For those who need to understand how the Web is transforming the way businesses work, yada yada yada
Issue: April 14, 2000
Author/Editor: David Weinberger
Central Meme: Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy
Favorite Beatle: John. Duh.
Current Personal Crisis: Finished off Y2K rations, and not sure I can face a grocery store again.
Home page: http://www.hyperorg.com
Contact information: Click here.
Napster: The Most Important App Since Sex : Real peer-to-peer computing, a global collaboration that skates along the edge of the old laws
Geek Speek: Geeks are In, but do they know the difference between speaking frankly and just plain insulting someone?
Strangers on the Web: We're learning new ways to treat strangers. More assumptions fall.
Mystery of the near miss translations: Are the translation systems plagiarizing each other, or just equally bad?
Misc.: No more broken links?
Links I like: Places to visit, mainly from you.
Walking the Walk: Distributed science.
Cool Tool : All of the world's great books: $30.
Internetcetera: Messaging factoids.
Email, Arbitrary Insults, and Suspicious Hacking Coughs: The usual fabulous email.
Bogus contest: Forced fits
It's a JOHO, um Cluetrain, World After All
The Cluetrain Manifesto has been tearing up the charts, whatever that means #13 on the Wall Street Journal, #9 NY Times Business list, #25 NY Times non-fiction list, #4 on BusinessWeek. The reviews and discussion at slashdot.com are quite entertaining. And you may also enjoy the discussions at:
Napster: The Most Important App Since Sex
Don't be fooled by the publicity around Napster. If you believe what you read, you'll think that it's a way of sharing MP3 music files that's crippling the bandwidth of major universities. While that's true, it misses the point, casting it in an inappropriate light. [Extra points: find the fiendishly disguised pun in this paragraph.]
Napster, on the face of it, aims at building community while getting around the lawsuits being brought by the recording industry. By now you probably know that anyone with a computer can convert audio CD tracks into MP3 files that can be played on a computer or a special player. (The coolest thing I saw at InternetWorld LA was Creative Labs' Nomad Jukebox, an MP3 player with a 6G hard drive that can store your entire music collection alas, for $400.) Megasites such as www.mp3.com store the files, ready to be downloaded and played in winamp or any other MP3-ready player ... which these days includes Microsoft's own media player. This happens, of course, without the record company getting a bite. (If the recording industry hadn't been so rapacious, I might have a smidgen of sympathy for them.)
Napster gets around this by not storing any MP3 files on its server. It's just a database of where MP3 files live ... not the big MP3 sites but the hard drives of its members. When you download Napster, you dedicate a directory on your hard drive to it. Any MP3's it finds there it adds to its database. So, if you search for, say, "Strangers in the Night" (because, presumably, you're wicked stoned), Napster will show you hundreds of copies, in many different versions on hundreds of different hard drives. Find one you want (Napster also lists the speed of the connection from those drives), double click, and, boom, it's pulled off of Joe Doe's hard drive and copied onto your own. Further, the new copy in your Napster directory is now entered into the database and may be downloaded by anyone with a finger left to click.
You can see where this is going:
There's already an app called "Wrapster" that lets you transfer any type of file using Napster; it "wraps" a file in code that makes it look like an MP3 file and then unwraps it on the other side, all transparently to the user.
Now RadioSpy has turned me and everyone else into a broadcaster. It lets me "broadcast" a playlist of MP3s to anyone who wants to listen, including my own voice-over just like a professionally annoying DJ. Radio Free JOHO here we come!
RadioSpy comes from the people who gave us GameSpy, a brilliantly easy app that finds Quake servers when I have the urge to blow strangers into bloody meat chunks. In the next rev, GameSpy will enable me to set myself up as a Quake server and find people who want to play.
Notice a pattern here, eh? The Web, which clearly is a force for decentralization, has nonetheless tended towards recentralization via "portals" that aggregate data and files. Now we're seeing the true decentralization of the Web, with apps enabling direct, point-to-point exchanges.
