News and commentary from the cross-platform scripting community.
cactus Mail Starting 7/15/98

From: rpero@boone.net (Ron Pero);
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 21:23:00 -0400;

Similar to a page of links: at my.excite personalized news page, I have placed a link to your page.

From: david@ucla.edu (David Kurtz);
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 18:07:06 -0700;
How I get to Scripting.com

A while ago I was still using Plaintalk on my PowerMac. To get to the scripting.com web site, I'd just say "Computer, scripting news" and the computer would open the bookmark I had saved in the Speakable Items folder. It's kinda too bad that in the shakeups at Apple, the fun stuff is forgotten.

From: mwjames@magibox.net (Mike James);
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 17:33:02 -0500;
How do you get here?

I use URL Manager's shared menus for my bookmarks in Netscape. I have a menu QuicKey that opens the Scripting News menu item.

The result is, F2 has jumped me to http://www.scripting.com/ for a long, long time.

I don't use the "scripting" style shortcut much, because it doesn't work inside my company's firewall. Never resolves.

From: jfoster@3am.com (John Foster);
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 98 16:38:04 -0700;
Re:"How I got there"

I bookmarked www.scripting.com ages ago and it is listed near the top of the list. When you type in the URL field it automatically starts to fill out the name. Tab gets the cursor into the URL field. Because scripting is like third in my list, "s" fills in "scripting". Press return and the browser opens the page.

If you do a get info on a BookMark you can edit the first field with whatever name you want. So if you are ultimately lazy you can number the top 10 sites you read every day 1 through 10. When you finish a reading just tab, next number, return to go to the next page.

No more www. Less clutter. More automation. Just stories.

From: faisal@visionfoundry.com (Faisal Jawdat);
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 19:32:28 -0400;

regarding your netslam survey, i have a start page, http://www.faisal.com/links.html that I use, which includes scripting news. It essentially serves as the "frequently used" portion of my bookmarks (the sites i visit daily or need to access on a regular basis), and allows me to access it from work, home, coworkers' machines, etc... some of my friends use it too.

From: goodman@tickets.com (Jim Goodman);
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 16:28:36 -0700;

Your survey says "i type in www.sc and let IE find it." well, i had to mark other 'cause i do the same thing, but i do it in netscape. sorry, but i boycot IE as much as possible... a little annoying that it redraws the page and moves my text around (which i'm already reading) to fit the images. but i do read your site every day, and have for many years. keep up the good work! we luv ya and your products.....

From: Don-Strickland@OCinc.com (Don W. Strickland);
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 18:23:18 -0500;
how I reach scripting.com

I use a tool called 'Navigator Button Editor' version 1.3.4 which lets me add a list of favorite sites to the Guide button in Navigator. It's faster and more focused that Bookmarks.

So ... scripting.com is on my short list of sites I visit most days.

I agree with your concern and don't plan to bother with Nav 4.5 if they don't change it back to support single words. I use that feature all day everyday.


From: karkle@yahoo.com (Marcus Kazmierczak);
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 16:02:01 -0700 (PDT);
Smart Browsing

The Smart Browsing (keyword) feature in Commuicator 4.5 can easily be turned off, a simple checkbox in the preferences. Which even has its own section appropiately called Smart Browsing and is not tucked away in any advanced tabs.

With it turned off when I type in scripting it brings me right to your site. So to all the lazy typers out there you can still be lazy and use Netscape. yeah!

Go ahead and counter with the default setting is on and most users are too dumb to be able to switch it. That argument sells people very short on the intelligence side, and if it is true do you really want these people visiting your site.

From: allan@seer.net (Allan Tossell);
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 15:48:24 -0700;
Re:How do you get here?

I use a local home page I built, which is my start page for either NS or MSIE. It has links to the sites I visit daily, plus some local pages. While this is a bit similar to using bookmarks, I thought it belonged in the "other" category.

Notwithstanding all the well-stated arguments your readers have offered today, Netscape's latest tack has the appearance of a grab tactic, flying in the face of what most users would tend to expect based on previous feature sets of either NS or MSIE (auto-complete, DNS lookup, whatever). Personally, I hope both of the "big two" come up with alternatives (perhaps an extra box?) and quit trying to predetermine where we shall go today.

