For those who need to understand how the Web is transforming the way businesses work, yada yada yada
Issue: December 15, 1998
Author/Editor: David Weinberger
Central Meme: Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy
Favorite Beatle: John. Duh.
Current Personal Crisis: I feel Clinton's pain.
Home page: http://www.hyperorg.com
Contact information: Click here.
Is Knowledge Stupid?: Knowledge management is in danger of turning knowledge back into information. Knowledge isn't just useful information; it's much more important than that.
Proximal Inconsistencies: Two cases of thoughts that shouldn't be brought together, but are.
Media Entrails: Reading the mood of the media, on XML, NCs, operating-system-less databases and Linux.
Wallets, Not Eyeballs: Are web visitors eyeballs or deep pockets?
Arguments in Favor of Either Communism or Euthanasia, #1: Henry Hyde doesn't know enough to know that he's an idiot.
Links I Like: Make your own traffic sign and make your own stereograms ... preferably not at the same time
Walking the Walk: Yamaha uses an extranet to help its boat dealers
Cool Tools: My 'zine mailer craps out. And you can have it for free! What a deal!
Internetcetera: There are 20,000 software companies. And how does that help us?
Email, Arbitrary Insults, and Suspicious Hacking Coughs: The usual splendid email from our readers
Bogus contest: Frame Jackers
The JOHO-Centric Universe
Inform, the magazine for AIIM members (Motto: "We aiim to please. You aiim, too, please") has run a point-counterpoint, featuring me and Frank Gilbane, on the question of whether documents need to be unplugged from their ventilator yet. I say aye, he says nay. He's the studious, correct one. I'm the flighty, fun one. He loves the Ballet Russe while a hot dog makes me lose control. Together, we are Document Management's Cutest Couple.
National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" ran another of my commentaries, this one an emotion-packed-yet-smug report on how witnessing India's determination to wire itself brings out the inner Web child in us all. You can get to it at:
Wired (Dec., p. 216) has a couple of paragraphs of mine accompaniying quite a spectacular map -- run off by Bill Cheswick at Bell Labs -- of the routers that are the circulatory system under the Web's skin. I don't usually note my contributions to Wired since, these days, most of them are brief reviews, but I really like the graphic that goes with this one.
Is Knowledge Stupid?
Everything is the opposite of what it's claimed to be. When Nixon says, "I am not a crook," it's because he's a crook. When Clinton says he did not have sex, he had sex and didn't even wipe up properly afterwards. When Knowledge Management says "Knowledge is information raised to the next level of value," it means that KM debases knowledge.
I am slowly working my way through Kaddish by Leon Wieseltier -- struggling and savoring -- and came across the following:
I ask the rabbi to avail me of the diabolical CD-ROM in his possession, the one with the Babylonian Talmud and the Jerusalem Talmud and many, many rabbinical texts, entire continents of the tradition, all of which may be unlocked by "key words." (I have no doubt that this technology will debase knowledge and reduce these materials, like all the materials that it holds, to the status of information.) [Emphasis added]
Man, Wieseltier has put his finger on it. KM threatens to turn knowledge into information.
Here are some of the characteristics of knowledge, what corporate knowledge ought to be, and what KM threatens to take from us:
Knowledge is hard-won. We get wiser not by having knowledge but by winning it. Struggle, in this case, builds character -- and teaches us the worth of what we know.
You can't look knowledge up. You can look up information. Knowledge has to be learned, usually through struggle. (See above.)
Knowledge has a face. Unknown facts are facts nonetheless. Arguably, unknown information is still information. Unknown knowledge is an impossibility. That means that knowledge can't be stored and retrieved; it can only be learned. And once learned, you make it your own.
Knowledge has a voice. Facts are true no matter who says them. Information is accurate no matter who retrieves it. Knowledge, on the other hand, is expressed in the voice of particular humans.
Knowledge is certain. Knowledge is marked by the certainty with which we know it, not by its importance or interest.
