October 26 – November 1, 1997

from the Up-To-Date dept

Sponsored by the Technology Management Club of Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. And the Intel school of “Buy Your Competitor’s Technology and throw it in a ditch.”

                                The not always serious, 
                                not always weekly update
                                on the Hi-Tech Industry
                                October 26th - November 1st
                Sponsored by the Technology Management Club of 
                Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management.
                And the Intel school of "Buy Your Competitor's 
                Technology and throw it in a ditch."
Say that again...
"Apple:  so much passion, so few sales."
"At Microsoft, they eat their own dog food.  At Apple, we drink or own
"Reality is futile.  You will be distorted."
- Three suggestions (jokingly?) put forth by an Apple employee as new slogans

"It's just too bad real life doesn't work like this:
I rob a bank
then I get caught
then I say I needed the money to expand my business
then I offer to pay back the bank 10% of the stolen loot
and I get to design the banks web sites for the next ten years."

"This is as if during the Cold War one superpower said to the other:
we'll sell you our nukes at a rock bottom price as long as you sign a
treaty to rent them back to us in case of World War III.
- two analogies for Intel's purchase of DEC's Alpha technology.

"When I joined Silicon Graphics in 1984, it was a 100-person graphics
company with great people and ambitious objectives."
- Ed McCracken, resigning CEO of Silicon Graphics, showing how things have
changed under his reign

Earnings Reports
SGI losing money, executives, staff, the war against NT, and well, just
about everything it seems... Viacom's earnings dropped 70% due to weakness
from Blockbuster video chain... VocalTec (internet telephony) losing "less
money than before"... Imation, maker of floppy disks and backup tapes
announced that its earnings will fall "far short" of expectations...

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week...
Microsoft to buy what's left of DEC... The stock market crash was really
the work of Bill Gates to get back at the government for the Justice
Department's charge against Microsoft.  Apparently (and I saw this story in
a variety of different sources) it was Bill's way of warning the government
to back off.  One of the facts used to support this story:  in the crash,
Bill's main enemy, Larry Ellison lost $666 million... Apparently sources
within Digital are saying that CEO Robert Palmer may jump ship to run the
fab they just sold to Intel.  Apparently these sources haven't met Mr.
Palmer or his ego... Compaq to buy Unisys?...

Berating the obvious: (they call this news???)
By the time it came out it was no big deal: Intel purchases all of DEC's
Alpha related junk, yada, yada, yada... Microsoft countersues Sun and
denies any wrongdoing in forcing IE 4.0 down the throats of OEMs... Intel
cutting prices up to 40%... Sun creates a Java authoring tool for
non-programmers... Ameritech buys Tele Danmark A/S... IBM illegally sold
supercomputers to Russian nuclear weapons labs... MSNBC to try to
"differentiate" itself from CNN and USA Today... AOL to broaden its web
presence to include personalized news, free e-mail, and channels (hey, that
sounds just like Yahoo!, now doesn't it?  Sounds like AOL is feeling the
pressure)... Intel starts backtracking and changing its story about why
it's delaying the opening of the Texas fabrication plant... SGI's CEO, Ed
McCracken "resigns" as the company decides it's time to layoff 6 to 10% of
its workforce... Boston University sues web sites that sell term papers...
Steve Jobs "says" he's not interested in the Apple CEO position... New
standard for parallel processing workstations... V-chip for PCs... IBM is
buying back its stock while Intel isn't... US's critical infrastructure
"stinks"... Dell cuts prices on workstations... Sun doesn't get to be the
official standards setter for Java... Online trading firms collapse under
high volume trading this week... Intel's intercast "not producing
revenue"... Gartner Group buys a third of Jupiter Communications... New FCC
chief confirmed overwhelmingly... AltaVista to be "integrated" back into
DEC (what's left of it)... AOL completely down for a day... Bug in
Macintosh Java (does anyone care?)... Famed Cornell distributed computer
systems Professor Ken Birman makes news as he explains that air-traffic
control systems and hospital monitors will run Windows 95 as his PowerPoint
presentation repeatedly crashes... Steve Jobs apparently got in trouble
this week for parking in a handicapped spot at Apple... Egghead believes
strongly in internet storefronts (they'd better, because their brick and
mortar stores certainly aren't paying the bills anymore)... Apple lowers
prices (again)... Lotus to introduce super secretive Java software tools
this coming week... Cadence gets the biggest contract its ever gotten, but
won't say from whom... MYST sequel Riven released only a year behind
schedule... Fujitsu building a PCMCIA fingerprint scanner for notebook
computers... Pathfinder revamped (so now it's even more crowded and
annoying)... Justice Department "concerned" about WorldCom buying MCI...
EchoStar charges News Corp. with unfair pricing... MSN "respositions"
itself again...

