June, 2000

Friday, June 30, 2000

Sale means "dirty" in French - "'If you're not everywhere, you're nowhere.' Actually, you're worse than nowhere. Any business with a site on the World Wide Web is by definition everywhere. To ignore millions of potential customers in other countries -- their language, their cultural preferences, their currency -- is to insult them and jeopardize any chance of capturing them."

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The 8 'Cs' of Good Communications - "Credibility. When communicating with employees or others, your audience must be willing to believe in you. Repetitive mistakes or factual errors in trying to persuade or inform will eventually cause others to question almost all you say. Long-term competence and demonstrated knowledge are essential to gaining confidence and credibility."

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David Gelernter: The Second Coming: A Manifesto - "The Orwell law of the future: any new technology that can be tried will be. Like Adam Smith's invisible hand (leading capitalist economies toward ever-increasing wealth), Orwell's Law is an empirical fact of life."

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A Shot in the Dark - "We're going to use the genome map to slow down the aging process so the next generation has the opportunity to live to be 150. Unfortunately, all the diseases we thought were wiped out decades ago will come back in new supercharged form, so everybody succumbs to dysentery at 23."

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The statistics of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?", and the dissenting opinion.

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Thursday, June 29, 2000

FedEx slows down to move at Internet speed - "This is what customers have been asking for all along, even from their utility companies and furniture-delivery people who tell them, 'We'll be there between 1 and 5.' That just doesn't cut it with people's schedules these days"

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Report hits Web sites' builders - "The problem is that it's hurting the new economy. It's making it hard for the few sites that are performing well to make their case to investors, as well as the customer who goes to a bad Web site, gets turned off and stops using the channel."

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Can Amazon Be Saved? - "When you play for high stakes and take big risks, you either succeed big or fail big."

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Wednesday, June 28, 2000

The New-Boy Network - "How we behave at any one time, evidently, has less to do with some immutable inner compass than with the particulars of our situation. This conclusion, obviously, is at odds with our intuition. Most of the time, we assume that people display the same character traits in different situations. We habitually underestimate the large role that context plays in people's behavior."

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Lawyers prepare for onslaught of dot.com bankruptcies - "Problem is, the economy of the 1990s has been so strong that bankruptcy lawyers are in relatively short supply. Law school students haven't perceived it as a hot specialty. Mr. Hesse says very few attorneys with less than seven years of experience do bankruptcy law at all."

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Calvin and Hobbes - "Each day we are reissuing an original Calvin and Hobbes strip, 11 years after it was first published."

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Don't tweak the geeks! - "Indeed, if we were a sexual minority or the ethnic-victim-group-of-the-week, I'm sure she would have struggled gamely to praise our wonderfulness in spite of social isolation and possible neurological handicaps. That, of course, would have been just as much a distortion as the attempted hatchet job we got (if a subtler one)."

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North American E-tail Sales Still Soaring - "Labatt's advice to smaller niche players is to 'develop partnerships that drive revenues, not press releases.'"

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Monday, June 26, 2000

Inventor building rocket in back yard - "Walker will have to get FAA clearance before he launches his rocket. The FAA will review the design of the craft as well as the flight plan before considering issuing a license."

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Why ask Why in a Usability Evaluation? - "users were asked to attempt tasks and at each step were instructed to indicate not only what action they intended perform, but why that particular action seemed appropriate."

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Personal Software Process - "Our mission is to help software organizations who want to enhance their capability to improve and manage software projects through the use of data driven decision making at the personal level."

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Innovation and efficiency in the New Economy - "Innovation today is no longer something a few R&D folks can whip up over a sleepless weekend. It's gotta be a companywide obsession."

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Friday, June 23, 2000

Billions Burning Holes In Venture Capitalists' Pockets - "Most startups make the same mistakes, says Sernovitz. The initial ad campaign is never good and all computer programs have to be rebuilt at least once. A startup with $1 million makes these mistakes and can move on. Give the same entrepreneur $30 million, and the mistakes can get too big to fix."

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Amazon Shares Plunge On Concerns About Credit, Revenue Growth - "The company's inability to make hard cash per unit sold, is clearly manifested in the weak balance sheet, poor working capital management, and massive negative operating cash flow -- the financial characteristics that have driven innumerable retailers to disaster throughout history"

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Familiar Lessons from Worldcom's Fall - "You know that mantra well. The customer is always right. It's about them, not you."

