Okay, that's for the folks who only read the very beginning of my messages.
As some of you know already, I've been in the process of moving my archive
off of the CJS servers and onto my own. However, there's much more
on the site as well. There are plenty of articles, another newsletter,
and even stories.
So, head to techdirt.com find out the real truth behind Up-To-Date,
and why over the past two weeks I've been receiving an insane number of
subscription requests and/or hate mail (mostly from the UK - so you can
blame or thank http://www.ntk.net - your
Also available through techdirt.com is Backstage, an email discussion
group. It is a hive-mind, virtual think-tank to discuss ideas related
to business in the high tech world. Feel free to read more about
it (and to join the group) at: https://www.techdirt.com/diner/huh.html
Techdirt.com is also accepting article submissions. The site is
built on the belief that great ideas are born out of the continued discussion
(and dissection) of new ideas and theories. Therefore, any ideas
or theories that you've been toying with in your head might make a great
starting point for a great idea. Write up a blurb and send it to
A final note: In the past month I've received a rather large number
of emails or comments stating something to the effect of "Hey, Mike, should
we really invest the way you suggest?". Let me perfectly clear:
This newsletter is *not*, under any circumstance, intended as investment
advice. I am not an investment analyst (nor should I be). I
certainly don't use the information in the newsletter to invest, and neither
should you. If I knew how valid my predictions or comments would
be, I probably wouldn't be telling all of you for free - even if my very
first prediction (that CNet's Snap! would undergo a major redesign) just
came true this week... Just wanted to get that out of the way before I
On to the stuff that you expected to read when you opened this email:
Say that again...
"I would probably not do anything different than Microsoft. He's doing
exactly what he should be doing, managing the company as aggressively and
animalistically as the law will let him."
- Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun, when asked how he would run Microsoft,
"Every time you get a dialogue box you can't understand, you ought to
get a nickel from Microsoft."
- Ben Shneiderman, University of Maryland Professor who does research
on making computers easier to use, in Nando.net.
"We are not as paranoid as we should be, but we are seriously careful."
- Neil Trevett, VP of Marketing for 3Dlabs on how the company protects
its data in ZDNet.
"It was like a visit by Don Corleone. I expected to find a bloody
computer monitor in my bed the next day."
- Marc Andreessen, of Netscape, on his recollections of meeting with
Microsoft in 1995 and their offer to carve up the browser market, in Educom.
How Business on the Internet Works
The folks who created the Electric Monk did a pretty good job.
They built a nice search engine that would attempt to answer questions
posed in normal English, rather than just search for keywords. Wired
put up an article about it last week, and I checked the site out (http://www.electricmonk.com/
). It worked extremely well. In fact, I went back a few days
later to use it. However, the site was down as AltaVista started
blocking all requests from it. Turns out the engine simply went and
used AltaVista to create its results, but never received permission.
Of course, AltaVista could have realized that this just brings more publicity
to them, but they didn't. In fact, the creators of the Electric Monk
had told AltaVista about it last December, and AltaVista ignored them.
After trying to find out what happened, people at AltaVista even told them
that they couldn't mention AltaVista on their site (they had an explanation
on their site that they were out of business because AltaVista was blocking
them). The other part of the story, which suggests AltaVista might
be wielding its power a little too strongly, is that all links to the Electric
Monk were removed from the AltaVista database following this event.
Just how much power do these search engines have? By the way, I just
checked the site to see if it was back up, and it is, with a huge "Lycos"
logo on the site. Seems to be that AltaVista just blew their chance
to add a very useful feature to their site...
Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like
Now that the Red Herring reports that analysts are purposely keeping
their estimates low in order to keep the bull market going, here are this
week's earnings reports... AT&T just barely beats earnings estimates...
IBM just barely beats earnings estimates... Microsoft just barely beats
earnings estimates... PeopleSoft just barely beat earnings estimates...
WorldCom just barely beats earnings estimates (you know this gets boring
after a point)... Xerox just barely beats earnings estimates... Xilinx
just barely beats earnings estimates... Symantec just barely beats earnings
estimates... Borland just barely beats earnings estimates (okay, maybe
the Herring has a point)... Network Associates beats estimates... Qualcomm
blew away earnings estimates... Gateway 2000 beats estimates... Lucent
beats estimates... Check Point Software blew away estimates... Mindspring
beats estimates... Citrix beats estimates... In the ever popular "we've
increased revenue, but we're still losing money" category, are: Spyglass,
OnSale, RealNetworks, CNet, PSINet, DoubleClick, Infoseek and USWeb...
