Pouring over Grandma's DuBaud's ancient stamp collection in my oak-paneled study, I was amazed how much those gluey mini-portraits revealed about the times in which they were created. As I met Ameila Earhart, Jesse Owens, and JFK eye to eye, it occurred to me that the inexorable march of email to the masses is about to make this quaint little medium a thing of the past.
Net giant Yahoo could turn out to be Stamp Enemy No.1. As my colleagues have reported, the search engine extraordinaire has supposedly been scrambling for a free email solution ever since archrival Excite took the freemail plunge with WhoWhere. But a well-placed Skinny source says that Yahoo's alleged talks with 411 and HotMail are growing more fruitful by the day: Instead of just licensing a freemail service, the 'Hoos might open up the checkbook and write a fat one. License, investment, acquisition. Whatever the final outcome, once Yahoo with its 38 million page turns a day does freemail, a lot fewer tongues will be licking. All three companies have steadfastly refused to comment.
I've got it: "Neither rain, nor wind, nor sleet, nor snow shall keep those Yahoos from their appointed rounds..."
If only the editors at online mag JavaWorld were as timely as Yahoo, or even the U.S. Post Office itself. Alas, someone must have slipped them some decaf: They awarded Corel's Office for Java "Best Java Application of the Year" at this week's Java Internet Business Expo, a.k.a JIBE, in New York just a week after Corel admitted its strategy to recreate its business applications in Java was a bad move. Corel subsequently renamed the product CorelCentral and has gone back to the digital drawing board. As a result, the product won't even ship this year. Maybe the category should have been "Best Java Apparition of the Year." Or better yet, "Biggest JIBE Turkey."
No less confusing is the current situation regarding who, exactement, is to assign and maintain the most popular top level domains on the Net. A company called Network Solutions currently runs the show under an agreement with the federal National Science Foundation, but that deal runs out in March '98.
So who takes over from there? The U.S. government has asked for public comments, and the result has been a blizzard of wild speculation and finger-pointing. Imagine the Warren Commission asking the American public for input on the Kennedy assassination.
The latest accusation comes from a Skinnophile who alleges that the head of one of the Internet advisory groups is secretly trying to move the Internet domain servers out of the country to put them beyond the control of the U.S. government. This gorge profonde also claims that during a drinking spree an insider divulged that the whole domain registration process will be handed over to a British ISP. Does anyone have a grassy knoll for sale?
I say they get it over with and move the whole damn InterNIC to the tiny Caribbean island nation of St. Vincent. The government of said country is certainly savvy enough to know how high tech in the wrong hands can cause a world of hurt. In a press release titled "How American Media 'Roughriders' Packing Laptops Stormed Tiny Caribbean Nation," the St. Vincentians lambasted U.S. press coverage of a case fit for the tabloids, in which a rich, decadent, yacht-sailing American couple is being held on charges of murdering a local boatman. "Generation X has taken up their collective laptops, and [is] marching toward the millennium with sound bites and cynicism in lock step like jackboots, with no room for the truth as historically seen through the eyes of context and perspective."
I know what you're thinking, but I swear I was nowhere near when the red tide of laptop lemmings landed. Besides, there's not a pair of jackboots in the world that go with a fedora. The latest joke going around: "What did Bill Gates say to his CFO a few weeks back? 'I said to put $150 million into Snapple, you idiot!'" Email me your rumors.