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Gates tosses his <i>Time,</i> though Ellison will subscribe

People are becoming their email addresses.

    People are becoming their email addresses. In conversation, my son and his friends have shed their given names and now call each other by their email names. The other day, I overheard a bizarre, coded chat between the kids in the rumpus room: "That texture-mapping is bogus, Vermeldu." "Shut up, TomdotTrebante." Even my coworkers call each other by their email monikers sometimes. CNET inadvertently encouraged its employees to do this by giving its employees black shoulder bags, emblazoned with each worker's email address (and a screamingly bright company logo, natch).

    Of course, I've obliterated the email address on my bag in fear of getting email from weirdos. But, come to think of it, I already get email from plenty of weirdos.

    I bet Larry-underscore-Ellison doesn't carry a shoulder bag with his email address on it. The shogun of Redwood Shores has other people caring for his needs. I hear he's tapped a former Clinton White House staffer to be his own chef du staff. I've heard of software companies raiding other software companies, but never the executive branch of the federal government. Maybe Larry wants to get some tips on how to be more presidential. Ellison-Jobs in 2004?

    By 2004, we should have 11 new versions of Netscape Navigator and 5 of Windows. Well, maybe not. Some of my spies stumbled across a document on Microsoft's Web site that refers to the next release of the company's desktop OS, code-named Memphis, as Windows 98. Is that a typo or a Freudian slip? I thought the OS was supposed to be out in 97.

    Bill Gates has some answering to do, especially to readers of Time magazine. The publication's recent Gates cover story triggered a salvo of critical letters from readers in this week's issue. Most of the readers seemed curious to know how such a dork became a superstar. One asked, "Can the man who is shaping our future really be the soulless, joyless, socially-retarded supergeek described in your story?" Ouch! I've been called a supergeek, but, unlike Gates, if you came to my house I'd offer you a soda. But only if you email me some rumors in exchange.