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Rx for Dr. Weil: Private practice

One of the first physicians on the Web is rumored to be looking around for a new office. Alternative health guru Dr. Andrew Weil, whose "Ask Dr. Weil" show started with HotWired way back in the day and subsequently defected to Time Warner, is said to be writing himself a prescription for independence.

After reading my mail from you Mac fanatics regarding last week's OS-9 column, I was feeling poorly. Naturally I turned to my computer for help, and ran into a wall of infoglut--Dr. Koop, WebMD, Healtheon, 798 sites for alcoholism alone. It's just sickening how many health sites are online.

One of the first physicians on the Web is rumored to be looking around for a new office. Alternative health guru Dr. Andrew Weil, whose "Ask Dr. Weil" show started with HotWired way back in the day and subsequently defected to Time Warner, is said to be writing himself a prescription for independence.

While our Skinformants were short on details, it's not hard to imagine why Weil would be anxious to flee Time Warner. One reason is Time Warner, whose Net strategy has exhibited symptoms of melancholia, hysteria, and schizophrenia. Another reason is Dr. Koop, who got to be a dot com zillionaire for at least a couple of weeks before Wall Street's Net ecstasy trip started wearing off.

Time New Media said Dr. Weil was out of the country and declined to comment on his plans, the terms of his deal with Time, the ownership of "," or the cause of my chronic hangover. Such is the state of the medical profession in this country.

Speaking of career transitions, we heard a rumor that Microsoft's Jim Allchin will be jumping ship from Redmond the moment Windows 2000, er, ships. That would place Allchin in a proud tradition of Microsoft refugees. Allchin didn't return my faithful assistant Trixie Pixel's calls, but Microsoft flat-out denied the rumor. (Note to T. Pixel: Please make note when Windows 2000 ships to see if we can gloat on this.)

One possible motivation for Allchin's departure? The boss's salty language.

A while back we reported on some other job hoppers, jumping from Lycos's Wired Digital unit. Turns out our commentary on non-editorial enterprises hiring editorial staff was right on the money: the San Francisco stealth start-up funded by Softbank and spearheaded by former Firefly (R.I.P.) prez Nick Grouf that hired HotWired's executive editor turns out to be a free PC outfit going by the name of PeoplePC. You heard it here first.

As much as I love your mail, sometimes it makes me want an unpublished email address. Evidently in a single column I managed to provoke the Mac fanatics and the trademark experts. In your own words:

"Get real--I doubt Microware would be stupid enough to claim that a *VERSION NUMBER* impedes their trademark rights. Apple's new *version* is titled 'Mac OS 9'; the 'Mac' is the important part of that name and is not left off by Apple. Anyone that could confuse "OS-9" with "Mac OS 9" needs some serious help."
--Dave Martin
Microcomputer Specialist, Department of English, Texas A&M University

Speaking of serious help, does anyone out there have a decent hangover remedy?

Meanwhile, some of you are much more to the point in your correspondence:

"Are you an idiot?"

Others took it easier on me:

"Thanks for bringing up the OS 9 copyright topic. I'd read many times that Apple wouldn't be able to release an OS 9 (hence, according to some sites, the jump to OS X) because of copyright infringement problems. Curiously, though, since Apple's announcement that the previously suspected OS 8.7 would be released as OS 9, nary a one of the I-don't-know-how-many sites I follow said a thing about the alleged copyright problem. It left me scratching my head until your article appeared. Now I can only scratch my head about why Apple would've brought on this possible lawsuit (or payoff) just for the sake of bridging the seeming gap between OS 8.6 and OS X. I hope for Apple's sake that the perceived leap from 8.6 to 9 can generate enough additional upgrade profits to cover their legal costs in paying off Microware.

"Thanks again for bringing the issue back to the surface. I hope you'll be able to do some followups as events develop."
--David Yeargin

Those of you who weren't roasting or toasting me checked in with some historical perspective:

"Actually, OS-9 was named so because it originally ran on the MC6809 processor. The first machines to run OS-9 were the Southwest Technical Products computers. OS-9 was a Unix look-alike when it first came out. It was actually sold by Radio Shack and ran on the Color Computers which probably made it the cheapest way to run a Unix like OS until recently with Linix on PCs. I lived through this period of history and wouldn't have missed it for anything. Just thought you might find this interesting. If you didn't, you didn't :)"

Oh, but I did! Meanwhile, some of you chose to get personal:

"YES SKINNY ALSO A SINGLE DAD HERE IN THE U.K. NOBODY HERE EVERY TALKS ABOUT SINGLE 'DADS' government always chasing the dads who 'left' so good luck. pls note when they get 18 the questions get mucho more difficult. so GOOD LUCK!!"
--paul r marsh

Thanks for the warning, Paul. But my son Vermel has had the good sense to stay 12 for the past several years and with any luck he won't grow a day older.

Those who do write email like this:

"Old folks with good memories will recall that OS-9 was an alternate operating system for the Tandy (Radio Shack) Color Computer (CoCo) which used the Motorola 6809 for a CPU, and a common TV set for a monitor. Note that the OS-9 was a close relative of UNIX. Yes, the CoCo was an 8 bit machine that was able to address 64K RAM & ROM at any given moment. Folks with experience said good things about the 6809 chip, just as they said good things about the 68000 CPU in the first Macs." And finally, a fashion note:

"Greetings, in fact I have only read the bit about being a single dad and noticed the fedora. I couldn't help but note that I as well am a single dad (my son's mother passed away several years ago) and I've taken lately to wearing a fedora."

Uncanny! Hats off to all who wrote--but next time, will you please remember to send me some rumors?