Knowledge applies to wholes, not pieces. You can only be certain via a context within which certainty makes sense. For example, I can't be certain of anything in String Theory because I don't know understand anything about String Theory (except that it has nothing to do with string). So, I can't "know" pieces in isolation. (This is why, by the way, a person who has one piece of useful knowledge usually has many more. Expertise is chunky, not evenly distributed.)
Knowledge is messy. Knowing a field -- as opposed to knowing some facts -- means having a context for belief and even for perception. Because of the richness of life, these contexts tend to be quite messy (or "organic," if you prefer).
In short, the corporate knowledge base is the community of knowledgeable people. Any attempt to shove it into an information base in fact de-bases it.
PC Magazine, Dec. 15, p. 87: "Software is dead. People are wondering why there is a slowdown in the industry without noticing that there's paucity of interesting new software products...Developers have filled all the general-purpose niches, and their products have matured." -- John Dvorak, Ten Predictions for '99
PC Magazine, Dec. 15, p. 89: "Meanwhile, as people are complaining about the moribund software market, there are a couple of categories in which there is some fun action. One is the photo-manipulation tools market..." -- John Dvorak, Inside Track
There is a current foofaraw about a best-selling book that maintains that parents aren't the only -- and perhaps not even the main -- influence on children. How shocking! Yet, we seem perfectly ready to believe that it takes a village to raise a child.
By the way, it doesn't take a village to raise a child. It also requires a complete set of action figures, rubber sheets and 6 hours of TV a day.
News from the Good and Bad Guys...
The latest entrant in the Dorky XML Headline category is Infoworld (Nov. 30): "XML Explodes on the Scene." Doesn't "explode" imply a sort of suddenness? Otherwise, the story (by Jeff Walsh) itself is pretty good, except for some bizarre paragraphs stuck in the middle about the concerns of Randall Whiting, president and CEO of CommerceNet that (in the reporter's words) "the standards process is a potential dead end for XML if new markup languages continue to try to dictate how a business manages its internal process." I think this expresses nervousness about being able to translate from one DTD to another, but I suspect something got lost in the translation...
Right next door to this article is one about IBM's new xmLDAP technology that goes back and forth from XML to LDAP (the everyone-bow directory standard). They're submitting it to the W3C.
Infoworld continues on December 7 to notice XML with another article by Jeff Walsh headlined "XML gains ground as standard." It reports on a project advanced by the creator of Perl (Larry Wall) and Tim Bray, the co-author of XML. Perl, as you probably know, is a wildly popular language found on web servers (among other places). According to this very confusing article, Wall and Bray seem to have produced some software (XML::Parser) that lets Perl work with XML. It turns out that this new Perl module was in fact developed by several people (including Walsh and Bray). If you want more information, skip Walsh's article and go straight to www.perl.com where you'll find a very helpful article .
Walsh's article then starts talking about "coins" without explaining them -- did someone misplace a paragraph? -- which lets javabeans get at XML objects.
If you want to read an actually good article on XML's role, check Michael Vizard's column in Infoworld (Nov. 23). He maintains that Sun needs to make Java into a public domain language or else it will falter due to the strength of XML as a middleware tool, concerns about Sun's sole stewardship of Java, and the market's increasing acceptance of Microsoft's object model rather than JavaBeans. Vizard is one of these annoyingly smart guys who understands technology deeply and has a really good head for business and marketing issues. Therefore, we at JOHO hate him.
Linux. IBM has announced it's going to distribute a free Linux version of its DB2 database in the first half of next year.
The Continuing Death of NCs. FTD, which was one of the first companies to give the Sun Javastation a big wet kiss, has decided not to roll out these "network computers," but will instead buy 15,000 PCs from Dell. (InformationWeek, Nov. 2)
The Continuing Death of Operating Systems. Larry "Smelly" Ellison, continues his assault on Windows, this time by promising to make his databases run without any operating system. He's got a great name for this: "Raw Iron." Talk about macho! Why, you can practically see the sweat running down Larry's sculpted body as he stands shirtless in front of the software foundry, sluicing molten code into sturdy forms, pausing only occasionally to take a sip.
Sorry, sidetracked myself.