The effects on "intellectual property" will be epochal. It is the final separation of IP from the traditional model that thinks there has to be any type of centralized publisher (online or off) to manage distribution. For example, this is a far bigger threat to the book industry than the coming of electronic books; when Napster becomes Bookster, publishing will become nothing more than copying. And what about Pornster that eliminates porn sites, and builds an open, distributed network of feelthy pictures? Try regulating that! (By the way, the domain names bookster.com, readster.com, and pornster.com are all taken.)
But, wait, there's more! Napster and RadioSpy already have embedded in them the ability to chat with the people from whom you're about to download stuff. Since the stuff we own or want is one of the most common of conversational topics, this may result in new alignments of tiny market segments in unpredictable ways.
But wait there's more more. Or there will be. We just have to wait for the sum total of cleverness of the Web to invent it.
Well, um, except maybe Gnutella rulz more. Gnutella doesn't even maintain a database on a server. It instead passes queries along from one user node to another, building a list on the fly. It thus is slower than Napster, but there's nothing there but a protocol, and how are you gonna sue that? And it's open sourced.
And there's an article at: http://www.nandotimes.com/opinions/story/body/0,1096,500188504-500253045-501284316-0,00.html
Judging by the rather self-conscious Geek Pride Day celebration in Boston a couple of weekends ago, here are things that geeks do:
Play vintage 80s video games
Try out Linux tools
Drink double-caffeine coffee
Shoot Nerf guns
Adjust their pony tails (men only)
Sneer at The Man
What they don't do is bite the heads off of chickens as the original geeks did a 100 years ago. Or get pushed around by school bullies as techno-geeks did ten years ago.
In fact, geeks are so In that at the Geek Pride event, Eric Raymond, the leading apostle of the Open Source Movement, was asked: Now that we geeks are in charge, who's going to topple *us*? He replied that Geeks won't be toppled because they're the only ones who know who to run the joint.
Now, I kneel at the alter of Open Source. In fact, Chris "RageBoy" Locke and I were on stage immediately after Raymond spoke, and I was looking forward to drinking from his water bottle without wiping it first, but he took it with him. Nevertheless, I have to disagree with him on this point.
Yes, companies can't survive without the geeks' technical knowledge. But that was the case when geeks didn't rule. "Geeks Rule" because the geek attitude is being adopted by the mainstream.
So, what is this attitude, and do we want it to rule our companies?
Big chunks of it, absolutely! (Note: Get ready for some generalizations.) Geeks are craftspeople, absorbed in their work. They are passionate about their slice of the world. They have developed a culture of sharing embodied by the Open Source movement. They tend to react strongly against anyone who tries to "manage" away their independence. And they are disdainful of hypocrisy.
Of course, geeks like everyone are self-contradictory. While geeks may share their work in the great collective of Open Source, they are fiercely independent in their work habits: they (stereotypically) work by themselves into the wee hours, slugging back Jolt Cola and discovering new ways of combining Fritos and Twinkie Snow Balls. A distressing number of them have read everything Ayn Rand has written. And while they hate weasel words, they sometimes can't tell the difference between speaking frankly and just plain insulting someone.
So, while geeks bring to the corporation a passion, openness and frankness that is a breath of fresh air and not the type you get when you open a window but the type that's forced into your lungs as you're being rescued from drowning in your own BS they often insist there's only one way to talk, as if communication were simply the transfer of information from one person to another, devoid of adjectives or comforting words. And that devalues the richness of conversation. Being frank sometimes obscures the truth.
Here's an example of sorts. About ten years ago, I was at a Strategic Customers meeting, a day of "open and frank" conversation with our top ten customers about future product directions. One particularly disgruntled customer asked whether our new product would support a particular printer. "Well," replied our head geek (and pardon me if I make up the details here), "it won't support the model 2200 if you've got the PostScript RIP installed, and if you hook up the typesetter output module, it's pretty flaky."