SGI reports 3rd Quarter loss... National Semi to lay off 1,400 people,
and to buy ComCore Semiconductor... Sybase losing a lot more money than
expected... Baan's net income dropped 81% (ouch), while SAP's income jumped...
MIPS has filed for their IPO... Meanwhile, SGI has also decided to sell
off Cosmo... Microsoft invests $7.5 million in an Israeli venture capital
fund... CMGI's stock shot up after announcing a split... Computer Associates
pre-announced earnings for the quarter to dispel "erroneous rumors".
The earnings beat the analysts' expectations... Microsoft, also, by the
way, announced that next quarter's earnings will be "flat"... Compaq institutes
stock repurchase plan... AMD has reached a settlement in the class action
suit against it that will cost them $11.5 million... Verisign reports a
loss, but at the expected amount... Big reorg at Sun turns Operating Companies
Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week...
Nintendo is carefully watching the set top box industry and making
quiet deals in order to enter it at the right time... Infoseek to announce
a big deal with Netscape... AMD looking to sell itself in 3 parts: K6 goes
to IBM, networking is spun off into its own company, and logic will be
sold to 3Com...
News you could do without
Doing its best imitation of a yo-yo, Ciena was back in good graces
this week after inking a deal with Cisco... The FTC (as if it doesn't have
enough on its hands?) is investigating Autodesk for its business practices
(what business practices?)... AT&T to spend many millions to improve
their Internet backbone (could Qwest have put the fear of IP into them?)...
CNet finally rolls out its investor site as they realize that "more than
half" of their users invest (somehow I get the feeling that CNet just hired
a marketing type fresh out of B-school to come up with that one)... NBC
Interactive has decided to do video on demand over its web-site... Companies
in Silicon Valley attempted (and failed) to push for legislation limiting
their liability for Y2K problems as long as they made a "good faith effort"
to fix problems... Possible legislation in the Netherlands to force ISPs
to monitor users' traffic (wonder how long that would last)... Meanwhile,
a US District Judge has ruled that ISPs cannot be held liable for content
that people post through their services... More reports of crackers breaking
into the Department of Defense and NASA (brilliant news reports referred
to "a shadowy group of computer hackers" - ooh, scary)... The Air Force
is converting many of its command and control systems to NT from UNIX (*add
your own snide comment here*)... Juno is closing offices and laying off
staff (answering at least part of the "and just how are they making money
again?" question)... Yahoo! makes a deal with ZDnet to provide computer
news for Yahoo! computers... MS considering not including Java support
in its minimal download of IE5.0. The predicted effects of this have
been mixed: some have said it will kill Java, while others think it will
benefit Java by keeping MS from creating its own standard for the Java
VM... CyberShop and Excite in a marketing deal for upscale goods... Cyberian
Outpost will now allow software purchases to be delivered over the web...
WorldGate offers Internet access over cable in St. Louis... Intel execs
argue that the latest slowdown is "temporary"... Sun has shipped its Java
plug-in that upgrades your browser to make it Java-compliant... Cendant
names a new CFO (good thing, eh?)... Windows 98 doesn't seem to have any
major changes (of course, we all know that the blue screen of death is
still there)... Netscape CEO continues to sound painfully optimistic in
saying that Windows 98 won't effect Netscape's browser market share...
The FCC fines the Fletcher Cos. $5 million for slamming... Netscape jumps
on the free email bandwagon... US government approves the Intel-Digital
deal, but requires Digital to license Alpha to AMD... A bug found in IE4.0
that lets an applet "white-out" the desktop (MS's temporary solution: "press
ctrl-alt-del")... First Virtual is in money trouble, and is trying to both
reinvent itself *and* sell the company at the same time (I wish them plenty
of virtual luck)... Microsoft apparently attempted to collude with Netscape
and "carve up" the browser market between the two (MS, of course, denies
all this)... A new book by Pam Edstrom's daughter purports to tell the
"truth" about Microsoft... Twelve states will not allow shipments of Windows
98 until their class-action suits have been settled... Lloyds of London
insures against malicious hackers and viruses... Sun Microsystems is suing
the Sun Coast Media Group (publisher of the Sun Herald newspaper in Florida)
for using the domain sunline.com... Marc Andreessen predicts a "big" year
for free software (as if he's going to say anything else)...
