As the election dust settles, I, for one, will be glad to resume my life, squalid as it is. My son Vermel and I decided to commemorate the first presidential election of the Net era by boycotting the television tallies and watching the results stream in from various Web sites in real time.
But we'd have been better off watching the tube. Virtually every site we visited--from MSNBC to Politics Now--choked and sputtered under the collective weight of the Net surfing electorate. Imagine what it will do when people actually cast their ballots online. Personally, I'd trust carrier pigeons to deliver my vote before I'd trust the Net.
I shudder to think of the next presidential election. One man who almost certainly won't receive the nomination of either party is America Online's Steve Case. Usenet is ablaze this week with flames from people identifying themselves as former AOL "guides," those kindly souls who police AOL's chat rooms for foul-mouthed types in exchange for free hours on the service.
AOL apparently has relieved a number of guides of their responsibilities, along with its offer of free hours. The online service issued an email saying that it will be streamlining operations and "integrating automatic problem solving techniques." Does that mean bots lurking in chat rooms watching for George Carlin's seven dirty words?
While Steve Case's online service is unpopular with its guides right now, Microsoft isn't winning any friends among Photoshop users. The Redmondians made some last minute changes to Windows NT 4.0 that have made Photoshop 3.05 useless on that platform. The glitch has halted some graphics shops from migrating from Windows 95 to NT, according to my spies.
Conspiracy theorists smell a rat in MS's decision to release its own photo editing package, Image Composer, not long after NT 4.0 went final. The word from Adobe is that Photoshop 4.0 will work fine with NT 4.0. I smell a rat. No, that's just me. Give me a rumor and I'll clean myself up.