Afterwards, the CEO assembled all the participating employees and reamed the geek for giving the "engineering answer" which always begins with the negatives. "I thought you'd told me that the new product will support that printer," said the CEO.
"Well, yeah, it'll support it. But not all its features."
"But you didn't tell the customer that. You misled him. You told him it wouldn't support it."
"No, I told him that it wouldn't support PostScript or typesetter output."
"The answer to the question is: Yes, it supports the printer. Then put in all the qualifiers you want. But the truth is Yes."
The geek was being honest, accurate and frank. But the CEO was right: the geek's answer wasn't truthful.
There are lots of ways of talking. The brutal frankness of geekdom is sometimes exactly what's required and is, in all cases, useful because it nudges us towards more directness. But geeky frankness isn't always truthful. And geeky talk isn't the only type of truthful talk. Life's way more complex than that. Thank G-d.
Strangers on the Web
The Web isn't a broadcast medium or a mall with shorter lines. It is (among other things) a new type of public. Nowhere is this clearer than in how it's rewriting the rules about strangers.
This is no small thing since the question of how to treat strangers is coexistent with civilization itself: Abraham and Sarah were marked as worthy because they welcomed strangers - who turned out to be angels - into their tent, and Odysseus's tale is fundamentally that of a stranger pinballing among various flavors of hospitality...only to return home to confront the very archetype of abusive guests.
Off the Web, the rule is not to trust strangers until they prove themselves trustworthy (and thus are not fully strangers any more). We teach our children that quite explicitly. And we react to a phone call from a stranger by assuming that it's going to be a pitch to get us to change our long distance carrier or to donate to the Caring Mission of Our Lord of the Marsupials. In fact, the telephone is primarily a medium for communicating with people we already know. But the Web is much more than that precisely because it is where we meet new people. It's a new world of strangers. That's what makes it so damn exciting.
And that's what changes the rules. On the Web, you have to trust strangers or else you're stuck talking with the same old people. Of course, there's less risk in going down a conversational dark alley with a Web stranger than going down a literal dark alley with a real world stranger. But that just means that the Web is freeing us from our fear of others. Trusting you, a stranger, to do what is right means granting you your freedom; it is the opposite of attempting to control your actions through fear, intimidation or Management By Objectives.
When we are freed to be who we are, we are given the opportunity to be authentic. Authenticity in fact means nothing more or less than being who you are. Authentic people embrace their own freedom, trust and value others, and usually have a sense of humor because it's one of the ways to live in our flawed, fallible, unmanageable world without it breaking your heart.
Those virtues - trust, freedom, authenticity and humor - undergird the Web. Increasingly, they are becoming the values of business as well. But they are not always aligned with Management expectations, for if we embrace strangers in order to learn, to expand, to build the networks that sustain our business, then we are necessarily embracing a world we cannot manage. What looks like a distraction turns out to be essential to our work. Building alliances only among our friends turns out to be contrary to the open-armed embrace of the strangers we can't wait to meet. Our business model is turned inside out. And not a moment too soon.
Mystery of the near miss translations
Dean Landsman on the Cluetrain discussion at topica.com points to http://lightning.prohosting.com/~sysvga/tra/ as a translation service. [As of today, the link is broken "indefinitely." Sigh.] I took the first 11 theses from the Spanish version of the cluetrain site and used the service to render them into English. Then I did the same thing using AltaVista's service. Here they are, side by side:
SysVga AV (Systran)
Markets are conversations. The markets are conversations. The markets are conversations.
Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors. The markets consist of human beings, not of demographic sectors. The markets consist of human beings, not of demographic sectors.
Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice. The conversations between human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice. The conversations between human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.
Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived. Or transmitting information, opinions, perspective,n against or humorosas notes, the human voice is opened, natural, sincere. Or transmitting information, opinions, perspective, arguments in against or humorosas notes, the human voice is opened, natural, sincere.
People recognize each other as such from the sound of this voice. People recognize themselves like so by the sound of this voice. People recognize themselves like so by the sound of this voice.
