Bobby Throws the Book at DSL Dummies

SAN MATEO (04/03/2000) - MAYBE IT WAS FATE or some kind of alignment of the planets, but Madison is working out great.

Personally, I keep telling myself that it must have something to do with the University of Wisconsin, which is in Madison, and its men's basketball team's success in the NCAA tournament.

Speaking of the tournament, I made a surprising rally in the office pool and should end up at or near the top. It's too bad the Bruins got handed their hat so early, but I'm a dummy for taking them to the Final Four.

Dummy Subscriber Line?

One reader wrote in about some other dumb things going on out there, particularly in the DSL space.

It seems that "DSL for Dummies" is running No. 4 on the Bell Atlantic hot list, according to Amazon.com's Purchase Circle. The reader thought this was a bit ironic after The Washington Post dubbed Bell Atlantic's service "DSL Hell."

And DSL.net appears to be up to some kind of shady marketing scheme, according to a grateful, yet guilty reader whose technology company has a relationship with them.

DSL.net is apparently installing "naked" DSL lines at the locations of the reader's clients, or issuing IP addresses without providing a router or firewall. The reader's company can see all of the client's addresses via the Internet.

When questioned by the reader, DSL.net said it does this to allow companies such as his to sell firewall and VPN solutions to its customers.

Not-so-specialized services

Madison knows a source who relayed problems with Web mail giant Mail.com, whose slogan is "The Internet Messaging Company."

The source has been having problems with e-mail delivery since early March.

He said whether the e-mail is outgoing, incoming, or forwarded, it's been delayed and returned as undeliverable; other users have been unable to log on altogether.

A message dated March 10 in the customer service area of the site claims that the problems have been solved, but not for Madison's source. Meanwhile, his further inquiries have only been answered with apologies and requests for patience.

Something smells funny

Rumor has it that start-up company Digiscent will be making two e-commerce announcements this week at Spring Internet World in Los Angeles, regarding how it plans to leverage the sense of smell as a sales and marketing tool.

The company's Web site claims it has created technology to distribute smells via the Internet using its software and a peripheral device that has 128 smell canisters, much like printer cartridges.

Apparently, the software tells the device which smells to spray at the user to create the desired smell.

Scratch-and-sniff e-commerce? I'm a bit skeptical about this one. Interesting nonetheless.

ALTHOUGH MADISON made me feel old at first, having her around the office has actually rejuvenated me a bit. I'm heading off to Utah to do some skiing this weekend. Haven't done that in years.

Help me off the black diamond and onto the bunny slopes with some tips. Send them to cringe@infoworld.com.

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