For those who need to understand how the Web is transforming the way businesses work, yada yada yada
Issue: February 5, 1999
Author/Editor: David Weinberger
Central Meme: Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy
Favorite Beatle: John. Duh.
Current Personal Crisis: Momentarily enjoyed a winter breeze slipping in through crack in window and reacted by going for the caulking gun.
Home page: http://www.hyperorg.com
Contact information: Click here.
ContentsKnowledge Narratives: Stories are to information as information is to data.
Linux Bandwagon: More tales from the front
Ads foretelling the end of civilization: Limits are never broken, they're just re-defined
Links I Like: Here are some that are at least interesting
Walking the Walk: Ericsson's intranet portal
Internetcetera: Lying on your resume.
Email, Sardonic Wisecracks, and Suspicious Hacking Coughs: The usual wonderful mail from our readers
Bogus contest: Methodical Madness
It's a JOHO World After All
National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" ran another commentary by yours truly, this one on a corollary to the The Peter Principle: people rise to the level of other people's incompetence. If you have RealAudio, you can listen to it here:
And then they ran another one, on February 1, about how we'll grow into accepting artificial intelligence by talking with our toasters. Oh so enlightening!
KMWorld, which has suddenly become our very favorite web site, has published the first real-ish review of JOHO. And we come up smelling like roses! Thanks, fellas, and we certainly would say about *your*:"...an entertaining, thought-provoking Web 'zine and newsletter for the high-tech industry."http://www.kmworld.com/sitereviews/idr.cfm?review_id=95
"...combines quality insight and commentary into high-tech topics, market trends and technologies with unparalleled snarky humor."
"Few sites get a 5 rating from us. JOHO deserves it"
"...13 screens long"
Bran Ferren, chief mouseketeer at Disney, says (CIO Web Business, Dec 1)"...being a CIO is a story-telling problem. ... A string of numbers in abstraction doesn't mean anything. But a presentation, for example, of the financial state of the company in a way that is compelling and immediately gets people's attention is good story. I think if more CIOs understood that ultimately what they area doing is enabling the art of storytelling, they would be more effective at communicating the deeper ideas that generate the perception of value in their customers."I came across this after writing the following and said to myself, "Why, it would make a fine introduction!"
But I think I was wrong. Never mind.
The Start of the Article
"Data to information to knowledge." That's the progression the KM industry has been touting. But suppose this brings us to look for knowledge in all the wrong places. Suppose knowledge isn't a special type of information. Suppose you can't get to knowledge without jumping over a big discontinuity in what we too easily think of as an evolutionary progression.
Here's the surprise ending: Knowledge is narrative. Stories. It's got the best qualities of a yarn told by Tom Clancy, Garrison Keillor and Stephen King. And maybe some Homer also.
Ok, let's back up.
Why do we want knowledge anyway? (I'm talking here, of course, of knowledge in the bastardized, commercialized, computerized, business-ized sense, not the real knowledge that the smartest people in our culture have worried about for 2,500 years.) Why isn't information enough for us?
One line of KM thought says that the problem with information is that there's too darn much of it. Thus KM is really about selective forgetting. This part of the culture uses words like "filter," "focus," and "knowledge mining."
Another cultural segment says that the problem with information is that it lacks context. KM is about seeing the broader implications of information. You hear words such as "strategic," "trends," "synthesizing," and "mapping."
Each of these approaches takes an aspect of information and tries to ratchet it up so that it becomes knowledge.
But the real problem with the information being provided to us in our businesses is that, for all the facts and ideas, we still have no idea what we're talking about. We don't understand what's going on in our business, our market, our world.
In fact, it'd be right to say that we already *know* way too much. KM isn't about helping us to know more. It's about helping us to understand. Knowledge without understanding is like, well, information.
So, how do we understand things? From the first accidental wiener roast on a prehistoric savanna, we've understood things by telling stories. It's through stories that we understand how the world works.
Stories are a big step sidewise and up from information.Unlike information, they have a start and a finish. The order counts a lot.So, stories are not a lot like information. But they *are* the way we understand.
They talk about events, not conditions.
They imply a deep relationship among the events (a relationship characterized overall as "unfolding" as if the end were present in the beginning — as of course it almost always is [and as was foretold, in a fractally recursive sense, by Aristotle at our culture's beginning]).