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Thursday, June 22, 2000

Falun Gong and the Internet - "We might also recall the last time an unorthodox religious movement swept across China ... , the result was a war... that killed twenty million people. Imagine if Hong Xiuquan, the messianic leader of that nineteenth-century cultic crusade, had had access to twenty-first century technology-and you'll have a clue as to why the Chinese regime is so scared of this group."

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Microsoft.NET moves software online - "'We have the opportunity to take this vision of a digital world and apply the magic of software to make this a reality"

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Nato creates computer virus that reveals its secrets - "According to Shea, Nato first became aware of the virus in December. It is now believed to be responsible for the leak in April of a restricted nine-page document detailing the rules of engagement for Nato soldiers serving in Kosovo, which appeared mysteriously on the computer screens of a London publishing company."

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Census 2000 Counters Are Barred From Access by Upper East Side Doormen - "If an old man has trouble getting an interview with an apartment we know contains two bachelors, we know to send a beautiful girl the next time. Then there's no problem getting an interview. We have some beautiful people working here."

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MIT project seeks to make PCs invisible - "People should be able to communicate naturally with a machine, the same way that they do each other"

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Wednesday, June 21, 2000

Apex Player Banned by Ebay - "EBay has banned the one-time hot-selling Apex A-600AD DVD player for the same reason it became so popular."

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Tuesday, June 20, 2000

Dial-Up Ain't Dead - "Most home Web surfers still connect to the Internet via dial-up at speeds less than 56 kbps. And that situation won't change for most of us anytime soon, no matter how many splashy ads we see about high-speed access."

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We Just Fired Our PR Firm... - "As far as recommending a good PR firm, sorry."

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Monday, June 19, 2000

Napster Sound Bite: Feelin' groovy - "A court-ordered list of MP3 files downloaded by senior Napster executives reveals that bigwigs at the company's San Mateo, Calif., headquarters have been busy accessing such rage-against-the-machine anthems as Olivia Newton John's 'Hopelessly Devoted To You,' the Beatles' 'Hey Jude,' Cat Stevens' 'Father and Son,' Bruce Springsteen's 'Secret Garden,' Bette Midler's 'The Rose,' Elton John's 'Your Song,' the Commodores' 'Brick House' and Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here.'"

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D.C. Has Unusual License Plate Plan - "The city's license plate motto should be changed to 'Taxation Without Representation' to call attention to the lack of voting rights for the nation's capital..."

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Life in the Fourth Millennium - "Third-millennium futurologists should realize that their fantasies are scaring people to death. The preposterous world in which we interact only in cyberspace, choose the endings of our novels, merge with our computers and design our children from a catalogue gives people the creeps and turns them off to the genuine promise of technological progress. The constancy of human nature is our reassurance that the world we leave to our descendants will be one in which scientific progress leads to delight rather than boredom, in which our best art and literature continues to be appreciated, and in which technology will enrich rather than dominate human lives."

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BT claims ownership of hyperlinks - "The monster telco believes a patent filed in 1976 - and granted in 1989 - proves it owns the intellectual property rights to those natty little devices that link Web content together."

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PFIR Statement on Electronic Signatures and Documents - "The Act fails to set minimum security or other technical standards of any kind. It doesn't even specify how it could be determined that someone had authorized the use of electronic signatures or digital contracts in the first place."

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Microsoft to buy Bungie: Confirmed

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Thursday, June 15, 2000

U.S. House gives OK to digital signatures - "One consumer watchdog urged consumers to be wary when signing documents electronically."

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Wednesday, June 14, 2000

Technology First Aimed At Heavens Now Makes "Super" Human Vision Possible - "The system detects visual distortions so subtle that physicians didn't even know they existed until Williams' laboratory invented the system."

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Courtney Love: "This is my 'funny' math based on some reality and I just want to qualify it by saying I'm positive it's better math than what Edgar Bronfman Jr. would provide."

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WAP! or thud - "'Everybody in Europe does it.' No, they don't, actually."

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11/4/88: 'Virus' Hits Vast Computer Network - "By 3 a.m. computer systems linked to a research network called Internet began to fill up with extraneous material, slowing operations and engorging memory files until the computers ground to a halt. Internet links as many as 50,000 computers, allowing users to send a variety of information to each other through the computers."

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Tuesday, June 13, 2000

The hyping of domestic terrorism - "The National Commission on Terrorism's warnings are a con job, with roughly the veracity of the latest Robert Ludlum novel. Evidence of this fraud comes not from civil libertarians or American friends of some guerrilla army, but from the top G-man himself: FBI Director Louis Freeh."

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The Scooter Commuter - "Trend-watchers say scooters could become the fashion accessory of the summer."

