Hyperlinked Organization  Title

For those who need to understand how the Web is transforming the way businesses work, yada yada yada

 
Meta Data

Issue: August 5, 1999  
Author/Editor: David Weinberger  
Central Meme: Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy  
Favorite Beatle: John. Duh.  
Current Personal Crisis: Sensitivity crisis occasioned by fact that I would have been far more upset by Amy Carter dying than the world's sexiest playboy.
Home page: http://www.hyperorg.com  
Contact information: Click here

 

Contents

Fear of Browsing: Your business likes portals because it thinks they'll keep you from browsing — but browsing is a basic form of human attention.
Forms of marketing: Two eforms makers, two XML standards. Sigh.
Evaporating Business: Business is the thin line between markets and employees ... getting thinner all the time.
Why search engines suck, Part Whatever: Stop the presses! More evidence is in!
Framejacking in our time: Guilty of willful distortion of context.
CEOs Who Get It: CEOs who Get It apparently don't get email.
Links I like: A miscellany of links, mainly contributed by you, our unblenched readers.
Misc.: Have a better way to innovate? We're suing your sorry ass!
Walking the Walk: Open source medical research?
Cool Tool : Gooey lets us chat together at other people's web pages.
Email, Arbitrary Insults, and Suspicious Hacking Coughs: The usual fabulous email from y'all.
Bogus contest: ExMail Lists : When people leave a company, what should they name their mailing list?
Bogus Results: Fearless readers reply to previous contests.


Fear of Browsing

One big reason portals have become the buzz du jour is rather disturbing: Fear of browsing. Not your fear or my fear, but the fear of those trying to control our behavior on the Web.

These sinister forces are of two types:

First, search sites like AltaVista and Yahoo worry that they're sending "eyeballs" away from their own pages. This is ironic since that was their entire point originally. But, since these search pages get paid for ad views, they now view browsing as a necessary evil.

Second, to many benighted employers, if you're browsing, you're distracted. In fact, this entire portal thang is based on your company's fear of browsing. Why wander in the desert when Big Brother can deliver exactly what you need?

So, let's take a moment to praise browsing. (Who would ever have thought it'd come to this?)

The usual argument is that browsing creates serendipity. Yeah, sure, but if you picked 1,000 random sites truly randomly, how much serendip do you think you'd encounter? A couple of yuks, an order of magnitude more yechs, and probably nothing that actually helps you with your work.

Given the explosion of content on the Web, serendipity is in fact getting worse and worse as a business strategy.

But we don't need to apologize for browsing. Browsing mirrors the fundamental and greatest mystery of human existence: attention.

Without attention, consciousness would just be an undifferentiated field of stuff of equal value and our lives would be completely random. In other words, it'd be like our college years.

Attention is the messy intersection of world and interest. It's guided by what we *care* about and reveals the world in terms of our care. (Yeah, I know I'm stealing from Heidegger.) It in part seeks out the things of the world that we're interested in (we deliberately turn to the kitchen to cook dinner), and it in part responds to the world (the telephone rings). The intersection is messy because our interests get altered by our attention to the world, and the world is *only* visible to us in terms of our interests. Neither the lived world nor interests exist apart from one another. Attention gives rise to both.

Browsing is how attention works when it isn't in its rare state of extreme need ("Water! Must have water! I wonder what that attractive passerby would look like naked? Water! Water!") Browsing isn't attention taking a vacation or attention goofing off. It's how we exist in our world. We browse, therefore we are.

And the Web is built for this type of attention because, unlike the real world, the Web is a set of sites arranged (via hyperlinks) by interests, not by accidents of distance.

What this means for businesses and portals is: Encourage browsing. Don't think that the Web is an informational vending machine that works best when it pops out answers in response to button presses. Use your portal to help your workers find starting points for browsing. Harvest the fruits of their journeys by helping your workers to talk about the browsable domains they've discovered. Think of browsing as a distributed group activity.

That means that — unlike Internet portals — you cannot measure the success of your corporate portal by how long people stay on it. Quite the contrary. How good is your portal as a place from which to leave? How well does it open up the big world outside and how narrowly does it present the narrow view through the official corporate pinhole?

In short, stickiness is good for roach motels and gasket sealers, but bad for corporate portals.

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Forms of marketing

If you want proof that standards are marketing weapons look no further than the current dust up between JetForm and UWI.com.

Forms are valuable precisely because they're boring. They force humans to make textual information predictable so that the computers can do their automated thing with it.

And that's also why XML is the perfect meta-standard for forms, since XML enables the documents humans write to be predictable enough for computers to deal with them.

