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Dennis Miller Joins Frankenberg for Keynote

LAS VEGAS--In his Comdex keynote here this morning, Novell chair and CEO Robert Frankenberg gave a short pep talk for the company's NEST project peppered with often hilarious interjections from comedian Dennis Miller, who joined him onstage.

Appearing on a stage decorated with a faux office, living room, and den, Frankenberg played straight man to Miller's Net skeptic. "The day an unemployed iron worker can sit at home in his Barcalounger with a Foster's in one hand and a TV remote in the other and bonk Claudia Schiffer for $19.95 is the day crack becomes the equivalent of Sanka," quipped Miller.

Miller, who is fresh from a role in The Net, asked Frankenberg about Internet security. "I don't want my credit card out there in cyberspace," he said. Comedic elements aside, Novell made no announcements regarding future Net products from the company.

Frankenberg emphasized that the Novell's NEST operating system will allow consumers to easily link home appliances and even security systems to the Net and beyond. To illustrate this point, Frankenberg and an onstage burglar showed off a security-alert system that can be delivered via pager.

"You don't need a PC anymore to connect to the Net," said Frankenberg. One of the problems with the Internet today is that it doesn't have the capability to integrate easily with local area networks (LANs). Even when this challenge is overcome, "it won't be possible for one company to own cyberspace," said Frankenberg.

One element that needs to fall into place in order to network various devices is a set of standards. Another key to this integrated future is to hide the underlying technology of networking more efficiently.