September 7 – 13, 1998

from the Up-To-Date dept

A day late, but I had an extra 445 Pages of “news” to read

The not always serious,
not always weekly update
on the High-Tech Industry
September 7th - September 13th, 1998
A day late, but I had an extra 445 Pages of "news" to read
Say that again...
"Our top priority is our 'simplicity' initiative.... There are still too many commands, too many ways of storing information."
- Bill Gates, Microsoft CEO. Okay, I agree simplicity is a good thing, but I'd be happier to know they were spending time making the damn product *work* first (and this has nothing to do with the fact that Windows has been crashing constantly while writing this sucker).

"With a name like, we have the best-sounding Internet name since Yahoo!"
- David Centner, CEO & President of, displaying his creative side.

"I was at DLJ's offices and I wanted to buy [Apple] at $13 a share but my lawyer said I knew too much."
- Larry Ellison, Oracle CEO, showing us exactly how his lawyers soothe his ego out of making dumb decisions.

"There's a great technological analogy, here... our current federal gov't is like a large, monolithic, mainframe-based system evolved from millions of lines of code written in an antique procedural language over 200 years. Gov't for the next century *ought to be* well decomposed, highly distributed, and object-oriented. USA 2.0 --- Time for a Rewrite."
- Jeff Bone, CTO of

Net Porn, Washington DC Style
Okay, so I hate to open with this story as well, but it's a tough one to avoid. Apparently, Congress, the body that is so convinced that the Internet is just chock full of porn decided to get into the business themselves by publishing some of the steamiest sex stories around. Nice to know that on the same day they were discussing legislative proposals to protect children from inappropriate material on the Internet. Check out TBTF's excellent list of hypocrites at which lists folks in Congress who both voted for the Communications Decency Act and to publish the Starr Report on the web...

Me? A "Key" Business Opportunity?
The Iconocast this week went through a nice little reader based study that came to the conclusion there were three "key business opportunities" in content: (1) Content Architects (2) Personalized media and (3) "Reader's digest" services. Hell, in some sense Up-To-Date fits in that #3 category (don't expect a "personalized" Up-To-Date anytime soon). Now, all I need is a bunch of hyper MBA's (just joking - for those readers who are a little too serious) to come to me with a business plan and all this work will be destroyed in seconds...

Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like
------------------------------------------ planning to IPO before its parent, Trilogy, even thinks about it... Quantum announces "operational changes" that include a reduction in workforce (oh, *that* type of operational change)... received $23 million more from investors, including Netscape... Intel announced it expects stronger third quarter earnings and everyone goes bezerk... Oracle beats estimates... Adobe beats estimates... Disney expects to miss earnings estimates... The Learning Company decides to get rid of 500 Broderbund employees as it completes its acquisition... Dell predicts a "great" third quarter... iName secures additional funding... secures additional funding... 3Dfx expects to miss earnings estimates...

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week...
Vodaphone, the large British mobile phone player, considering a merger with Airtouch... Lycos, despite insisting they wouldn't fire WhoWhere employees, changed that promise in less than a month and dumped the NY office... to use the newly minted "" as their entry into the portal race... Intel thinking of buying 3Com (no one really believes this one)...

News you could do without
The "Net Depression" study is criticized (denial?)... Itex Corp., pissed off at people spreading nasty rumors about it on message boards, has sued "John Does", since they can't get the actual names (let's face it, if the idiotic chatter on Yahoo's investment pages can move your stock, you shouldn't have that stock)... AtHome to use its massive bandwidth to test "flashy" ads... iMac takes the number one spot for retail computers in August (great start, let's see the follow through)... Why bother fact checking? This is the Internet. very briefly posted a story following Mark McGwire's 62nd home run about how unlucky he was that someone had already registered "". They went on to talk about all the Mark McGuire fan sites out there. Apparently the reporter never actually looked at the sites, or they would have realized there just aren't any "u's" in McGwire... IBM announces its tiny microdrive hard disk... Microsoft to provide the "exclusive" real estate listings for GeoCities Real Estate Center (one $50 million home on the shores of Lake Washington is NOT for sale)... Microsoft is also working with E&Y to create "RapidStart", to allow just anyone to jump into the e-commerce fray... Exodus promotes Ellen Hancock to CEO... CD Warehouse discovers the Internet... Paul Allen keeps selling shares of Microsoft... Marc Andreessen keeps selling shares of Netscape... Irridium announces a delay in launching, just shortly before competitor GlobalStar makes that okay, by having 12 expensive satellites crash land slightly after take-off... AT&T, in response to Sprint's ION vaporware, announce AT&T Inc... Microsoft apparently pressured DEC execs not to produce an NC... to be the "preferred" (rather than "exclusive") video merchant for Excite... InfoSeek pays $26 million to be the exclusive search service on WebTV (um, can't the bright folks who use WebTV go to, just like everyone else?)... AOL will be included on all Acer computers (as if they still sell machines)... AOL will be included on all Sony computers... FEED "reinvents" itself (and I thought it had already starved to death)... US West follows suit on BellSouth's plan to charge Internet telephony providers, as ICG says "nyah, nyah, nyah - bet you can't *make* me pay"... Adobe denies it has plans to ditch the Apple platform... Quark gives up on its Adobe takeover bid, saying "it just wouldn't work out right" (uh, yeah, to say nothing of the fact that they couldn't afford it if they wanted to)... E*Trade launches a new site that looks damn familiar (wait, I know, it's yet another "portal")... The US government attempts to come up with a new plan to tax Internet commerce, without infringing on privacy rights... Bill and Melinda Gates give $20 million to Duke University... Yahoo! Auctions... Microsoft-DOJ not thrown out, as per Microsoft request... The FCC approves MCI-Worldcom, but warns that it has had enough of these mega-mergers...