Big JetForm and little UWI.com agree that the marriage between XML and forms is 100% natural (in the sense in which computer-based stuff can be said to be natural). After that, they don't agree on hardly nothin'.

UWI.com a year ago came forth with XFDL, an XML-based standard for expressing forms and submitted it to the W3C. A couple of weeks ago, JetForm (the market share leader in eforms — by virtue of having bought its major competitor a while ago) came forth with XFA, an XML-based standard for expressing forms and submitted it to the W3C.

I spoke with I spoke with Eric Stevens, Chief Technical Evangelist at JetForm and with Eric Jordan, president of UWI.com, along with Jason Nadeau (senior systems engineer and an articulate techie).

JetForm was on the attack. Since they're late to market with a story about how they'll support XML, they need to tear down the perceived standard leader, XFDL. (Granted, I asked JetForm specifically how their standard differs from UWI.com's.) Eric Stevens of JetForm made the following case, quite convincingly:

XFA provides a finer structure for data. For example, the digital signature on an XFA form can be applied to the separate fields, as opposed to applying only to the entire form. So, when the recipient application gets the form, it can tell which fields are signed.

XFDL assumes (according to Eric) that all users want the same presentation of information; it's a "single-state" spec. XFA lets you include business rules that can hide or show elements based on circumstances. It can also be rendered on a wide variety of devices, so a form that works on your desktop could also work on your CE device.

Powerful story!

The problem is that UWI.com denies every jot and tittle.

Eric Jordan, president of UWI.com, laughs ironically. (At least it sounded ironic to me. It's sometimes hard to tell irony from heartburn over the phone.) When UWI.com launched XFA, he says, the ability to extract data while preserving context was taken for granted, so they decided they would highlight XFDL's unique ability to preserve all of the document-based, presentation information about the form, as required in many legalistic environments. Now, he says, they're being criticized for not having the data extraction capabilities. In particular, the boys of UWI.com say:

XFDL can be parsed to as fine a level as XFA, and signatures can be attached to any set of fields.

Individual elements can be extracted with any set of meta-data one wants.

XFDL enables you include business rules so that, for example, if you click a "capital gains" box on a tax form, a new set of appropriate fields will appear.

Eric Jordan admits that XFA may be less device dependent than XFDL, although even that's not clear, but he emphasizes that XFDL's ability to preserve the document qualities of the form make it a superior format in the many environments where that is a requirement.

So, if you need to advance your company's eforms strategy — to decrease the pain of paper and to increase the integration of your supply chain — what the [email protected]#$% do you do?

First, you look at the partners who are lining up with each standard. UWI cites Entrust, CommerceOne, Action Technologies, Integrity, Optika, PenOp, VeriSign, GTE, MetaStorm and BlueStone. Jetform cites Entrust, PenOp, Silanis and VeriSign, and they include a juicy quote from Microsoft because XFA should play nicely in the Beast of Redmond's BizTalk environment. UWI.com counters by pointing to their close involvement with Commercenet's eCo framework specification.

Second, you look at the forms software themselves. The standard is just one piece of the strategy. For example, if you decide that one company's standard is more elegant but the other one's forms application software is more useful, then you will decide to go with the lesser of the standards. (Ah, now to make it more complex: Of course, if you go with one because of its software, but the market standardizes on the other's standard, you just screwed yourself.)

Third, and most important, if you can, you wait. You hope either the market will decide or the W3C will issue a spec that integrates the two.

Fourth, you work up a nice head of righteous indignation. Was the multiplication of standards done to help us, the users, or because it made marketing sense? Could JetForm have worked with UWI.com to extend XFDL to meet its needs? Could UWI.com announce that their software will be happy to work with whatever standard rulz?

Sure, but that's not how the standards game is played.

Sigh.

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Evaporating Business

Business as a managed enterprise is evaporating or, if you prefer, crumbling like the Berlin Wall. And if you want a perfect example, consider Flycast Communications.

Y'see, Flycast does something with online advertising, although their site never tells you exactly what. In fact, it says Flycast is:

a leading provider of web-based direct response advertising solutions to advertisers. The company is focused on maximizing the return on investment for response-oriented advertisers, direct marketers and e-commerce companies by delivering the most ROI-effective audience reach, response and results in the industry.

Or whatever.

Anyhow, it seems to have something to do with banner exchanges.