Following on the heels of Amazon.com's decision to build up inventory,
OnSale.com's "no inventory" system is going away as they look to build a
warehouse... Warner Brothers, IBM, and Ogilvy & Mather together won the
Casie Award for "excellence in a collaborative Internet campaign".
Apparently the awards committee has never used the internet... AOL ditches
Dow Jones, one of its most popular areas (that must do wonders in keeping a
happy customer base)... Apparently Apple can't do *anything* right.  On
Monday when every stock dropped like a rock, Apple closed up 7/8... Louis
Rossetto finally gives up the CEO position at Wired as the company predicts
that maybe (just maybe) it will be profitable someday... The government
might not let Intel export Pentium II processors with clock speeds over
450MHz, as they pose a "security risk" (silly government)... Could it be?
Yes, it's true, US West (finally) rolls out the first full DSL service in
the US.  Time to move to Phoenix.  They plan to continue the rollouts in
other cities starting next year.  Even the pricing looks good... The French
Ariane-5 rocket made it all the way into space this week... Novell is "not
for sale"... SGI is "not for sale"... Microsoft to advertise on Kellogg's
cereal boxes... Olivetti and Wang to merge?... Second largest software
exporting country is: Ireland... Samsung to produce 700 MHz Alphas (oops,
did Intel buy the wrong fab?)... Microsoft's own PR firm has forbidden its
employees from using IE 4.0 until it's been "thoroughly evaluated"... Debit
card system "hugely successful" in Canada... CBS's MarketWatch.com might
actually have some potential... Apple planned to port MacOS to Intel back
in 1994... 

(Mis)Uses of Technology:
MTV Pager Network... NASA wants to land an unmanned spacecraft on a
comet... A new plug-in from Iceni converts PDF formats to HTML,
demonstrating once again, that the plug-in business is a dangerous place to
be.  You're just asking to be incorporated into the next version of a
browser... Researcher's at Xerox created the first blue diode laser beam
for use in color laser printers.  Of course, by the time it goes to
production people will have realized that ink jet quality far surpasses
that of laser's... An add-in card for the PalmPilot that turns it into a
pager (now, that is cool)... Absentee ballots in Florida can be cast over
the internet... Growing microchips in test tubes... 

Barron's ratings of investment web sites give the top three spots to
Microsoft Investor, DBC Online, and The Motley Fool... Worldwide sales of
PCs grew 16% in the 3rd quarter according to Dataquest.  Compaq and Dell
accounted for most of this growth... Online classifieds made $100 million
in revenue in 1996 according to Technologic Partners.  Compare that number
to the $16.6 billion made by print classifieds... NFO Research Inc. has
concluded that snail mail (of all kinds!) is preferred to e-mail... In the
book "Virtual Money" by Elinor Harris Solomon, it apparently shows that
electronic transfers of money make up 3% of monetary transactions, but
account for 88% of transaction value... The U.S. Treasury has found that
the Year 2000 problem is, indeed, a problem... The Semiconductor Industry
Association (trustworthy source...) says that while semiconductor sales
will be slow this year, they (really, really) will jump back up again next
year... Online porn may be a billion dollar market according to Interactive
Week... A study by Media Matrix shows that big name publishers have been
hugely unsuccessful in creating popular websites... Zona Research estimates
that by the year 2000, 97% of all corporations will be using Java

Cyberactive.net is will become inactive faster than you would imagine...
Inktomi's new network-caching technology that's supposed to speed up the
web tremendously is going to cause more problems than expected... AOL's
painfully cheesy asylum.com will need to go through a total revamping by
next summer... 

Memes o' the week:
Become powerful!  Yes, you too, apparently, can become a registrar for new
top-level domain names.  Hell, one of the companies they chose was a maker
of sunscreen (?!?).  Apparently qualifications don't really matter...
"Small transactions".  That's right, not real purchases, not micropayments
(the over-hyped buzzword of yesterday) but "small transactions" are what's
keeping the net going according to recent articles on e-commerce... So much
for convergence: U.S. West is splitting its businesses into two separately
traded companies: one for telephones, one for cable... Unix shell accounts
are going out of style.  Many ISPs won't offer them anymore... Lots of
hype, but no real details on Rockwell's intention to build modems that work
20 times as fast as today's fastest modems over existing phone lines.  As
far as I could tell, it sounds just like xDSL repackaged... Self help!
ZDnet has created www.zdhelp.com to allow computer users to diagnose their
own problems, while Quarterdeck has announced Realhelp (apparently trying
to build on the simple success of RealNetworks naming scheme), a software
product that allows PC users to troubleshoot problems on their own...

Too much free time:
Any description I come up with will not do it justice:

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 
mdm8@cornell.edu with "Subscribe Up To Date" in the subject heading. 
Up To Date is also available on the web at 

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