Stories are about particular humans; no substitutions allowed.
And, unlike a set of economic forecasts or trends analysis, they do not pretend to offer the certainty that life will continue to work this way. (On the other hand, the story is more likely to be correct than the forecast because it takes *all* of our current understanding of the world to accept a story.) And stories are told in a human voice; it matters who's telling it.
Take a negative example. I worked at a company that tanked for lots of good reasons. But when a bunch of us ex-employees get together, we can't tell the story of the company. That is precisely the same thing as saying we don't *understand* what happened. Oh, we have lots of information about the steep fall off in sales and the precise dates of missed shipments. But we don't *understand* what happened because we can't tell the story.
Take a positive example. In Andy Groves' mediocre book on what he's learned from Intel's "strategic inflection" points, the conclusions he draws are jejune. But the stories he tells of how Intel weathered the Pentium math flaw and how it escaped the trap of staying a memory manufacturer are instructive, indeed almost interesting.
So, how to apply this to your workaday world? First of all, you already have. When you are telling someone how you won this account or lost that one, when you are explaining why the competitor's trade show booth sucked so bad, when you are telling a financial analyst how the market got to be as wacky as it is, you're already telling stories. You can't help it. You're human. Stories are how we make sense of things.
It's only when we're trying to be very business-like that we strip out everything interesting from our conversation. Let's stop. Instead:Ban the Opening Joke. Begin your next PowerPoint presentation by saying, "Let me tell you a story..." and then recount what made the market the way it is, what got your company to come up with such an incredible product, what obstacles particular customers faced and overcame by using your product.Stories do exactly what we want knowledge to do: based on real events, they tell us how the world works. If it can't be told in a story, then it literally didn't happen — there's no "it" and there's no understanding of it.
Make sure your forms you use to "collect knowledge" have big empty boxes in them so the story can be told.
Every meeting with a potential partner, every exciting sales meeting, every important encounter with customers can best be told as a story. Do so.
Chris "RageBoy" Locke (http://www.rageboy.com/index2.html) has experimented with narrative white papers for companies. Is there any form of writing more deadly than a white paper? Not Chris's.
Collect the stories of your business and publish them on an intranet site.
Reward the tellers of good stories. They're the people everyone's listening to anyway.
Rewrite your mission statement as a Corporate Story. In fact, wouldn't a narrative version of an annual report help the company more than the usual hearty prose and canned snaps of happy employees?
Anything else is just information.
Addendum: Beyond Narrative to Myth
I was chatting with the CEO of an inventive (actually, re-inventive, but that's a different story) 150-person software company. He was just back from calling on a major prospect a couple of time zones away. How did it go, I asked.
"Great. We're up against OldCo, our traditional competitor, and it went great. I told him about our direction, and they were thrilled. It wasn't so much the functionality. It's that we're the young company on the move and OldCo is the old-line, stodgy dinosaur."
This isn't narrative. It's myth.
Linux BandwagonOh, you can feel the wheels of the bandwagon beginning to really roll when you read a column by Sandy Reed, editor-in-chief of InfoWorld (Jan. 11) that tries to prove that InfoWorld was on top of this Linux thing from before there was dirt:Excuse me? InfoWorld takes credit because they didn't mention Linux in an article? By this criterion, JOHO dates it's coverage of Linux to 1983 when we failed to mention Linux in articles on the KayPro, CP/M and "Fun with Phosphorescent Traces."Although the mainstream world discovered Linux last year, InfoWorld readers have been aware of it for years. ... the first mention of Linux in InfoWorld was in April 1993, in a letter to the editor from a reader who chided us for failing to mention Linux in an article about Unix on the desktop.
RedHat meanwhile has announced that they're going to support the Gnome user interface, an open source GUI that competes with the K Desktop Environment that ships with Caldera System's Linux build. Ok, great. But then you look at InfoWorld's (Jan. 11) caption for the screen shot of Gnome, you understand why the "mainstream" is still underwhelmed by Linux:Oooh, dust me with powder, I'm feeling all sugary! Three-D scroll bars and multiple windows! That is so, like, advanced! Pretty soon do you think they'll include support for mice and maybe some wicked cool screen savers? Oh, and I hear there's plans for a Linux version of Pong.This Mac-like Gnome desktop includes features such as 3-D scroll bars and multiple windows.
