August 10 – 16, 1998

from the Up-To-Date dept

Back in business…

The not always serious, 
not always weekly update
on the High-Tech Industry
August 10th - August 16th
Back in business...
Hellooooooooo!  Remember me?
Okay, so the hiatus went on for slightly longer than expected.  But, now Up-To-Date is back in all its glory.  It may still be a bit rocky, and more true to its "not always weekly" claim, but it's back.  I especially want to thank David Lundell for the excellent job he did in his guest issue.  I'm hoping he'll help me out on future issues.  I also want to thank the many many people who kept signing up over the past two months despite the lack of content.  Welcome aboard!  I hope you remember signing up for this... :)  Back to the good stuff:

Say that again...
"How do they justify it?  Just because it's easier to make a copy of software than a desk or a book."  
- Sarah Alexander, Microsoft spokesperson on software piracy.  Perhaps, Sarah, it's because they realize it doesn't cost Microsoft anything if they make a copy (unlike stealing a book or a desk)...

"They gave me a condescending explanation of how the Internet works, and then said it could take up to a month for the email to arrive. 'That's just the Internet, you know. Not our fault.'"
- Another satisfied MSN user on the expert advice he received from Microsoft's customer support folks after they blocked email from their own users as spam.  A move that, unquestionably, was their fault.

"Once a company has leased line access, a much larger number of employees can be given Internet access."
- Petra Gartzen, Dataquest analyst.  And you wonder why people pay for their reports?

Internet goes to Business School
A conference held in New York City to determine the future on online advertising said that the common cost metric for banner ads, CPM (cost per thousand), was doomed to failure.  The "visionary" panel of speakers felt that a more revolutionary metric, named (get this) "return on investment" would be used in the future.  *Gasp*  What this means, of course, is that someone who understood finance finally sat down and realized that folks were spending $1,000 for a bunch of ads and seeing a $5 return... 

Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like
SyQuest is planning to get rid of half of its workforce as it's really not making any money (oops)... GeoCities opened a bit late, and with much hesitation, but that didn't stop investors from doubling the stock.  In totally unrelated news (a fact that most investors seemed to miss) the Fed (with its wonderful sense of timing) announced an agreement they had with GeoCities about GeoCities misuse of its users' private info... Applied Materials announced better than expected earnings, that were still half of last year's... Adobe warned that next quarter's earnings would be lower than expected, and as a sacrifice to the financial community fired anyone with a good title... CitySearch avoided embarrassing itself with an Internet IPO that merely shot up 50% instead of 200% and took the last minute offer to be bought out by Ticketmaster Online... DoubleClick competitor 24/7 Media went public and did well, despite the press wishing otherwise... Allaire, the makers of Cold Fusion and HomeSite has filed to go public... CompUSA announces quarterly losses slightly worse than expected... 7th Level posts a loss that can't be compared to expectations, because there weren't any.  Why weren't there any?  Mostly, I think, because people really don't care...   

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week...
Would you believe I don't have any good ones this week?  Now that I'm back, though, I need everyone to get back into the habit of giving me the dirty secrets their companies are trying to hide...

News you could do without
A coalition calling itself the Web Standards Project has formed to stop fragmentation of the web due to different standards used by the different browsers.  In response to this, Microsoft and Netscape patiently ignored the coalition, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future... Oracle lost yet another exec, this time to Netscape (didn't feel like his company was sinking fast enough?)... Earthlink, the struggling "other ISP" has been chosen by Apple, the struggling "other computer company" as their default ISP for the iMac... RealNetworks and Inktomi in a deal (or, as Wired so vaguely put it "the maker of RealAudio and a web caching company" - it's nice to know Wired thinks we're all dumb)... Bell Atlantic workers aren't quite as serious as their GM counterparts when it comes to really "sticking it" to management (though US West is trying to show up their Eastern counterparts now)... People asking Apple to free the MacOS source code... Microsoft wants the antitrust suit to be dismissed... Does anyone care about the Netscape-Citibank deal?  I didn't think so... Home Depot to open up shop online... Zapata buys yet another web site... Excite makes a pact with IDT for internet telephony (hey, isn't that just copying Yahoo!?)... Bill Gates and Paul Allen planning to unload nearly $1 billion in Microsoft stock... Sportsline and CNN seem to think people don't have enough free email accounts and decide to throw their hats into the ring... This week Compaq really did buy, though they're too embarrassed to say how much it really cost... Intel, after first vehemently denying rumors that Xeon was to be delayed, wasted no time in announcing Xeon was to be delayed... Russia's not worried about the Y2K problem, because they've got "special technology"... Dell, always a step ahead, promised to protect its consumers from online credit card fraud and theft... A British company has discovered that Windows 98 will often mess up *every* New Year (not just Y2K), and jump two days forward or one day back.  MS, after looking into the problem, agreed that it could happen in some cases, and promised a bug (er... feature) fix... Los Angeles Unified School District was accused by the Business Software Alliance of pirating software... Independent filmmaker Peter Hall has decided to sue Earthlink for $7 million after they mistakenly disabled his account, thinking he was a spammer...

