Interactive versions of television game shows "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy" will be available for home users of Microsoft's WebTV Plus on October 4. Users will be able to play along at home and win prizes as the programs air.
Rolling the 5 "9's" Turns Out OK
Media attention the so-called "9/9/99 bug" turned out to be over-played and under-researched as the fatal date passed without incident. Fears that a computer programmer's trick of using the number 99999 to indicate a stop in processing would cause serious computer errors and foreshadow the coming of the Millennium Bug, or Y2K, crisis, proved unfounded as no problems were reported.
Some computer experts had called the bug a hoax from the start. Several programmers had gone on record as saying the date 9/9/99 would actually be coded as "090999" and would not be recognized as a stop code.
Sizing Up the World Wide Web
Not quite Kevin Bacon yet, but scientists at the University of Notre Dame have discovered a method of determining the diameter of the Internet, by measuring hyperlinks and following them to where they conclude. Results released in New Scientist article It's a small Web show that although the Web currently consists of approximately 800 million pages, it takes only 20 clicks to travel from any random point to another.
E-Bay Doesn't Sell Everything
Popular online auction site is maintaining a growing list of taboo items as they are identified as illegal or controversial. The latest in the ever-increasing ways to hoax the site were listings for human liver and kidneys. E-Bay cooperates fully with law enforcement officials, telling them not to bother with getting a subpeona before inquiring about a suspect sale. The list of items you can't get at E-Bay now includes: guns, ammunition, human kidneys, livers, babies, child pornography, dirty underwear, human remains, live animals, counterfeit items, false identification documents, explosives and police badges. Another item offered that may have been a possible hoax was a young man's virginity.
Presidential Candidate Shows Us the Money On the Web
georgewbush.com, home page of Republican Presidential candidate, began this week posting public records of campaign contributions, believed to be an Internet first. The campaign fund-raising, now at $49 million and counting, includes everything from $25-$1000 donations, although donations under $200 are not required by Federal law to be disclosed.
For all you Weird Wide Web fans, here's a few choice gems you may not yet have encountered on your late-night surfing:
Nitpickers.com for all you movie buffs who need a place to discuss those plot flaws and continuity errors.