Jeez, when do you think InfoWorld will join the mainstream on this topic?
Ads foretelling the end of civilizationThe Jan. 19 issue of PC Magazine contains a two-page spread. The left side contains only the URL www.buyashitloadofstuff.com. The right side contains only the URL www.buy.com with a mouse pointer about to click on it.
2. "Shitload" is now ok to use in PC Magazine? What's next, nipples in Macy's ads?
3. InterNIC reports that "www.buyashitloadofstuff.com" is available.
What's with Macromedia? First they run a picture of a dominatrix, dressed in your standard-issue leather-based Nazi-ware, to promote the idea that you can control your web site, and then they run a repulsive picture of flies stuck on flypaper spelling out "WWW" so that you can make your web sites "sticky." Edgy new advertising or just plain disgusting?
Because I am such a well-placed web journalist (why, I was the one who broke the story about Matt Drudge's expulsion from the National Press Club for writing stories that get read), I've been able to get my hands on a memo from Kleinman, Parker, Parker & Kleinman, Macromedia's ad agency:
TO: Joe Fannery
FROM: Hiawatha Kleinman
RE: Extending our successful campaign
Our current run of ads is garnering just the sort of attention we wanted and we're sure over here at KPPK that your phones are ringing off the hook (excuse me, your *Web* is ringing off the hook ha ha! :-)
So now's the time to extend the ads. Here's the next set we'd like to run:
Picture Caption Road kill armadillo with its guts spelling out "WWW" "Killer web sites ... it's no accident!" Man looking at his handkerchief which has "WWW" spelled out in mucus "Don't blow it! — If it 'snot Macromedia, it ain't 100% Web" Blue dress with white stains spelling "WWW" "Come on ... to your web site!"
By the way, we are pursuing the idea we brought up last time but we're having trouble connecting the proctoscope to the web server. Things are "looking up" though, and we'll get there "in the end" ha ha :-)
Stay tuned ...
Links I likePeter Merholz's 'zine, Peterme (http://peterme.com/), points us to a presentation by Vint Cerf (the felicitously named Father of the Internet).
Note the dates on the slide. It's a joke...
From Bruce Milne, who within 3 days of joining Vignette manages to get a plug in:FY reference, here's a great Vignette application for tracking the progress of a flight graphically, with speed, alt, est. time of arrival, etc. It's at http://www.thetrip.com.
Here's another company going the open source route to fame and fortune. Their press release says it all (except, of course, what's left unsaid like why they really decided to open source themselves):Leverage Information Systems, a San Francisco-based Internet engineering firm, is taking leading strides in the Open Source software movement by open sourcing their previously commercial, enterprise quality web application server. Determined to become the RedHat of web application servers, Leverage has shifted from being a technology developer to providing support and value added packaging to an externally controlled open source product. Additionally Leverage will continue to provide professional services to those who desire a custom-built interactive web sites capable of handling high volume traffic.Get more information at: http://www.locomotive.org
The spread of snarkWe at JOHO have a special interest in snarkiness. So, it was with pleasant surprise that we read the following from the WorldCraft level editor for Half-Life, an unbelievably amazing alien killfest:" · this allows you to fire a snark, a small alien creature that will attack whatever living creatures it can find ·So, snarks are an agent of poetic justice, then?
if no other creatures are found, the snark will return and attack you..."
Middle World ResourcesA Compendium of Resources
Walking the Walk
Internet World reports that Ericsson (the Swedish telecommunications titan) presents its intranet as a portal. Further, it's opening it up to former employees and to the families of employees and partners.
To make the portal attractive, it will offer users free e-mail, shopping, games, chat, and news feeds.
For one thing, hiring your ex-employees cuts down on training costs, and this is a way to attract workers back.
For another, it may entice some employees to get on the Web, which is getting to be a required skill / experience.
Perhaps most important, they will use the site to release products for early feedback.
Dan Dimancescu, an analyst from NextEra Enterprise (Lexington, Mass.), says that throwing open its site like this follows a "chaotic" model useful for innovative companies. We don't know Dan, but we like the cut of his jib.
Chaotic ROI — a million dollar opportunity for the Gartners of tomorrow!
