Vermel is crazy about football. Jerseys, helmets, posters, and pennants line the walls of his room. His hero is Steve Young of the San Francisco 49ers. I've tried to discourage him from idolizing a guy who runs into tacklers sans helmet, but like all DuBaud men, my son's a stubborn bloke. Naturally, he wants to form his own chat room dedicated to Young on America Online.
The poor little fellow is going to be disappointed, however, when he hears about AOL's latest obtuseness. A report from the front says that the service won't let its members form private chat rooms with the word "young" in the title. One FOS--Friend of Skinny--tried to start a room called "Youngstown, OH," but the Vienna, Virginia thought-police nixed it. Rooms with the word "young" are often found to contain conversations of a sexual nature, explained one friendly member of AOHell's "community action team."
Aren't you glad AOL is looking out for your best interests? I guess Vermel will have to do an end-around the AO-Elders by renaming his chat room "Steve Not-so-old."
When Vermel handed over his indexed, prioritized Christmas wish list, I was in for another shock. Steve Young wristbands were only item number three. Number one was a copy of Netscape Navigator 4, a.k.a. Galileo. The Monsters of the Mozillaway are shooting for a public beta release by the end of the year, but I put the word out on the street and gave my son his present a little early. (Skinny has his ways.) He fired it up on his PowerMac and found a picture of Dogbert superimposed over the Netscape logo on the splash screen. The devil-guy from the comic strip then popped his head up and exclaimed, "O Explorer! Prepare yee [sic] to face the hideous wrath of Dogbert!"
"Gosh, Pop," said my son, wise beyond his years, "those Netscape guys are dweebs."
The software itself looked just like 3.0. Apparently the promised cosmetic changes haven't yet been implemented, although we did find a floating task bar with various command buttons. A quick spin through the menus showed expanded mail functionality and editing features. My informers tell me the Unix and Windows 95 versions are due in the next week or two with the new-look interface.
Maybe by the end of January we'll have seen enough of Navigator 4 and Internet Explorer 4 to stage Browser Bowl I. Vermel has already volunteered to referee.