Keep digging -

Allan Tossell


From: allan@seer.net (Allan Tossell);
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 15:48:24 -0700;
Re:How do you get here?

I use a local home page I built, which is my start page for either NS or MSIE. It has links to the sites I visit daily, plus some local pages. While this is a bit similar to using bookmarks, I thought it belonged in the "other" category.

Notwithstanding all the well-stated arguments your readers have offered today, Netscape's latest tack has the appearance of a grab tactic, flying in the face of what most users would tend to expect based on previous feature sets of either NS or MSIE (auto-complete, DNS lookup, whatever). Personally, I hope both of the "big two" come up with alternatives (perhaps an extra box?) and quit trying to predetermine where we shall go today.

Keep digging -

Allan Tossell


From: wesf@cs.utexas.edu (Wesley Felter);
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 16:03:13 -0500;
Jini and RMI

Hey Dave, I was meaning to answer your question about Jini yesterday, but I must have forgotten.

Jini is almost surely based on RMI, which is the standard Java-to-Java RPC protocol. All the distributed-Java stuff that I've seen from Sun (like JavaSpaces) uses RMI. On JavaSoft's page about Jini they have a helpful diagram which indicates that Jini provides "lookup", "discovery/join", "leasing", "transactions", and "distributed events". Apparently Jini doesn't address RPC but rather the larger issues of finding other Jini devices and cooperating with them.

I'll be interested to see what network protocol they presume to use between Jini devices; there certainly aren't enough IP addresses for all the hard drives and cellular phones on the planet. IPv6 solves this problem, but it won't be deployed for about 5 years.

I think the name is somewhat clever; the Jini doesn't just live in the bottle anymore; it lives in your toaster, too! The name actually has an etymological basis, since I think the word "genie" comes from an older word "djinn" with a silent d.


P.S. Hmm, I see you've changed the blurb about Tish since I wasin the computer lab; I thought the one about Ellison was funnier. (She ought to know that she won't get the car...)

From: tomalak@dsoe.com (Lawrence Lee);
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 13:41:51 -0700;
Netscape URL redirection...

Who do you want to sort this problem out... Netscape/Microsoft/Internic or the US government?

Same goes for things like where a browser goes on startup.

While it might be wishful thinking, I think things will work themselves out...

I think that the URL redirection isn't a standard process, so Netscape will probably be able to slip this into the mainstream.

How about this for a product idea for Netscape... instead of displaying 404s, Navigator redirects you to Netcenter saying the page isn't available and has a text box to search and some similar domain names matched from the Internic database. Crazy? I don't know. =)

From: brentc@mountainzone.com (Brent Cook);
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 13:23:01 -0700;
Re:Netscape's Undocumented Geek Feature

On the fair practices/forced diversion of traffic, I agree wholeheartedly. I hate it when a browser I install tries to force me down a path that is neither helpful or one I asked for. But what I find amusing and am surprised you overlooked is IE's inherent pattern of redirecting.

What I'm referring to is IE's automatic remapping of any and all file types that might be associated with browsing the Web. Just as Netscape has redirected people from your site, IE redirects files from other applications.

Explorer has been doing this since 2.0. I noticed it when I was working at a start-up doing every possible task related to the Web and eCommerce. I like to configure my system to fit my needs, so I'd associated all graphic file types (especially jpegs and gifs) to be opened with Photoshop. If I'm double-clicking on one of those, then I'm looking to edit them 9 times out of 10. If I want to view it in a browser, I can drag and drop.

Well, when installed, IE reassociates all these file types to itself. This includes HTML files, AVI, WAV, GIF, JPG, shortcuts, you name it. And there is no way to circumvent this. Which means any time I install a new version of IE I automatically assume I'll need to set aside an hour to reconfigure my system. There is no way around this. In Navigator 2.0 and 3.0 (can't remember if it's in the current version) you can do a custom setup that allows you to control this. No such feature in IE.

Sure, Netscape's default install gives you the same result as IE, but it makes sense to have that as an option. Most people aren't as big a geek as me and in fact have their file extensions hidden. IE gives me no option. It does more than take over my browsing habits; it takes over my computer.

