Around the Web in 80 non-stories: The weekend in review

A weekend funeral caused me to miss a WinInfo late last week, so I thought I'd do a quick catch-up on the non-stories that I've been queried about constantly since my return. You know, the stuff that gets published on a slow news day when there's nothing going on. You've really got to wonder about the Internet when stuff like this can take up so much time and energy.

Then again, this is a good chance for me to dust off that soapbox. I'm in the zone.

After a week of spastic (and untrue) stories about NSA back-doors in Windows, the major computer news dailies leaped at the chance to uncover a "real" backdoor: Too bad it exists only in beta versions of Windows 2000, and will be fixed in the final version. Of course, this didn't stop anyone from publishing Chicken Little stories about the programming gaff, which affects an operating system that no one should be using in production environments anyway. Those people that are using Windows 2000 in live sites fall under one of two categories: They are Rapid Deployment Partner/Joint Deployment Partner (RDP/JDP) members and therefore have access to onsite Microsoft support during the beta, or they just don't get it. End of story.

And those irrepressible freshmen over at "beta news" have done it again, with a non-story about Microsoft supposedly declaring a certain build as Windows 2000 Release Candidate 2 (RC2) last weekend. That never happened of course, but then WinInfo readers know where to go for news and where to go for information about the latest release of WinAmp, right? I have to give the major computer news dailies credit, however: Not one of them picked up the story, God bless 'em. It goes without saying that I will be trumpeting the release of RC2 the second it happens. But I'll write that story when it actually happens, not the week before.

On Monday morning, every computer news agency on the Net lit up like virtual Christmas trees with the "news" that Microsoft was planning a "new" Web-based strategy called "Windows DNA 2000." By the time this issue gets published, I will have likely covered this story myself, assuming Microsoft does, indeed, make the expected announcement. But this isn't a new plan at all: I've been writing about Microsoft's plans for Windows DNA for some time. An article that discusses what Microsoft is going to discuss on the day that it's going to discuss it is, well, unnecessary.

And then there's that Marc Andreessen thing. If you haven't seen this yet, the former Netscape co-founder announced Friday that he was leaving his job as CTO of America Online (AOL). I'm convinced that there's more behind this than a desire on his part to "work with start-ups." You don't just leave the most powerful technical post at the most powerful online company on the planet. Did AOL finally figure out the Mark Andreessen masquerade, or did he really just leave for personal reasons? Time will tell, but here's some irony: This would have been my own non-story last weekend. You know, if I had had the time.

And here's a final non-story that I did actually publish last week: I'll be in New York City this week for the Microsoft DevDays 99 event. I don't expect this to affect the publication of WinInfo per se, but I am interested to see how much work I'll be able to get done on the Amtrak trip between here and New York. Is that bullet train ever going to get finished?


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