The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media. The Internet does possible to have conversations between human beings who simply were impossible in the era of meansof communication. The Internet does possible to have conversations between human beings who simply were impossible in the era of massive means of communication.
Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy. Hiper-I connect undermine to the hierarchies. Hiper-I connect undermine to the hierarchies.
In both internetworked markets and among intranetworked employees, people are speaking to each other in a powerful new way. In the markets interconnected like between intraconnected employees, people use new and powerful forms of communication. In the markets interconnected like between intraconnected employees, people use new and powerful forms of communication.
These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge. The conversations in network make possible the sproutingpowerful forms of social organization and interchange of knowledge. The conversations in network make the sprouting possible of new and powerful forms of social organization and interchange of knowledge.
As a result, markets are getting smarter, more informed, more organized. Participation in a networked market changes people fundamentally. As result the markets become more intelligent, more informed, more organized. The participation in an interconnected market causes that the people change of a wayamental. As result the markets become more intelligent, more informed, more organized. The participation in an interconnected market causes that the people change of a fundamental way.
People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products. The people who participate in these interconnected markets have discovered that they can obtain much better information and support between if same that of the salesmen. She is already enough of the corporative rhetoric about adding value to products ofumo general. The people who participate in these interconnected markets have discovered that they can obtain much better information and support between if same that of the salesmen. She is already enough of the corporative rhetoric about adding value to products of general consumption. .
If these were two exams turned in by students sitting next to one another, you'd assume someone was copying. Imperfectly. For example, #11 is identically bad ("She is already enough of the corporative rhetoric") until the very end when SysVga uses the word "ofumo" rather gratuitously. Yet both render #7 the same: "Hiper-I connect undermine to the hierarchies." It's as if these were produced by the same translation engine at different release levels. ("Version 2 Now with Lots More Ofumo!"). Anyone care to solve the mystery?
John Muller mentioned this site on a mailing list I'm on:
Here's some big news (if it works):
Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley say they have come a step closer to solving a frustrating problem familiar to most Web surfers: the broken hyperlink. http://2.digital.cnet.com/cgi-bin2/flo?x=dBmmuKBgKwYYhBuA
The researchers say that any page can be uniquely identified by picking about five words from it. You could then attach those words to the page's URL so if the page gets moved, a search engine could still find it. Or, presumably, a copy of it. But is this claim even a little bit credible? Isn't there a minimum length required? Can the five words be known a priori, or do you have to keep pinging a search engine until you find five unclaimed words? Wouldn't it make more sense to do some type of hashing of the document to produce a unique identifier and then work with a search engine to do the same hashing while it's indexing? And what about the 2 million pages that have a single gif and the words "Pamela Anderson" on them, huh?
Well, just in case, here are this issue's Five Unique Words: Umbrage, Tourniquet, Mucilage, Dénouement and Cantinflas. In case of a tie: Fur-bearing.
Here's a review of JOHO apparently from The Journal of Oh Well Never Mind:
An opinion has been added to your site at Hotrate.com:
A somewhat witty and irreverent newsletter that looks at how the WWW is changing the way business is doneand will be done in future. Also covered is how the once user friendly net is being commercialised, but on theother hand, how it em
You can check the other opinions on your site at http://www.hotrate.com/Computers_And_Internet/News_And_Publications/Newsletters/United_States/JOHO_-_The_Journal_of_the_Hyperlinked_Organization/
I don't mean to hint or anything, but the message does go on to note:
You can become a reviewer yourself at http://www.hotrate.com/newreviewer.asp
And while you're at it, I understand that Amazon is still accepting reviews of that durn Cluetrain book.
Argument against branding #151: In the April 11 Globe and Mail (Canada) there was a brief obituary under the heading:
Goalkeeper blamed for Brazil's 1950 loss
First paragraph: "Moacir Barbosa, the goalkeeper blamed for Brazil's loss to Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup final, has died at age 79." There is no other information about his life.