I have no bone to pick with Microsoft. IE is an excellent product. I understand the success of MS--they make things easy and set standards that people can use. But for users who do know what they're doing, MS products fall short. Getting around their defaults is close to impossible. I remember the first time I got a computer with Win 95 and the lovely Internet icon on the desktop. I spent two weeks trying to remove it from my desktop because I never used it. But it was imbedded in such a way that removing it was prohibitive.

I agree: it's a shame that Netscape has pulled this rerouting of traffic to their URL. Not a good move and certainly unfair. But the next time you send a note to Microsoft, please ask them to give me more flexibility within their browser. Ask them to leave my file extensions alone. I've asked, and they never respond.


From: slross@yahoo.com (Steve Ross);
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 11:07:16 -0700 (PDT);
Internet Keywords

The interesting thing is that upon reading Yusuf Mehdi's comments where he discussed the "go" feature in IE, I went and tried it in Netscape. Guess what? Typing "go " in 4.05 works the same way as simply typing the keyword in 4.5.

While I don't have any problems with Netscape trying to find a way to drive traffic to their web site, I do agree that replacing the existing domain name system and thereby devaluing the current holders of those domains is the wrong way to do it. If Netscape wants to maintain the good will of the web development community, this is NOT the way to go. They need to remember that if the content starts shifting toward IE, so will the users, and these types of insults will encourage that shift.

It just strikes me as a power grab on their part, as they already had a system using "go" which could do exactly the same thing. Typing 3 additional characters is not going to make the system any less usable.

Lets hope that they're hearing this and will remove the "feature" by the time the production version is released.

From: trev@sc.edu (Trevor Zion Bauknight);
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 15:02:49 -0400;
Netscape's keyword redirection

Just about everyone has expressed an opinion on the matter and all sides seem to be represented.

The most important things to remember are:

1) Netscape is a private corporation getting paid to use a new feature of its browser to direct people who type in generic keywords instead of URLs to whatever destination. InterNIC is a private corporation getting paid to do much the same thing. Why, as someone else asked, should "scripting" lead to "www.scripting.com" instead of "www.scripting.org" or "web.scripting.firm"? What is lost here is the recognition that InterNIC is just as private as Netscape and that the registration of "generic" domains is part of the problem. This could conceivably lead to a drastic change in the way domains are registered, if not a complete reorganization.

2) Nobody is redirecting people who type "http://www.scripting.com" (or even www.scripting.com) away from your site. It appears that Netscape has gotten the jump on capitalizing on what some misguided individual declared an "evolving standard," that is, the lazy typing of keywords instead of real URLs. Microsoft is probably upset that they didn't think of it first. The representative asked "how do you pick the one URL that gets a keyword..."? Money...it's what drives our capitalist society. I've always been bothered by both the registration of generic domains and of domains named after products (though the latter has proved helpful to me in some instances.) Like someone else mentioned, I think "www.userland.com/scripting" is far more appropriate than "www.scripting.com." Not to pick on you, though...the same could be said about all generic domains.

2) Microsoft does something similar through its paid channel sponsors. Netscape's using its browser to direct users to sponsored content is *nothing* like Microsoft doing the same thing because the vast majority of computer users, particularly first-time computer users, are presented with MSIE by default and not Netscape. Microsoft has a more or less captive audience and, because of that, they play by a different set of rules...monopoly rules.

4) If Lori Fena is correct, then the browser should appear without an initial home page, without guides, without "channels" and without the ability to recognize anything other than a complete, properly-structured URLs in the "Open" dialog or the destination block. It wouldn't bother me because I set my browser to start up with a blank page, I eliminate all the pre-set bookmarks and hide my personal toolbar for more space and, believe it or not, I'm still one of the Neanderthals who types in complete URLs (habit, I suppose.) But how many other people do the same thing? How many first time users want their browser to sit there and wait for them to know what to do?

The only solution, it seems, if one is forced to see this as a problem, would be to centralize domain registration, perhaps on a worldwide basis and restrict browsers to accept only real URLs as instruction and nothing less. Let the browser vendors use optional structures like channels, personal toolbars, initial pages, etc. if they want to encourage users to see certain things. Quite honestly, I'm surprised neither Netscape or MSIE yet has a space in the navigation bar for a constantly changing advertisement.

BTW, typing "south carolina" in the URL block of Netscape 4.5 brings up "www.south-carolina.com," a relatively unimportant site compared to "www.state.sc.us." Why should .com domains get any special consideration?