TriStrata revisits a concept from 1917 and figures out a way to encrypt files hundreds of times faster than most methods used today (hell, forget about "pre-web" research, that's pre-computing research)... Intel to ship Celerons with the old 390-pin design over Slot-1 (they claim because it's cheaper - my guess is that it has more to do with the DOJ)... WorldCom announces that it really wasn't so big on Ciena products, and the already shaky merger proposition of Ciena & Tellabs goes away... Novell distributing IE (you know folks at Sun are pissed about this one - Eric, why have you strayed?)... Sun to provide native NT services on its Solaris operating system (a story many news organizations seem to have misunderstood)... Compaq has licensed technology from Microsoft's NT that will be used in future versions of Compaq's Digital UNIX OS (can we say "irony"?)... Mindspring buys AOL's Sprynet customers for $45 million... Paul Jain and Steven Allan criminally indicted for fraud for their tricks running Media Vision Technology (creating false sales and inventory, hiding millions of dollars in returned products, misrepresenting expenses? Why, that happens all the time)... Yahoo! and MCI's agreement goes away... 24/7 to sell ads on Netscape's NetCenter... Citibank buys a "significant" stake of Microsoft and First Data's venture, Transpoint... Qwest buys Icon CMT (still not sure I understand this one)...

(Mis)Uses of Technology:
Encoding facial image data onto smart cards... Interactive TV "e-commercials" thanks to Wink Communications, with the help of AT&T, Levi Strauss and GE... Xerox working with Lotus to scan photo-copied documents into computer files... Visual Data Corp.'s HotelView will allow folks who visit TravelWeb to take "virtual tours" of hotels... Stanford offering engineering graduate degrees entirely online... New IBM flat-panel technology with 200 pixels-per-inch clarity - indistinguishable from a printed page... NCR's Microwave Bank that not only cooks food, but has an internet connection to pay your bills, and do grocery shopping... RealAudio versions of Starr Report... More of these email-over-the-phone services. This time from ITServ...

Dataquest's study that the Internet server market is expected to grow received way too much press (as if this couldn't be extrapolated from all the "Internet growth" studies)... Europe is slow (I imagine, they would prefer to use the word "cautious") to "exploit" e-commerce, according to Andersen Consulting... A study in Scientific American shows that playing video games changes brain chemistry, and is possibly addictive (man, I need my Quake fix)... IDC reports a continued slowdown in worldwide PC sales, predicting only 11% growth this year... J.D. Power and Associates says that 21% of all new car buyers will use the net to "facilitate" a purchase by 2000... E&Y study shows that most financial companies have no clue what they're doing by spending on Internet related ventures. Of course, that doesn't stop them from increasing the money dump... Not much change in the top sites according to RelevantKnowledge, though people checked out more weather and travel sites during the summer...

Sun, Microsoft, Java, hostage-taking, significant harm, blah blah blah... Hackers. A "malicious" hacker stole passwords at Berkeley (nearly 50,000 of 'em). China makes its first "hacker" arrest. Finally, the NYTimes goes down for nearly the entire day as hackers (repeatedly) post a page that said plenty (though mostly hidden in the source) about hackers and the folks who write about them... Hey, guess what? The Internet didn't collapse under the voyeuristic barrage of folks wanting to know about our President's extra-curricular activities...

Time Warner's announcement that they're jumping into the e-commerce fray will result in another Pathfinder. Lots of hype, but a blatant misunderstanding of the medium...

Too much free time:
Okay, so I knew that about:jwz went away, but I didn't catch his side of the story until now (I can't surf the *entire* Internet, you know):

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.

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