Lycos in an attempt to actually distinguish itself from competitor portals (um... that's "hub", please) went on the community trip this week: first a deal with iVillage for a "women's web" site, and then picking up WhoWhere/Anglefire for a measly $133 million... Sun offering Solaris free for non-business use... Microsoft flipped out when they heard the press can actually sit in on Bill Gates' deposition.  What're they afraid of?  If MS didn't do anything wrong, then what's the problem?... Mentor Graphics attempts an unsolicited takeover of competitor Quickturn Design Systems... InfoSeek buys virtually unknown Quando... Kellogg's (yes, the cereal people) have created their own Internet portal... Platinum Technology buys Memco Software... A whole crew of ex-Compaq folks leave GK Intelligent Systems in a massive vote of no confidence... Connectix sold QuickCam to Logitech... 

(Mis)Uses of Technology:
Yes, this has gone too far: open heart surgery on the net... Sony has stopped selling its NightShot camera after enterprising users discovered that the "night vision" camera had the "added bonus" of being able to see through people's clothes... Planetary Motion has announced its email-by-phone service is now available in 13 cities... 

Mirabilis, snapped from the jaws of success by a jealous AOL, has their highly dysfunctional website pushed into the top 25 according to Relevant Knowledge... The study by Spyglass on what people surf at work had some interesting results, but not nearly as interesting as the different spins that reporters put on it:  Wired reported the amazing fact that most (75%) time workers spent surfing was used for business purposes (as they put it: "mouses to the grindstone!").  CBSMarketWatch, however, reported that (my goodness!) 25% of surfing at work was just plain goofing off.  Shows a difference in outlook, I guess... Nielsen Media and AOL have conducted a survey showing households with Internet access don't watch as much television... Relevant Knowledge has found that people are staying online longer... The Securities Industry Association says that Wall Street is probably ready for Y2K... A new study by the Standish Group International has found that 45% of software features are never used, 19% rarely used, 16% sometimes used, 13% often used, and 7% always used... A study by Yahoo! Internet Life magazine shows that 55% of computer users use email more often than long distance phone calls, and 33% more often than they make local calls (not quite sure how one measures that)... eSchwab and E*Trade are losing market share according to a study by Piper Jaffray and CS First Boston... Network Wizards has found that 36.7 million machines were connected to the Internet, which is a significant improvement over the beginning of the year (29.7 million) and the same time last year (19.5 million)... Dataquest has released new forecasts saying that rapid Internet growth will continue for the next four years... 

The Pope using Real Audio.  Get over it... The Hollywood Stock Exchange.  I haven't seen so many articles about one pointless web site in ages.  Who cares?... A bit too much on the new Ken Barnes' "Microsoft Lexicon"... The Woodstock webcast on Infoseek... 

Priceline's patent for "buyer-driven" commerce won't last.  Can you believe that for all this time that people have been on the planet, "buyer-driven commerce" hasn't existed?  Who hires these folks for the patent office anyway?... Apple's next quarter won't look so nice (though I wouldn't put it past Steve Jobs to convince investors otherwise) due to the spending on iMac advertising... 

Too much free time:
Insults just aren't the same as they used to be (hit reload): 

And a bonus one, for those of you happen to know who Spam King Sanford Wallace is: 

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. Finally, an explicit warning about investing: I do not, under any circumstance, consider any piece of information in this newsletter "investment advice" and neither should you. 

To subscribe to Up-To-Date type your email address in the box below and press enter: 

Click here to return to the Up-To-Date index.  

Comments are always welcome! 

If you would like to discuss this article with others, feel free to go to the Diner, or to e-mail our discussion list, backstage.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...