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Hunting for Navigator Easter eggs

I was wallpapering my office with invitations to Comdex weenie-roasts and toga parties the other day, when my son chimed in: "I want to go to Comdex too."

I was wallpapering my office with invitations to Comdex weenie-roasts and toga parties the other day, when my son chimed in: "I want to go to Comdex too." There are fathers who tell their sons the horrible truth about the computer industry, and others who protect them from it. I'm tempted to take the kid along just to show him the twisted circus of Comdex and all of its decadence. But first I will have to override Grandma DuBaud's veto.

As I sort out the moral and ethical implications of bringing Vermel to Comdex, SoftBank is talking to Merisel about acquiring the distribution giant, my informants tell me. SoftBank has long been a titan of software distribution in Japan, but the company may now be trying to get a piece of the lucrative U.S. market.

And why not? It has its fingers in every other piece of the IT pie, from memory manufacturing to Net search engines to tech publishing.

Microsoft has its fingers in everything too, but it looks like it won't be putting ActiveX on Windows CE, the company's handheld operating system anytime soon. While Windows CE devices will come with a version of Internet Explorer, the Redmondians will apparently strip out ActiveX. And I thought ActiveX was supposed to be the backbone of Microsoft's entire Net strategy.

For those who haven't heard the gag before, Netscape's business strategy is simple: URL (Ubiquity now, revenue later). But those devils in Mountain View have another secret strategy: subliminal advertising. My moles have uncovered some interesting Easter eggs tucked into Navigator's code, the most amusing of which can be found by typing "about:mozilla" into the browser's Location window. The screen that shows up displays a fire-and-brimstone quote from The Book of Mozilla, 12:10:

"And the beast shall come forth surrounded by a roiling cloud of vengeance. The house of the unbelievers shall be razed and they shall be scorched to the earth. Their tags shall blink until the end of days."

Some other, less evangelical Easter eggs display data related to various Navigator functions, including a history of Web site visits (type "about:global"), cache contents (type "about:cache"), and plug-ins (key in "about:plugins"). Macintosh Navigator users get an extra, though somewhat dubious, treat. When a Mac user types "about:" plus any text string into the Location window, they get a wrist slap from Navigator that reads "Homey don't play 'dat!" Vermel don't play around when it comes to Comdex. The kid and I are headed for Vegas, the Dynamic DuBaud team. Send me your thoughts on my decision and your rumors.