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Plug the NT holes, send back the cookies, and buy a mellow Sony

You'll all be watching the Stupid Bowl this weekend, but I'll pull out the old DuBaud toolbox and make myself useful around the house.

    You'll all be watching the Stupid Bowl this weekend, but I'll pull out the old DuBaud toolbox and make myself useful around the house. I'd rather change light bulbs than watch man-beasts grind each other into a carpet of green plastic. Besides, the game's indoors this year. What's the fun of football if there's no mud or ice? Maybe we should send a hit squad down to New Orleans and poke a few holes in the Superdome roof. Speaking of which, the readers of the 32bit.com Web site are pretty handy folks when it comes to fixing holes.

    Someone notified the site of a security flaw in Windows NT 4.0 that enables a Telnet connection to chew up CPU time on an NT 4.0 box. A couple days later, another reader posted a partial fix to the problem that restores Internet access but disables some TCP ports, according to the site.

    Bodybuilder Franco Columbo once advised dieters to send back the bread when the waitperson brings it to the table. For Web surfers without a sweet tooth, Skinny says, "Toss your cookies."

    Cookies are text files attached to newer browsers that Web sites use to store information. When you visit a site for the first time, it adds a note to your cookie file. When you return, the site reads the previous note and customizes itself specifically for you. There's an option in Netscape that lets you scan for cookie-sniffing activity, but the warning message pops up with annoying frequency when you surf a cookie-enabled site. My intrepid Net ferrets found this tasty piece of advice on a popular discussion list: 1) Create an empty folder with the same name as your cookie file. You'll find your cookie file in the preferences/netscape directory. 2) Throw out your cookie file.

    Cookies are another way for marketers to grab our attention, critics say. If your answer is, "What's so bad about marketers?" check out Sony Computing's Web site. The page is peppered with half-baked slogans of Zen consumerism. "As water sustains life on the Earth, our oceans of support sustain the life of our products," Sony tells us in a feeble attempt to invoke both Japanese haiku and customer satisfaction. How life-affirming--they must answer the phone on the third ring!

    Not so life-affirming, however, is the last hurrah for the NCSA Mosaic browser. NCSA--the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois--announced this week it would cease development of the software that made the Web what it is today. In a farewell message to Mosaic users, NCSA said it well: "We are honored that we were able to help bring this technology to the masses and appreciated all the support and feedback we have received in return... Now it's time for us to concentrate on other areas of interest."

    The group upgraded its browsers as recently as last week with Mosaic for Windows 3.0. But what about tech support? Email to their help line bounced back with this message: "The following addresses had permanent fatal errors."

    Mosaic was the brainchild of Marc Andreessen's adult brain when he was a student and part-time programmer at the university...unless you believe an article in this month's GQ, which alleges Andreessen copped the idea from a classmate. Whatever the case, let's have a moment of silence, a salute to the early days of the Web before venture capitalism and URLs on billboards. A little nostalgia is a dangerous thing, although I long for those heady days when I was hunched over my lab table inventing Ethernet. Bring me back to my senses and email me the latest rumors.