InternetceteraInformationWeek (Jan. 1) reports on "estimates" by Richard Taylor of Taylor/Rodgers & Associates (a search firm) that 40% of IT professionals lie about their education when applying for a job, 35% lie about their accomplishments, and 25% lie about their job responsibilities.
A cursory analysis of this information shows it cannot be right. The figures add up to 100%, which means that — since most people lie about more than one of these areas — fewer than 100% of IT applicants lie. Please, Mr.. Taylor, work on your highly scientific estimates and get back to us when they add up to greater than 250%.
Email, Sardonic Wisecracks, and Suspicious Hacking CoughsFirst, an update. In the previous issue, I noted that both amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com have a book description identical down to the typos. Hoping for the best, I postulated a conspiracy theory. Barnesandnoble.com has burst my bubble, however:Thank you for alerting us to this error — we have now corrected it.I appreciate the personal reply but it's going to take more than that to divert my loyalty from amazon.com. Say, a free coffee mug.
In answer to your question, both Barnesandnoble.com and Amazon.com license some information directly from the publishers, and this information is dumped from the publisher directly into the database that feeds the Web. Occasionally the publishers will send some of this information with typos.
If there is anything else we can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Eric Hall, editor of the estimable net.opinion (http://www.ehsco.com/opinion/), responds to the question raised in the previous issue: Why don't we vote on issues in business? He writes:Businesses aren't democracies; they're financial investments.But *why* is voting bad for financial investments? Our answer was that since business workgroups probably know more (about customer needs, about the product) than their managers, voting in some instances would probably work better than simply obeying the ukases of The Central Committee (to mix metaphors).
Eric responded to my calumny:... maybe I *would* let the mktg group vote on whether to move to NT or Linux. They probably understand the issues better than mgt does.When I replied, in the sort of jocular way that used to get people shot, that "in my heart, I'm a communist," Eric riposted:
I'd expect them to make those kinds of decisions.
But when everything is said and done, it is the guy putting the money on the table who gets decide how it is spent, which is typically made on the best available return. So the folks in marketing want to go to Linux. Sounds great, but maybe the cost of development and support are greater than the available return. So not this year. It's the investor's decision in the end. The wishes of the people are good indicators, but they don't override the owner's ability to a) ignore them or b) get different people.I noticed that you seem to think that you are. But I don't think you'd let us vote on how to spend your paycheck, so I doubt that you REALLY are.Oh please, the commies were never after your pay check. But they were after the direction of the economy toward broad social ends, not the enrichment of the talented, the lucky and the idiot children of the wealthy. And they were unhappy about abusive power relationships being taken as the norm in the work world.
Of course, this only applies to commies who never lived under any existing communist economy.
Besides, I favor high taxes and soaking the rich, so I certainly am letting you spend my pay check. Get yourself something nice with it...
Bret Pettichord responds to the same articleAs regards voting in businesses: IBM, my parent company, thank you very much, is governed at a high level by various committees. The committees are given budgets and can determine how money is spent, among other things. The committees make decisions by voting. Surely you also know that all public corporations are run by boards of directors, which vote. And the shareholders vote, too, sometimes. Indeed, I've been under the impression that voting first occurred in corporations and then was used as a model for how to run governments.I think that voting first occurred in Athens, somewhat pre-corporation. Otherwise, I like what you say. It's yet another example of the mistrust management has of workers: mgt gets to vote and workers get to obey.
So perhaps your point is that voting should happen at lower levels in corporations?
In the previous issue, I noted:(remember, it was in the JOHO of January 7 1998 that you first heard about SXML, the standard for the interchange of bodily fluids),The ever-vigilant Larry Fitzpatrick writes:Hey, I must have missed that one. But if you check outLarry seems to have confused PL-SXML — the personal interchange of bodily fluids standard — with PLS-XML which is merely the polite form of XML.http://www.oracle.com/xml/you can see that Oracle has subclassed your SXML and defined PLSXML...
If in non-programmer parlance PL stands for personal,... I'm just imagining, but if Monica had been the one to smoke the cigar instead of Bill, would this conform to the PLSXML standard?