Oracle8i will ship on "server appliances" that run a stripped down OS. The claim is that this will lower the total cost of ownership since companies won't have to install Windows NT. Also, Larry's Box will support the 64-bit Intel Merced chip, while NT initially won't.
One suspects, however, that we won't see a lot of third-party software written to Larry's Raw Iron.
News Flash: Sun has announced it's going to sell machines with the OS-less Oracle database bundled on 'em. Take that, you Microsofties! (Ooooh, they're shaking in their boots in Redmond!)
Wallets, Not Eyeballs
I got to Doc Searls' page via one of RageBoy's self-congratulatory issues (it seems he's been invited to address the UN on why personal hygiene is over-rated or something like that ... and the fact that he gives JOHO a very nice, gratuitous plug doesn't stop me from biting the hand that pets me). Searls makes a point I wish I had thought of first, but I hereby claim preemptory rights to: The idea that the Internet economy consists of content, browsers and eyeballs is bunk. Especially the eyeballs part. Searls' point is that eyeballs are actually consumers, the Net is a demand-driver (not a supply engine) and the companies that Get This (Microsoft, not Netscape and AOL) are the ones that will win.
Now, let me see how I can add value to that insight (i.e., look smarter than Searls). Oh, oh, I know! Doc's a silly name! And he has moustache! So, as you can see, we've now gone way beyond his original insight.
The article about eyeballs is at http://www.searls.com/dochome.html. His 'zine, Reality 2.0, is at: http://www.searls.com/r2.html. There you'll find a universe oddly parallel to JOHO's with articles on what is information, the importance of telling stories, and why the Web is not TV, for example. And, while Searls reviews technology books for Canada's daily newspaper, the Globe and Mail, I used to review technology books for Canada's newsweekly, Maclean's.
I pledge, however, never to grow a moustache.
Arguments in Favor of Either Communism or Euthanasia, #1
Note to our non-American readers: Please do not read the following as it is just too damn embarrassing.
Faithful readers know that JOHO remains scrupulously neutral when it comes to politics. But I'm afraid we must break our silence to reprint the following exchange between Henry Fuckhead Hyde (sorry, it just slipped out), Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and Representative Mel Watt, democrat of North Carolilna.
Henry Hyde: I'm fascinated by the discussion of what the words mean, "high crimes and misdemeanors," and I've read a little bit on it -- far from exhaustively. But I would just say ... the plain English of "misdemeanor" -- "demeanor" means how you conduct yourself, and "misdemeanor," I would suspect, is not conducting yourself very well -- misconduct. ... "misdemeanor" is like something that's malapropos. It's the opposite of appropriate. And "misdemeanor" is the opposite, I would think, of good conduct."
Mel Watt: I remember the chairman had this discussion with one of the experts. And the expert ... said that the chairman's interpretation of "misdemeanor," in the historical context, was just simply not correct.
Note that this is from the debate on Friday, December 11, after all the hearings were done and as they were about to vote on the articles of impeachment.
And so Clinton gets impeached, for passing notes in class, for cutting in line and, worst of all, for not wiping the smirk off his face.
STOP THE PRESSES! Argument #2 just came in! Bob Livingston, the "moderate" Republican replacing Newt as Speaker of the House, has shown himself to be freshly stupid! (Newt may have been venal, corrupt, and an official Liar to Congress, but he wasn't dumb.) Here's a quotation from Livingston who was, of all things, addressing feminists:
Richard Nixon's crime was covering up a crime he did not commit. Clinton is covering up a crime he did commit, and that is a large difference.
Special Mini Bogus Contest: How many mistakes can you find in that quotation? (Fractal and recursive mistakes are allowed.)
By the way, there's a petition going around the Web for Americans who want to censure Clinton and then get back to the important issues. You can sign it at:
Strictly speaking, signing it is optional.
Links I Like
I'm not at all sure why I like this, but here is one of the odder hobbies.(Pray that you don't get trapped next to the creator of this site while on a transatlantic flight.)