From: lbolef@polymail.cpunix.calpoly.edu (Larry Bolef);
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 11:37:29 -0700;
Netscape Redirects? Not on my Mac!

I just tried typing "scripting" in the URL box on my Mac 4.5 version of Netscape Navigator (standalone, not Communicator), running on an old 7200/90 with MacOS 8.0. I got the UserLand site immediately, not the Netscape redirect. I couldn't find a specific Netscape preference to turn on/off the redirect feature, though maybe some combination of my current preferences has the effect of disabling redirect.

From: pudge@pobox.com (Chris Nandor);
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 12:16:04 -0400;
Re: Slamming

There is a key difference: Netscape has no obligation, in any terms other than for the sake of consistency and good interface, to direct "scripting" to "www.scripting.com". It is not a part of any protocol, or any written standard. It is not against the law to do what they are doing, it is not against any written standard.

Calling it slamming confuses the issue for those who do not understand by making them think that what Netscape is doing is somehow illegal or against the rules of the Internet. Slamming is illegal. This is not illegal, nor should it be.

From: michael@theobvious.com (michael sippey);
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 08:10:04 -0700;
Re:Netscape's Undocumented Geek Feature

Circumventing the DNS lookup tables restricts the free flow of information online. Anyone that has paid good money (whether it's $70 or $70,000) for a "generic" domain name should be *furious* with Netscape: imagine owning cars.com or antiques.com or parenting.com or shopping.com. They've most likely built into their business plans a certain level of traffic that comes from people finding them via their "generic" name. And given the tech-y nature of Netscape's content, it's obvious to me that "scripting" would be redirected.

As to your question "What if Microsoft did this?". Why would it be any different if Microsoft did it? They would just have a different set of partners that would be paying them money; it would be neither any more or any less nefarious than Netscape's plan.

From: josh@stonecottage.com (Josh Lucas);
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 10:49:30 -0400;
Netscape 4.5

A question that I was thinking about last night. What is the difference between what Netscape is doing with 4.5 and their charges of what Microsoft does with IE and Windows?

Isn't the point of the features in 4.5 a way to drive traffic to NetCenter? So they are trying to use a 'product' to gain an unfair advantage in the portal business. Isn't that very hypocritical?

From: nbornstein@plr.com (Niel M. Bornstein);
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 07:18:21 -0700;
URL Laziness

OK, this is really annoying me. I can understand why you, and many of your readers, are miffed by the change in behaviour in Netscape 4.5. But the fact is that "scripting" is not, and never has been, a URL. Typing "scripting" into the URL box in any browser should return an error. It just so happens that 4.5's error behaviour is to look up the offending string in their proprietary keyword database. Sometimes this will give you the URL you meant to type, as in http://www.scripting.com, sometimes it will give you a URL somewhere else, like the one that someone paid them for.

The fact is that we've all become lazy and come to rely on behaviour that was never a required way for a browser to behave.

From: awhitney@lowemcadams.com;
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 07:03:05 -0700;
Re:"Netscape's Undocumented Information Control"

I was about to write you about just this thing... I noticed it last night.

How annoying! And reprehensible.

They should spend more time making the browser kinder to the file system and less likey to crash, and less on crap like this.

From: amy@ComCAT.COM (Amy Wohl);
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 07:02:09 -0700;
Re:Netscape's Undocumented Geek Feature

I agree! Not just because of the fact that it's unfair to you (it is), but because we have standards on the Net and an evolving standard is being able to type into the URL an abbreviated form of the Internic name (without http and now without www or com). This breaks that standard and renders it useless. I am going to protest by commenting on this in my newsletter.

From: Walter_Higgins@cbtsys.com;
Sent at Thu, 16 Jul 1998 06:58:17 -0700;
Re:Netscape's Undocumented Geek Feature

I agree absolutely !!! I don't know anyone who types full URLs . To go to "www.rocketmail.com" I type "rocketmail" a friend pointed out this feature to me early last year and I've been using it since (and passing it on) . Aside from the issue of alienating businesses It seems bewildering that Netscape would want to surprise end-users by changing this behaviour.

From: brianhoney@yahoo.com (Brian Honey);
Sent at Wed, 15 Jul 1998 21:10:50 -0700;
Re:Netscape's Undocumented Geek Feature

This "feature" of NC/NN 4.5 also bothers me, but not for the same reason as it does you - redirecting traffic from your site, to Netscape's Yahoo/wannabe Netcenter.

