B>Paging all Democrats, Part 1: Newt Gingrich's common-sense comments on the Communications Decency Act effectively torpedoed any hope of the bill seeing the light of day in the House. It also won begrudgingly muttered praise through clenched teeth from Libertarians. [Note to Exon: A Justice Department paper concluded CDA was unenforceable even if found constitutional.]
Paging all Democrats, Part 2:
In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, President Bill Clinton spoke of the "dark side" of the Internet [Too much Star Wars, Mr. President?] and many politicians eagerly picked on the information superhighway as the whipping boy of the week. We're disgusted at the vulturesque hypocrisy of an administration that went out of its way to promote the use of the Internet as a tool for participatory democracy and a means to deliver information to its citizens in a rapid, cost-saving manner. Similarly, knee-jerk bills to ban explosive-making instructions from electronic services and bulletin board systems would be amusing if not so sad, considering that $3.95 plus tax at a book store gets a copy of Soldier of Fortune chock full of ads for bomb-making books -- and unlike Playboy -- no proof of age is required. Will we next have a ban on World Wide Web pages promoting the sale of bomb-making books?
Unsung heroes of the Oklahoma City bombing: Internet Oklahoma is found at URL: http://www.ionet.com. Within 48 hours of the blast, ionet.com had a Web page with information about suspects, lists of survivors and dead, photographs and articles from the local newspaper, and a live CUSeeMe video feed from the TV affiliate. Way to go!
Greed is good? BBN/Planet might have been trying to discourage Lucky Goldstar from playing ball in anticipation of the AT&T deal. Apparently, BBN's best offer to the $50 billion conglomerate was 7 percent to 12 percent gross of future Internet connectivity sales (Dial-up and leased line) within Korea tithed back to Boston in exchange for the use of the BBN logo and the technology to build TCP/IP networks. Pretty gutsy for a company that did about $200 million in annual revenues before the AT&T deal. BBN demanded a lot for a little: A logo with low name recognition that hasn't been seen outside the United States and open-standards technology American high-school students can play with.
AT&T BBN = ? Anyone who thinks the AT&T/BBN deal translates to immediate planetary conquest should think again. How successful was AT&T in dominating the PC market when it cut a deal with Olivetti? In the recent agreement, AT&T promises to resell $120 million in BBN Internet access services over the next three years.
Books cruisin': Is there any doubt the Internet is rapidly losing the nerd mystique when The IRC survival guide and HTML for Dummies hit the shelves? Our soft spot is saved for How to Grow Your Business on the Internet, which colorfully highlights Netiquette problem scenarios with a "Mr. Death" skull.
Awake, awake: We're glad to see DC-Internet Society start to move again after sitting out the Communications Decency Act vote. For an organization that claims to represent the best and the brightest in the Netplex, the executive officers certainly took their time to update their Web pages after the DC-ISOC's April kick-off meeting.