September 14 – 20, 1998

from the Up-To-Date dept

Still waiting for people to pay millions of dollars to be on my site

The not always serious, 
not always weekly update
on the High-Tech Industry
September 14th - September 20th, 1998
Still waiting for people to pay 
millions of dollars to be on my site
Say that again...
"CBS is using the unique nature of this medium to cycle the online audience back into television viewing, embracing this medium in a way that no network has ever done before."
- Bob Pittman, President of AOL overreacting to the fact that CBS spent way too much money to buy some ads on AOL.

"We believe that the integration and cross programming of traditional and new media are the key to making the Web a true mainstream experience.  Community is the flash point where that convergence will take place."
- Peter Friedman, Chairman of Talk City on raising an additional $34 million in funding from major media companies, proving that too much money can effect your ability to make statements that mean something.

"A hole in the Internet that shareholders pour money into."
- Guy Kawasaki, founder of and old Apple guy, explaining his definition of "portal" in the Wall Street Journal.

"The thing that disappoints me the most about Bill Gates and Microsoft is not so much their ethics as the fact that they have no class. It's just so disheartening."
- Donna Dubinsky, cofounder (and recent jumper off the ship) of Palm Computing, in Salon.

Who Said the Net is a Mens' Club?
Women and children were all the rage online this week.  The NYTimes announced its learning network, CBS announced plans to develop online programming for children, and PBS redesigned its online kids page... Meanwhile, iVillage did a fairly poor job hiding the idea that an acquisition by Hearst might be in their future.  Of course, things look less than wonderful for iVillage now that Oxygen Media has snapped up AOL's women's areas and will run their women's channel... Meanwhile, announced that they're adding more news to their site from the National Journal Group... 

Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like
Rockwell to take a huge charge in the fourth quarter and spin off its semiconductor unit (man, it must suck to be in semiconductors these days)... NEC expects big losses... Healtheon, the super-hyped health care software provider delays its IPO (again)... Meanwhile eBay is getting ready to come flying out the door... Adaptec cuts another 200 jobs... HP cutting jobs (no word on how many yet)... 

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week...
DoubleClick is looking at ditching DoubleClick Direct as a failure... The return of AltaVista.  Compaq is apparently talking with Yahoo! and Time Warner about a possible joint venture (this actually makes quite a bit of sense if you stop to think about it).  Of course, the other bit of news is that AltaVista may be losing some high level execs since they're moving across the country and not everyone wants to go... is getting ready to announce a new CEO... 

News you could do without
Thanks to all of the Intel employees for pointing out that my story last week on the Intel 390-pin design was out-of-date, wrong, and just plain dumb.  The fact checkers have been sacked and the source barred from further participation in this newsletter... Arbitron buys Northstar Interactive and moves further into the online measuring world... The Starr Report leapt to the top of's &'s best seller lists... Cisco buys Clarity Wireless... AOL expects to get 50% of new Internet users over the next few years (they grow cocky)... Oracle claims e-commerce will grow 200% a year for the next few years... Netscape and Qwest sign a "strategic" agreement which may allow them to create some form of unified messaging (I'll believe it when I see it - but I won't bet against them right now, either)... CBS promoting its fall lineup on AOL... expanding to reverse auction off hotel rooms... Intergraph seeks summary judgment in their case against Intel... Swedish political site hacked on election night... Steve Case admits that he chose to use MS IE over Netscape to get better presence on the Windows desktop (well, duh)... Yahoo! looking for someone to takeover the MCI spot (well, let's see, AT&T has already made deals with all their competitors, so...)... Motorola delays new chip plant in Virginia... Ciena trying to blame *everyone* else for its failed merger (and, they've decided to lower their stock option exercise price - because, of course, they can't blame the workers when the entire world was really out to sabotage them)... Wired reports that "news providers on the Internet who mix content and commerce may be reaching for profitability at the expense of their credibility" (that's what I love about Wired - they take the obvious and make it sound like they discovered it)... The Pentagon realizes that maybe they put up too much info on their website (things to think about before going live when one has top secret info)... Divx prepares for national launch as most expect it to flop royally.  Circuit City, of course, reports that initial trials are "encouraging" (which, to me, is such reserved language, I would say the results are probably anything but encouraging)... Toys R Us is closing down 90 stores, as they complain that children are spending more time on the Internet, rather than playing with their toys (damn kids)... ZDTV finally to be offered in Silicon Valley (does anyone really care?  We've all got the web - does anyone really get their technology news from TV anymore?)... Onsale announces that they're really focused on selling to small businesses the same week they unleash their second attempt at person-to-person auctions on Yahoo!Auctions (wait just a sec...)... Son o' CDA's twin receives House subcommittee endorsement (they just keep trying, don't they)... Microsoft says the rumors of an "increased availability" to NT source code is greatly exaggerated... Bank of America's online banking goes down for a period of time... AOL goes down for the morning (I still don't understand why people feel the need to use AOL)... Hotmail has another error (no, could it be?)... Intel trying to get StrongARM chips into CE devices (and who says Intel and Microsoft are splitting up?)... Following Salon's Hyde story, the online magazine receives death threats, hacks, and denial of service attacks (can someone explain what was *so* bad about what they did?)... PacBell is fined for not telling folks that they provide really bad service on ISDN installations... reports that the Clinton video was "distracting" workers online today (don't people have better things to do at work?)... MSN gets $60 million from various search engines to be on MSN (who, apparently, all failed to notice the lack of the word "exclusive")... Last week's rumor about Disney using as a portal is confirmed... Excite dumps WhoWhere as an email provider, though they claim it has nothing (really!) to do with WhoWhere being purchased by Excite competitor Lycos (uh, yeah, sure)...   