A friend from a former life (= Interleaf), Craig Swanson, is selling t-shirts displaying his cartoons. Craig's sense of humor is more whacked than wacky, You may enjoy them. I do.
You gotta love them stereograms, don't you? You can turn any word into one of the eyeball-bending faux-3D illusions at: http://shay.ecn.purdue.edu/~johoski/cooltxt.html
Here's one with a secret message:
If you don't know how to see one of these, just look 6 inches past the screen. Also, it helps to drink tequilla or contemplate the prospect of Henry Hyde passing moral judgment on someone.
Middle World ResourcesA Compendium of Resources
Walking the Walk
Infoworld (Nov. 23) reports that Toyota is using an extranet to link the dealers selling boats powered by Lexus V8 engines (plus: over 38 cup holders, stem to stern!).
The new venture is called the Toyota Marine Network and it drops the Lexus engine into 21-foot boats designed for competitive water-skiing (which includes thrilling contests such as holding on the longest, eating Chinese while skiing, and studying a foreign language to occupy your mind as your are pulled around and around and around).
The dealers can order boats and parts, specify customized boats, track the manufacturing process, or browse for potential customers among people who have registered at the public web site.
An additional system will let dealers file warranty claims. The system will sort through the various warranty dependencies among all the different component parts of the boats so that new and more ingenious reasons can be found for denying customers' claims. ("Sorry, Mr. Watson, but the Shark 2000 is carefully labelled as water resistant, not water proof!")
After a long day ordering custom parts and denying warranty claims, the dealers then formed a giant pyramid and were pulled in a circle for 11 hours in Cypress Gardens.
Cool? I don't think so. Here, in fact, is the story of woe about how I screwed up the mailing of the Special JOHO-ette last week.
Because my hosting service doesn't offer majordomo, I had been using a dumbass shareware program (the messianically named Global Messenger) to mail JOHO to the list of people I supplied it. But if it breaks in mid-mailing, it doesn't reliably tell you how much of the list it's gone through. Bad!
So, I decided to write my own using Visual Basic. I located a free set of mail controls and threw it together. Multimailer, as I cleverly named it, takes an ASCII list of addresses (one per line, with no flexibility or forgiveness), and sends a copy of a file to everyone on the list. But it also writes a log file after each copy is sent.
So, here's where I went wrong. It's really stupid and embarrassing.
As Multimailer sends out mail, it displays the address it just sent to in a scrolling text window. As I sent out the JOHO-ette, I noticed that it had stopped scrolling the names. "Shoot," I thought, "it's stopped mailing." So, I ended the program (by the way, when it encounters an error, it does not end prettily) and started resending the list to everyone after the last name visible in the text window.
Where did I go wrong? Here's a hint -- I didn't bother to check the log file! Double d'oh!
The answer is at the end of this issue.
If for some reason you'd like to use Multimailer, you can get a copy here, but you'll have to get your own copy of the VB5 DLL if you don't already have it (chances are good that you do). (It's for Windows only, natch.)
According to the inimitable Thornton May of Cambridge Technology Partners, there are more than 20,000 software companies larger than a garage shop (= revenues of greater than $5M).
Now, how many good ideas for software do you think there are?
Email, Arbitrary Insults, and Suspicious Hacking Coughs
Chris Condon says I shouldn't have published the link to the site that has thumbnails of www.despair.com's demotivational parodies:
Just a note to let you know that before there was Despair, there was Dumbentia (http://www.dumbentia.com) and the Seven Deadly Motivational Posters.
As it is, you probably shouldn't have published the link to the spot Mark Schenecker told you about. The Despair folks aren't fond of their thumbnails making around the net. Check http://www.despair.com/demotivators/info.html: "Do you realize people are forwarding your images everywhere?"
Well, add Despair to the list of Companies Too Dumb to Live. They're upset that their product is being happily distributed in thumbnails around the world for free? Jeez, how much do you think a company would pay for this type of word of mouth campaign?
Chris points to his own site which is full of very funny ad parodies from Chris's own hand: http://www.dumbentia.com
Chris then says:
I'm still trying to figure out how it is you make money at (whatever it is) you do, but more power to ya!
