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18 October, 2000 9:00pm pdt | Groucho Edition
Is Opera 3.62 Funny Enough?

BE DOPE NEWS (BDN) NetPositive, although quite droll in its use of haiku error messages, hidden key combinations and blink tag easter eggs is becoming less funny everyday. Opera 3.61 beta 7 is dry and has lousy comic timing. The hopefully-soon-to-be-released Opera 3.62 browser offering for BeOS will be a welcome sight, but will it be as funny as Opera 4 was promised to be? According to Be Dope focus groups, Opera 3.62 is old material when it comes to humor.

"I mean, Opera 3.62 is still totally in the 'seltzer-down-your-pants' phase of humor technology," said one focus group tester.

Many BeOS users feel Be is losing its reputation of its tendency to "under-setup, over-deliver". However, Be engineers point out they have simply shifted their humor focus to BeIA as stated in plans made public by the company months ago.

"We're still as funny as ever," explained one Be engineer. "It's just that all of that comedic energy is being poured into BeIA.

Indeed, early reports of [Opera 4 ported to BeIA] Wagner on BeIA (get it?) indicate that it is "freakin' hilarious", scoring high on the belly laugh, sardonic chuckle and milk-out-the-nose humor benchmarks.

This hardly comes as a surprise, since many of the Be engineers are considered the funniest in the business, creating from the ground up several new forms of humor found in header files, sample code, applications and APIs. These include the infamous is_computer_on_fire() call and such delightfully obscure tidbits as
throw(deadMonitor); // hope this doesn't kill anybody
Be, Inc. CEO Jean-Louis Gassée is known world-wide for his quick, cutting wit.

So what about Opera 4 for BeOS? According to unqualified heresay, Be sources state Opera Software is responsible for porting the humor back from Wagner into Opera 4. But eventually others claim Be is responsible? A comedy of errors? Perhaps - but not the kind of humor end users are clamoring for.

Be Dope officials are notably anxious.

"Will BeIA offer as much material as BeOS," I reportedly asked rhetorically. "Will the BeOS community retain their humor and good cheer, or rapidly spiral into bickering, whining and warring factions, publicly beating up on each other, driving each other out of the community and scaring away potential new members? Where is the story material in that?"

As one member of the focus group pondered, "If you can't use Be to 'make you laugh' then what good is BeOS?"


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