The makers of Bounty paper towels spent hundreds of millions of dollars to get us to say "the quicker picker upper" and this poor schlub makes it to the World Cup, misses one shot, and is branded for the next 50 years. Maybe P&G ought to arrange to have Mr. Whipple get caught spreading genital herpes hey, so long as they spell your name right, know what I mean?
Links I like
Walter Bruckner thought I might like his site (http://www.waltbruckner.com). He was right. He explains:
What I do every morning is make some coffee, walk the dog, and then sit down to write an article on some topic of art, music, or literature that at that moment I find particularly compelling. I then serialize the article, post it on my website, and email my subscribers a quick notice of its availability.
So far, I've worked on Herman Melville, Frans Hals, Franz Kafka, Antonio Vivaldi, and Billy Strayhorn, to name a few. Right now, we are doing a little bit on Tang Dynasty Poetry, and in the next few months, I am planning to look at Nick Drake, Caravaggio, Ingmar Bergman, and a Mozart opera.
The first article that drew me in was not about Caravaggio, Bergman or Mozart, but Cabriolet. Walter has an essay about the VW commercial that shows four 20-ish kids pulling up to a party and deciding not to go. So someone else thinks that it's a brilliant bit of film-making! In fact, it's confused my neat little worldview that says "Even good commercials are bad." But Walter doesn't go down that path. Instead, he meditates on the song the commercial uses, written and performed by Nick Drake, a 70s icon I either never knew or forgot along with Fairport Convention and Poco. Anyway, this is a very browsable site.
And, if you want to see the commercial, mosey on over to http://www.vw.com/debut/
Rob de Jonge, was trying to get his daily Wall Street Journal fix and...
Today I got a DNS error so I went to the WSJ.com homepage and saw they have a section, http://networking.wsj.com, about "Technology, Management & Marketing in the New Economy". I'm not sure if or not this is a relatively new section, but I'm sure you and the readers of JOHO might find it a useful section.
Yeah, it's useful.
So, in one issue I'm posting a link to a VW commercial and to the Wall Street Journal. Quick, someone shoot me before I reproduce!
For the KM junkies among you, there's a new issue of Knowledge Manager magazine at its new URL: http://www.chironpub.com
Marina Streznewski has started up her own site or zine (or maybe we should called it a zite) personable and personal:
In addition to the "If I Were a PowerPoint Presentation" game, you'll find a link to The Blue Okapi, Marina's 'zine of musings and collected weirdnesses.
This site has been making the rounds. It is very cool and, as far as I can tell, pretty much pointless. But did I mention it's cool?
Mark Dionne points out http://www.albert-einstein.net/ and writes:
For more information regarding Albert Einstein(TM) licensing opportunities, please contact:...
Likewise, you may pick up your JOHO licensing agreements at our Preemptive Trademarks™™ page: http://www.hyperorg.com/misc/trademarks.html.
I have no idea what to make of this page, the Charles Stuart Comparison of the Height and Weight of Men in Relation to Hairiness
Middle World ResourcesA Compendium of Resources
Walking the Walk
The National Institute of Health has invited all scientific journals to contribute to the PubMed site where anyone can search for biomedical information. This is, however, a bit like inviting all the local jewelry stores to contribute to the FreeGold site where anyone can pick up a coupla nuggets for free. In fact,, according to an article in The Industry Standard (Feb. 14, by William Speed Weed I ain't making it up), Elsevier Science, one of the largest publishers of scientific journals, wants to team up with Science, Nature and nine other publishers to compete against PubMed.
NIH's point of view is that they spend $13B a year funding laboratory work that's then published for profit by the journals. Besides, the NIH site should stimulate interest in the research articles, the full text of which the journals can charge for at the PubMed site.
So far, not a lot of publishers have signed up with PubMed. The largest is the nonprofit Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. And Biomed Central will start publishing papers there in May. BioMed is a new publishing house that accepts submissions direct from the scientists, gets 'em peer reviewed, and posts them electronically far faster than traditional publishers.
