World Domination, Step 81 (6/8/01)
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On the off-chance you need yet another reason to drop that clunky ol' Mac as soon as Windows XP surfaces this fall, here are two words that will sway you even further: Smart Tags. What are Smart Tags, you ask? Well, according to a The Wall Street Journal article we dug up on the advice of faithful viewer Andrea Parent, the version of Internet Explorer bundled wi-- er, sorry-- inextricably integrated into Windows XP can actually add links to web pages on the fly. In other words, let's say you load a web page, and somewhere in the text of that page is the word "kumquat." It's not a link-- it's just a regular ol' word, and users of all other browsers see it as such. But under Windows XP, "kumquat" may show up as a link that takes you to, say, Microsoft's web page for Kumquat XP, due next spring for the low, low price of $99 (preorders accepted now). This all happens conveniently without the actual web page author's help-- or, indeed, even his/her knowledge.

The upshot, of course, is that now that Microsoft has used its operating system monopoly to establish a web browser monopoly, the company is in a terrific position to abuse both of those standings by altering the very content of the Internet to turn the entire web into one big Microsoft ad. Every instance of the word "Miami" could take you to an Expedia list of departing flights, every use of the phrase "word processor" could take you to the Word page, etc. We can only surmise that before long, all occurrences of the word "God" will point to this dweeb.

Personally, we'd be pretty surprised if this "feature" didn't find its way into the Mac version of Internet Explorer before long, but to start, only those smart enough to install Windows XP will get to experience what Microsoft calls "another step in personalizing the Web and helping bring it to life for individuals by allowing them to get the information they want in the way they want it." The goal, says Microsoft, is to protect users from the horror of "under-linked" sites. Strangely enough, however, this wonderful feature (that will surely be universally adored by users and web page authors alike) will actually be off by default! What's more, stodgy webmasters who, for whatever bizarre reason, don't want Microsoft adding their links for them will be able to banish Smart Tags from their sites through the judicious use of meta tags. Tsk, tsk... sounds like Microsoft's going, well, soft in its old age.

Personally, we at AtAT welcome the advent of Smart Tags, since we figure we'll save all kinds of time, what with never having to research and code our own links ever again-- we'll just let Microsoft do it for us. Really, how much difference could it possibly make?


 
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And Now For A Word From Our Sponsors
 

From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far


 

The above scene was taken from the 6/8/01 episode:

June 8, 2001: Brace yourselves-- CNET actually says that Mac OS X is better than Windows 2000. Meanwhile, automailing viruses are finally starting to show up for the Mac, while a disturbing "feature" quietly introduced in Windows XP stands poised to turn the whole Internet into one big Microsoft ad...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3103: Next Up: OS X vs. Holyfield (6/8/01)   Look, if we wanted accounts of baffling off-kilter and out-of-character behavior getting our minds all muddled and topsy-turvy heading into a well-deserved weekend, we'd ask for them, okay? (Or we'd just watch a Friday night episode of "The Lone Gunmen.")...

  • 3104: Lemme Hear You Say "D'oh!" (6/8/01)   Fellow Mac users rejoice! Long have we been second-class citizens when it comes to software availability, but those dark days are finally drawing to a welcome close. No longer will we be dejected observers sitting on the sidelines while the Windows crowd has all the fun; we may have missed out on ILOVEYOU, Melissa, AnnaKournikova.jpg.vbs, and scores of other big-name viruses that had the whole Wintel world a-hoppin', but turn that frown upside-down...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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My name is Rip Van Winkle and I just woke up; what did I miss?
I'm trying to pretend the last 20 years never happened
I mean, if it worked for Friends, why not?
I came here looking for a receptacle in which to place the cremated remains of my deceased Java applets (think about it)

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