Net Buzz

FRAMINGHAM (04/10/2000) - The coolest thing about Pac Bell Park is that a home run walloped over the right field wall can splash down directly into San Francisco Bay.

The second-coolest thing is that this brand-new home of the San Francisco Giants was built from the infield up with the Internet and every other manner of next-generation networking in mind. (Hey, even an Internet columnist has to have his priorities in order.)"We wanted to make sure that our network in and out of the park was as bandwidth-intensive as we could anticipate now and into the future," says Dennis Neroda, a business development specialist for Pac Bell who for three years has helped oversee this network project.

This means installing more than 200 miles worth of fiber and copper cabling, multiple DS-3s - each the equivalent of 28 T-1 channels - and multiple DS-1s "with room for growth." There's an OC-12 set aside for high-bandwidth broadcast video such as HDTV; a smorgasbord of digital subscriber line (DSL), frame relay and ISDN; as well as exterior and interior antennas for wireless PCS services.

Planned amenities include an automatic teller machine that will spit out tickets ordered beforehand on a will-call basis and a Web-based marketplace for season-ticket holders to sell tickets for games they don't plan on attending.

The park even has more than 80 pay phones with integrated data ports, meaning you could conceivably lug your laptop to a game and download e-mail during the seventh inning stretch. . . . Of course, someone might spill a beer on you in protest.

Because Pac Bell paid big bucks to put its name on this privately financed stadium, fans will get a chance to visit an area where "they can test drive our DSL," Neroda adds. (What child's first trip to a Major League ballpark would be complete without that?)But cringe not, you baseball purists, as Neroda swears that no one involved has forgotten his or her core competency.

"It's a ballpark first and foremost," he says, "a place to play baseball."

We're talking $1.6 billion in one fund from one venture capital outfit.

Backing the TCV fund are one hundred institutional investors, 15 banks and 150 high-tech executives.

Meanwhile, at the controls of that Nasdaq roller coaster are Stuart from the Ameritrade TV commercial and an army of skittish day-traders.

Personally, I'll worry about the future of the Internet economy when the venture capitalists turn tail and run. There's been no sign of that yet.

And what network security hole did the bad guy exploit to filch those Social Security numbers?

None whatsoever. A few paragraphs from the end of a long article, we learn that the personnel records of our victims were simply grabbed from an unprotected storage closet.

Moral to the story: The Internet undoubtedly makes certain crimes easier - identity fraud being an example - but nothing will ever lend more of a hand to criminals than do the twin terrors of carelessness and stupidity.

Guard your personal information zealously, but feel free to send dirt about anyone else to buzz@nww.com.

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