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24 hours in Skinnyspace

My intelligent agents report that the abnormally tan Grovester is bankrolling the next project of Rick Smolan, le photo-entrepreneur who brought the world 24 Hours in Cyberspace and A Day in the Life of America. Smolan, who was once described by a weekly business mag as a "vicious capitalist in hippie clothing," got into hot water with Nicholas Negroponte and the MIT Media Lab crew when they claimed Slick Rick stole the "24 Hours" idea after ducking out of the Lab's 10th anniversary Day in the Life of Cyberspace project. Smolan retorted that his light bulb went off the year before while having dinner with old school chums.

    Yesterday was a good day. I got up, brushed my teeth, ate toast with pickled herring and jalape?o jelly, made a few phone calls, and trimmed my nostril hairs. Later on, I dived through some Dumpsters and went shopping for a new trench coat. That was a good day, and it would have been a great day if 100 of the world's best photojournalists followed me around and snapped every undercover moment (without revealing my true identity, of course). It sounds like Intel CEO Andy Grove is thinking similar thoughts.

    My intelligent agents report that the abnormally tan Grovester is bankrolling the next project of Rick Smolan, le photo-entrepreneur who brought the world 24 Hours in Cyberspace and A Day in the Life of America. Smolan, who was once described by a weekly business mag as a "vicious capitalist in hippie clothing," got into hot water with Nicholas Negroponte and the MIT Media Lab crew when they claimed Slick Rick stole the "24 Hours" idea after ducking out of the Lab's 10th anniversary Day in the Life of Cyberspace project. Smolan retorted that his light bulb went off the year before while having dinner with old school chums.

    The upcoming project is tentatively called "A Day in the Life of the Microprocessor," but Skinside sources say it's more or less an Intel annual report gussied up to look like an outsider's camera-eye view. Veteran TV producer Mike Cerre has already signed on to be the editorial director. Cerre last made news with his boob-tube show Scan on CNBC, which focuses on the way new technology is changing the world. Cerre lost high-tech street cred when IBM, Scan's sole sponsor, admitted last year that it pulled some editorial strings.

    Look for the microprocessor photo shootout day to happen on July 11 (7-11, how very convenient), a day that Intel employees around the world will have their hair neatly combed and smiles on straight.

    7-11 may be the right number for microwave burritos, but 56 is double-digit despair for many in Skinnyspace who complain that competing 56-kbps modem vendors promising fast upgrades from 33 kbps are not keeping their word. Both U.S. Robotics and Diamond Multimedia are making 56-kbps modems difficult to obtain, according to several irate readers who purchased 33-kbps modems with the promise of a quick, easy upgrade when the 56ers hit the shelves. Now that it's time to cash in, the companies' customer service reps are hard to reach and the upgrade plans have fine-print conditions that weren't part of the original 33-kbps purchase deal, some readers allege.

    Speaking of reading fine print, did Wired News blow holes in its copy desk? I don't mean to be petty, but when you dish the dirt on my homies, you gotta dish it clean. The top Wired News headline on Friday afternoon needed a second read: "Did 'Gunsmoke' Blows Holes in CNET Stock?" I may not agree with a lot of things (frames-based Web sites, for example), but at least my subjects and verbs agree with each other. As for this Gunsmoke thing, I did my own poking around...and found out it's an old TV show. Gosh, you learn something new every day!

    More media rounds: the San Jose Merc ran a crispy nugget back in February about superstore Fry's Electronics, a.k.a. Geek Heaven, suing the owner of Frenchy Frys over the "frys.com" domain. The Merc said the dispute had been settled with silicon winning over starch and grease, but Mr. Frenchy himself, David Peter, remains defiant and online in his pursuit of truth, justice, and franchising opportunities. To underline his rebellious nature, he has harnessed the visual power of the same blinking "red alert" GIF that the Heaven's Gate folks used (and they called themselves Web designers!?).

    CNET sugar daddy Paul Allen has proven that bad Web design transcends class boundaries. His little cyberhome is squeezed tight with fuzzy text and confusing graphics. It has everything you've always wanted to know about the largest Microsoft cofounder--even hot, breaking news!--except for his favorite pizza toppings. As for browsers, the site is best viewed with... take a wild guess. Now that I've made fun of Pablo Grosso, I'll most likely need my own sugar daddy. Please email your resume, along with a rumor, to my inbox. Don't forget to include your net worth!