• Artificial intelligence? The ever-popular 'computer error' caused 14,000 Qwest Communications wireless users to be billed recently at rates up to $600 per minute. A Toronto coffee shop was billed $1.6 billion by the post office for three months of package deliveries. Again, 'computer error.' The billing software is untouched by human hands.

  • Bookmark? What's a book? Afghanistan's Taliban regime has decreed that the country's only Internet access will be in the Office of the Supreme Leader, to be handled by 'a trusted man.' The ban on Internet use would be enforced by the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. Presumably that trusted man won't access any Web sites like that of a Brazilian brothel, which gave the world's oldest profession a modern marketing approach.

  • Waiting room. A new program for online applications to medical schools got congested with bugs. The clearinghouse was late starting up, its online application took 80 hours to complete, and it's having trouble transmitting applications. The application deadline may have to be extended.

  • Saving tax dollars. The Washington Post asked the Energy Department why its fossil energy Web site, at www.fe.doe.gov, strongly resembled that of ABC News, at www.abcnews.com. The reply, from an Energy Web designer: 'We thought that was significantly more cost-effective than going out and spending taxpayers' money to do a major design.' Send the address of your Web site, and the name of the corporate site it's based on, to [email protected].
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