September 28 – October 4, 1997

from the Up-To-Date dept

Each week doing my best to contribute to “Information Fatigue Syndrome”

                                The not always serious, 
                                not always weekly update
                                on the Hi-Tech Industry
                                September 28th - October 4th
                Sponsored by the Technology Management Club of 
                Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management.
                Each week doing my best to contribute
                to "Information Fatigue Syndrome"

A very rare letter from the editor
I figured it was about time I put in a letter from the editor.  It
won't happen often.  First off, thanks to everyone who passed
copies of Up-To-Date along to friends, colleagues, enemies, pets,
what-have-yous and so forth.  The subscription list continues to grow
rapidly (this week being the largest increase ever).

Second, another thanks to all those folks sending me news leads and
tidbits, even if they are propaganda from the company you work for...

Since the beginning of this thing, I've been claiming that it is "not
always weekly".  In an effort to be slightly more truthful in my
reporting I might have to make this a fact next week.  In the
interests of continuing the old job search thing, I will be in Manhattan
next Sunday and Monday.  I'm not yet sure what this means for Up-To-Date,
but expect anything (or possibly nothing).

Finally, I've discovered the purpose of FAQs, since I've been receiving
questions asked...frequently.  Therefore, the Up-To-Date FAQ is being
created and I'll be sure to let you know when it's in order.  On to this
week's issue...

Say that again...
``The criminal customer will never go away; he'll just engage in some very
creative R&D.''
- Roseanna DeMaria, vice president for business security at AT&T
Corp. Wireless Services.

Space is the place... for problems
Quite a week in space this week where problems apparently happened
everywhere... except on Mir!  My weekly clock that had been set to Mir's
computer failures apparently went offline this week.  Mir successfully
exchanged American crew member Foale for (the, one imagines, suicidal)
Wolfe.  Also, apparently Mir "beamed up" new software to go with their new
(working) computer.  Elsewhere, however... India launched a satellite with
its first locally developed rocket.  Looked good at first, but what was
supposed to have a circular orbit apparently ranges from 500 miles to 186.4
miles above the earth.  Oops... Not to be outdone, NASA lost touch with
Mars Pathfinder and had an "out-of-control" satellite that was launched
just last month crash into the atmosphere and burn-up.  Apparently, this
satellite was supposed to demonstrate NASA's new "cheaper, faster, better"
philosophy.  Time to call in new philsophers... Meanwhile 5 more Irridium
satellites went up last week, making the new number in the sky 34.  So far
only one has "lost contact"... Also, in the realm of weird technologies in
space, the Pentagon has the okay to shoot down a satellite using a laser
shot from New Mexico, while a University of Florida researcher says we
should use nuclear propulsion to get people to Mars.  Just in time, because
recent photographs reveal a canyon 3 times the size of the Grand Canyon on
Mars' surface.  What a tourist attraction... 

Berating the obvious: (they call this news???)
Spamford Wallace kicked off his ISP and slimes his way back on...
CompuServe "not happy" about Microsoft hiring its managers... Netscape
previews Aurora the day before Microsoft unveils IE 4.0... Motorola cuts
prices on modems, and then decides, forget it altogether and tries to sell
the division... A majority of CIOs feel the largest barrier to using the
internet is "security" (or lack thereof)... $14.5 million more goes to
Marimba... ActiveX "deactivated"... News Corp. sues AOL for "abusing its
monopoly power"... Microsoft IE 4.0 introduced to much hype, stupid pranks,
and 6 downloads per second (or as Danny O'Brien put it "see the all-new
scaleable Windows NT 'Server Busy' errors")... Marc Andreesen calls IE 4.0
"a 60 Megabyte hairball"...  U.S. imposes anti-dumping charges on Japanese
Supercomputers... Silicon Valley was the U.S.'s top ranking exporter in
1996...  Ascend to "fall short" of earnings expectations... Gordon Moore
tells us Moore's Law runs out of steam in 2017.  Um, is there *anyone* who
didn't know this already?... CuisineNet feasts on DineNet and MenusOnline
in one simple purchase... Intel takes all the publicity for Ticketmaster's
decision to use point-of-view software for ticket purchases... Network
Computer Inc. (read: Larry Ellison's baby) will not be offering slimmed
down Microsoft software (though they will connect to Windows machines), but
some no-name German firm's word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation
software... Bill Gates predicts a "web-lifestyle"... Bill Gates predicts
that Windows NT is the future for web development... Steve Jobs gave a beer
and vegan food event at Apple to celebrate the new ad campaign.  Apparently
he gave a speech about how marketing messages can really make a difference 
and used the example of milk commercials.  Perhaps "Intel Inside" would 
have driven the point home in a slightly stronger way... Jobs, then, 
outlined a 12 step recovery program for Apple.  Funny, I always thought one 
of those was needed for Apple *users* (sorry, cheap shot)... Gateway lays 
off 300 employees... IBM and Motorola unite as they try to find something 
to do with leftover PowerPCs... Sony's Loews to become Sony's Loews 
Cineplex Odeon... Internet 2 makes its first connections... 3D Dilbert, 
thanks to Mediadome... All the big names decide to set digital imaging 
standards... Netscape backs WebTV competitor, Batra... Intel backs NCI 
standards as opposed to Microsofts'... Spammer targets AOL customers... 
Remember the Netscape Java bug that let you see what sites people were 
visiting?  IE 4.0 has this "feature" built in... Corel begins selling off 
some of its businesses... Microsoft is looking at more cable investments... 
AOL "routine maintenance" turns into "no service" for about 5 hours... 
Nintendo 64 power supplies "may pose a safety risk"... PSINet losing 
money... Cablevision to provide @Home to homes all along the east coast... 
AOL finds a sneaky backdoor to sell its subscriber list by allowing 
"online surveys"... Intel ditches VLSI... AltaVista to use new technology 
to "screen out rubbish"...Microsoft Bob returns (apparently one dismal 
failure wasn't enough)...Microsoft to port CE to StrongARM... Jobs delays 
full Rhapsody rollout... 