Open Source science! We want it now!
For the Hyperlinked Organization
For 30 bucks, you can have every book you never read instantly available to you on a single CD. Think of the many happy hours you won't spend reading the classics of Western literature 5,000 titles, many in full, from Henry Adams to William Butler Yeats, from the complete words of the Bard, to the complete boards of the Ward (no, that didn't mean anything). It includes: Bishop Berkeley ("Principles of Human Knowledge"), six by Jane Austen, seven by Aeschylus, Friedrich Nietszche (the good parts of "Thus Spake Zarathustra"), Marcus Aurelius ("Meditations"), two complete Oz books, and Lao Tzu ("Tao Te Ching"), all in their original English. And much much much more.
It's all searchable by text, title, author, etc. A smidge of supporting information is provided, with occasional links to illustrations. The works themselves are displayed in regal System Font it's like reading Shakespeare's Sonnets in NotePad, which does take away a bit from the romance. On the other hand, it's just $30.
Yes, friends, my Book Avoidance needs are now set for life. It's a good feeling that I'm only one insurmountable step away from being educated and literate.
Library of the Future:
I'm not sure where this comes from, although it sounds a lot like PR from a messaging company:
An e-mail industry research service estimates there are 333 million electronic mailboxes in the United States. Roughly two-thirds of the country's workers use e-mail now, and 25 percent of households have at least one e-mail account, according to Messaging Online. Families that use e-mail have an average of four mailboxes per household, the report added. "Our survey clearly indicates that at least 40 percent of Americans use e-mail," said Eric Arnum, editor of Messaging Online. "It is apparent that e-mail is a new mass communications channel, which has prompted us to revise that old saying, 'the medium is the message,' to now read 'the message is the medium,'" he said in an interview with the CBS.MarketWatch Radio Network.
Yes, that "old saying," the origins of which are lost in the mists of time along with other old sayings such as "Ask not what you can do for your country...," "Hasta la vista, baby," and "The Al Franken Decade." If only one day we could figure out who first said these things!
As for email being a mass communications channel, it only looks that way from the wrong end of the spam gun, buddy.
Email, Arbitrary Insults, and Suspicious Hacking Coughs
People seemed to have been looking at my site (www.hyperorg.com) with a critical eye recently. For example, Stephan Samson in Basel writes:
Yesterday for the first time, I actually looked at your site, as I wanted to better understand the principles you feel apply to a "hyperlinked organisation". It occurred to me that a visual representation of a hyperlinked organisation would probably go a long way in selling that proposition to a larger audience. Here I must admit my disappointment, since the only graphic on your site does, I believe, a very bad job at representing those principles.
So, I thought I should submit the following idea to you. Why not organise a kind of challenge/competition among all your readers for them to come up with the most creative and expletive visual representation of a hyperlinked organisation? All submissions could be posted on your site, and a popular vote organised. This way, every submitter receives his minute of fame. I further believe a very creative discussion/exchange could erupt from there. ... (Dare I suggest that rageboy [ed: Chris Locke] could also promote it in his regular litterary outburst...?).
Stephan, the piece of artwork you so blithely dismiss as conceptually inadequate (you know, gifs have feelings, too) has one aesthetic quality that keeps it on my page despite all such superficial criticism: I drew it myself. I would be delighted to look at submissions from readers so that I may luxuriate in how much better my own is.
By the way, I hope you don't mind my calling attention to a happy misspelling in your message. (Yes, I understand that your English is far better than my Swiss*.) But how could I let pass a reference to RageBoy's EGR as a "litterary" outburst?
*Yes, I know Swiss is not a language. But hang onto your "You stupid Americans!" message; I'm sure I'll give you another opportunity to use it.
