning another show, called Futura. Recounting the discord plaguing Wired's TV efforts, New York magazine last week wrote that MSNBC execs were initially turned off by Netizen TV but that the show may be resuscitated by the end of the year.

    Speaking of resuscitation, I'm going to resurrect a previous topic from the Rumor Mill one last time. Readers urged me to point out that Microsoft has intervened in the tiff over the AutoSearch feature in Internet Explorer 3.0. The Redmondians offer a tool called TweakUI that lets users pick IE's default search engine from a list of the top sites, including AltaVista and Infoseek. Normally, IE's default engine is Yahoo, though at least two chagrined search companies (Excite and Lycos) offer programs that make them the primo search tools in IE.

    The personal systems product division of IBM is searching for its budget. Even as the company prepares to launch OS/2 Warp 4.0, IBM is apparently so disappointed with the progress of its operating system that it's slashing the PSP budget to $170 million next year. That figure is down from about $250 million this year and $450 million in 1995. I'll be slashing Vermel's TV time if he doesn't start doing his homework pronto. You, however, can watch as much TV as you like as long as you send me a rumor now.