Analog Devices creates the first complete digital modem on a single chip...
Netcom gets into document management... Sega gets a patent for 3D roving
camera technology used in plenty of video games not developed by Sega...
WorldCom (4th largest long distance provider), fresh off of the acquisition
of CompuServe's network and Brooks Fiber Properties makes British Telecom
executives (secretly) very happy by attempting to buy MCI (2nd largest long
distance provider) for a mere $30 billion.  MCI's response: "We'll consider
it in due time"... Fingerprint scanners have been dropping in price
drastically over the last year.  Soon, according to experts, all keyboards
and mice will have these scanners, so passwords will no longer be
necessary... Sony has announced plans to put special web browsing screens
on planes (using IE 4.0, assuming they can actually download a copy)...
BellSouth actually has made ADSL available in some areas (for $20 a
month!!!!)... A TV show about Yahoo!????... RealNetworks promises to give
away 5% of their (nonexistant) profits to charity... A new contract
for professors at York University says they cannot be forced to use
information technology...  

(Mis)Uses of Technology:
Tamagotchi expansion: someone created a gangster Tamagotchi that drinks
beer, smokes cigarettes and stabs people... United Airlines is looking to
use voice recognition software to book flights (personally, I'd hate to 
be misrouted from Austin to Boston)... V-chip available for your
TV two years ahead of schedule... 

Zona Research shows that 36% of people on the net use Microsoft Internet
Explorer while 62% use Netscape... A study by Deloitte & Touche suggests
that individual corporations will spend less on the internet in 1998, while
overall spending on the internet will increase... According to IDC, $133
million worth of computer servers went to Latin America in the second
quarter of last year.  The lead seller, Compaq increased its market share
from 26% to 31%... New York state has found 1500 people around the world who
they believe may be guilty of child porn on the internet.  34 of those
people, being in NY State, were arrested... Nielsen gets into internet
studies... Manpower, an employment agency in England, has found that there
simply are not enough programmers to handle the year 2000 problem.  Time to
raise your rate if you're one of them... IDC states that TCP/IP has won the
standards battle... Apparently there is a real disease related with too
much information: "Information Fatigue Syndrome".  According to Reuters
Business Information almost half of all senior managers and a third of all
managers suffer from this disease that causes physical illness as a result
of the stress from having information overload... By the end of the year,
IDC believes that nearly a third of all computers will be attached to the
internet... 1 in 5 companies has punished workers for "misuse" of the
internet, according to PC World...  Mobile Computing & Communications finds
that HP's HP320LX and Philips' Velo 1 are the best handheld PCs (no, they
didn't look at the PalmPilot, for those of you wondering)... InfoWorld has
found that at $5,000 a pop, companies are buying and continuing to buy
notebook PCs and finding them useful... Companies still afraid of Java...
More than half of all car dealerships have a web site and many more are
planning to have one... One in four corporate computers has porn saved on
it according to Digital Detective Services (and you wonder why productivity
rates haven't increased with the increase in info tech, though I have to
wonder, which companies did they check?)...

I'm not one to go against Bill Gates often, but his announced vision this
week of no more keyboards or mice, but totally voice controlled computers
sets off an alarm in my head.  You think cubicle filled offices are noisy
now?  While I have trouble seeing this future office, if it does come
about, I certainly see some fun pranks neighbors can play on one another...
Compaq announced this week that they accidentally shipped a few PCs to
Japan with a rare computer virus.  We haven't had a really good, pointless,
and over-hyped virus fear go around in a while.  It's about the right time
for one to begin... The Justice Department is investigating the FCC.  This
is going to be fun to watch... AT&T and Sprint seem to feel the need to do
something in response to the WorldCom/MCI bid and I wouldn't be surprised
to see a few more mergers in this area.  Rumor has it AT&T is going for GTE
while Spring is looking at SBC... ZDNet predicted this week that Wired may
not be able to handle its competition... The Globe gets $20 million from an
angel investor.  Most reports focused on the Cornell connection of the
founders and every single investor, rather than the business possibilities
for the Globe.  I'd bet that's what the founders focused on as well, since
I don't see any business possibilities for the Globe... 

Memes o' the week:
Exclusivity is everywhere.  It's also not quite the point of the internet,
but why let that stop you?  VH-1 will now create exclusive content for
AOL... Good bye HTML.  Hello XML... Again and again I've been hearing the
"death of flat-rate pricing", but have yet to see anything.  In fact,
CompuServe just began offering flat-rate pricing... 

Too much free time:
Arrest yourself:

Up To Date is written by Mike Masnick from whatever news he hears from 
whatever sources they happen to come from.  It is not intended for any uses 
other than as one of many possible ways to follow what's going on in the 
hi-tech industry.  I certainly wouldn't rely on it as your only source of
info.  And, of course, my comments may not accurately reflect reality. 

If you would like to subscribe to the email version please send an email to with "Subscribe Up To Date" in the subject heading. 
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