So, on May 7, according to an article by Susan Moran in Internet World (May 24), someone at Flycast sent email to about 500 customers with information about how to finalize their contracts with the company so Flycast could actually begin putting banners on their sites. Unfortunately, this certain someone made a very human mistake and forgot to use the BCC function so all 500 customers received the email addresses of the other 499 people.

Some clever customers used this information to begin setting up their own private ad networks, cutting Flycast out of the picture. For example, a marketing manager at Freightgate.com sent mail to the list and within a few hours had gotten 50 responses.

(On the other hand, Fred Stodolak, the CEO of SportSoft, responded: "How can I trust Flycast with providing us quality sponsors when they can't even manage their own operation?" I guess Fred got to be CEO by never making a single mistake. Thanks for the tip, Fred.)

So, is this little Rorschach anecdote a proof that people are greedy, backstabbing bastards? Or is the point that BCC is a bad thing? Or that mailing list technology — if only they'd used it — is a good thing?

Oh, sure, but that's not what I take from it.

First, there are no secrets. Your market is going to find out whatever it is that you don't want them to know. Count on it.

Second, the market is talking to itself. It no longer is the mass market of broadcasting that stares into the TV set to receive its hypnogogic instructions on which cola to buy and how to dissolve plantar's warts in just minutes a day. The mass market is made up of individuals who can now talk to one another.

So, if the value of your business depends on keeping your customers separate from one another, your value is going away. And, if your value depends on keeping your customers separated from the truth, your value will flip to negative value over night. I don't know exactly which night it'll happen, but it's coming. 

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Why search engines suck, Part Whatever

The very same scientists who reported in Science a few months ago (see http://www.hyperorg.com/backissues/joho-may16-98.html#articles ) on a study of search sites they did in December 1977 (conclusion: search sites suck) have now updated it with research done in February of this year. The results: Search engines suck worse.

The previous study found that there were about 350M web pages in existence and the most compendious of the search sites — Hotbot — indexed about 30% of them. The worst of the majors (Lycos, of course) indexed about 3%.

The new study estimates there are 800M Web pages now, and the largest site (Northern Light) indexes 128M of them, about 16%

Wiping up the rear, so to speak, is Lycos.

Lycos, however, claims that their database is five times larger than what the study shows. They've done a lot of growing since February, they say. Keep in mind, however, that Lycos lies.

Here's the results of my own investigation:

 

Search Expression

Northern Lights

Lycos

"search engines suck" [exact phrase]

81

0

"lycos sucks" [exact phrase]

4

3 [but one doesn't have the phrase on it]

lycos inflates its numbers [all words]

201

0



Joshua Newman forwards the following message he sent to the masters of AltaVista:

After hundreds of visits to AltaVista, for some reason I decided today that I'd adopt your suggestion to "Ask AltaVista a Question." Entering the words of the example shown ("When Can I Attend an Indian Performance in Clearwater, FL?") produced hits on 10,531,968 web pages. The first link took me to the 1995 annual report of The Institute for Global Change Research and Education at the University of Alabama; the second and third both led back to AltaVista's home page. There followed links to a county purchasing department, a motorcycle dealership, a yacht broker (twice), a family guestbook, the Travel Towne RV Resort, and an economic forecast for the state of Florida. And so on..

Around the middle of the third page of results ("Photos of the Virgin Mary Apparition in Clearwater, FL"), I decided to ask a different question: would a better example perhaps be in order?.

At any rate, this entertained me for a few minutes, and I thank you for the experience.


3Com, maker of the Palm Pilot, um Palm Communicator, has a lovely site. So, suppose you want to find out how the Palm V synchronizes with Microsoft Outlook 2000. Here are some of the searches that produce 0 results:

Outlook
Synchronize
Sync
Palm

Results proudly brought to you by Infoseek where Mickey Mouse does all his searching.


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CEOs Who Get It

CIO Enterprise, a magazine I like, recently ran an article called "Chief Executives who Get IT" (by Daintry Duffy, July 15), with the dumbass pun about "it" and "Information Technology" they use three times in every issue. In the article, four With-It CEO's get special call-outs in which they're profiled on three counts: Internet, email and push technologies. Here's what they say about email:

 

Nader F. Darehshori

Chairman, President, CEO, Houghton Mifflin

"...an assistant helps me sort through it."

Carl Pascarella

President, CEO, Visa USA

"I try to read it, but most of the time I'll have my secretary skim the email for me."

William Stavropoulos

President, CEO, Dow Chemical

"My assistant sorts and organizes it first ..."

David Fuente

Chairman and CEO, Office Depot

"Somebody screens it for me."

 

Ah, the new food tasters.