Sir Kyle of Patrick lifted up the hospital gown of JOHO and didn't like what he saw:
So although you did that part in a perfectly logical fashion, I can still jibe about the script not working on MSIE5. I'm not at all sure why you decided to assign the string "width=300,height=530" to a variable instead of passing it as a parameter, and although I'm certain you have a blazingly good reason for doing so, it kind of messes up the code. ...So get rid of "config=" and your script might just work. If you want to be rilly rilly kewl, use the following options, too.
"directories=no,hotkeys=no,location=no,menubar=no, personalbar=no,resizable=yes,scrollbars=yes,status=no, toolbar=yes"
Yes, this is rilly rilly kewl. "JOHO in the News Page" now opens in its own tiny (or, as we say at Starbucks, Tall) browser window with only a toolbar showing. Unfortunately, any of the links you follow open in a similarly under-finished window.
However, carping is krewl repayment for the hours Lord Patrick put in debugging my attempts to type in his code, a very productive use of his time, I'm sure. (A debugger must surely be the opposite of a bugger.)
He continues with some actual content:
Having done a bit of work with XSL myself, I thought I'd mention how weird it is to work with. XSL transformations are not done in a linear fashion, the way that a program executes. Rather, you have templates which you may (or may not) choose to apply to particular elements. This is necessary, since (a) XML is designed around dynamic document types, where you can have elements pretty much anywhere (within the constraints of a Scheme or DTD), and (b) XSL transformations aren't necessarily done with an entire document. Rather, you may pick some node in a document and apply the transformation to that. Clearly, a linear programming model wouldn't work, since you have to consider the possibility of a chaotic use of tags (like a typical HTML document) and no fixed entry point in the document tree for the transformation to start. Whew! It generally takes some pharmaceutical experimentation before most developers can get used to this freedom.
No no. I will not listen to this. Standards Are Good. Standards Are Our Salvation. I shall not wander. Standards Are Good. Standards Are Our Salvation...
Marina Streznewski responds to our pointing out that the MS World spellchecker suggests "Superb Owl" as a spelling correction for "SuperBowl":
Thought you'd be interested that the MS Word spell-check offers the following choices for [ad agency] Ogilvy: Oily Foggily. I was amused.
So are we.
Neil Wilson, Brit in Holland, writes, for no discernible reason:
What does the UK have in common with the USA....
With the exception of Starbucks, it's practically impossible to get a decent cup of coffee. Sit down for breakfast at Denny's and you immediately have a beaker of steaming brown water delivered to your table. All taste has been meticulously extracted from this brew and any attempts to diminish the quantity are met with rapid refills from the ever present servicing staff. I'm not knocking this level of service, but the coffee is truly awful, so why would I want another cup?
In the UK, a similar chain of roadside eateries called Little Chef serve, probably the worst coffee in the world (and the kind of tasteless greasy crap that the UK is famous for). Their competitor is called the Happy Eater and has a sign of smiling face sticking a finger down its throat (you think that I'm kidding!!). Little Chef also offer free coffee refills - a smart marketing policy because NO ONE ever asks for another cup.
The Dutch have it right - pop into a coffee shop and after 30 minutes you can leave stoned by the cloud of cannabis fumes with a caffeine buzz and a smile on your face.
Oh, I'm dying for one of those cups of Amsterdam "coffee."In fact, at the Amsterdam Starbucks, it comes in sizes Tall, Grande and Bong.
The third in our long form emails whatever happened to Scroll and Die, folks? is from Ken Holman, another X-standard wonk, who writes to us about his book, Practical Transformation Using XSLT and XPath, which has been self-published by his consulting company. He tells us of his journey:
...The publishing model has turned out to be quite interesting ... I have turned down numerous requests from technical book publishing companies (most of the publishers of the current bevy of XML-related books) to put this book to print, since as soon as I do so I am committed to the content and can't update it for customers. Also, I freaked out at reading the first (and only!) publishing contract I was asked to sign after having negotiated what I thought were acceptable terms over the telephone.
...To make the materials more attractive I have promised all customers that they would receive all future updates to the materials at no additional charge.
