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Comdex is upon us, sans four-letter words

Last night's flight into Comdex was rocky. Vermel kept his dinner down, which is more than I can say for myself. After decompressing in the hotel jacuzzi, I sent the kid to a virtual reality arcade armed with a fistful of quarters, while I wandered into the virtual reality of the Vegas strip and Comdex bacchanalia.

LAS VEGAS, NATURALLY--Last night's flight into Comdex was rocky. Vermel kept his dinner down, which is more than I can say for myself. After decompressing in the hotel jacuzzi, I sent the kid to a virtual reality arcade armed with a fistful of quarters, while I wandered into the virtual reality of the Vegas strip and Comdex bacchanalia.

Sadly, I left my Advil at home and had to buy a $10 thimble full of pain pills this morning from the casino pharmacy to blunt the hangover loitering in my head. Vermel is keeping my appointments for the rest of the morning, while I lie in bed with the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door and a cold compress on my forehead.

I did manage to bring a couple of rumors with me from home, however, including some scuttlebutt about my friends at HotWired, who are, coincidentally, launching their very own news service today.

Last week, the HotWired hipsters debated on an internal email list a decision by company management to yank a splash screen from the site because it contained the F-word. The splash screen, which is the first thing users see when they visit the site, worried a HotWired advertiser or two, including Oldsmobile, so management decided to pulled the offending page.

Oddly, the Web site's print sibling, Wired magazine, has been fairly liberal in its use of racy headlines. Did the hammer come down on the online folks because they're losing more than their share of the money?

Be brought the hammer down on Microsoft, but why? At a public demonstration of its BeOS in San Francisco last week, Scott Paterson, a "Be-vangelist" for the company, described how Be recently outfoxed Microsoft. According to Paterson, the Redmondians fibbed on an application to receive a developer's version of the BeBox and, in order to get its computer back, Be itself fibbed, saying that it needed to recall the BeBox due to hardware defects. The ruse worked, and Be refunded Microsoft's money.

But why all the sneakiness? Is Be afraid Microsoft will develop decent applications for its snobby high-end computer? Finally, my hangover is ebbing. Send me your rumors, especially if they involve Comdex.

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