Y'know, this may sound like a reasonable way for a Busy Executive to proceed, but unless the secretaries are just screening out the rankest spam, then every dismissed message is the voice of someone in the organization who's screwed up his or her courage to say something to the CEO. Zap, you just hit the email electrocution lamp, buster!

Hey, Mr. Big Shot CEO, skimming your own post-spam-filtered email might be a good way to hear what your business is saying. It might even be a basic form of courtesy.

And they wonder why we hate them.

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Links I like

Well, here's a tough kettle of fish. I desperately want to recommend the latest issue of Tom Petzinger's newsletter because it contains an epochally brilliant discussion of "de-monetization" — the fact that money is becoming so not the point. This ain't no touchy-feely, anti-greed stuff. Petzinger writes for the Wall Street Journal, comrades, so we suspect that he always errs on the side of gelt. But he's also the author of the only readable business book in the past three years: The New Pioneers. You can get to his free newsletter at: http://www.petzinger.com.

I'd be happy to to end it there, but you'll notice at the end of his newsletter there is an egregious plug for JOHO (which he has the nerve to call "a snoozer of a name," as if "Petzinger" is a gift from marketing gods — Hey, Tom, if you have *any* marketing savvy, you'd have renamed yourself "PetZinger!" complete with exclamation point. Do I have to lead you by the hand every step of the way??). He says some demonstrably false things about me that I'll let pass because they're positive.

So, how will you ever believe me when I tell you that The Petzinger Report is a must-read?

(Also, I hate to admit that Chris "RageBoy" Locke's 'zine has been outrageously funny for the past few weeks. You really ought to take a look: http://www.rageboy.com/index2.html.)


Britt Blaser writes:

A small group of us are creating the non-corporate Peer Economy <http://www.xpertweb.com/peerecon.htm>. We say that the Corporate Economy is really just a screwed-up Operating System that needs a human-friendly open source alternative <http://www.xpertweb.com/EconomyOS.html>

Xpertweb means to have no centralized 'greedpoint' but rather is built on a distributed greed model, using XML to tie together buyers and sellers in a web of automatic reputation-building and -killing.

There is no Xpertweb Inc., and the system is built so there can't be -- no one behind the curtain.

It's a really interesting screed. You ought to read it.


Paul Nagai, noting our interest in Doomsdays Beyond Y2K, points us to:

http://www.merlyn.demon.co.uk/critdate.htm

Here you'll find all sorts of new dates to worry about. Be warned, however: the site is rather cranky. For example: "I do not permit the wording of this list of dates to be copied on the Net." In fact, I expect to get in trouble for copying onto the Net his warning about copying the wording of dates.


I used to be a card-carrying member of the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. But, since I wasn't a professional, socially responsible or even social, I stopped attending the meetings. Besides, how long can you spend with the beard and Birkenstock crowd plotting the redemption of the planet by issuing whitepapers? CPSR is on a membership drive, however, and they're doing some good things:

http://www.cpsr.org/program/


Gary Stock (writing via one of our favorites zines, http://tbtf.com ) points us to a Microsoft page that will have the Titans of Redmond hand-deliver to you a CD that will check Windows and NT for Y2K compliance. It's free and there's not even any postage or handling. So, go ahead, order hundreds!

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/year2k/y2kcd.htm


Greg Cavanagh, Linux acolyte, points us a "bunch of guys trying to build the supreme super computer from donated 386s:

http://www.teraflop.org/


Jason Gollan sends us to a site that really stinks:

http://www.realaroma.com./

No, it really stinks.


Speaking of things that suck, Rick Levine has found an odd domain registration service:

http://hotpoop.firehose.net/suckz/


Chris RageBoy Locke sends us to a very, very funny article that will please those who liked www.cluetrain.com:

http://www2.ecst.csuchico.edu/~atman/attention-fat-bastards.html


The Improper Bostonian, a local free magazine, points to two sites for angry, bitter lovers.

Women can register the names of men they hate at The Dick List:

http://www.urbekah.com/housewife/framesetdick.html

This is actually an entertaining site, not just for the hundreds of "Men are louses" stories — Flash! Gravity holds things down! — but for the copious side bars.

Meanwhile, men can wallow with an odd fellow who thinks he is the perfect man for some woman but who "can't get laid." What exactly is he doing wrong? Maybe it's his intense self-absorption. For example, do we really need a page discussing his uncertainty about whether he's circumcised? (Hint: Turn the lights on next time you get dressed, moron.) Find out at:

http://chickssuck.shutdown.com/

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Framejacking in our time

"Framejacking" is what we call it when someone gets the context radically wrong. For example, throwing trash into a trash barrel on sale in a hardware store is framejacking. Or, to take another example, Ronald Reagan.

