October 4 – 10, 1999

from the Up-To-Date dept

Techdirt party, details (or how to get details) below, Webvan stupidity, Yahoo has happy earnings, famous net analysts getting bored, Russians with supercomputers hacking away, why you shouldn’t use your cell phone at the gas pump and much much more.

Click below for this week’s Up-To-Date

				The not always serious, 
				not always weekly update
				on the High-Tech Industry
				October 4th - October 10th, 1999 
	Jumping the Gun because a Quiet Period Just Isn't Any Fun	

Techdirt Shindig
Yes, so for no real good reason (well, we've got plenty of bogus reasons,
but I'll spare you) the fine folks at Techdirt have decided to have a
shindig somewhere in San Francisco sometime soon (probably next week).
And, true to form, we believe in complete last minute planning, and while
some details are all set and in place, others aren't.  So, no details for
you just yet, but it really will be a fun and exciting event where you will
have the opportunity to hang out, meet other folks interested in this high
tech stuff (crazy, huh?), play pool (probably), and maybe (if you're good)
get drunk.  We might even have party favors if we get our act together, but
don't expect anything.

Since I have no clue who of you on this list is anywhere near the San
Francisco area, I'm asking that anyone who's interested in being on the
invite list (yeah, yeah, we'll use one of those funky web based systems to
invite everyone - just because it's cool) send an email to
invite@techdirt.com.  Not that it matters, because once you send that email
I'll put you on the list no matter what, but just to amuse me, you should
add a reason why you want to come to the party (this need not, and probably
should not, be serious).  Details will also probably get posted to the
website, so you should read the website everyday, but still send an email
just to make sure.

And for the folks who skim Up-To-Date and won't read long things like the
paragraphs above:

PARTY!  SEND EMAIL TO INVITE@TECHDIRT.COM.  Now, go read the above for

Techdirt on the Web
This week's Techdirt Poll: What do you think of when you hear Webvan? 

Open Source Journalism - Part II: What happens when folks are allowed to
review articles before they're even published:

New iMac's!  Is it anything special?  Am I a moron?

Wal-Mart.  Does the new site stand a chance?

Observations on the Palm VII:

And, as always, there's plenty more stuff at https://www.techdirt.com/
updated most every weekday.

Say that again...
"The obvious answer to all this is let everybody do everything."
- Edward E. Whitacre Jr., Chairman of SBC, on how the FCC should act in
determining what's okay with all the telecom mergers going on.

"WorldCom has finally digested MCI and is ready for its next meal."
- Scott Cleland from Legg Mason Precursor Group explaining the reason for
the Sprint purchase.

"Nobody wants a phone that toasts bread."
- Mitchell Kertzman, CEO of Liberate, though one that doubles as a thermos
might be cool.

"It's not a wonderful fit because it's not a big repeat purchase." 
- Shawn Milne, analyst at Hambrecht & Quist on the online funeral business.

Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like
Yahoo blows away earnings and suddenly the internet is cool again... WebVan
proves their execs think this is just a "get rich quick" game, as they
tried to get rich too quick, and jumped the gun on their IPO.  The SEC is
making them shut up and wait... E-Stamp has a pretty good IPO, but nothing
special (these days)... Calico Commerce had a dandy of an IPO, watching as
its shares quadrupled... Breakaway Solutions, yet another consulting firm,
only tripled in its debut... 

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week...
DoubleClick in talks to buy 24/7... Macromedia thinking about spinning off
Shockwave.com... Sony to build Playstation based workstations... 

News you should have read elsewhere
New fiscal year had a couple of Y2K problems in the Energy Dept and the
National Science Foundation (civilization held on, for the time being)...
MCI Worldcom swallows up Sprint (US Gov't not so happy about the

