• One of the Web's racier ads appeared briefly last month on Microsoft Corp.'s Swiss site. Though the company soon yanked the ad, the W2Knews news group mirrored a 3.6M clip for the R-rated amusement of Windows 2000 users, who presumably have time on their hands now that they no longer face the blue screen of death so often. The mirror site is www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=072401MSX, assuming your network doesn't filter out flesh tones. Did Microsoft marketeers think 30 seconds of soft porn would sell more Office XP?

  • Get the homepage ready for 'life event bundles.' No, the stork doesn't bring 'em. They're citizen-centric redesigns of Web sites to make it easier for visitors to find government services for common events such as births, marriages, retirements and deaths. The government of Singapore pioneered the concept. At www.gov.sg, besides signing up for the Baby Bonus Scheme designed to reverse population shrinkage, citizens can download lyrics to popular love songs in English, Chinese and Malay as well as apply for jobs. And they can record their wills online and find out how to 'Attend to a Demise.' Tony Soprano, take note.

  • What's even worse than spam? Pop-up Web ads, according to a recent Gallup poll, which said the vast majority of users surveyed really detest 'em. Gallup's typical respondent gets 12 e-mail messages at work per day; 28 percent of respondents receive 20 or more messages a day. The ratio of spam to legit e-mail is an obnoxious 3-to-10. How about slicing GCN's spam ratio? E-mail your e-mail stats to [email protected].
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