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AOL breaks protocol; MS Office percolates with Java

Santa Claus made his drop early this year.

Santa Claus made his drop early this year. Steve Jobs with an Apple-red ribbon on his head, and the preview of Netscape Communicator put every other gift to shame. What more could a geek like me ask for?

In his new post as advisor to Doc Amelio, one of the things Jobs should do is to lean on Netscape. My Windows-95 box is nearly purring with Communicator on it, but Vermel's Mac is crying out for browser beta code. What gives? I thought Netscape claimed to support 17 platforms with Navigator. All I see on their site this week is 32-bit Windows.

As I reported before, America Online has a different gift for its customers this season: a problem with its service that blocks access to Web sites at Teleport and other ISPs. Here's an update on the situation:

The problem apparently stems from changes AOL made recently to its proxy servers and integrated Explorer browser software which deny access to Web sites that deliver pages using HTTP 1.1, the latest version of the HTTP protocol. AOL is blaming the bug on Web sites that use HTTP 1.1 servers, even sending this message to customers that try to access the 1.1 sites: "The Web address you requested is not available in a version supported by AOL. This is an issue with the Web site, and not with AOL. The owner of this site is using an unsupported HTTP language."

The folks at the Apache HTTP Server Project, which make HTTP 1.1 server, blame AOL, saying that the online service has failed to make its software compatible with the new protocol.

One of my New Year's resolutions is to quit coffee. While I'm having caffeine withdrawal, Microsoft may be getting hooked on Java. My informants tell me the Redmondians are considering doing a Java version of Office. I'm a bit dubious, but then again it makes sense: Microsoft's two suite competitors, Lotus and Corel, both have Java productivity apps well under way. "Maybe Microsoft woke up and smelled the beans," Vermel joked. If I can't have a cup of joe, I'll get my caffeine through a steady IV drip of Diet Coke. Lift my spirits; email me some gossip.