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Memories of Comdex, active desktops, and free email

After a week of exhausting hyperreality at Comdex, home life is looking very attractive to me.

After a week of exhausting hyperreality at Comdex, home life is looking very attractive to me. Somehow, my memories of this Comdex are much more vivid from the vantage point of my La-Z-Boy recliner than when I was shuffling down the Vegas strip. If I had to pick the best Comdex memory though, it's this one: the site of a team of Elvira, Elvis, and Einstein impersonators (followed by several dwarves dressed up as elves) walking down Convention Center Drive. Where else can you see that but Vegas?

Although I spent a good deal of my time grazing at buffets of deep fried whatevers and collecting free stuff, I did manage to pick up a rumor or two from the cavernous Comdex convention center and the party circuit.

For example, I heard rumblings that Microsoft may eighty-six Active Desktop as the name for the set of features that will appear in Internet Explorer 4.0. (The Active Desktop will turn the plain vanilla Windows 95 desktop into a live Web page complete with applets and Internet news channels.) Apparently, the Redmondians feel the term has come to mean something different than they intended so they're going to change it.

A bit of scuttlebutt about the other half of the Microsoft-Intel duo also came my way at Comdex. Intel is interested in investing in graphics chip maker 3D Labs as soon as the company goes public. I hear Grove and Company may plunk down $2 million to take an equity stake in the operation.

One company that could use a hand now is Freemark Communications. My spies tell me that the provider of free email service has hit hard times and may close its doors as early as Thanksgiving weekend. Judging by the scads of email I receive from subscribers to Juno, another free email service, Freemark's competition is still doing OK. Speaking of email, I still have about 700 messages to read. Still, I want more rumors from you so email me ASAP.