December 11, 2001-- Newsletter #160

By Joe Burns

Goodies to Go (tm)
December 11, 2001--Newsletter #160

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Greetings, Weekend Silicon Warriors,

This has nothing to do with computers, but I think you'll find it funny. My wife and I are trying a different slant for the holidays this year. We addressed an envelope to everyone on our friends and family list. The only reference that it came from us is a return mail sticker. We then bought a deck of playing cards that have an image of Santa Claus on the back. We enclosed one of the playing cards in each envelope and sent them off.

Get it? It's a Christmascard. *snicker*

I'm sure it will result in a few phone calls from those who just don't get the joke. I expect many to start with, Joseph, what the %$#& is this?

Did you hear

I'm sure you've seen it by now. IT is a scooter. Maybe you'll remember that I wrote just that in February of this year. Read it here.

The first Web page created in the U.S. turns 10 on December 12th. The page was posted by Stanford University physicist Paul Kunz. It consisted of three lines of text, an email link, and a link to a huge database. It's funny how many pages still look a lot like that one.

Excite@Home has new life. Comcast Cable and Cox Communications have announced that 160 million will be given to the ailing company to keep up high-speed Internet connections. Excite@Home filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September of this year. Hopefully the courts will accept the bail out and Excite@Home will get another shot at it.

It seems that is throwing in the cyber-towel. isn't quite going that far, but they will be scaling back. Federated Department Stores Incorporated, owner of both sites, made the announcements last Tuesday.

Now onto today's topic

Just when I didn't think there was any other method of cramming advertising down our throats, I run into one.

First there were banner ads. Then there were multiple banner ads. Then pop-up ads showed up. Then came pop-under ads. I think they were created at the exact same time as the X-10 camera. Active ads hit the market and ran all over my desktop. Gator then showed up and threw ads where I didn't know ads could be thrown.

That's it, right? There are no more areas on the browser face that can become an ad right?

Wait. You forgot the cursor.

I can hear your eyes rolling out there.

Orbitz is a site that offers discount airfares from a bunch of air carriers. I've used it. Comet Cursor is a site that allows you to replace a user's cursor while that user is in your site. I know them fairly well also. They set up a cursor system for HTML Goodies. We never went ahead with it because the Comet Cursor people wanted too much access to the Goodies server. Guess what?

You've got your Comet Cursor in my Orbitz.

Well, you've got your Orbitz in my Comet Cursor.

Throw in some Gator and now you're talking!

Yep. Now your cursor can deliver you the lowest airfare price on that trip to Sheboygan you've been planning.

A user must have allowed Comet Cursor to place some code on their system. I'm sure many of you get those lovely gray boxes asking if a cursor may be installed.

If you say yes, and here comes the Gator angle, then cursor code is installed that keeps an eye on what sites you're visiting. For the sake of argument, let's say you head off to, a good site in its own right. You ask for a price on two one-way tickets to my hometown, Cleveland, Ohio.

Comet Cursor also performs the search and pops up the best price from Orbitzon the cursor.

Wow, you say. That's a much better price. I shall buy from Orbitz! I'll just go and

I shall



How do I click on my cursor?


That's that. Thanks for reading. Oh by the way, yes, I know there's a way to go to Orbitz after the price shows up on the cursor. You see it was a joke.

Joe Burns, Ph.D.

And Remember: The concept of passenger airlines grew out of World War One. So many planes were built for the war that after the 1918 armistice, there was a surplus. War pilots were making a living buying the planes, giving joyrides and ferrying people around. The first organized passenger airline, Deutsche Luft-Reederie, was started in Germany in 1919. France followed later that same year taking passengers from Paris to Brussels.

In flight service began in 1925 when the French Air Union began serving hot meals, champagne, wine and coffee. In 1927, Imperial Airways showed the first in- flight movie. It was, The Lost World.

Up until 1930, flight attendants were all male. The first woman to be hired as a flight attendant was registered nurse and pilot Ellen Church. She was hired after writing a letter to United Airlines. Swiss Air followed suit soon after.

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