Funny you should ask. I retired in 1963 after Polaroid went public. I wasn't a shareholder but the smell of the fixative robbed me of the will to work.
Ever since I've played the part of a "strategic marketing guy." You can read about my merry exploits at: http://www.hyperorg.com/evident/evihome.html. (My "company" is called "Evident Marketing:" which explains my email address: [email protected])
Calvino (apparently, when he divorced Madonna, she got his last name) writes:
Hey, you call your list and zine "JOHO," so suck down some of this Hojo (tm) from the Land of Joho: Last Week in Japan: What Really Happened from our zine the Tokyo Q
Note: This .alt-Joho email has a very low Noise-to-Signal ratio and its only about 600 words once a week about what really happened last week in Japan.
--calvino; registered alien, lurking JOHO and RageBoy subscriber
As we've noted before (when challenged by Larry Bohn with the notion that "joho" means "penis" in Indonesian), "joho" turns out to mean "information" in Japan. We do not know what "calvino" means in either language.
Bob Morris takes issue with my explanation of Sun's attitude towards Java:
Java's original design purpose was for embedded systems---applets and network computing were a significant change of direction made early in its design and possible because of the flexibility of the language. I think most experts' opinion is that 10 years from now most computers will be embedded in appliances, houses, autos, etc. That may already be true, but the computers are not connected to much of a network. As my brother the chemist once remarked: "In 1970, who would have imagined that there would be more cpu's in toasters than in banks?".
I once heard Danny Hillis quoted more or less thus a few years ago: "Twenty years ago I gave a talk at a conference in this very hotel. I predicted that twenty years hence, cpu's would be small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and be powered by hearing aid batteries. A derisive questioner asked: 'what could you possibly do with such a small machine, put one in every doorknob?' " Then Hillis held up his hotel room keycard. Of course, few predicted that before the millenium computers would be as thin as a sheet of paper and have their own batteries. What could you possibly do with such a small computer, put one in every credit card?
Bob also disagrees with my saying that Sun positioned "servlets" (Java applets that run on the server) as a way of boosting Java's performance:
The purpose of a servlet is independent of performance. The purpose is to let clients ask the server for data and other services from the server. Servlets are a replacement for CGI, not a cure for poor applet performance. In fact, until recent releases of Java---when you can finally send objects down the network pipe---a lot of communication with servlets actually had to use the stupid, ascii-based CGI data exchange protocols to support their true aims.
I wouldn't dream of arguing with Prof. Morris (not when I can make fun of him instead) but Sun *did* say during the briefing that servlets help address the Java performance issue. It could be that servlets are, in the Freudian term, over-determined. (You're over-determined if you kill your father for Oedipal reasons *and* because he beat you *and* he's Henry Hyde.)
Kyle, Lord Patrick, writes:
I've found that I can control the Internet with my mind. I have spent all day trying to download a rather large set of files. The server keeps interrupting the download right in the middle, and applications such as Get Right (if you haven't heard of it, you've been staying in the preppy end of the web), which are supposed to resume downloads, just aren't working.
On 3 occasions now, the only time I have successfully downloaded any of these files is when I've cleared the screen of everything but the Netscape download dialogue box, and I've stared at the box and concentrated odd parts of my brain (God that can't be healthy). And it works...
Kyle, I can assure you that you are not "controlling the Internet" with your mind. Such a thing is impossible. Quite the contrary. *I* have been controlling your downloads with *my* mind. Please try to lose your self-centered view of the world.
In the very same message, Kyle unloads his spleen on XML. (I'm excerpting here.)
Finally, Kyle dyspeptically adds:
Thanksgiving is coming up. It happens to rank as the #1 Holiday That I Don't Get. Oh well, have a good one, whatever it is.
Didn't they teach you anything in school, Kyle? Thanksgiving is a self-congratulatory holiday in which we gloat over tricking the natives into liking us before actually killing them. Enjoy!
