August 23 – 29, 1999

from the Up-To-Date dept

For all the new folks who just discovered Techdirt, thanks to Wired, click below for the latest “Up-To-Date” newsletter, which you can subscribe to by putting your email address in the “Up-To-Date” box on the right side of this page, and pressing enter.

For all you regulars, you already know what to expect, so I’ve got nothing to say to you.

				The not always serious, 
				not always weekly update
				on the High-Tech Industry
				August 23rd - August 29th, 1999 
			Officially not as successful as Slashdot

Techdirt on the Web
As some of you might know, Techdirt was mentioned in Wired this week,
causing a ton of traffic to the site, and a good number of new Up-To-Date

To see the Wired article:

To see my response to the Wired article and some of the mail I received in

This week's poll is, what do you think of the term "open source journalism":

Also, it's time for a new contest.  We're looking for a good tagline to
explain Techdirt.  For the full instructions, head on over to:

Or just email your submissions to

And, as always, there's plenty more stuff at

Say that again...
"Their product has been delayed until sometime in the summer of 2000. If
and when Oracle delivers a viable product in this space we'd expect to see
them become a competitor. Today, they're not a meaningful competitor."
- Thomas Siebel, CEO of Siebel Systems, adding fuel to the fire in the fun
little discussion he and Larry Ellison have been having.

"If we were to go out there and scream: 'We are Nordstrom's Online,' we'd
be just like everyone online.  We want to go out there and scream:
' Building the world's biggest shoe store.'"
- Bob Scwartz, VP and general manager of

"We have not seen any other viruses originating out of New Jersey."
- Paul Loriquet, spokesman for the New Jersey Attorney General's office,
concerning the creator of the Melissa virus being from that state.

Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like
Seagate laying off plenty of folks... Compaq laying off plenty of folks...
Net2Phone's stock shot up to ridiculous levels due to a few well timed
deals... Cisco buys again: this time for a mere $7 billion, they pick up
Cerent, a networking startup... E-Loan buys up 

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week...
------------------------------------------------'s ad agency has ditched them after a bit of nasty fighting...
Deutsche Telekom looking at buying Sprint... 

News you should have read elsewhere
Clinton appoints an e-commerce advisor... Court says that Microsoft doesn't
really have to make its Java compatible with Sun Java (as if Microsoft ever
actually planned to)... Not all company names protected from cybersquatting
(as in, when is this Avery Dennison case ever going to end?)... White House
panel suggests that the US stop being so stupid about encryption
policies... Bill Gates is "pretty sure" that Windows 2000 will ship in '99... 

News you could do without
ABC medical correspondent and director at apparently doesn't
understand the basics behind insider trading, as she discovers she needs to
return $50,000 worth of profits made by selling early... Western Governors
University, the extraordinarily overhyped "virtual" university, which was
expecting thousands upon thousands of students has signed up a grand total
of 120 (time to emphasize the value of a small community when learning)...
Compaq is giving up on making the Alpha compatible with Windows 2000 (and,
really, let's face it, no one cares)... Sun buying Forte Software...
Network Solutions is reorganizing... Apple suing yet another iMac lookalike
(why are these folks so unoriginal that they can't come up with at least a
different color?)... SAP partners with eOnline as they try to figure out
what an ASP is other than a anagram of their name... Amazon using domain
data to compile "customer circles" info about what folks at a particular
company are ordering.  Privacy folks freak out, and Amazon backs down...
Disney buys The guy arrested for creating the Melissa virus
'fesses up... The end of Mir as we know it?... Yahoo encourages Yahoo store
owners to spam... Microworkz CEO resigns (it's about time)... Dictionary
publishers criticizing Microsoft's Encarta World English Dictionary as
"inaccurate and hastily compiled" (from Microsoft? Do you really believe
Microsoft would do something inaccurately and hastily compiled?)... Sony is
going to spend $150 million in advertising on its Playstation to compete
with the new Dreamcast from Sega... Handspring to unveil their product
offering at Internet World (anyone making odds on how big of a
disappointment it will be?)... Intergraph still pissed off at Intel...
Stupid kid threatens to blow up IBM and Microsoft if they don't give him $5
million (there must be better ways to raise that sort of money these days)... 

Rick Belluzzo leaving the CEO post at SGI (after just a year and a half) to
head up Microsoft's interactive group (no, really, this makes no sense
whatsoever)... PSINet went out and bought Transaction Network, which is a
bit of a stretch for an ISP, but as the name of the game these days is
e-commerce, it seems to make sense... "Ha ha!  Just kidding," claims the
Navy, backing off their really really scary Y2K report of last week... Sony
buys up Emazing, as they attempt to add content to their new email
distribution service... Benchmark ditches Toys 'R' Us to give a ton of
money to Nordstrom so they can sell *socks* over the internet? (since when
are socks a billion dollar business?)... Xanadu released?  (nah, must be a
dream)... Dunkin' Donuts buys up anti-Dunkin' Donuts website (but before
you think that's the way to get rich, note that Ford is now trying to shut
down an anti-Ford site)... 

(Mis)Uses of Technology:
AOL-TV... Using AOL chat rooms can get you syphilis... Internet access
available from Royal Caribbean cruises... Spending $3 million on a movie
which will only be released on the web... New Liquid Audio supports MP3s
and Real Networks' format... New Samsung phone allows you to download and
play music... Liquidating a company's product lines by auctioning off
everything online... RC5 clients left running used to track down stolen
laptops (I'm still amazed by this - who thought to check to see if the
little cow was still grabbing keys?)... Lobster cam... Giving away free
internet access to folks who buy ice cream in Sweden... Linux credit
card... Dell to create big internet enabled pagers... Discover and Dreyfus
both offer after-hours trading online, and discover that no one wants to
use it... 

So, it seems that only 6% of the folks on the web are addicted (though
their definition of "addicted" is certainly a bit suspect)... According to
JD Power and Associates, more than 5 million folks will use the internet in
researching automobile purchases this year... More and more folks go to a
smaller and smaller number of websites daily, leaving the rest out in the
cold, according to Media Metrix... has found that more
than one-third of employees admit that they are constantly surfing the
internet during the workday (something I, personally, would never do)...
Schwab has the highest customer satisfaction rating of online trading sites
according to JD Power and Associates... A new study from PC Data shows that
brand name recognition is critical for e-commerce success... Forrester
predicts "logistics chaos" for e-commerce companies planning to deliver
goods to customers... 

Yahoo! Digital... AOL's latest internet messaging product (can you say
"catch up"?)... AOL finally getting around to launching free internet
service in the UK... US ACLU President calls Australians village idiots for
their net censorship laws.  Australians say the US has no right to talk
about values.  Hmm, they might both be right... Linux's success causing its

--------------, the company that will give you free pre-stamped envelopes
if you give them personal info, isn't going to go very far, but that won't
stop them from raising ridiculous amounts of money... 

Too much free time:
One of the more major problems of this decade.  Shopping cart abuse:

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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