Here's a bit of purposeful framejacking I could do without. It's a banner ad:

No, please don't click on it.


Andy Moore, editor of KMWorld, forwards the following from a PR agency:

From: David Ottenfeld[SMTP:[email protected]]
Sent: Friday, July 16, 1999 3:05:55 PM
Subject: test

Please disregard this e-mail. It is only to test the accuracy of our database system. Thanks.

Writes Andy:

A fine example of the respectful relationship between PR agencies and their prime contacts in the fourth estate...

I feel *so* used...

Note to PR agencies: If you're going to send spam, could you please not make it explicitly content free? Thanks.

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Misc.

Tom Blackwell sends along the following message and press release, which I've excerpted heavily:

The following news should create new focus for KM community as well as interesting dialogue. We patent-pended a metainnovation process and a new science to raise the question about IP law...

Ed Swanstrom
President KMCI
[email protected]

WASHINGTON, DC - July 8, 1999 — Imagine Christopher Reeve being able to walk in half the expected time. Or life-saving pharmaceuticals to fight cancer or AIDS brought to market in one-third the time. Or overhauling the U.S. education system to create first-rate curriculums which produce smarter students. These are just a few of the things possible with a new patent-pending scientific process introduced by researchers at Extreme Innovation Labs ...

"...Another unique feature of this patent-pending invention is that EI has locked up the process of innovating innovation - metainnovation. This will be hard to circumvent."
Richard Litman
Attorney
Litman Law Offices

Ah, where to begin, where to begin? Is it the pandering of the first line ("Buy our product so the children can live!"), the conceit implicit in the claim ("No one has thought about the process of innovation so far!") or the odiousness of the patent ("We know how to save the children, raise the dead, and cure sick puppies — and we're not telling!")?

So, were you thinking about improving your creative processes? Gotcha! You owe EI $5.00!

 

Middle World Resources

A Compendium of Resources
Walking the Walk  

 

The Internet doesn't just hasten time, it changes its nature. And in so doing, it changes the nature of information, science, management...

For example, The Industry Standard (May 10, 1999, Todd Woody) reports that an online medical journal has sprung up that is going to publish peer reviewed articles in just about real time. Medscape General Medicine (www.medscape.com ) is going to ask reviewers to critique articles in 3 days, instead of the minimum of two weeks at the New England Journal of Medicine. George Lundberg, the editor of the 'zine — and long-time editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, fired for releasing a survey as Clinton was being impeached that said (stop the presses!) most men like getting blown — says that he doesn't think quality will be affected because "We believe the main delay is not the amount of time it takes to do the review. It is the amount of time it sits on someone's desk."

The zine will be free to the 180,000 physicians and nearly 1 million consumers already registered at the Medscape site.

The next step should be for the Journal to post unreviewed articles, explicitly noting their status. Then maybe we'll see distributed peer reviews as the Web continues to eat away at the informational caste system.

 

Cool Tool
For the Hyperlinked Organization
 

This issue's cool tool comes from Michael O'Connor Clarke. He writes:

Gooey (to quote their marketspeak) is "a groundbreaking Internet tool enabling people simultaneously browsing the same Web site to communicate with each other."

As you surf, it pops up these funkadelic little windows that tell you who else is looking at the same site (assuming they're Gooeyed too, natch). You can create group or private chats, share files - get into all sorts of totally smashing kinds of grooviness that you never even dreamed possible.

The applications of this in-house (tied into our Intranet, for example, as a way to promote collaboration between different departments having interests in and input to various areas of the intranet) maketh my mind boggle. It has great potential as a conferencing tool too.

Plus - even if you think the UI sucks and the application itself is of questionable use, you have to agree that their web site & overall marketing kicks serious butt. Well you don't have to agree, actually - but if you don't, please bear in mind that you'll only be revealing what a shallow, parochial hoser you are.

Cool Tool. Kicks Butt. Joe Bob says: check this sucker out.

http://www.gooey.com

Internetcetera

According to American Forest & Paper Association, U.S. offices used 33% more paper for computers, copiers and personal use, in 1997 than in 1986. (CIO Enterprise, July 15)

Probably mainly executives having their secretaries print out their email.