I don't like it because it exemplifies what seems to be the prevailing attitude of all Internet software designers (both Microsoft and Netscape) - that end users are pretty much idiots.

To use the example that Netscape touts on the 4.5 pages, if I want to find information on the Ford Ranger pickup truck, I am going to go to www.ford.com. Now since NN/NC has offered the capability of just typing one word into the Location bar, and the software automatically assumes a "www." and ".com" - I will be taken to the correct site, www.ford.com. From there, as I am not an idiot, I can navigate to info about the Ranger pickup.

Here's what I notice happening when I type "ford" - without the quotes, of course - into my 4.5 Location bar. At the status bar, it says, "Connect. Looking up host ford..." The next sequences of words flash by pretty quickly, so that I cannot tell exactly what is displayed, but it alternately says "Connecting to www.ford.com" and I see some mentions of "keyword.netscape.com"

This makes me wonder - when I just type "ford" and I ultimately wind up at www.ford.com, even though it appears to consult the keyword.netscape.com domain - why doesn't the same thing happen when I just type "scripting"? Has Ford paid to have this redirection?

I don't like this at all. As I don't like IE4 at all (for the smallest of reasons, actually, as I am not one of those anti-Microsoft zealots) this leaves me with having to type www.whatever.com to get to sites that I have visited with previous versions of NN/NC...

If Netscape really wanted to offer "Smart Browsing" they should have added a small search bar to the right of the Location area, right next to the What's Related button, and let [idiot] users type their keywords there... and let the rest of us use the Location bar as we have for years now!


From: jacobs@azstarnet.com (John S Jacobs Anderson);
Sent at Wed, 15 Jul 1998 18:23:36 -0700;
Re:Netscape's Undocumented Geek Feature

Don't forget, it is possible to turn this 'feature' off -- and if the user knew enough to use the shortcut, they can probably figure out which switch to toggle in the Preferences dialog.


From: bogart@mail.olin.wustl.edu (Steve Bogart);
Sent at Wed, 15 Jul 1998 20:06:31 -0500;
Re:Netscape's Undocumented Geek Feature

Typing a little and having it mean a lot is a great idea, but why not let the user configure it?

I've never understood why one of the Big Two didn't have a place in Preferences where one could list their own series of behaviors to perform on an indeterminate phrase, such as:

1. try "http://www."+entry+".edu"
2. try "http://www."+entry+".com"
3. try "http://www."+entry+".net"

...etc. and let the USER configure how many (and which) things to try and *in what order*.

Anybody want to put that in Mozilla?...


From: gnu@toad.com (John Gilmore);
Sent at Wed, 15 Jul 1998 17:14:38 -0700;
Re:Netscape's Undocumented Geek Feature

Ahem. InterNIC is a private company too (Network Solutions), owned by giant spook beltway bandit SAIC, sucking $100/year from everyone with a domain, because they scammed into it via their extensive high-level government connections, and nobody has yet been able to stop them.

And .COM isn't the only domain in "the net's naming authority". Why should typing "scripting" take one to "scripting.com" instead of "scripting.to" or "scripting.net" or "scripting.firm"?

I sent email to Netscape many months ago suggesting that they could raise some money by asking Network Solutions to pay for the privilege of having peoples' arbitrary names redirected via Network Solutions' monopoly domain ".com". (At the time I was part of a CORE Registrar, trying to sell domain names that don't end in .COM. Having major browser vendors pushing .COM domains was a disincentive for people to register names with us.) It looks like Netscape has gone one better by providing their OWN naming system and selling names in it, rather than charging someone else for the privilege of having flow directed toward their customers. They're smart guys.

This is why we need unbundled products and open source software -- so we as customers don't have to put up with the 10% screwed-up anti-customer marketing-driven ideas in major products just so we can have the 90% good engineering. We rip out that crap and put our own in. And indeed we can do that with Netscape!!!

Now the question is, what ought to be in there instead of Netscape's keyword lookup thing? I don't think Network Solutions deserves the free money any more than Netscape does. But there's a strong incentive to provide user convenience. Ideas?