On a completely different topic, Larry writes, after poking around Oracle's site about its plans for XML:This affirms your (at times, approaching shrill ;-) proclamations that xml does offer very real advantages for "document" & data processing.The distinction between documents and results of queries expressed as XML can be, I believe, fuzzy to the point of nonexistent. At least, it's nonexistent so long as software does a good job of the formatting. I defy you — and you can take this as a public challenge — to come up with a definition of them. Pistols at dawn, Fitzy!
It does also remind me of old discussions about documents versus collections. If xml is used to describe documents, and results of queries are formatted as xml, then are they documents? yadda yadda... but, the distinction still remains.
I've only just started to poke into the xml activities around query languages, so I don't want to make an idiot of myself too quickly, but I do find their efforts rather... er... interesting. It seems that Oracle has the ability to dominate this area...
In the previous issue, I commented about a report on war by Philip Agre that many people I respect think is really important. I wrote:What I'd really like is for someone to tell me how I'm not Getting It when it comes to this highly recommended article.Mårten Byström sort of obliges:Since Microsoft will include the ability to 'Get It' (or something which they'll be calling the same, but will be lacking several of the distinctive features of 'Getting It') in Windows2000, and the 'permanent war' (described by Agre) will be fought using MS products, which means that the military will have a say on the products' designs, this instance of you 'Getting It' will not be supported in the new standard for 'Getting It'(tm), which MS is developing. If you don't want to lose the ability to 'Get It' you'll have to upgrade to Windows2000 world analyser edition, which will be the top of line product.
By the way, "getit.com" is a registered domain name.
Our special issue titled "Down with Reality" drew interesting replies.
Adeline Chan writes:When they come up with an electronic representation of a person, say my daughter Catherine, then should we start to worry? Or is this too far fetched?If a representation of a person means capturing all the data that composes the person's personhood, then I wouldn't worry about it since I don't think people are composed of data, not even a little bit.
But I find it interesting to think about our first virtual stars (not counting Max Headroom and Ronald Reagan) when they're able to make digitized people indistinguishable on screen from real actors. Will these digi-actors have persistence? Will we go to see a second movie starring one?
Danny Boulanger sends us the following scenarios (already optioned to DreamWorks so don't bother tracking Danny down):What you have stated in your article is so right. An example: You are smart, young and have a great product to offer: yourself. So you go and visit the bank and tell them that you want to start a consulting company and you need 2 million dollars.Corollary: Value only accrues to what is not real.
Bank question: What is your product?
Bank answer: We need a real product, something that we can touch...
So, you go back three months after and tell him that now you have a real product
Bank question: What is your product?
Consultant: A sophisticated object database that manages knowledge and helps to accelerate the decision making or improve the understanding of information
Bank answer: Wow, that's really leading edge, and I think we can help you!
What is the difference? In the first example you are helping people to apply technology. In the other example, you are creating a product that, without proper application or understanding on how to apply it, is without value.
Prof. Bob Morris once again insists that what I write have some passing acquaintance with the truth. How very conventional of you, Bob! I wrote:...when your paper money vanishes in a puff of millennial smoke, your dollar bills won't be dollar bills any more, although they'll come in handy once the looters have squeezed all the Charmin'.Bob writes:Actually, the bills are"Supposed to accept" dollar bills? You sound worried. Why wouldn't the IRS accept cash? Or is it the wheelbarrow they have trouble with? Or is your point that IRS offices are frequently on the upper stories so that delivering cash in a wheelbarrow is problematic? C'mon, Bob, you have a Ph.D. You hold the patent on those funny googly eyeglasses with the slinkies instead of lenses. Surely with all your brainpower you can figure out how to get a wheelbarrow up a staircase.
notreferences to an electronic record. They are a note evidencing a debt the United States owes to the bearer. If they were otherwise, you would be able to redeem them on other basis than holding the physical evidence, but you can't, computer failure or not. But you can't. They haven't been dollar bills since you and I were in grade school, when the Treasury stopped issuing silver certificates and started issuing only Federal Reserve Notes. Now, instead of agreeing to pay you one dollar in silver, the Treasury will only pay you one dollar in Federal Reserve Notes or such other notes or coins it may issue. Also, by law, they may be used to pay all debts public or private, though nobody has to accept them in trade for goods if they don't want to. But if you want to bring a wheelbarrow full of dollar bills to the IRS on April 15 to pay your taxes, they are supposed to accept them. Try thatto test whether "death and taxes are the only real things". Or something.
