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IBM can't deliver the mail, but CERFnet still gets the message

The email I get from people amazes me.

The email I get from people amazes me. Plenty of level-headed tipsters send me accurate, credible tidbits. But my in-box also attracts an extraordinary quantity of farfetched rumors that have nothing to do with computers or the Internet. In fact, not a week goes by when I don't get at least a couple of messages from die-hard conspiracy theorists offering novel, highly dubious insight into the downing of TWA Flight 800 and what Bill Clinton puts up his nose.

Last week, for example, the latest word from the fringe was that the 747 plane was hit by an "electro-magnetic-temporal ribbon," whatever that means, and not an errant U.S. Navy missile. Do me a favor, folks: if you feel compelled to send me your conspiracies, please make them about the computer industry. There are plenty of Usenet newsgroups begging for your Area 51 and O.J. postings.

It's not exactly a conspiracy, but Teleport Communications Group may have finally decided which ISP it wants to buy. It's no mystery that TCG, a national provider of local phone service that is mostly owned by the leading cable companies, is hunting for an ISP. But tipsters tell me that San Diego-based CERFnet is on TCG's short list of potential purchases and that an acquisition may be imminent.

Some of us find fulfillment through corporate acquisitions, and others through parenthood. Put Philippe Kahn, Starfish CEO and erstwhile Borlander, in the latter category. My spies tell me that Philippe's significant other, Starfish cofounder Sonia Lee, is expecting. Maybe Philippe was envious of Bill Gates's baby.

I don't envy subscribers to IBM's Global Network Internet access service. November has been a rough month for its users, with continual email delivery problems as well as slow Usenet news servers. Although the problem appears to have been fixed as of Sunday, mail delivery for IBM subscribers late last week was slower than molasses. I'm slower than molasses without my morning java, and I don't mean the programming language. If you can't spare a cup of joe, I'll take rumors. Mail 'em to me straight away.