From: FIngham@xpense.com (Fred Ingham);
Sent at Wed, 15 Jul 1998 17:07:47 -0700;
Re:Netscape's Undocumented Geek Feature

I agree with you. This is not a geek feature. This is the default way I would prefer to enter URLs. I assume this works properly in my browser. I consider this new behavior in NSCP 4.5 a bug and reason enough to not use NSCP 4.5. This is one of the cool things NSCP did before MSFT, and breaking it does the user no service.

From: verve@mail.cyberwerks.com (Eric S. Theise);
Sent at Wed, 15 Jul 1998 17:07:27 -0700;
Re:Netscape's Undocumented Geek Feature

Well, you know that "scripting" is not a URL. The early browsers -- Mosaic, lynx -- wouldn't allow you to do anything like this. You had to type the full URL -- scheme plus domain -- to get anywhere. These early browers emerged at a time when gopher, telnet, ftp, news were all vital schemes for Internet users, and insistence on adherence to the URL format was a reasonable thing.

Typing "http://scripting" would do the right thing; it would attempt to connect to a machine called "scripting" on the local network, eg, scripting.local.net. If it wasn't found, you got an error.

Netscape's shortcut did a reasonable thing, but it was a shortcut. It assumed "http://". It checked the local network (Microsoft IE didn't do this, making it impossible to access your "intranet" machine if you had one; you'd find yourself at www.intranet.com). Then it added "www." and ".com" to the word you'd typed and ran it through the DNS.

Sure it was a timesaver, but even then one could argue that Netscape was being discriminatory; it was impossible to get to anything other than a .com website with a one word entry. "greenpeace"? "stanford"? Nope. "gopher://"? Nope.

It's disingenuous for them to say this is an "undocumented" feature. It's a nonprotocol, "we can do what we want with it" feature.

My guess is that the users who are used to the way the feature's worked up until now will be more pissed off than sites. They should let Netscape know, and you should remind them how to do that.

Best, Eric "still using Netscape 3.04" Theise

From: wesley@scripting.com (Wesley Felter);
Sent at Wed, 15 Jul 1998 17:07:08 -0700;
Re:Netscape's Undocumented Geek Feature

IMO this is not good. Just because something isn't documented doesn't mean you can just change it and hope that nothing breaks. Most platform vendors learned this a long time ago.

Microsoft has gotten this feature wrong before, too. When you type "scripting", it's supposed to first look for a host named "scripting" (which is entirely possible on an Intranet), and then look up "www.scripting.com". For example, on a correct browser I can type in "www.cs" and my computer automatically adds on "utexas.edu" because it's in my search path, and I end up at www.cs.utexas.edu instead of www.www.cs.com, which probably doesn't exist. But some versions of IE just add www and com without checking anything else. Pretty annoying.

Of course the original designers of the Web intended for URLs to be opaque and for users to almost never even see them, but oh well...

From: lee@darryl.com> (Darryl Lee);
Sent at Wed, 15 Jul 1998 17:06:46 -0700;
Re:Netscape's Undocumented Geek Feature

See? I know it's not polite to gloat, but I told you this was evil. >:P

From: Jonny@way.nu (Jonathan Peterson);
Sent at Wed, 15 Jul 1998 17:06:21 -0700;
Re:Netscape's Undocumented Geek Feature

Can't argue with your logic. Netscape (probably, I'm no legal scholar) has every legal right to do what they have, morally, I'm with you all the way. The "geek feature" is greatly useful.

Will Microsoft do the same thing? Not if they're smart, the audience for keywords is fragmented anyway, thereby not so valuable (i.e. you couldn't use the browser shortcuts in print advertising without having scripting.com for old browsers, and the scripting keywords on both next-gen browsers). Microsoft can gain more market share by picking up those annoyed by Netscape's anything for a buck plays.


From: phoffman@proper.com (Paul Hoffman);
Sent at Wed, 15 Jul 1998 17:05:42 -0700;
Re:Netscape's Undocumented Geek Feature

I will back you all the way on this. I help a small group called the Ayurvedic Institute who owns ayurveda.com. There is a much bigger (and richer) group who has tried all sorts of dirty tricks, including trying to fool the InterNIC into reassigning the domain name to them. Clearly, this bigger group could pay Netscape money to redirect "ayurveda" from ayurveda.com to the other group. This goes against what users, particularly beginners, expect. I have no problem with redirecting words that are not domain names, or phrases with spaces in them, to wherever Netscape wants, but things that are clearly part of valid domain names should go to the domain name.