You know, sometimes JOHO gets tired of having to lead our readers by the hand...
The effervescent Tony McKinley writes:There is an unavoidable physical reality, one that can be forcibly shared, and that's a real bite in the booty.I've found that if you can't avoid physical reality entirely, you can at least stay indoors as often as possible, preferably contemplating the nature of knowledge management. Works like a charm.
Kevin Johansen replied with many comments, some of which are excerpted here:Philosophy is passe'. From here on out it's all quantum physics. I'm surprised you missed this.I caught it as a wave, missed it as a particle. Damn!Going completely virtual puts us at risk of getting disconnected from reality and having *everything* considered to be just another phase state. Can't have that. No sir. No shared context if we go that route. No two party system. No Coke/Pepsi rivalry. No Broncos vs. Falcons life or death struggles. No continuity. And you know what that means?. Discontinuity! I hear it's worse than Communism!Shared contexts aren't material. They're meanings and expectations. Reality never existed in the first place.Real things are not subject to power outages, Y2K problems, Windows98, untamed Java applets, etc. Plus, they're more fun to fidget with.Not everything is about sex, you know, Kev. Sheesh!
But when I say that the electronic system behind paper money is the source of paper money's value, Kevin agrees:OK. I'll give you this one. But it's only another reason to return to the simpler life, to the land... Join me! Throw your wooden shoes into the loom! Stop this madness while there's still time! Goats! Cashmere goats! We can all raise Cashmere goats!Look, I'm rather proud that I caught the idea that "sabotage" derives from crazed Dutchers throwing their wooden shoes into looms, but after that I'm up the canal without silver skates. (Have I mentioned that I'm just back from Holland for a mixed business/vacation trip with my family?)
Kevin ends, rather mysteriously:Hey! You know what? You're pretty 'fly' for a white guy.Man, I was hoping no one would be able to tell I'm white. What good is this stinking Internet thing anyway?
Mickey Allen writes (and I edit for space):Ah philosophy where would we be without it - probably stuck in the Dark Ages debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin !More important, why is it only the Republicans (who get virtually no head, apparently) who refer to Clinton as William Jefferson Clinton (aka Grace Slick Willie?)? Are there secret drug references throughout the House Managers' presentation? I will check the record carefully, even playing it backwards if necessary.
Nowadays we have moved into the virtual age and instead contemplate how many virtual angels can dance on the virtual head of a virtual pin.
...what exactly is a virtual angel ? Well if angels finance real things (theater runs etc.) in the real world, then do virtual angels finance virtual things (like bankrolling Mother Theresa) in the virtual world? Then again maybe they finance abstract concepts (such as the p/e ratio of Amazon.com) in the abstract world.
Having demolished virtual angels lets move onto virtual heads, is Steve Balmer the virtual head of Microsoft (well he's almost there) or perhaps Al Gore is the virtual President of the USA, after all the current one isn't virtual (if that nice Monica Lewinsky is to be believed)
Just as a virtual thought, why did his parents call him after a White Rabbit (William Jefferson Airplane does sounds cute though) on Magic Mushrooms - ah ha the mushrooms were magic, hence they were virtual - ergo cogito sum, Slick Willy is virtual and free!
Finally, Kimbo Mundy casts his vote firmly on the side of reality:I'm still in favor of reality. If you're lost in the woods, you can use your ticket to help start a fire to stay warm. Try doing that with your ticketing information!
Jeffrey Mann writes in response to something stupid I said in the previous issue while arguing with Eric Hall about whether the Web is a medium or not:FWIW, "The Medium is the Massage" not the message.Hey, buddy, you're talking to a guy who took a full year grad seminar with Marshall (or, "Prof. McLuhan" as he was affectionately known). He was fully in his anecdotage and was benignly paranoid schizophrenic.
Get the message?
Aside from that, no, I don't get the massage. I always thought of "The Medium is the massage" as an unsuccessful attempt at brand extension, sort of like coming out with Dorito Brand Air Fresheners; it uses some of the same words but doesn't make a whole lot of sense. At least not to me.
Australian Ron begins inauspiciously... we came across this today, it's old but we figured it might be right up your alley for a clever flame or two - should joho ( god forbid ) be in need of a little filler at some stage.Oh, yeah, Ron. That's what we're looking for, filler. As if JOHO weren't 96% pure Kapok to begin with.