Most of our customers use it electronically, though some have actually bound a copy at a place like Kinko's. I am relying on the honesty of customers to not copy the PDF for others, and as far as I can tell I haven't caught anyone flagrantly breaking my rules...
My local bank refused to offer me a merchant number in order to take credit cards ("oh, you are doing business on the Internet? We don't want that kind of business, thanks.") So, based on a shareware purchase I made earlier, I discovered the www.Kagi.com payment clearing service to accept credit cards...
Fortunately, the Cluetrain Manifesto's contents are guaranteed to be eternally relevant. But, if you want to participate in Ken's experiment in online publishing, go to http://www.CraneSoftwrights.com/links/trn-joho.htm. No need to tell 'em that JOHO sent you; that's already encoded in the URL.
Val Stevenson responds to our contest asking for the results of weird word pairings:
We've got a rash of literary googling inspired by a recent Washington Post competition (2 works of literature + suitable blurb) which resulted in cuties like:
"Lorna Dune" - An English farmer, Paul Atreides, falls for the daughter of a notorious rival clan, the Harkonnens, and pursues a career as a giant worm jockey in order to impress her."
It's spread to film titles and music and is getting very surreal: 'The Once and Future King Kong'
Cor bless you, Val. I not only got a chuckle out of Lorna Dune, I also got a Bogus Contest out of your letter! You are my new favorite person.
Bill Spornitz responds to the same contest, sort of:
try searching *stupid pictures* on google [www.google.com]and see what comes up as a first choice...
Make sure you use no quotes and no asterisks when you do the search. Hint: The answer is disney.com.
Ron Dagostino's button is pushed merely by the appearance of the word "nub" in a previous issue:
I just purged the nub on my neck. No more pony tail. Fucking buzz cut for me. Woohoo!
Ron, would you mind keeping it down? The rest of us are trying to read.
Bill Bly writes, presumably in response to the Deathless Thread on "Fuck":
Whilst strolling down St. Mark's Place on the Lower East Side of Manhattan the other day, I beheld on a T-shirt what some might regard as the quintessence of New York attitude:
FUCK YOU YOU FUCKIN FUCK
No punctuation required.
immediately purchased one to wear on dress-down day.
Reminds me of a cartoon someone told me about recently. One panel shows a person on a Los Angeles street saying "Hello!" to someone but thinking "Fuck you." The other panel shows a person on a New York street saying "Fuck you" to someone but thinking "Hello!"
Well, there goes another issue that won't make it past the corporate net nannies...
Bogus contest: Forced fits
Val Stevenson told us about a contest that asks you to join two literary works in an amusing way. We're modifying it so that you have to combine a Web site and a literary work (or movie or song) and provide a blurb describing the content. For example:
"Warez and Peace" A story of love and honor, set in 19th century Russia as Napoleon invades in order to wipe out software piracy.
"Lycostrata" The women of Athens try to stop the men from going to war by swearing only to use a truly sucky search engine.
"One Flew over the Google Nest" Locked in an insane asylum, a non-conformist searches for a way out.
"MSN Action" Chuck Norris rescues Web surfers being held as prisoners of War in a Microsoft hellhole.
"Jeff and the Amazon Technicolor Dreamcoat" Biblical musical about a young man and his colorful, vast web site.
"America Online Psycho" Disturbing tale of psychotic misogynist who enters terrorizes women by entering chat rooms pretending to be Bret Easton Ellis.
"Yahoo Framed Roger Rabbit?" Cute 'toon searches for real killer by browsing through over 600,000 categories.
"Go Dell It on the Mountain" Told during a single day, a 14-year-old African American dreams of mass customizing corporate PCs.
"MP3 for the Devil" Mick Jagger rips the place up, singing of the evil urge in each of us to violate copyright laws.
Have at it, y'all! As John F. Kennedy once said in Berlin, "Hasta la vista, beby!"
The following information was found trapped at the top of my washing machine when I ran some issues of JOHO through it.
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