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By Jeff Schult 6/21/98

Post Office Domain? Brrrrrr ......

The US Postal Service is quietly but aggressively trying to assume authority of the United States' official top-level domain, .us, according to reports yesterday, notably by Wired.

In a confidential proposal released last month to members of the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute -- the organization overseeing the .us domain -- the postal service spells out a plan for using the domain space to create what it describes as a "national addressing infrastructure."

"The United States Postal Service ... is prepared to commit substantial resources to accelerate the development of .us as an enabling framework for electronic commerce," read the unsigned proposal, titled "USPS Coordination of the .us Domain."

Nobody is onboard with this yet, or talking about it much. But let’s get serious. We’re going to put the POST OFFICE in charge of a huge chunk of the domain numbering structure? Let’s see if we can coordinate that with a government solution to the Year 2000 problem …


Big Blue Apache

IBM gave a huge boost to open source software this week when it announced it would bundle Apache, a Unix-based web server program with its ecommerce and Web page development applications. Yes it will hurt Netscape, which was IBM’s premier supplier of Web server software. But it gives enormous impetus to open source solutions.

Apache is the most popular Web server. But the knock on it has been that there’s no one to blame if things go wrong. I’d love to have a hundred bucks for every time I’ve heard an IT director say, "It’s free. And it’s unsupported. And if it messes up, I get fired." IBM’s decision means that the price of server software is heading where the price of browser software went – toward $0.00.

10MB – Through the Air

An Israeli company has developed a product that allows wireless broadband data transfer at speeds it claims are well above those currently available via wireless and some fixed-line connections, according to TechWeb.

TelesciCOM, of Holon, Tel-Aviv, said its wireless digital subscriber line system provides speeds that are equal to or better than the speeds possible using fast land-line technologies such as asynchronous digital subscriber line.

TelesciCOM said it is currently negotiating strategic alliances with several major telecom operators and equipment manufacturers. The first alliances are expected to be announced in a few weeks.

International telecommunications companies have invested millions of dollars trying to increase the top speed for wireless communications above the present maximum, 64 kilobits per second. TelesciCOM said its new technology offers wireless broadband communications speeds of 10 megabits per second.

Portals – or Portalets?

OK, AOL turns DOWN $20 billion or so from AT&T. Disney buys 43 percent of Infoseek. NBC snaps up Snap. Netscape and Netcenter are rumored to be in play again for big bucks. And AOL finally did buy Mirabilis and ICQ for $287 million.

And these are supposed to be great deals? For whom?

All of Wall Street disagrees with me, but I hear another one of those vast sucking sounds as all the money being poured into so-called "portal" sites – search engines and the like – goes down the porta-potty. Why? AOL is the exception, but no one pays the freight on these sites but advertisers. The web isn’t nearly built yet, and users are fickle. We misbehave. Giant, old media companies are fully capable of running web sites into the ground, and the web is spreading out, even as they consolidate.

Remember, these are the people who said "Push" and "Channels" would be huge.

It’s a conspiracy ….

I’m sure it’s all part of a giant conspiracy, but the FBI is actually posting to its web sites thousands of pages of documents about reported unidentified flying objects, alleged alien abductions, and unexplained animal mutilations dating back to the 1940s. Run over to www.fbi.gov and download them before they disappear mysteriously. They’re in .pdf format, so you’ll need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to peruse them.

I’m not really smart enough to be a good conspiracy theorist, but I read through 60 or so pages on the Great Cattle Mutilations of 1974, complete with black helicopters, and, yeah, well, it WAS weird. So … trust no one. Email me at jeffbot at this domain if you find the answer.