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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Culture

Come on Zippo, light my fire

Anxious Net newshounds are writing to say that Zippo's News Service, one of their fave news sites (uh, besides NEWS.COM, of course) is being sued for copyright infringement.

Entrez, mes amis. Welcome to Cabaret Skinny. Expensive drinks, dim lighting, crushed velvet banquettes, and a sultry chanteuse purring "I Want to be Loved by You." Now all we need is a long stinky cigar. Ahh, that's better. A couple of hearty puffs, and I'm blowing more rings than I've heard from the tip hotline all week. The Cabaret's been so quiet that I now realize that silence is not golden, but silver--the same color as my trusty Zippo lighter. Unfortunately, the company that makes those eternally hip fire machines is hot under the collar because of an Internet domain.

Anxious Net newshounds are writing to say that Zippo's News Service, one of their fave news sites (uh, besides NEWS.COM, of course) is being sued for copyright infringement.

Zippo Manufacturing, the original windproof, metallic lighter company, tried to register a domain name only to find that the news service (run by Zippo Dot Com of Sunnyvale, California) had already snagged zippo.com, zippo.net, and zipponews.com. Zippo Manufacturing also contends that "lewd and vile" messages posted to Usenet groups via Zippo's News Service are tarnishing the company's reputation. The news service, which has nothing to do with torching tobacco or other smokables, counters that the word "zippo"--as in zilch, zip, doodley-squat--is in common usage.

Of course, if you ain't got your name, you got nothing. Case in point: Intel's latest chip, code-named Klamath, turns out to be...Pentium II (or Pentium 2, for those who don't speak Latin). Someone wake up the Intel marketing department--that was the best they could come up with after Pentium, Pentium Pro, and Pentium with MMX? Or maybe they wanted to play it safe after spawning one of the silliest TV ads ever produced.

While I blow smoke rings, others may just be blowing smoke...optimists close to Chili!Soft, a database-report software maker, say the company has some big suitors circling around it, including the ubiquitous Microscape and Netsoft. We'll see. Put-up-or-shut-up time should be at next month's Internet World. With my luck, you're reading this in a no-smoking environment. For the sake of everyone's health, I'll end here, but first I demand that you cough up the latest rumors and send me email.