From: eau@ozemail.com.au (Eric Ulevik);
Sent at Wed, 15 Jul 1998 17:05:19 -0700;
Re:Netscape's Undocumented Geek Feature

I'm sure Netscape will be happy to sell you the keyword.

From: Matt_Horowitz@g1.com (Matt Horowitz);
Sent at Wed, 15 Jul 1998 17:04:42 -0700;
Re:Netscape's Undocumented Geek Feature

Alternatively, you could purchase the "scripting" keyword back from Netscape!

From: tomalak@dsoe.com (Lawrence Lee);
Sent at Wed, 15 Jul 1998 16:38:47 -0700;
Re:Netscape's Undocumented Geek Feature

I'm mystified why they get to usurp "scripting" while they leave other URLs alone to point to the domain registered with Internic. This is as much as a geek feature as purchasing domain names with common misspellings to "borrow" traffic.

I can live with it if it wasn't so transparent... ie. the default should be the normal .com,.edu,.gov,.org test then go to their own directory. I can set up IE4 to use any search provider on the address bar (I can set it up to use Netscape's Internet keyword feature, using a prefix). In the same way Alexa is a visible use of a secondary source, not Internic.

I believe the default for IE was a relationship with Yahoo... when you typed go, find or ? in front of a few keywords, it would search their directory.

It's hardly a geek issue... look at how AOL uses keywords to navigate their service. Even their website describing the 4.5 beta makes mention of how it will expand:

"The Netcenter database will initially contain generic terms and some specific URLs, eventually growing to include such things as trademarks, 800 numbers, and stock symbols. It will also use Netcenter channels for general topics."

How do the owners of computer.com and CNET with computers.com feel about their redirection? In the end, it might devalue the property of Internic's database and their owners to Netscape and any other provider of a keyword database.

And right now, as far as I can tell this is a free service from Netscape to add all these entries. Will there be any payment method in the future...? I guess this all drops down to trust as well.

From: jurgen@bitmovers.com (jurgen);
Sent at Wed, 15 Jul 98 16:26:12 -0700;
Re:"Netscape's Traffic-Grabbing Feature"

I can understand how annoyed you must be about this. More than 75% of the places I visit are places I access this way, including "scripting". Using their "preview" thinger, it looks like most are "safe", but one wonders how long that will last. I can see Wired buying the Netscape rights to "news", so people get sent there instead of cnet when they type "news" (not that I'd mind that switch, but that's another story :-) )

As much as I dislike MSIE (various reasons, blah blah blah), this might be the one thing that causes me to switch. i want netscape to survive, really I do...

How difficult would it be for them to include a little preference:

-check internic first
-check netscape first

I'd even accept having to type an additional character before "scripting" to force it to use internic. `scripting, perhaps. it's an easy key to hit.

Anyway- just more words from a soon-to-be annoyed user.


From: ruhl@austinc.edu (Robert Uhl);
Sent at Wed, 15 Jul 1998 23:10:36 GMT;
Internet Keywords

Well, I have my problems with the Internet Keyword idea, but they are not yours. My opinion is that it is inelegant: the URL box is for URLs, not keywords. They should put in a keyword box or something akin.

OTOH, I don't see them as stealing your audience. I have always typed in www.scripting.com (in fact, for a long time I typed http://www.scripting.com). And when you think about it, you are stealing the crowd of those interested in Perl, Python, AppleScript and any other scripting languages by having a site named www.scripting.com as opposed to www.davenet.com or www.frontier.com or even www.usertalk.com. To tell the truth, this has always bothered me: scripting is a much bigger thing than Scripting News (don't get me wrong; I love your site and read it daily).

The big problem IMHO is too many domains and not enough sub-domains and computers. I think that Scripting News should be on scripting.userland.com, that Netscape's keywords should be something like keywords.netscape.com/ (or perhaps search?. That would I believe be more elegant.

Finally, that users ever started simply typing scripting is a sign of sloppiness. And not even elegant sloppiness: until at least v3 (when I stopped using Navigator), it only checked www.whatever.com, not edu, net, org or mil. I remain

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