Australian Ron writes:
for those that care - it has been reported that Lotus Notes now runs with 'wine' ( the windows layer that runs natively in Linux ) - and the Gimp ( GNU image manipulation prog ) seems to have PhotoShop and more in the bag. [ snip numerous other examples]; Whatever NT has to offer will(is) also be(ing) melded into open source operating systems. Sun among many others have already realised the benefits of co-operating with the open source effort to proliferate the technology it has invested heavily in refining, and more importantly still believes in..
Say, here's a great idea! Why not build a killer app for Linux and make a million dollars! You heard it here first, JOHO-ers!
It'd also help a lot if Microsoft were to port Office to Linux. (Sure, it's not Windows, but neither is the Mac.) We can, in fact, take the day Microsoft ships Office for Linux as the official Day Linux Arrived.
The key to NT's ( and perhaps Microsoft's ) survival will likely lie in finding a way to get people to still want to pay for it once a 'free' operating system is again an option with the purchase of a new pc.
At the moment they appear to be approaching that indirectly - in the case of the web, we see them give away free browsers to the plebs, then sell the power behind the browser to the highest bidder in high priced server software.If you think your ISP is ripping you off - ask him how much the OS on his network cost you. make no mistake.. Internet explorer cost us all PLENTY.
We can look forward to the day when ordering from, say, Dell, we'll be asked if we want 1. Windows 2000 and Office or 2. Linux and Scoffice installed -- the former costing $175 more. This will be another official sign that Linux Has Arrived.
Dave Seaman, probably meaning to irritate me, confirms that he got the Word 97 easter egg to work. In the previous issue I ran the step-by-step directions that fail to work on either of my two machines. (Ok, so I didn't buy separate copies of Office for my desktop machine and my laptop machine. So impeach me.) We still have no clue why it works on at least one person's machine and not mine. (It gives you a pinball game.)
Dave does report, however, that
It does not let you do a screen print/capture either! And it hoses the task bar at the bottom of the screen.
Ah, worth every megaton of disk space.
Gordon Benett, editor of Intranet Design Magazine (http://idm.internet.com/index.html) passes along the following:
In view of your quest for words of the "snark" ilk, thought you might enjoy this security bulletin from Microsoft:
9/29/98 - The ISS X-Force team released a report on its research of a denial of service attack against the Windows NT RPC service. This attack, which has been named "snork", allows an attacker to cause a remote NT system to consume 100% of the CPU for an indefinite period of time. The vulnerability exists on Windows NT 4.0 Workstation and Server.
But why is Microsoft making up cute marketing terms for terrorist attacks on its key operating system? Isn't this a bit like the FBI at the self-congratulatory press conference announcing that it's foiled an attempt to poison the NYC water supply with plutonium referring to the the radioactive water as "H2-Glow, the Drink for When You're Geiger-Thirsty!" or "Watta-Wacky-Water - the Beverage that Lights You Up Inside!"
Bogus contest: Frame Jackers
In the previous issue (in the Web version only), we introduced rather casually the notion of "frame jackers," people who radically misunderstand context. We gave the example of someone who puts trash into a garbage can on sale in a hardware store.
RageBoy responded with the following charming anecdote:
I once saw a little girl, I mean like maybe 3 or 4, take an enormous (as in huge, prodigious!) dump in a toilet set up in a Sears bath accessories showroom. Her mother, who was distracted talking to the salesman, didn't see this until -- "Mommy, Mommy," tugging at her skirt -- the little girl pulled her over to the fake (how could she have known?) toilet to display her good work. When Mom finally got what had happened, she turned six shades of red and of course laid an embarrassment/guilt trip all over the poor child, toward whom I felt exceedingly sympathetic. She was obviously just being potty trained and had thought to get a gold star.
Very funny out of context, but highly poignant in the moment.
And Kyle, Lord Patrick, wrote:
Could the peanut gallery get a formal definition for the phrase "frame-jacking"? I get it in a general sense, but something a bit more concrete would be nice. On a passing whim, I ran the old Search Engine trick and found that frame jacking is a procedure that one can do to one's car (all agreed on that except for Infoseek, which of course returned 300,000 documents where "frame" and "jack" appear in the same paragraph).
