Netscape Browser Meets Quiet End

News worth an honorable mention.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ALISON STEWART, host:

Welcome back to the very last show of THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT in 2007. I'm Alison Stewart, in the studio.

I was all by myself, just me and my computer screen, until…

(Soundbite of music)

STEWART: …I realized it was Ramble time. And it's no fun to just ramble along by yourself. I think that's called crazy. So we have Tricia McKinney, our editor, who's freshly back from a week off.

Hi, Tricia.

TRICIA McKINNEY: I'm ready to Ramble. Hello.

STEWART: Usually, I'm talking to you from the control room, but you're actually sitting in the co-host chair.

McKINNEY: They let me in the big girl seat.

STEWART: How do you like - do you like it?

McKINNEY: No.

STEWART: Because I'm looking for a co-host. No? Okay.

(Soundbite of laughter)

McKINNEY: I like it behind in my glass walls.

STEWART: Okay, well, I'll…

McKINNEY: But I'm ready to Ramble today.

STEWART: I'll ease you into this.

We're starting with Netscape to die. Believe it or not, Netscape navigator will no longer be with us. All developments on the browser will cease on February 1st. They'll just keep releasing security fixes and patches until then. I mean, just remember way back when in 1994, when Netscape seemed like the thing.

McKINNEY: I was a big Netscaper.

STEWART: Yeah.

McKINNEY: I can't remember the last time I saw Netscape's little window there.

STEWART: Hence, the problem.

McKINNEY: Yeah. I feel really bad. I feel responsible.

STEWART: Somehow. We should've paid more attention to it. We could have watered it.

McKINNEY: I'm so sorry, Netscape.

STEWART: We should have fed it.

You know, it bought Microsoft Internet Explorer for market share - just couldn't compete. It was part of a big anti-trust case against Microsoft in '98. I guess that didn't go so well. AOL, which owns the Netscape brand, is advising Netscape devotees to switch over to Mozilla Firefox.

McKINNEY: I am so believing it. I'm already there.

STEWART: There you go.

McKINNEY: Okay, so here's my little Ramble contribution. You want to go to MIT?

STEWART: I'd love to. I don't think I could get in.

McKINNEY: Yes, you can. Yes, you can.

(Soundbite of laughter)

McKINNEY: They have a new initiative called Open Courseware. Well, it's not brand new. But anyway, it's really, really popular. And basically, pretty much everything they do at that school is now available online for free: lecture notes, you can do readings. You can take tests. You can look at video lectures. You can't get a degree…

STEWART: But you can get smarter.

McKINNEY: …but you can get smarter. And it's part of a larger trend. There's all kinds of big universities around the world, including Johns Hopkins, Tufts, Yale, have make - making material from their courses available online. There's also iTunes view, it's on the iTunes Web site. You can download lectures from all kinds of schools. So it's a pretty big new deal. Open courseware gets more than a million hits a month.

STEWART: Wow.

McKINNEY: About 60 percent of their users are outside the U.S. About 15 percent are educators, I guess, trying to get a little extra training.

STEWART: Yeah.

McKINNEY: Thirty percent are students at other universities. About half don't go to school at all.

STEWART: That makes my little coffee break Spanish seems so little. And so - my 15 minutes of Espanol during lunch.

McKINNEY: I think that's admirable.

STEWART: All right, all right. But I don't know. MIT?

McKINNEY: I know. I wouldn't understand a word. I think I might try it. I won't understand a word.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: When jelly fish attack. Okay, when jellyfish attack 300 people - 300 Brazilians, to be exact. Swimmers off the coast of Sao Paulo, Brazil, stunned. There were swarms of jellyfish over the weekend. They gathered in the shallow waters.

McKINNEY: That's just a nightmare to me.

STEWART: Exactly. Fifteen people, including kids, teenagers, treated for the stings. Fortunately, none life-threatening, but still thoroughly disgusting. The injured began to arrive at the local hospitals on Friday. They were treated. They were released. Now the authorities say, why all these jellyfish? Why that many? They…

McKINNEY: Could it be heat?

STEWART: Climate change.

McKINNEY: Climate change.

STEWART: A heat wave in southeastern region of the mass of the jellyfish. They like it when its warm, plus it's high tourism holiday season.

McKINNEY: I smell a reality show. No, I don't know.

(Soundbite of laughter)

McKINNEY: That's just gross.

Okay, so I want to play this little clip. Do we have it?

(Soundbite of song, "Nobody's Perfect")

Ms. MILEY CYRUS (Singer, Actress): (Singing) Why be so hard on myself? Nobody's perfect. I gotta work it again and again till I get it right.

STEWART: Why do you make me listen to that?

McKINNEY: Okay. Well that's Hannah Montana, a.k.a. Miley Cyrus. And apparently that's just so awesome that it made somebody actually make her six-year-old lie to get tickets, because this is the hottest ticket around.

STEWART: Yeah.

McKINNEY: You can't get tickets to the show - to her concerts. And so, apparently, Texas mother and her six-year-old daughter fabricated an essay for - to win an essay contest just so the kid could go to a Hannah Montana concert. The story was that the girls father had died in Iraq.

STEWART: She said that for what we just listened to?

McKINNEY: Here's the essay:

(Reading) "My daddy died this year in Iraq. I am going to give mommy the angel pendant that daddy put on mommy when she was having me. I had it my jewelry box since that day. I love my mommy."

So they gave the kid a surprise and…

STEWART: Which seemed like the right thing to do.

McKINNEY: Of course. And then when, I guess, reporters questioned the mom, she said, you know, I don't want to talk about this, and left.

STEWART: Yeah, I wonder why.

McKINNEY: So then, I guess when the concert people asked, is it true? The mom basically said, no, but, you know, the rules didn't say it had to be true. It just had to be an essay.

STEWART: Okay, wait a minute.

McKINNEY: So they took the prize away.

STEWART: I think this woman might have future in politics if that was her answer.

McKINNEY: Yeah. And I just feel really bad because there's a six-year-old kid involved.

STEWART: I know.

McKINNEY: I mean, hey, let's the give the mom a little benefit of the doubt. Maybe the rules weren't clear, but I would think that the intention could sort of be clear there.

STEWART: I'm not buying it.

McKINNEY: Yeah.

STEWART: Not buying it one bit.

McKINNEY: Sorry.

STEWART: Hey, Tricia McKinney, you did an excellent job helping me to Ramble.

McKINNEY: I'll Ramble with you any day, Alison.

STEWART: Thank you, Tricia.

That does it for The Ramble. You can find these stories and other BPP gems on our Web site: npr.org/bryantpark.

Thanks, Tricia.

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