 

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Email, Arbitrary Insults, and Suspicious Hacking Coughs

Apparently I am continuing to confuse Jim Montgomery and Jim Champoux, which is odd since Montgomery is a swarthy fellow with antlers whereas Champoux is 9'7" tall but looks taller in his tutu. I hereby officially give up trying to separate the two of them.


Rather amazingly, I heard from Matt Levitz. He showed up in these pages, as you undoubtedly don't remember, as the author of a blurb used in advertisements for The Negotiator that says: "The Most Intelligent thriller since 'Die Hard'! I made some gentle fun of him:

"As intelligent as Die Hard!? Isn't this like being called the best lookin' dude since Gerard Depardieu? If I were Dr. Levitz I would just be praying that Steven Seagal doesn't have this ad read to him." —http://www.hyperorg.com/backissues/joho-sept25-98.html

Never for a moment did I think Matt might read it. Oh, how I underestimated the power of ego surfing!

Dr. Levitz writes, good-naturedly, in response:

To clarify the point of my quote, action films aren't generally known for their appeal to the intellect. If you can find one that does, it's worth celebrating. "Die Hard" fit that description. And so did "The Negotiator." And, for that matter, "Air Force One" and "The Fugitive" did as well. And that's more or less it for the genre. That was the point I was making — that most action films aren't worth bothering with, but this one was. And Steven Seagal can only dream of joining that club.

As an editor of a low-circ 'zine, I lack all standing to say: If "The Negotiator" hadn't been so utterly stupid (obvious plot turns, completely implausible set up), it would have been an intelligent thriller. But "Die Hard"? Bruce has to kill bad guys, one by one, increasingly gruesomely, but always with some quip on his lips. (Definition of a quip: something that's not funny.) In fact, my favorite line from the movies comes from one of the Die Hards where Bruce Willis is in a tight spot, hunkering behind or under something, and he places his fingertips to his temples and he says, aloud, "Think! Think!" Yeah, the last resort when your ammo clip jams.


Lord Kyle of Patrick, too long absent from these pages, writes:

...as a symbol of Eternal Corporate Tolerance from us pals here at DCS, here are two documents, zipped, which comprise an XML document containing some small news items, and an XSL document that transforms them (yep, the XSL uses some CSS to make the display pretty). IE5 shouldn't have any problems; so long as they're in the same directory it'll automatically transform the XML document (since I've linked them). Look at the source to see the XML/XSL at its glossy best.

How to read the XSL: Well, it's pretty dense, hard to pick apart. http://msdn.microsoft.com/xml/c-frame.htm#/xml/default.asp is good readin'. But as you can see, the XSL document is a mixture of standard HTML, with XSL directing the document's "flow" through the XML document. I can't think of a better way to do it.

Be sure to look at the "simple" XSL document to see what I mean when I declare that XML/XSL webpages are not going to be common just yet.

Here are the two documents:

http://www.hyperorg.com/misc/sample.xml
http://www.hyperorg.com/misc/sample.xsl

If you click on the first one and are using Microsoft IE 5, you'll see a fine looking page. If you click on the second one, you'll see the code that formats that fine looking page. Lord Patrick humbly neglects to point out that the XSL document actually puts the three elements on the page in date order; if you change the dates in the blue bars (in the source document), the elements rearrange themselves.


William "Sabotage" Sabota writes to agree with my dismal assessment of Microsoft's Digital Dashboard:

The concept predates Intranets and gets into the early EIS stuff. "Forward into the Past"

This has, in fact, been the strategy from the beginning at Microsoft where innovation has never been impeded by the Not Invented Here syndrome.


Self-described "web wastrel" Jay Turley writes in response to Larry Fitzpatrick's letter in the previous issue pointing out various sinister images buried inside of Walt Disney films:

... as a curious father of two, I went through my children's Disney collection (extensive) and verified that many of the "special moments" in the Disney films are actually there. See the following list:

Lion King - yes, the letters S-E-X appear about midway through the movie in a cloud of smoke, although they look more like S-F-X

The Rescuers - yes, 38 minutes into the film, there are two frames which have a tiny picture of a topless woman on them, only in older versions (such as ours =)

Little Mermaid - no boner; it's his knee.

Aladdin - no - it's misheard; "Scat good tiger, take off and go," becomes "Good teenagers, take off your clothes," under the influence of zealotry

Hunchback of Notre Dame - yes, Belle (of Beauty and the Beast fame) appears during the 2nd musical number

more and gooder information: http://snopes.simplenet.com/disney/films/filmindx.htm

Thanks for the info. JOHO's investigative team has widened the search for Pornography Amongst Us with the following shocking results:

During a three-way scene in "Mistress Pain and Her High Rise Neighbors," the voice of Pocahantas can be heard off screen saying "Holy mother!" — and she sounds obviously naked!