In a less clear example, I saw A Bug's Life (yes, with a child) and the "out takes" at the end might count -- particularly one where one of the ants on screen turns out to be a cardboard cut-out of an ant.
Your challenge is to come up with more examples of frame jacking -- getting the context radically wrong. These may be hypothetical, or (preferably) real and anecdotal, or even in the form of a question. For example, perhaps:
Writing fan mail to a fictitious character.
Raymond Burr defending himself in court. (Or: Asking George Clooney for medical advice.)
Showing a re-run of a taped TV show on a holiday as if the characters have the night off.
Clapping at the end of a movie.
"Slamming on the brakes" while sitting in the back seat of a car.
Perhaps the children's joke: "Why did the chicken cross the road?" It's a joke about the usual pattern of jokes ... a meta-joke, if you will.
As always, we at JOHO ask you to out do us. And, believe me, in this case it can't be that hard.
Where did I go Wrong: Solution
Here's the solution to the puzzle of How I Screwed Up from the Cool Tools section above.
Multimailer wasn't broken. It was continuing to churn out mail. But, it was adding the name of the current mailee to the *bottom* of the scrolling window (just as I told it to) and wasn't automatically scrolling to the bottom. I didn't see the list changing and with amazing insight decided it had stopped mailing. (I have since added a counter visible at all times to avoid this problem.)
Stoopid? You bet!
Much merriment ensued from my little emailer blunder. For example, John Allred writes:
Thank Thank you you for for JOHO-ette JOHO-ette. But But I I received received two two emails emails with with the the file file . . I I think think you you must must be be providing providing it it twice twice because because your your modem modem is is set set for for full full duplex duplex. Just Just thought thought you you might might want want to to know know.
Kevin Johansen writes:
Being and nothingness being what they are, I've decided to send both of the copies you sent me of the recent JOHO back to you. I'm not sure why. Maybe just to announce that I AM to your new bulk mailer. Maybe not.
Kevin (Some call me Yahweh) Johansen
Great, two more issues to add to the inventory! Thanks a whole heck of a lot, Kev.
And, for those wondering why Kevin claims to be God in this letter, allow me to interpret. When Moses asks to know God's name, God replies that He Is Who He Is. (Well, first He says, "It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is.") This four word phrase gets reduced to its abbreviation (not acronym -- we've learned our lesson, thanks). It is considered by the Jews to be too holy a name to write or say. (See you in Hell, Kev.) It later gets phoneticized into "Jehovah," which Jews also won't say. In fact, Jews won't even write or say the twice-removed names for the name for the name of God, except in genuine prayer. As a not very observant Jew, I write "God" without much fear. I figure I have better reasons for going to Hell than talking about God without a suitable nickname. That is, as far as Hell goes, I'm over-determined.
Dinah "metagrrrl" Sanders has the good grace to shore me up against the flood tide of annoyed readers:
Anyone who doesn't forgive a little slip like that *especially* after being warned about the possibility of such a thing should be thrown into a pit containing Chris Locke, Carl Steadman and Owen Thomas. Death by snarkiness!
Thank you, metagrrrl. As a reward I'm forwarding the two copies Kevin returned.
Simon Whitaker responds to our request for dumb puns on computer components and ecommerce:
Order grass seed via your mow-dem
Order duck feathers by pressing the down arrow
Order building supplies via the sand card. (= Sound card. See what you've done to me?)
Of course, before ordering any of the above it's wise to check that ordering has been enabled in your Buy-OS. Oh dear...
Oh dear, indeed.
I suppose I have to take responsibility for these puns, spreading like a white stain on a blue dress. As the nation turns its weary eyes to the hilarious prospect of Monica taking the oath of office to talk about blowing the President to a panel of men with their hands tucked beneath the table, we banish all such thoughts from our head and repeat the mantra "All pain is the web of illusion" as we wait for white-haired men to bang their gavels demanding to bang, um, question this determined gal named Maya. We are what we are, and to each of us, a good night...
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].
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