Notes from the field: It's fun in the sun for Rose

Rose has been sunning herself in Mexico, leaving me to my own devices. She went on vacation with her sister and brother-in-law, with whom I don't have a very good relationship - which is why I was left at home.

Apparently, relations are also sour between security vendors Network Associates (NAI) and Internet Security Systems (ISS). It seems that ISS does not want NAIers accessing its Web site, and has barred all publicly registered NAI IP blocks from gaining access.

You'd think ISS would know more than anyone how easy it is to get around things like this: NAIers are still cruising ISS' site, they're just visiting - which hides IP addresses - before they go there.

It's not only security companies that don't seem to know what they're doing. Another reader wrote to tell me about his experience on the IBM Publications Direct Catalog site. Apparently IBM doesn't see irony in that, even though it claims to be an electronic commerce leader and is selling e-commerce books, it requires customers visiting its Web site to call an 800 number to place orders.

Credit where it's due

If it weren't for the Internet, of course, companies like IBM wouldn't have this problem. And last week we found out who the Internet's real creator is.

It wasn't any of the people usually credited with it. It was, in fact, Al Gore. Trying to promote his techno-geek credentials, Gore told CNN that, "During my service in Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet." Thanks a lot, Al, we appreciate it.

The Internet Engineering Task Force was abuzz with indignation about Gore's claim, but surprisingly, one of the real fathers of the Internet, Vint Cerf, leapt to Gore's defence, saying he was referring to his role in the legislation that created the Internet. But Cerf has his mind on bigger matters - his project to hook up the other planets in the solar system via the Internet.

I'd be a lot happier if this man's huge intellect was devoted to improving our terrestrial Internet. I'd particularly appreciate a video hook-up to the beach where Rose is, so I can keep an eye on her.