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issue 08/15/2000

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vCity 1.0
by Dr. Adam L. Gruen

20 days in the life of a 21st century virtual city simulation.

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Mondays Are Hell: A (Mostly) True Internet Adventure
[page 3 of 7]

The client squawked when I laid out the deal. He caved fast enough when the hostage situation sunk in. Maybe I hadn't shaved lately, but he knew table manners weren't going to bring home the bacon.

Fred didn't show for three days. Playing Doom, maybe. Who knows with these guys. Some day I'll dissect one to see what makes them tick -- when I don't need him. Not Fred, though. I've gotten to like him.

Anyway, Fred grabbed the config files, and the sys ad's passwords while he was at it. That's a good habit. You never know when you'll be back. It's nice to have a big keyring.

Meanwhile the plot was sickening like a cheap thriller. A competitor had registered a look-alike domain name, trying to suck off some of my client's traffic. This poor matzoh ball was taking a whack at every step. Hope his wife was treating him right.

He told me he'd registered another usable domain name a couple of years ago, and asked me to check it out. Back to the NIC. I wondered what the bad news would be this time.

Yes, we have no bananas today. The name was registered to his mailing address, all right -- but Admin, Tech, and Billing email addresses belonged to Didn't sound like a yellow brick road to me, unless the brick road leads down under.

Down under ... that rang an alarm, and I went sniffing. looked like the same crowd as ran the old "" scam, the Australian bad boys who had roped in 13,000 suckers trying to register with "". Jeez, I thought they'd fed those guys to the crocodiles. Takes concrete overshoes to keep some boyos down.

The big picture was in focus, and it wasn't blue sky. The site's search function couldn't find the sun at midday, a competitor was leeching his traffic, and the other domain name was a hostage down under. We were between a rock and a grizzly -- or like that Lord Byron guy used to say, between Scylla and Charybdis. That's from a poem.

This was going to be dicey....


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