Saturday, December 22, 2007

Any neighborhood is every neighborhood

After a few misadventures, we arrived here on Exuma a day late. Our scheduled flight from Miami carried us to the island, but the pilot refused to land. Our little airport has no electronic navigation to guide planes in, the electricity in the tower had gone out (we lose electricity briefly every few days), and the island was wrapped in cloud and rain. So back to Miami. But, blessedly, soon after our arrival, our friends at Batelco managed to get my DSL working, so here I am.

When Batelco (the nationalized phone company) first started offering internet service several years ago, they featured an ad on the cover of the national telephone directory with a "generic" web address: www.xxxx.com. It didn't occur to anyone that this would be the address of a porn site, but soon enough -- not before the printing and distribution of tens of thousands of directories -- the company and the government were in hot water. Out went an army of employees with black markers to censor the offending offering on whatever directories they could retrieve or find. Which no doubt drew even more attention to the unwelcome address.

I've noticed that when I've made a likely typo in a completely innocent address, I sometimes find myself at a porn site. Apparently, enterprising folks buy up addresses that people might commonly mistype. My sons were perceptive enough to snag early raymo.com and raymo.net, which the family has been making good use of. We don't get enough traffic to make it worth anyone's while to buy www.rayno.com, say, but I just noticed that that "typo" will take you to a site "not necessarily meant for the entire family." Likewise, rayno.net is a viable destination.