• You've got videomail. New York City firefighters and police last month became the first to send video e-mail to troops overseas through facilities provided by the Defense Department, Compaq Computer Corp., Digital Island's global network and Sorensen Media's Vcast webcasting service. Troops are viewing the messages on the Web to avoid clogging military e-mail systems.

  • Now hear this. After the Sept. 11 evacuations, many feds complained they did not know where to turn for information or where to report. The Labor Department plans to tell 'em by one-way instant messaging. It has bought 18,000 seats of WiredRed Software's e/pop Alert, which even plays WAV files of sirens.

  • Running scared. Also after Sept. 11, lots of public information vanished from the Web, reports OMBwatch.org. It's understandable that maps of chemical plants and pipelines disappeared, but since when is the IRS reading room a target for terrorists? IRS now requires an appointment and an escort if you want to look up information in person.

  • The best '404 Not Found' message of all time: 'Hate to tell you this, but that page ain't here. Seriously, it's not. 404, baby, 40-freakin'-4.' See www.binaryinc.org/404/html, courtesy of GCN reader and occasional reviewer Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols.

  • Brain wave. Now that security experts are saying biometric scans could be misused almost as easily as passwords, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) asked the General Accounting Office to see if 'brain fingerprinting' via EEG is better. GAO said the CIA, Defense Department and FBI all turned thumbs down. Around here, we turn thumbs up to offbeat news. Send items to buzz@postnewsweektech.com.
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