News you could do without
Palm VII officially launched, as the price drops $100 (and I remind you
that we've got the Techdirt Palm VII app available
https://www.techdirt.com/pqa/)... Paul Allen investing in more broadband:
this time RCN Corp gets $1.65 billion (spare change, these days)... Intel
buys IPivot as they really really want to be an ecommerce company... New
version of AOL.  AOL also lets us know that its users really *are* stupid.
Apparently, despite the fact that AOL has explained a thousand times to its
users not to give out their login info, users will still fall for just
about any trick in the book to give away their account info to complete
strangers... Yahoo! adds wallet technology to their shopping site (anything
to make it easier for you to spend money)... Looks like the famous net
stock analysts are getting bored: Keith Benjamin ditches Robertson Stephens
for a venture capital group, while Henry (hype 'em till they pop) Blodget
has a new book deal where he explains the economic impact of the Internet
(we know, it made him rich and famous)... CVS and Merck to work together on
CVS's online drugstore, so that CVS can actually sell drugs... Wal-Mart's
new website delayed until after the holiday shopping season (oops)...
Infoseek discovers internet auctions... The Justice Department has spent
over $13 million in the Microsoft trial... Xerox has been firing people
caught surfing porn sites... Microsoft complains that Linux really isn't
that good, as if we're all just going to take their word for it...
Amazon.com finally adds gift registry (took 'em long enough)... Kmart,
perhaps seeing all the problems Wal-Mart is having with their website, is
just throwing tons of money at someone else (sign up now!) to create their
site for them... CNN won't run Salon TV commercials because they think
Salon is a competitor... 

Russia opens its brand new civilian computer center (using the illegally
bought IBM supercomputers) the same week the US gov't discovers Russians
have been hacking into our computers.  Coincidence?  The Russian
government, of course, claims we give them too much credit for being able
to hack into US computers... Preview Travel and Travelocity to merge as the
online travel industry discovers consolidation... Compaq VP claims the "PC
is dead"... Macromedia buys Andromedia... Onebox.com (which really isn't in
the business of doing this) provides voice technology for Amazon.com
greeting cards (sounds like Onebox is desperate for a deal with a big name
company, and are willing to change their business to make it happen)...
AT&T cable boss Leo Hindery (who's face is all over the TV adds explaining
why TCI bills now have an AT&T logo on them) is quitting... Media Metrix
buys up AdRelevance... Philips ditches the Velo, another blow to Windows CE

(Mis)Uses of Technology:
France has decided to stop its trains on New Years Eve to protect them from
dreaded Y2K problems (well *that* makes me sleep easy)... US House of
Representatives discovers what spam is, as a staffer sends out a diet-pill
spam, and everyone starts arguing (don't worry, they're professionals)...
UPS will now give you internet access for free - if you only surf UPS's
site... SlateTV... Novell's DigtalMe service (what's the incentive to use
this?)... BP Amoco warns against using cell phones near gas pumps: might
cause a fire, they say... Ericsson and Electrolux to create kitchen
equipment for connecting people to the internet... hz.com as the new, easy
way to get info sent to your pagers, PDAs, and mobile phones (damn, this
got a lot of buzz this week)... 

30% of computers bought in the past 6 months were bought online or directly
from the manufacturer according to Odyssey... Yet another study comparing
web use to use of traditional media, this time Arbitron NewMedia says they
complement each other... And, agreeing with that is a new study from MTV
and Turner Broadcasting (hmm, bias?) saying that TV has not been adversely
affected by the internet... Retailer mistakes should end up costing online
retailers $6 billion this holiday season (note this isn't all that much
less than most predictions for sales during the holiday season) according
to Creative Good... Forrester is saying that the young buyers of today will
influence how commerce happens in the next few years, as they grow up using
the web to buy stuff... 

Amazon's new wireless offering for the Palm VII.  How often do you really
really need to order a brand new book/CD right now(!) especially, when
you'll have to wait 3 days to get it... Same goes for Larry Ellison
spouting his mouth off about how we'll all be buying all of our goods via
our cell phones... Itanium?  Whatever... CBS to bribe users to visit its
attempt at a portal... Microsoft, MIT and lots and lots of money... The new
iMac.  I know, I know, all the Mac fans out there hate me for saying it,
but it's nothing special.  It's nice, some things are cool, but shut up
already... Trying to trip up Echelon with carefully chosen key words... 

New "affinity group" ISPs will find a small amount of success among certain
groups, but never become a huge success... Despite Steve Jobs' claims to
the contrary, the "next big thing" is not going to be desktop video... 

Too much free time:
Some useful tools for work:
Generate some marketing speak:
Quit in style: http://www.p45.net/scriptorama/resign.html
Create your resume (okay, since it's a Brit page, a CV):

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.

If you would like to subscribe to the email version please send an email to 
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