Ask Dr. Data

Do you really need gadgets that can hunt you down?

I'm thinking of starting my own Web site. I want it to be unique, though. Is there anything I can tag it besides ".com," ".net" or ".org?"

— Master of My Domain

Dear Master:

The Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the outfit responsible for assigning and approving Internet suffixes, recently approved a couple of new ones — ".jobs" for the human resources community and ".travel" for the travel industry. It has also granted tentative approval to ".post" for postal services, along with ".mobi" for mobile services and skinny little vegan pop stars.

I see no reason we each can't have a personalized suffix. (I intend to apply for ".ian" very soon.) I also think there should be separate suffixes for all those Web sites that make the Internet what it is. You know what I mean — sites that feature teenagers on webcams dancing to Romanian pop tunes, pictures of ugly pets, photo galleries of mullets or fans of Phish Web rings. We could lump them all under ".wha?," or maybe ".huh?"

Since my cell phone can now track my every movement via GPS, when I pile my stuff into my car and take off as you suggest in your April column, how can I keep it from knowing where I am? Do you have a list of cities that still have pay phones?

— Paranoid Pete

Dear Paranoid:

Leave your stuff behind. Your stuff will find you, believe me. As for the pay phone question, I know that New York is installing 25 experimental Internet pay phones. You can check e-mail, upload photographs and even Web surf for 25 cents a minute. Don't linger, though. You don't want to be in a phone booth when your stuff finds you.

I have trouble waking up in the morning. Any suggestions?

— Sleepy in Seattle

Dear Sleepy:

I can't help you, but maybe this MIT student can. According to his Web site (, "Clocky is a clock for people who have trouble getting out of bed. When the snooze bar is pressed, Clocky rolls off the table and finds a hiding spot, a new one every day." If you want to stop the alarm, in other words, you've got to get out of bed and hunt Clocky down. This student is also working on a device for people who tend to skip breakfast — a refrigerator that hunts you down, pins you to the floor and force-feeds you orange juice and granola bars until your blood sugar has reached acceptable levels. What a wonderful world we live in.

It falls to me to bring the news that due to some changes we'll be making to the back of the magazine, this will be your last column in Intelligent Enterprise. We hope to bring you back for occasional installments on our Web site. Thanks from all of us for a great run! Do you have any parting words of wisdom?

— Your Editor

Dear Ed:

You're letting me go? Jeez. This whole humor thing isn't the cash chow I thought it would be. Advice? Hmm. Remember: For every door that closes, there's another one that never opened in the first place. What doesn't kill you, almost kills you. Finally, yes, the early bird may get the worm. But the late bird gets a hamburger! And fries!

IAN SHOALES lives in San Francisco, where he has issued a restraining order against both his clock radio and his refrigerator.