Goodies to Go(tm)
January 31, 2000-- Newsletter #65

By Joe Burns

Goodies to Go(tm)
January 31, 2000--Newsletter #65
Please visit

Greetings, Weekend Silicon Warriors,

Did you hear...

He's free! Super-hacker Kevin David Mitnick was released from prison after serving since 1995 for wire fraud and illegal possession of computer files. During his time in prison Mitnick became a cyber-cult hero. Those who supported him say he never meant to do harm. His actions were of a "curious" and "recreational" interest.

Microsoft does its darndest to offer feature upon feature when it puts out software. The problem is that all of those features often leave big holes where people can slip in and do harm. In response to these concerns, Microsoft announced that Windows2000 would use 128-bit encryption while interacting with other programs and vendors. In addition, a 24/7 hotline has been set up where users can report any concerns.

Something happened in China that bodes well for the Web. In the past six months, the number of people that use the Web has jumped by 4 million, almost doubling the number of Chinese people using the Internet.

Remember that great character from the commercials this past Christmas? If you didn't get to see it, Simon was an animated guy who would run from store to store looking for the best deals. Well, Simon works for C-Net now. The company was bought for $700 million in stock. Gosh. Do you think Simon found them that deal?

Now onto today's topic...

You missed it, Halfway, Maryland.

When I was a radio jock in southern Pennsylvania, we use to have a contest with the Halfway, Maryland Sheraton. On the 183rd day of the year, half way through, we would run a contest where the audience was to listen for a half a song. We'd play something and cut it off half way. Then you would be the 92nd caller and win a weekend get-away in Halfway.

It was hokey, yes, but what the hey. Radio is known for hokey contests.

When I read that a small town in Oregon had changed its name to, all I could think was, Halfway, Maryland should have gotten this. They already had half the name.

The Internet revolution has begun creeping into our social conscience now to the point that not only Web sites, but things, people, and now towns are being named with "com" extensions.

The San Francisco 49ers play in 3Com Park.

A guy named Mitch Maddox officially changed his name to DotComGuy.

Now, a small town in Oregon, Halfway, has officially changed its name to

If you're interested is seeing the first town to receive an extension, point your browser towards: Here's how the city council describes the place:

", population 360, is a picturesque community located 40 miles southwest of Hells Canyon in Eastern Oregon. Consisting of hard-working, self-sufficient folks, the town of is tight-knit community, full of tradition and camaraderie. Located in scenic Pine Valley, visitors will find a variety of outdoor activities in any season, including backpacking, llama excursions, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, fishing, hunting, wild river rafting, and more."

Apparently this year's Snow Festival was the best ever. I've never been to a Snow Festival, so I'm going to take their word for it.

In case you're wonder how all of this came about, the short answer is that it's a marketing ploy. The site,, sells books, movies, music, games and various other items. It looks a lot like actually.

At the end of 1999, a marketing team from rolled into Halfway Mayor Dick Crow's office and ran an idea up the flagpole. Let's change the name of your town to

I can only imagine the look Dick shot back at the team, but he didn't kill the idea right off and talks were underway.

The city council agreed that talks should go forward and the media leaped. Major outlets all over the world came to Halfway and covered the non-story that a town MIGHT change its name.

So, what do you think its worth? What's the monetary side of getting a town to change the name? Here it is, straight from the press release:

" proposed to donate 20 computers to the city for use in the computer lab at Halfway Elementary School; a prize to be raffled at the County Fair; and funds to be used in civic improvement efforts."

Of course, there's all that media attention, plus you know this will boost tourism.

On Wednesday, January 19th, 2000, Halfway Oregon officially became, Oregon.

Kind of rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

The place is just flat-out gorgeous and the people obviously have a sense of humor. Maybe this isn't a bad thing. You only go round once and being the first at something is pretty rare these days. Why not? Good for you, Oregon.

In honor of, Oregon, I officially change my name to Joe Burns,

What about that that big river that runs through South America? It should be named, shouldn't it?

We have to find a town in Texas that will allow their name to be changed to! Doesn't that sound like something a computer-literate cowboy would say?

In this time of U.S. Presidential primaries, can a city in New Hampshire change its name to Maybe a town in Iowa could name itself

There could be and

I think we're onto something here...

Detroit, Michigan just has too many car companies to name it or So let's go with The site could have some pretty great Mp3 files available.

Springfield, Missouri will change to (Doh!)

Cleveland, Ohio will change to

Hollywood, California will go to

Burkittsville, Maryland will be renamed

The entire state of Washington will be renamed

In the interest of French tourism, Paris, Illinois will be renamed

The planet Pluto will be renamed

The planet Saturn will remain Saturn, but now it's the Car Company rather than the Roman god of agriculture.

Can you think of any more?

It's a new party game to which I hold all of the rights and back-end profits. Feel free to use my idea at your next party. Just remember to send me $50.00 every time you play.



That's that. I'm looking forward to your emails about renaming towns. I know they're coming. Thanks again for reading.

Joe Burns,

And Remember: Who decided that "A-1" is the best rating you could give? Lloyd's of London did. When the insurance consortium was first being organized, they insured a lot of ships and their cargo. The letter "A" stood for the best ship. Lesser ships received a letter on down the alphabet. The best cargo was given the number 1. Lesser cargo received a higher letter. A ship and cargo marked "A-1" was the best insurance risk.

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