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Monday, June 12, 2000

What'll You Bid for This Failed 'Dot-Com'? - "There's been a lot of money thrown at the dot-com businesses to build an Internet infrastructure .... Those that fail are going to create opportunity for those that succeed."

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13 common objections against user requirements analysis, and why you should not believe them - "First mover advantage is often misunderstood. You don't create a first mover advantage by launching a website. It's the user who creates the first mover advantage by using your site. If s/he doesn't, no advantage."

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newmedia.com: Usability Testing - "Usability doesn't mean that your best friend thinks it's 'cool,' your designer calls it 'cutting-edge,' or your VC sees it as 'viable.' What it means is that you get a group of users to hammer on it, and you watch them hammer. That way, you find out what paths they follow, which graphics they click, where they get lost, and, most importantly, when they lose interest."

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G.E.'s Management Methods Are Put to Work on the Web - "The concept was simple, the economics were not."

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The Consensus Machine - "We reject kings, presidents and voting. We believe in rough consensus and running code."

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Web's reach forces Hollywood to rethink America-first policy

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Mysterious deadly disease surfaces among drug users - "In a scenario eerily reminiscent of the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic, nearly five dozen intravenous drug users in Scotland, Ireland, and England have become ill or died since April of a mysterious illness whose origins health officials have not yet identified."

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Why Microsoft Might Actually Be Relieved (Even Thrilled) With Judge Jackson's Order to Split the Company in Two - "Microsoft makes most of its profits from OEM sales, so forcing us to buy a new PC every two years instead of every three costs us all money without giving us much in return."

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Sunday, June 11, 2000

Sexy Trillionaire: Greenspan to Appear In "Whassup" TV Ad - "Greenspan's booty could not be reached for comment."

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Friday, June 09, 2000

A Beneficent Bench - "I've heard of judges suspending judgments. I've never heard of a judge chipping in."

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Repeal of Estate Tax Wins in House - "There's an old political saying: If you've got to explain your vote, you've got a problem"

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From: [Pakistan]
To: [me]
Subject: APHALT MIXNG PLANT

[...]

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FOLLOWINGS:

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CAPACITY 100 TONS - 120 TONS
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YEAR OF MANUFACTURING : 1991-98
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[...]
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Why user experience disasters happen at the start of web projects - "The risk of proposing solutions without understanding the problem is that you don't solve anything."

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Solar Storm Warning - "The solar maximum will last over an extended period of time, perhaps as long as two years interspersed with many powerful solar flares and CMEs."

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Thursday, June 08, 2000

Phyllis Richman: Check, Please - "It's been so long since I led a normal dining life, I can't say I know what it will be like, but I have some ideas of what changes will be welcome and what I'll miss."

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Wednesday, June 07, 2000

GameSpy.com: Doom 3 - "Possibly the worst idea in the history of gaming"

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Flight attendance - "A few years ago, David Letterman asked a United stewardess in his audience a question in response to which she replied, 'The passenger is the enemy.' The millions of us who have lived with the ill will of United attendants were hardly shocked. And those were the good old days."

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Offspring, Napster Reach Peace Agreement - "'T-shirts ... good,' Offspring frontman Dexter Holland added to the statement"

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Black holes blow as well as suck - "For the first time we can put strong constraints on the relationship between galaxy formation and black hole formation and growth"

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TRW Uses World's First Laser Weapon to Shoot Down Operational Rocket

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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff, v. MICROSOFT CORPORATION, Defendant. ... MEMORANDUM AND ORDER - "ORDERED, that the motion of defendant Microsoft Corporation for summary rejection of the plaintiffs' proposed structural reorganization is denied; and it is FURTHER ORDERED, that defendant Microsoft Corporation's 'position' as to future proceedings on the issue of remedy is rejected; and it is FURTHER ORDERED, that plaintiffs' proposed final judgment, as revised in accordance with the proceedings of May 24, 2000 and Microsoft's comments thereon, be entered as a Final Judgment herein." See Figure 1.

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Friday, June 02, 2000

Boo.com crashes to earth - "But no-one will remember the market positioning errors, the project management practices from hell, or any of the other nuanced little details of failure. They will remember Boo's interface, because it was so memorably bad." - I'm sort of impressed by the amount of "we told you so" coming from the usability wonk community.

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Credentialing process denies online journalists access to news - "There's nothing in the First Amendment that says you have to be a legitimate, responsible -- or accurate, even -- journalist"

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Iridium Satellite Phone Gets Offer - "A prominent investment firm is offering to save the Iridium satellite telephone venture from destruction with a $50 million bid to acquire all of the bankrupt company's assets."

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