MCI has charged NetStat.net with harming its reputation by reporting
"misleading" info about lost packets. All well and good, but who
really cares? I would think MCI would be better suited spending their
time dealing with the irate customers caused by their recent rate increase...
USWest to offer VDSL which will include TV and Internet access using xDSL
technology (the "take that!" strategy to fighting off cable companies)...
GTE accidentally publishes 50,000 "unlisted" numbers to telemarketers.
Customers are "pissed off". GTE now faces fines of $30,000 per customers
(do the math) but is trying to placate customers by giving them a new unlisted
number free for one year and a "small" refund... WavePhore was busy this
week announcing deals with Bloomberg to deliver financial news and with
7th Level causing a bunch of suckers to buy 7th Level stock (sending it
up over 400%!)... Intuit announces it will no longer make Quicken for Macs.
However, Steve Jobs ominously suggested they would be back... Intel and
IBM, both of whom have previously announced disdain for the network computer,
will now work together on making the Java OS for network computers on Intel
processors... Vanderbilt Professor Donna Hoffman, who recently published
a paper showing that there is a racial gap in Internet usage due to economic
differences, has been receiving hate mail... Microsoft COO Bob Herbold
running for a seat on the anti-Microsoft SPA Board... Kao has decided to
stop producing floppy disks...
(Mis)Uses of Technology:
Brian Wilson's new song will be delivered to radio stations over the
Internet... The 12-year-old who owned pokey.org is allowed to keep the
domain name after being sued for trademark infringement. Apparently,
the creator of Gumby and Pokey wasn't happy to find out the company that
owned the trademarks was bullying this poor kid, whose site had nothing
to do with the cartoon character... Automatic Teller Machines in the UK
to use eye recognition to do away with PINs... The British Library is unveiling
new software that lets you "turn pages" as you view books online, in order
to keep the look and feel of books (there's a winning product)... If you
haven't yet seen the new CIA web page for kids, it's really worth taking
a look at. By the way, this was in response to the President's request
for Federal agencies to put more educational material online: http://www.odci.gov/cia/kids/
... Netline Technologies has created a product that will automatically
block calls to cellular phones in certain areas, such as movie theaters
and university lecture halls... IBM and *Rubbermaid* (!!) to create "toddler
proof" PCs... Koko the Gorilla to chat on AOL using sign language... It
turns out the onboard car computers in Eagle Talons, Mitsubishi Eclipses,
and Galant VR4's from 1990 to 1994 are not Y2K compliant (New Years 2000
might be a good time to take the other car)...
AOL.com was the most popular web site accessed from home, according
to Media Metrix (possibly because AOL users haven't figured out how to
change their default home page?). Yahoo! was second, but came in
first at work (where AOL was third). Other popular sites at home:
Netscape, Microsoft and Geocities. At work: Netscape, Microsoft,
and Excite... I bet you couldn't have guessed this one: according to briefing.com
most of the users of business, stock news, and market analysis web sites
are rich males... According to CRN, the top ten spenders in high tech R&D
spent 18% more last year than the year before... A survey on CNet found
67% of respondents felt that the US government should leave Microsoft alone
(anyone think Pam Edstrom and crew got some people to vote on MS's behalf?)...
Dataquest predicts world semiconductor demand to increase (though at a
slower rate than in the past)...
Windows 98 crashing during Bill Gates talk at Comdex. Okay, so
it was funny for a second, but really it's just kind of sad. Some
have even suggested that it must have been staged... The idea that
"The Next Microsoft *is* Microsoft". Whoever first said it was somewhat
clever, but now too many people are using it and thinking they're clever...
Dole and Bork join the anti-Microsoft side of the world...
Salon has been "breaking" big (or semi-big) stories left and right.
I wouldn't be surprised to see folks start considering it a "respectable"
online journalistic site (for example, there will be more stories about
this "amazing" online magazine that *actually* reports well, as opposed
to the Drudge Report)...
Too much free time:
A site dedicated to cool "404 Not Found" pages. I think I will
have to use this for inspiration: http://www.cool404.com/