Weekly Wire
Nashville Scene Future Shock

Web site logs common dreams.

By James Hanback Jr.

APRIL 13, 1998:  While countless modern "seers" continue to predict the end of the world, at least one Nashville man has decided to take a proactive approach on the World Wide Web. Anthony Taylor, creator of Pulse of the World ( http//www.pulseoftheworld.com. ), is attempting to avoid disaster by cataloguing common dreams experienced by different people.

"One person's dream about a plane crash may seem insignificant," Taylor says, "but the same dream reported by hundreds or thousands of people at the same time could actually be a prediction that could save lives."

He says he created the Web site because "every single one of us has had a dream that has come true. If people use this site to report their significant dreams, together we might learn important information to stop a future catastrophic event from happening."

Pulse of the World contains forms where users can record their dreams. It also sports a "How do you feel now?" form, where users record their current moods, and a page called "Forecasts," presumably where the results of the dream catalogs will soon be presented. This last page is currently labeled "Under Construction."

Taylor reports that the "How do you feel now?" page is designed to "analyze the moods of people all over the world," while the dream catalogs allow users to search for other people who have reported similar dreams. Users can even type in their own names on a form and find out if they've been listed in the dreamed-about database (a good way to find out the identity of your secret admirer, one would assume).

Although it doesn't sport the most sophisticated design, Pulse of the World provides entertainment for the curious. And even if the user doesn't really believe that dreams can predict the future, there are at least some possibilities for amazing coincidences. After all, we've all had the "Oh my God, I'm in public and in my underwear!" dream. What event could that possibly predict? A clothing shortage?

For his part, Taylor says he will "report to the proper authorities" any forecasts or trends resulting from the dream analyses. He also points out that "the idea of predicting future events through dreams is not a new one," citing Abraham Lincoln's famous dream of his own death, and the nightmares that kept some potential drowning victims from boarding the Titanic.


Spam I am

It took an uproar from online users around the world, along with a court case, but the world's biggest e-mail promotional company has finally settled an anti-spam lawsuit that will make Internet e-mail servers breathe an electronic sigh of relief. Cyber Promotions Inc. has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit filed by Earthlink Network Inc., a nationwide online service. Previously, the company sent out as many as 25 million unsolicited e-mails a day to promote various products, companies, people, and services.

In addition to paying the $2 million, the company must stop sending e-mail to Earthlink's customers--a blessing to those who dread checking their e-mail every day because of the sheer volume of cyberjunk.

Online giant America Online filed a similar suit against Cyber Promotions, which has not been e-mailing people lately because its own Internet service provider refused to continue service for the company. With any luck, other spammers will get the message.

A cup of...what's this stuff?

A federal judge has decreed that Microsoft can no longer use Sun Microsystems' Java logo on its Internet Explorer browser because the adaptation of Java incorporated into the browser is not the official Sun version. Microsoft created its own "flavor" of the cross-platform programming language so that it "would work better with Windows."

Sun originally developed Java under the motto: "Write once, run anywhere," meaning that computer programmers were finally able to develop one application and run it on Windows, Macintosh, UNIX, or practically any other operating system. Sun says that when companies like Microsoft and, more recently, Hewlett-Packard decide to create their own implementations of the language, it defeats the purpose of Java.

That said, the Java language still has a long way to go for an ultimate win over Microsoft. The original licensing issues are still at stake, with Microsoft counter-suing Sun for making a new version of Java that "doesn't work well with earlier versions."

And so the court battles continue.

Along came a spider

World Wide Web search engines are about to start working a lot better, according to proponents of the new Web programming language XML, which is scheduled to be implemented in Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator later this year. The new language, which works hand in hand with HTML, will reportedly make the organization of database-style information easier to handle. HTML will still be used for the presentation of World Wide Web sites, while XML works in the background, handling the data.

Proponents say that XML will make it easier to share data between applications, thus providing more people with access to the same data. Detractors say, however, that the new language could compromise Internet security and privacy by making the flow of information "too" free.

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