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Issue 08
Fall 2004

Helping America procrastinate since 1636

October 29, 2020
 
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 LETTER FROM THE EDITOR RELATED ARTICLES

There's No Way You're Getting Past the Secretary

The Editorator
Cambridge, MA -Ahh, domain names. The person who first decided to get www.a.com must think they're a genius. And they wouldn't be wrong, just maybe a little arrogant. Have you ever tried it, you know, going through the whole alphabet? a.com, b.com, etc., and then getting crazy with .net, .org, .gov, .edu, and the whole family of .dots. What you find is the companies who happened to employ some tech savvy geek at the time when the internet was just starting to get ridiculous. Most of these internet nerds have done their part as essentially all single, double, and now triple letter domain names are taken. You still can get some 3 letter ones, but they all fall under the category of undesirable, like, -a_.com, which is just stupid. We at the Harvard Satyrical Press would never choose such a dumb domain name.

As it is, it's fun to sit down with the internet and try and guess in advance who got certain domains. Most are not obvious, but they do make sense after you see them - for example e.com, owned by E! the entertainment channel, and g.com, now owned by Google's G-Mail. Presumably Google had to strong arm the previous owner, (one or both of Isaac Newton or Snoop Dogg? Sheeeeiiiiit!), since G-Mail and their 1GB of conveniently searchable, privacy-violating e-mail storage is a new thing. Others are less obvious. For example, p.com, which I stumbled upon by virtue of some (but not many) accidental keystrokes, links to sloan.org and is owned by the Alfred P. Sloan foundation, a trust that supports outstanding scientific and technical research. Evidently, whoever bought p.com was either clever enough to go with the subtle choice of the late Mr. Sloan's middle name (which is a bit of a stretch), or more likely this is just what Alfred et al. settled for, mumbling violently under their breath, as they discovered that aps.com was already taken by some stupid corporation that was much less important than them. For the record, aps.com is owned by a run of the mill power plant company based in the Southwestern United States, called, as you might have guessed, APS, which, as far as I can tell doesn't even stand for some acronym. I would have preferred American Power Superheroes or something like that, but that's just my opinion.

But anyway, I think you all can see where this is leading. In addition to our fabulous print issues, we at the Harvard Satyrical Press take great pride in our website, which is, as many of you know, where we began, as a Scientists/Nerd tribute to the Onion, (www.theonion.com), brilliantly called the Sci-Onion in a remarkable fit of creative inspiration - a line we have repeated in print many times in several equally remarkable fits of creative inspiration.

Our famed HSP door logo, chiseled from solid steel with a supersonic water jet doped with carbon dust, courtesy of "the Man" and the MIT Media Lab.

Since our URL on the Harvard Computer Society server: http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~hsp/index.html is a mouthful by anyone's standards, we originally decided to make things easier for our readers to find us by registering the wonderfully concise domain names www.harvardsatyricalpress.com and www.harvardsatiricalpress.com (Both spellings! Aren't we clever!) in addition to all the .net and .org variations. Although this is undoubtedly an improvement, and easy enough to remember, you still have to type 21 characters, not including the www or .com. As such, we took it upon ourselves this year to get serious with our domain names, and viola, we are now the new and improved www.harvardsp.com (not to mention .org, .net, and .info).

Those .info domain names are pretty ghetto, dude. They totally .suck

On the subject of .info domain names, it's worth a small sidebar. Recently, several domain registration sites all simultaneously began offering this free promotion of up to 25 free .info domain names if you were willing to sign up with them. The nature of the promotion tells us something about the product. Let's get serious. Nobody wants a fucking .info domain name. If you say, hey check out harvardsp.info (which, for the record, we did get, but it didn't work at first), the first thing that jumps into people's minds is, hey, I guess you couldn't get the .com one. People use to think the same thing about .net, but now, .info makes .net look like it's some kind of super pimp.

That stuff aside, although harvardsp.com is certainly a step up, there is one name we at the Harvard Satyrical Press covet. One name to rule them all. We covet the shit out of hsp.com. And this is where the story gets interesting...

A simple web search nearly crushed our hopes outright. hsp.com had been legitimately purchased at some earlier date by Hoskins, Scott, and Partners, some sort of health facilities architecture firm. A wave of potential joy, however, coursed gingerly through my spine as I found that hsp.com quickly redirected me to another site, smma.com. As fate, and corporate machinations, would have it, Hoskins, Scott, and Partners are now Symmes Maini & McKee - a.k.a. SMMA/Hoskins Scott (the A is somehow unaccounted for). Would it be possible that hsp.com was no longer needed by them? Would they, out of the goodness of their corporate hearts, grace us with the care of their old, nay obsolete, domain name? Not being able to find a clear contact for their PR person or webmaster on their site, HSP decided to go straight to the CEO."

Although, "Mike's business philosophy is simple: focus on clients", he certainly didn't focus on us as our e-mail (text below) drifted off into the abyss. To be fair, we're not exactly a client, since we have no plans to commission any new biomedical research facilities (at least not right now), and in all likelihood, our e-mail probably just got eaten by Mike's SPAM blocker.

As expected, we didn't get past the secretary, and maybe not even that far (SPAM blocker?). At this point, here's how we felt like our phantom conversation had gone, left to right, in graphical form. To be fair, the woman on the right is technically the Director of Human Resources, not the Secretary, but that's not important right now. In any case, we certainly hadn't gotten past her or anyone else.

Ahh, but the plot thickens! As geographic fate would have it, SMMA/Hoskins Scott's headquarters are located just down the street, on 1000 Massachusetts Avenue! We decided quickly that this serendipitously local coincidence would necessitate a face to face secretary-confronting field trip in the near future. As it happened, this journey did take place. 1000 Mass. Ave., a standard modern office structure is home to several corporate headquarters. For the record, this does not include the police headquarters, a possibility which was of some concern. The security guard made us sign in but was friendly enough. The sign in the lobby had indicated SMMA's 2nd floor location, but as we trekked around, finding only Cambridge College classrooms and seemingly abandoned doors with obscure corporate logos, we were beginning to consider the possibility that SMMA was really a front for some shady offshore corporation. Turns out they were just on the 3rd and 4th floor.

Upon exiting the elevator, it was hard to miss the "are you sure you're on the right floor" looks, as some of these people probably hadn't seen kids up there in 30 years. And then it happened. We found the secretary. Turns out it was some guy, fairly young, and surprisingly, unbelievably nice. We told him our story and to our utmost surprise, he made a couple of quick calls as we stood there, and ultimately suggested we just talk to one of the partners! I don't know about you, but most of us had never even seen a partner, let alone met one. Two minutes later, the man who comes down is none other than Mr. Scott himself. We were astounded, flabbergasted, and shocked (although one smartass later suggested they had been set on talking to Mr. Hoskins). After hearing us out, Mr. Scott calmly and assuredly gave us his answer - no - but he was so nice about it, it's almost as if he said yes. As we suspected, 3 years after the merge, they still need hsp.com to redirect web traffic and match up with old printed material. Shot down! But somehow it still felt like a small victory.

In the end, although we did somehow manage to get past the secretary, and much farther up the corporate ladder than anyone would have guessed, our quest for hsp.com did not end with our coveted prize. For the foreseeable future, it now looks like we're just going to have to settle for harvardsp.com. Even so, our consolation prize does have a certain charm when you sound out the letters. As our critics (and supporters) might argue, the web moniker is quite fitting.

Sincerely,
Andrew Friedman
Editor in Chief/Warrior King of Zamunda
The Harvard Satyrical Press  HSP 




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