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W3C to Netscape: It's not legit if you don't submit

Standards are funky these days, as anyone who watches the nocturnal activity of Microsoft, Netscape, and Sun knows. Netscape got a minor wrist slap recently from none other than Tim Berners-Lee, granddaddy of Web standards at the World Wide Web Consortium, for playing fast and loose with its rhetoric.

    Vermel got a Vespa as a graduation gift, and he's already outfitted the scooter with a hodgepodge of non-standard parts--dual carbs, Easy Rider ape hangers, an oversized muffler--all part of project he calls Operation Embrace and Extend. Now, the Vespa barely runs and no mechanic will touch it. But that's cool with me since he doesn't have a license yet, and the only place he can drive is through my petunia patch.

    Standards are funky these days, as anyone who watches the nocturnal activity of Microsoft, Netscape, and Sun knows. Netscape got a minor wrist slap recently from none other than Tim Berners-Lee, granddaddy of Web standards at the World Wide Web Consortium, for playing fast and loose with its rhetoric.

    Late last month, the Netscapers triumphantly announced that they had submitted their open profiling standard (OPS) to the W3C. Not so, wrote Berners-Lee in a dignified but obviously annoyed letter to W3C members. As of June 2, according to Berners-Lee, the company still hadn't submitted its OPS to the group. So much for standards.

    Speaking of standards, Microsoft may have a double standard when it comes to letting visitors into the pearly gates of Microsoft.com. Lately, my email box has been jammed with users complaining that they can't get on the site. I've had the same problem myself, but only when I use Netscape's two browsers--Communicator and Navigator. When I fired up Explorer recently, the site gave me the VIP treatment, quickly inviting me in. Is there a Microsoft embrace-and-prohibit policy that I don't know about?

    Microsoftism hasn't infected the minds of Slate, says editor Michael Kinsley. The nebbishy Kinsley seems hell-bent on convincing his readership that Big Bill doesn't call the shots, frequently nipping the hand that feeds him in his pieces. His latest column is a classic, though. Apropos of Microsoft's will to dominate, Kinsley declares that the aim of Slate is to "own political and cultural commentary" throughout the world. "We will, of course, continue to support all platforms: liberal, conservative, libertarian, vegetarian, UNIX," he japes.

    Kinsley isn't the only Washington resident who's fled the capital for the Northwest. Awhile back Slate hired one of Vice President Al Gore's daughters as an editorial assistant. Not to be outdone by a fellow Web site, my employer, CNET, has hired another Gore daughter as a summer intern, according to my sources here. Now, if we can only get Chelsea when she graduates from Standford...

    I'm not one to brag, but (OK, here I go) I sure nailed the Digex buyout rumor in my last column. Intermedia snatched up the business ISP today. A special tip of the cigar to my mole on that one. Be my buddy. Email me a rumor right away.