During President Clinton's infamous phone call blow job, he was actually mentally undressing Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast.

Certain cracks and water stains in the ceiling above my desk can be viewed as forming a startlingly realistic of Uncle Roy "doing" Cubby (although it's uncertain whether those are mouse ears or Annette Funicello).

We urge you — no, we beg you — to report other confirmed incidents of attempts to subvert our moral fibre through the pornographying of beloved Disney icons.


Chris Byrne writes, discussing Y2K as "a test of the maturity of the Net and susceptibility of the issue to conscious or unconscious disinformation":

...along comes a brilliant example that has been doing the rounds of Y2K web ccircles for the last week. The hoax was perpetrated by Stephen M. Poole, a self-confessed Y2K debunker (i.e. debunking doomsday myths etc.). He describes the hoax and its consequences at the following link: http://www.wwjd.net/smpoole/fixed.html. Look for the section entitled "An Experiment in Journalism" This isn't the first and won't be the last. There have been several over the last year. The quality filters ordinary journalism used to provide have gone completely out of the window in Y2K Net-world. I've seen Y2K myths make their way into international newspapers and congressional testimony (from the CIA nonetheless). Sheesh!

Y2K obviously is hitting on something mythic in our collective unconscious (if we had one which obviously we don't because it's an absurd idea). But, for all the myths, we do know for certain that in minute 28 of Pinocchio, you can clearly see Gepetto having sex with an underage Y2K. No, really.


J.F. Smith, poet, musician and technical documentation writer, sends us some lines of his poetry run back and forth through the Babelfish automatic translation engine available at www.altavista.com:


Original:
show me what I have to lose
from the French and back to English:
show me what I must destroy

Original:
sow wildflowers in your sheets
then place a fresh rose in my shoe

from the Italian and back to English:
Wildflowers of the scrofa in your sheets (Should I see a doctor about that?)
then to arrange a coolness is increased in my ice-skate


AD Marshall writes a curiously low-self-esteem message from his abode in Vietnam:

Here's one for your "Why search engines suck" thread....

Our "Vietnam Network Antivirus RAP" is now hit No.1, out of 938,110, on Altavista for "network antivirus" — even beat out Network Associates, Symantec and Trend Micro. 8).

Nothing personal, AD, but it is a bit odd that you made it to the top of that estimable pile (1,345,829 pages according to Alta Vista when I checked). You do good work and all, but the phrase "Network Antivirus" only shows up four times on your page, and you haven't even done any of the hacks like listing it a thousand times in a meta tag or in text the same color as the background.

Here's something almost as amazing. When I ego surf for "David Weinberger" on Alta Vista, the fourth listing leads to your home page — http://www.paradoxcafe.com/VICE/ — on which you reprint the message that I've printed here. You got some powerful mojo working with them Alta Vista folks, AD!


Jim Meyer writes about our contention that the Web is a world in the same way that we talk about the business world.

Oh really? I didn't see any proof points for this fantastic assertion. Even the statement —"the web = world" — demands cohesion of the web that clearly is lacking. Business is the thesis. The Web is antithesis. Neither survives unchanged. Are you sure the rumbling isn't indigestion?

Well, the general line of argument, if I may dignify it as such, was that the Web shares the characteristics that lead us to talk about business as being a type of world. But we're just pleased as punch that Jim thinks my assertion was "fantastic." Look for a Matt Levitz-style endorsement to this effect on my home page. Coming soon to a browser near you!


Dan Bolita, sympathizing with my petty-minded diatribes against companies that done me wrong, writes:

I just got the SoundBlaster Live! card (and not the "value" one either, ha ha). What a fiasco.

You see, I got a nice HP Kayak XA Pentium3 (or is that III) That's the secret! I I I... get it? aye aye aye ! ha ha I digress.

It shipped with NT. So I took NT. I could have "down-graded" to Win 98, for free, but who wants to downgrade?

Well, it didn't have a modem. What a nuisance. I bought a modem. it didn't work with NT. So I bought one that did. Quickly discovering nothing worked with NT. Find the printer driver. find the Syquest driver (not) find the HP Scanner driver (Pay them $25 for it? How rude!).

Naturally with all this driver action going on, there was a crash. dreaded blue screen. no OS found. etc.

Lots of calls to very responsive and knowledgeable HP tech support got me back up (the computer that is).... until...

