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Apple and Netscape walk the dog, the CIA barks

You know our culture is changing when Marc Andreessen is on public television.

You know our culture is changing when Marc Andreessen is on public television. As I lay in bed nursing a bad case of giardia Wednesday night, I caught Marc on the tube going mano-a-mano with the irrepressible Charlie Rose on PBS. All that talk about NCs and intranets surely left half the hoity-toity, PBS-loving viewers scratching their heads.

Actually, Marc wasn't half bad on TV. Normally, Andreessen speaks like long playing vinyl at 72 RPM, but the TV people must have tranquilized him. Marc told a bit of a fib though. When Rose asked him how Navigator would be able to compete against "the Windows Explorer" when Microsoft is giving the browser away for free, Andreessen claimed that it the really isn't free because users have to buy BackOffice to use it.

BackOffice, Marc? Yeah, right. Last time I checked, I didn't need SNA and SQL server to run Internet Explorer. I think Marc may have forgotten that he was talking about the browser, not the server.

Netscape wowed developers this week at its Internet Developer Conference in New York with a taste of Navigator 4.0, but Apple is nervous about getting the whole enchilada on time. According to my operatives, Netscape is required (under a contract inked with Apple last August) to deliver its new browser as an OpenDoc "part" for CyberDog within three months of Navigator 4.0's general release.

But insiders at Apple fear that the quality of the browser may not be up to snuff and that the release date could slip to as late as June. So Apple is developing a new version of its own CyberDog browser just in case, according to my informants. (Incidentally, there's an excellent source for CyberDog fanatics on the Net called CyberDog Pound).

Speaking of spies, the Central Intelligence Agency is back online after its Web site was defaced last month and, boy, are they cranky. The chief spook agency's home page warns users that their activities throughout the site will be monitored and that they had better behave. Does the CIA warn people in real life before it goes snooping on them? As for you, better send me your rumors so I have something to share with the Masterpiece Theater-loving viewers.