He continues with a mailing he received detailing top level domains (like .com, .org, etc.) that people have requested as part of their domain name request. The list includes:
Can .JOHO be far behind?
Bogus contest: Methodical madnessSteve Maegdlin sends along the following Amusing Web List (which, I've edited for your amusement):HOW TO KEEP A HEALTHY LEVEL OF INSANITY IN THE WORKPLACE
Page yourself over the intercom. (Don't disguise your voice.)Find out where your boss shops and buy exactly the same outfits. Always wear them one day after your boss does. (This is especially effective if your boss is a different gender than you are.)All well and good. But how about some ways of keeping a healthy level of insanity on the Web?
Make up nicknames for all your co-workers and refer to them only by
names."That's a good point, Sparky.", "No I'm sorry I'm going to have to disagree with you there, Chachi."
In the memo field of all your checks, write "for sexual favors."
Send email to the rest of the company telling them what you're doing. For example "If anyone needs me, I'll be in the bathroom."
Put decaf in the coffeemaker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten used to that, make espresso.
Every time someone asks you to do something, ask them if they want fries with that.
Send email to yourself engaging yourself in an intelligent debate about the direction of one of your company's products. Forward the mail to a co-worker and ask her to settle the disagreement.
Leave the copy machine set to reduce 200%, extra dark 17 inch paper, 99 copies.
If you have a glass eye, tap on it occasionally with your pen while talking to others.
When driving colleagues around insist on keeping your car windshield wipers running in all weather conditions "to keep 'em tuned up."
Reply to everything someone says with "that's what YOU think."
Practice making fax and modem noises.
Highlight irrelevant information in scientific papers and "cc" them to your boss.
Finish all your sentences with the words "in accordance with prophesy."
Repeat the following conversation a dozen times: "Do you hear that?" "What?" "Never mind, it's gone now."
As much as possible, skip rather than walk.
When nearly done, announce "no, wait, I messed it up," and repeat.
Sit in your car in the carpark at lunch time pointing a hair dryer at passing cars to see if they slow down.
Ask your co-workers mysterious questions and then scribble their answers in a notebook. Mutter something about "psychological profiles"
Start a business called "401" and make sure that your logo (a big 401) is on the top of every page.
Send a message to 10,000 people asking them not to spam you. Ask them to send the message to another 10 people.
Put in a "mailto:" reply link that automatically creates an email to "email@example.com"
Whenever you use someone else's machine, set the Web browser's home page to http://midwestguns.com/buyusedguns.htm.
Set up a counter on your home page that counts down from 5 billion and is labeled "People who haven't yet visited."
See how much you can sell used dirt for at www.ebay.com
Give yourself the nickname "RageBoy" and then claim you're a marketing consultant: http://www.rageboy.com/ewc/index.html
As always, we eagerly wait to be bested.
Jon Pyke responds to our request for unlikely predictions:
Contest ResultsHi and happy new end of the Millennium/world (look up variations of the spelling on the web and see what shit we are really in) - here are my predictions for 1999 -
- NC's will become more popular than PC's (sic)
- Microsoft does not have to release Windows 2000 (Revelation 3:12) (I made that up) [because the world really does end]
- England will win the Superbowl (well you do claim "world champions" at the end, but you never invite foreigners)
Dana Parker responds to a response to our "frame jacking" contest, looking for examples of instances where people get the context very, very wrong:Chris Worth writes about our "frame jacking" contest, i.e., people who get the context radically wrong:I'd suggest a common example: People who, when talking to an English-speaking foreigner, adopt the accent of that foreigner in the belief it'll aid communication.Actually, this works pretty well, and it's recommended in some travel guides (Europe Through the Back Door, for one).
"Planting" window boxes with realistic-looking artificial flowers, then leaving them out over the winter.
(Hmmm, this is harder than it looks.)
Organizations who, when accused of "not getting" the Web, say we do SO get it, and supply a link to a 404 error to prove it. And the missing link is to a .txt file, to boot.
(This one's real: go to http://www.soundbyting.com/html/top_10_myths/myths_index.html. For number 10, click on "true". Click on the highlighted "conversation". Credit where credit's due - RageBoy pointed this out)
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