No Video. Dead video card. Ugh. Time for the on site service. To my house in Maine on a tiny dirt road. They sent a bull to my china closet. He parked on my lawn. He yanked off the cover, yanked out the card, slammed in the new one (commenting that it was better than the old one by mistake) backed into my fence and drove off. (I gave him lobsters anyway, I hope they died).

Anyway, he failed to care whether the mouse was frozen (it was) or if the video drivers were installed (they weren't). Lots of huge icons telling me my screen colors are too few.

I'm proud to say I opened (with care) the cover to discover the Matrox card had been replaced with a Elsa GLoria card, and was able to find the appropriate drivers and install them my own damn self. One would think on site video card installation would include installation of appropriate drivers. I've since called HP to tell them about my service experience and they really recommend I put the Matrox card back (which they're sending me to do my own damn self since I won't let the bull back in the yard).

There will no doubt be more to my Kayak story as I want to have a tablet without killing a mouse and the scanner's still not recognized .......

What other major, fragile electronics require idiots to remove the cover and doink around with internal parts?

Jeez, you sound like the man from the moon. I've been using computers for twenty years and I've never had a problem like this. I just turn mine on when fall sets in and it keeps my office nice and toasty, and once I got rid of the big TV set that came with it, it hasn't given me a lick of trouble.

dividing line

Bogus contest: ExMail Lists

I am a happy member of a mailing list established many years ago for departed employees of Interleaf. The list is felicitously named "interleft."

The fact that the interleft community has hung together for so long is actually quite remarkable. But who cares about that when we have a cheap bogus contest to develop?

Imagine, if you will, that all companies have mailing lists for ex-employees. What clever, punning names might they have? For example:

 

Company
ExMail List
Microsoft
Microsolong
Lotus Notes
Lotus Not-us
Intuit
Out-of-it
Amazon
I'm-a-gone
Buy.com
Bye.com
CDNow
CDThen
Activision
Deactivision
Id
Did
LucasArts
LucasDeparts
IBM
IWipe

[Note: Someone suggested the Intuit exmail list to me, but I forget who. Sorry.]

Now it's your turn...


Bogus Results

Last month's contest asked you to take a theorem from outside of business, apply it to business, write a best-selling book and make a million dollars.

Gershom Bazerman suggests the following titles and subtitles:

Managing the Expressionist Cinema Way: Using Sharp and Soft focus to keep problems black and white.

The Baseball of Integrated Strategy: Switch hitting when the pitcher least expects it.

O-chem Marketing: Don't search for hype, synthesize it!

John T. Maloney adds

Don't Automate, Obliterate: A Guide for Management Terrorists

All such business books are guilty of premeditated framejacking, the crime of the century, which many think was OJ's beheading of his blood-pale wife, but which was in fact only a crime worth noting precisely because OJ's Orestian rage framejacked his celebrity as a sports god and gin-rummying, tee-time self-parody. Now, JOHO, like OJ (palindromically related by the dismaying cry, "Oh OJ!") fears it has crossed a line into self-parody, the hyperlinked theme providing the type of thin trope required for a business book even as it pillories such febrile attempts to hang a load of real laundry on an attenuated line of hypothesis. But no hypothesizing is required to know that JOHO's moist underwear is flapping in the wind, giving lie to every high-flown phrase to go out over the copper thread of the Web as another issue evaporates, leaving nothing but a sparkling brume and stubborn skidmarks.


Editorial Lint

The following information was found trapped at the top of my washing machine when I ran some issues of JOHO through it.

JOHO is a free, independent newsletter written and produced by David Weinberger. He denies responsibility for any errors or problems. If you write him with corrections or criticisms, it will probably turn out to have been your fault.

Subscription information, or requests to be removed from the JOHO mailing list, should be sent to [email protected]. There is no need for harshness or recriminations. Sometimes things just don't work out between people.

Dr. Weinberger is in a delicate nervous state, but if you want to send positive comments to him, his email address is [email protected].

Dr. Weinberger is represented by a fiercely aggressive legal team who responds to any provocation with massive litigatory procedures. This notice constitutes fair warning.

Any email sent to JOHO may be published in JOHO and snarkily commented on unless the email explicitly states that it's not for publication.


The Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization is a publication of Evident Marketing, Inc.

"The Hyperlinked Organization" is trademarked by Open Text Corp. JOHO gratefully acknowledges Open Text's kind permission to use this felicitous phrase.

For information about trademarks owned by Evident Marketing, Inc., please see our Preemptive Trademarks"!"! page at http://www.hyperorg.com/misc/trademarks.html.