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Imminent Domain

Subsequent attempts to introduce new domains to the Web haven't enjoyed the same success. Did you know, for example, that ICANN introduced seven new domains into the mix -- five years ago? Readers familiar with technology and the way the Internet runs are disqualified from answering this question. I know you know. I'm asking the general public.

Those domains are .biz, .info, .name, .pro, .aero, .coop and .museum. Then there's .jobs, of course, as well as .travel. In the pipeline are .post and .mobi.

___About Random Access___
Random Access is a daily column by Robert MacMillan that explores the latest trends in technology and how they are changing daily life.

Random Access won't tell you why a new gizmo will revolutionize your ad server. It will tell you about episodes from daily life -- exasperated waiters who use blogs to vent about their customers, whole runs of salmon injected with nanoparticles for individual tracking in Norwegian fjords and the growing number of DJs who are sick of being sidelined in favor of iPods. (Only one of these stories is fake.)

Most of what you see will be culled from news sources and blogs from around the world, though we will supplement Random Access with original files on the novel, unusual, bizarre and reactionary happenings in the world of technology and society.

E-mail: Send links and comments.



_____Recent Columns_____
You Are What You Click (washingtonpost.com, Apr 20, 2005)
Test Your Personality, Digitally (washingtonpost.com, Apr 18, 2005)
Bush: The E-Mail Stops Here (washingtonpost.com, Apr 15, 2005)

Some of these actually seem useful, though uncomfortably segmented. Dot-biz, one would reason, is a Web site for businesses. Dot-pro presumably is a Web site for professionals. You probably guessed which ones cater to cooperatives, the aviation industry and museums.

How many of these Web addresses have they sold? I admit that I didn't call every one of them this morning to ask, but it's safe to deduce that collectively they wouldn't even come close to cracking the top five domains.

It almost feels like 1999, this notion that adding new domains to the Internet would spark a conflagration of activity, commerce and money. As 2000 and the following years proved, .biz and its brethren created plenty of online acreage, but not a surplus of homesteaders.

There is nothing wrong with having as many new domains as we can handle, but the majority of the world's Internet users, regardless of their native languages and alphabets, think about the Internet in terms of .com. It's the prime real estate that businesses want so they can succeed online. After all, it doesn't necessarily mean anything to the casual computer user. It simply is the Internet.

Smashing Moments in Architecture

Vandalism in the name of art is the name of the game on eBay as the Mies van der Rohe Society seeks the lucky person who will get throw a rock through the 10-feet-high window of one of the architect's creations.

The building in question is Crown Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and the "Smash Bash" event is designed to commemorate the steel-and-glass structure's 50th anniversary. As the society noted on its page, "You are bidding on the chance to be part of architectural history." It's also the chance to damage a building that Time magazine listed as one of the "greatest buildings in the world."

There are three days left in the bidding. The winning bid at our deadline is $1,525. Forty-two bids have been submitted so far, so you might as well jump on in.

Now That You've Filed Your Taxes...

Writing that check to the taxman might not have been the most stomach-churning part of filing your taxes. The General Accountability Office says in a new report that the Internal Revenue Service has taken a swiss-cheese approach to computer security, Reuters reported.

"The Internal Revenue Service also is unlikely to know if outsiders are browsing through citizens' tax returns, because it doesn't effectively police its computer systems for unauthorized use, the Government Accountability Office found," Reuters said.

More from the news service: "The IRS over the past several years has taken steps to protect the information it collects, the report found. The agency has fixed 32 of the 53 problems that turned up in a 2002 review, the GAO said. But the GAO found 39 new security problems on top of the 21 that remain unfixed."

Now here's the best part: The report wasn't released until yesterday, three days after the IRS triumphantly reported that more than half of individual taxpayers filed their returns online this year. Maybe the up-side is that hackers will be frozen into immobility by the abundance of information at their fingertips.

Blog Box for Red Sox

Here's a nifty idea straight out of Beantown: The Boston Globe is working with the Feedster.com Web site to present a large list of blogs about the Boston Red Sox. A quick glance at the site this morning provides items from blogs with names like "A Red Sox Fan in Pinstripe Territory," "El Guapo's Ghost Rambles on about the Red Sox" and, predictably enough, "The Joy of Sox." The site is pretty no-frills, a definite advantage for the casual visitor, though it is a bit text heavy. Hopefully it will look less like an inventory of every blog comment ever written about the team and morph into something a little cleaner. Whatever the presentation, it's a practical resource that shows how newspapers' Web sites are trying to incorporate more voices from their readers -- definitely a good step.

And the sports department here at washingtonpost.com would be irate if I didn't note the Washington Nationals blog that they're producing with our print-side colleagues.

Send links and comments to robertDOTmacmillanATwashingtonpost.com.


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