THE BARE TRUTH; RULES OF THE ROAD; NOT QUITE LIKE A VIRGIN; HE CAN DUNK, BUT CAN HE TYPE?; I'VE GOT FRIENDS IN AOL PLACES.

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Bit and bytes from the new-media front.

The bare truth. There are specialized newsletters and then there are specialized newsletters. One of the latest to cross our desk is Scuttle Butt, featuring "up-to-date information on the interactive erotic market." The monthly, published out of Rohnert Park, Calif., reports on top-selling adult CD-ROMs, online cybersex services and other, uh, hot news.

Rules of the road. Bob Gardner, president of Gardner, Geary, Coll & Young, San Francisco, learned the hard way that it's not a good idea to drink and drive, even on the information superhighway. Mr. Gardner got a free 30-day subscription to America Online, went out and bought a modem for his home computer, had a nice dinner with a few glasses of good wine and decided to take his first spin. Things went well that night three months ago, but he hasn't been able to sign on since. "I can't for the life of me remember what the password was," said Mr. Gardner, who's thinking of calling the company to explain his predicament and ask for another free trial.

Not quite like a virgin. It's not easy being an interactive innovator, says the U.S. Postal Service's Rod DeVar, manager of interactive projects. It seems lots of interactive TV tests come calling, but once they find out the postal service has already spent the money to create an application (for Time Warner's Orlando test), they're not as interested. Says Mr. DeVar, quoting a co-worker's theory: "Everybody's looking for virgin merchants. And by the way some of them have treated us, you kind of get that impression."

He can dunk, but can he type? Reebok will open its Internet domain in October, ex-MTV VJ Adam Curry told an audience at this month's Online Developers Conference in San Francisco. Will it be hard for Reebok to conduct business on the Internet? Not as hard as other things, said Mr. Curry, now head of his own Internet construction company. "Our biggest challenge is to get Shaquille O'Neal to type fast."

I've got friends in AOL places. A live chat with country crooner Garth Brooks drew 500 participants to America Online earlier this month, the most that can participate in such a forum. Said the warm-and-fuzzy Mr. Brooks, whose chat took place in the NBC/McDonald's area on AOL, "I don't know what cyberspace is, but it sure feels like home." Aw, shucks.

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