May 1 – 7, 2000

from the up-to-date dept

Yes, it’s finally back. The really not-at-all-weekly Up-To-Date Newsletter. So click below for your fill of bits from last week. It includes the fact that no one loves me, gives a strategy suggestion for Time Warner in dealing with Disney/ABC and has fun quotes, as per usual.

				The not always serious, 
				not always weekly update
				on the High-Tech Industry
				May 1 - May 7, 2000 
				ILoveYou Too

Random Notes
Okay, okay, so I disappeared again.  It's going to happen.  Thanks to those
of you who have been bugging me to send out more newsletters, and to those
of you who subscribed multiple times thinking it just didn't work (it did,
I'm just lame).

On a nice note, MSNBC mentioned Techdirt last week, causing our traffic to
jump up again.  They even called the website "a great place to get the
pulse on popular reaction to tech news".  Shows what they know.

Techdirt on the Web
Techdirt Poll: Were you effected by the IloveYou Virus, or did you just get
bombarded by warnings:

Has Excite@Home overreacted to PacBell's "Webhog" anti-cable modem ads:

eToys Sending out Mixed Messages:

What if Microsoft had played by the rules?

Better yet, is part of Microsoft's problem that they never learned the
basic kindergarten rules:

And, as always, there's plenty more stuff at
updated most every weekday.

Say that again...
"If you mix the chain letter or Ponzi scheme with something like the
Internet, you mix something very bad with something very good. But if you
mix raisins with turds, you still have turds."
- Charlie Munger, Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway

"A great printer company."
- Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun talking about competitor HP.  Of course, let's
face it, they are a pretty damn good printer company.

"I found 64 messages saying 'I love you' on my computer this morning. Given
the state of e-commerce these days, I was strangely moved."
- Matthew Naythons, Exec at PlanetRx 

"If it's going to be a couple of hundred bucks I'd be hard-pressed to see
who's going to go out and buy a smell generator."
- Ullas Naik, an analyst with FAC Equities, on the new $400 TriSenx product
that lets you send "smells" and eventually "tastes" over the internet.  The
scariest part of all this is that TriSenx is at least the third company in
this market.

"They're saying, 'Yeah, you're an owner,' but nobody feels like an owner at
- An anonymous employee talking about morale following layoffs.

Earnings Reports, IPOs and the like
Linuxcare drops its IPO because investors are stupid (and has to lay off
staff - who will go elsewhere to make their millions)... AOL invests in
Homestore, because they just have too much money... AT&T reported earnings
in line with expectations, but warned of slow growth... is losing
money at a spectacular rate, while not actually taking in any revenue (nor
does it seem to have plans to)... wonders where the investors
are as it IPOs unhappily (and then discovers that its own site has
disappeared for a few hours - probably not the best way to debut)... 

Rumors, Conspiracies etc. of the week... 
CDNow is close to having someone bail them out of their current cash (or
lack of) situation... 

News you should have read elsewhere
Well, it seems that no one loves me.  I didn't get a single copy of the
damn virus.  However, I did get about 30 warnings... Time Warner makes 3.5
million people miss the first night of "Celebrity Who Wants to Be a
Millionaire?" (Time Warner, of course, blames Disney) as they turn off ABC
in a bunch of markets for a day.  Let's face it, they're both crazy.
Anyway, what Time Warner should have done to really piss off Disney is put
on programming from  Romp, if you don't know, is the online site
with games and programming that makes South Park look like the Flintstones
*and* (more importantly) was created by Michael Eisner's son.  All in all,
though, it looks bad for Time Warner, who the FCC is now saying broke the
law in pulling ABC... Meanwhile, though, the CBS-Viacom merger has been
approved, so maybe now they'll get pulled from Time Warner systems as
well... Cisco just can't break the habit, and goes off to buy ArrowPoint
for many billions of dollars... 

News you could do without
Metallica loses 335,000 fans in a single weekend (beat that!) by reporting
them to Napster (who will kick them off for as long as it takes all those
users to create new accounts)... Yahoo and Lycos realize no one really
wants broadband content, anyway, and admit they never really had plans to
produce any... Altavista launches Raging Search because white space is back
"in"... to spend $50 million to try to buy their way into the
e-commerce world... Three of the top five computer makers have gotten
together to launch an exchange.  Didn't we used to call this collusion?...
E*Trade, who took some more market share away from, has been
fined for being slow to answer questions related to customer complaints
(this is the internet, who has time to answer federal information
requests?)... The French are trying to keep English internet terms out of
their language (now, there's a battle that's likely to be won)... Most
people have no clue which dot coms advertised during the Super Bowl only 3
months later... eBay and Keen hook up in a deal that seems to be pissing
everyone off (can eBay do *anything* these days that doesn't piss its users

------------, which threw away $120 million to prove just how to make e-commerce
even more difficult, gets more money from their investors (because throwing
good money after bad is still cool)... The Feds bust a bunch of Intel
employees for setting up a software piracy ring involving Intel hardware (I
think they should go to jail for naming themselves the "Pirates with
Attitude"... 24/7 Media (who had been rumored to be acquired by
DoubleClick) is now suing DoubleClick for patent infringement... 

(Mis)Uses of Technology:
Wells Fargo unveils ATMs designed to make lines longer, by providing
advertisements, movie previews, and eventually internet access... Microsoft
to add biometric support to its software, so that we'll all have to give
our fingerprints over to Microsoft (wait a second)... Predictive Networks
unveils its product, betting that people have no problem selling their
souls online... The Tek.Xam, which is being described as a "bar exam" for
non-CS majors who wants to prove they have technical ability.  Um, why not
just code something cool?... Williams Woods University in Missouri is
offering students a tuition discount if they agree to attend various
cultural events, as they're afraid that too much time spent on the internet
is destroying lives... 

6 of the top 10 highest paid chief executives work at computer companies
according to Forbes (who also pointed out that more tech execs lost their
jobs than in any other sector)... A study from Greenfield tells us that
price is the determining factor for nearly 80% of all online purchases.
Also, more than 50% of online users surveyed shopped for music online,
which they later bought offline... IDC points out that nearly 2.7 billion
minutes of telephone calls were carried over the internet last year, and
that number should rise to 135 billion by 2004 (much of it in Asia)...
Nearly three-quarters of employees think it's okay for their companies to
monitor their online activities, according to Angus Reid (were their
employers monitoring this survey?)... 

No, we don't need any more jokes about how Amazon is now offering the
kitchen sink for sale as well... The Gnutella "Wall of Shame".  Yes, it's
good to try to stop folks from downloading some online porn.  However, this
is an exceptionally questionable way of doing it.  Should I post up a list
of IP addresses that visit Techdirt, because with a word like "Dirt" in our
domain, we must be porn? (as I've been told by a certain company that
blocks all email from Techdirt)...

Looking over the latest companies to receive funding in the past few weeks
following the "correction" you still see the same idiotic business plans as
before.  Despite the lip service investors are paying to the downturn
(mostly, in order to drive down valuations) they're still investing like
crazy.  All it's going to take is one or two insane internet IPOs (and,
yes, they'll still happen) and people will forget that last month ever

Too much free time:
Who says there are no creative B2C companies out there these days.  Here we
have subscription underwear (yes, that's right, they'll send you new
underwear every month) sold over the internet:

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 with "Subscribe Up-To-Date" in the subject heading. 
Up To Date is also available on the web at 

Unsubscribing is just as easy: with "Unsubscribe 
Up-To-Date" in the subject.

If you want more in depth, daily up dates, along with your own commentary 
head over to 

Comments are always welcome! Email:

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...