The U.S. Government took another small step towards relaxing export limitations on encryption technologies (slowly, but surely)... Who said Internet companies were dead?  NBC, Hearst and Cox Interactive Media all invested a combined $34 million in Talk City Inc. this week (for some reason I get this picture in my head of fat cats in suits slobbering)... Intel takes charge in trying to get "major" Unix systems to work together to develop guidelines (by "major" I assume they mean Linux gets ignored)... Lockheed to buy Comsat for loads of money... NCI (my goodness, they *do* still exist) beat out Microsoft to win a set-top box deal in Belgium (um, okay, maybe not that big a deal)... The US Gov't thinks that companies should share information on Y2K solutions (a nice way to say they just found out the lights really *won't* turn on January 1, 2000?)... A man in Florida has been banned for life from doing business on the Internet, after defrauding dozens of people in online auctions (does this mean he can't even buy items over the internet?)... It was a surprise that people were actually surprised by Compaq's announcement that they plan to start using Alphas instead of MIPs in Tandem machines (I mean, come on, do you use your own technology or a competitors?)... Globalstar demos its system, which works even if it's 12 satellites short (er... smashed)... Microsoft apologizes to members of the SPA (but, of course, they still haven't done anything *legally* wrong - man, that argument sounds familiar - where are the impeachment calls?)... 

(Mis)Uses of Technology:
Microsoft's "Take Control" is a new $350-$400 remote control built with Harman International Industries (no offense, but I have no desire to deal with a $400 remote control that crashes on a regular basis)... More online courses.  Now Kaplan Educational Centers is going to have a law degree offered online... Auctioning off a personalized AOL "keyword" (bidding for suckers starts at a mere $25,000)... HP introduces a portable copier, weighing less than a pound, but offering the same speed and quality as a regular copier... goes up for auction next week.  Starting bid?  $100,000... Microsoft planning a feature that alerts you when patches are available every time you log in to the Internet (a feature that wouldn't be need if... oh, forget it)... IBM's new wearable PC (apparently a fully functional machine - a modular, wearable Thinkpad)... The $500 iMac lookalike from Korea, built on Intel architecture (possibly belongs in the overhype category - I mean, is this really that big of a deal?)... All these new walkman-like MP3 devices (now the question is, does the industry finally support it, or do they continue to whine and complain)... Well, if everyone's doing it: JVC jumps into the email-by-phone business... Qualcomm finally gets around to telling everyone about its plans for a combined PalmPilot/cell phone, and then tells us we need to wait until 1999 for it (gah!)... "Clever" search technology looks for contextual information, rather than just keyword matches... 

According to IDC, online sales of software will reach nearly $6 billion by 2001, and corporate software licenses will be entirely done online within a decade... Over 90% of respondents to an online CyberCash study said they would like to pay bills online (while this is all well and good, I think the sample may have been a little skewed)... Forrester Research pointed out that online grocery shopping services are not likely to do too well over the next few years... A Dataquest study says that WebTV has a limited future.  According to the study, the set top box concept isn't going anywhere (of course, this doesn't mean Microsoft can't just take the technology and build it directly into TVs or other devices)... Media Metrix echoes ReleventKnowledge's report that not much new is happening in terms of the top 5 web sites... A new study from Nielsen goes against what everyone thought, saying homes with Internet connections are watching more television this year than last... 

NBC is going to be putting together a huge hype-fest for Snap!.  I wish them luck... Intel licensing streaming technology to RealNetworks.  It's really not that big of a deal, and certainly shouldn't be viewed as a stab at Microsoft.  Where do people get these silly ideas?... Yes, the effects of the hack on the NYTimes *still* linger on.  Do we care that much?  I didn't think so... 

Psychologists are going to come up with some sort of addiction to massive amounts of computing power.  This week a consultant for US West found himself under investigation, after using the cycles of over 2,500 machines to work on a centuries old math problem that he was trying to solve in his spare time.  His defense?  The computing power available at his fingertips was "just too tempting".  Indeed...

Too much free time:
I have to admit, I could have lived for weeks using this guy's various sites for this section, but I'll give you the main page and let you explore on your own:

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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