Hyperlinked Organization Title

For those who need to understand how the Web is changing the way businesses work

Meta Data
Issue: April 25, 1998  
Author/Editor: David Weinberger  
Central Meme: Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy  
Favorite Beatle: John. Duh.  
Current Personal Crisis: Not only is Seinfeld going off, MASH is still on in reruns 
Home page: http://www.hyperorg.com  
Contact information: Click here



NC Obituary: Network Computers? Larry Elllison himself has written their obituary
Shameless Self-Promotion: "Confessions of a Quake Player" ... NPR runs another commentary of mine.
The Web and Vegas: Two places that look the way they are.
Are Documents Dead?: A thoughtful reply by Eric Severson to last issue's overstated claim
Trelligram: Windows doesn't understand Web pages. Here's one way of smartening it up.
Cool Tool: AltaVista Personal Edition tames email
Internetcetera: Big numbers from experts.
Email, Ripostes and Rude Remarks: The usual fabulous email from readers
SGML Veterans Memorial: Soliciting ideas for commemorating the brave foot soldiers who paved the way for the Web

Email I Never Finished Reading Dept.:
Making Fun of Strangers: We pointlessly make fun of Lisa Simpson and James Gosling
Bogus Contest: Witty Standard Addenda


Flash! NCs Are Dead!

Good news! We don't have to argue about the fate of NCs anymore! Larry Ellison himself has said that they've officially failed. At Oracle's Java Day about a week ago (according to InformationWeek of April 20th), Ellison said:

PCs are mutating into network computers. A network computer is simply any computer that runs a browser. If that's a $700 Dell PC, so be it.

End of story. The NC has succeeded by being redefined into nothingness.

Shameless Self-Promotion

All Things Considered on April 27th ran another commentary of mine, this time on how I square playing Quake over the Internet with being a semi-pseudo-lapsed-pacifist. Like anyone cares.

If you are looking to justify indulging in mindless, bloody games, you can listen to a RealAudio version of the commentary here.


The Web as Vegas

The Virtue of Looking Like What You Are

As the plane describes a lazy arc on the way out of Las Vegas (in order to shake free whatever change we may not have already donated to the Send-a-Wiseguy's-Son-to-College fund), I am struck by just how darn similar Vegas is to the Web.

It was Robert Venturi who first pointed this out to me in his seminal 60s-something work Learning from Las Vegas. This little book came on the heels of Venturi's epochal equally little book Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. In that work, Venturi shook up the world of architecture by maintaining that even much traditional architecture is, well, complex and self contradictory. In fact, it's knowing when to set the windows out of alignment that distinguishes architecture from buildings.

This was a shocking point of view because architecture had traditionally been thought of as the mathematizing of space -- establishing order, Golden Rectangles and regularities everywhere the eye looks and the body dwells. But, it turns out that architecture is to mathematics pretty much the way Bach is to math -- a lot of the beauty comes from the play of order and disorder, regularity and surprise.

Venturi then took the next step into scandal by studying Las Vegas -- itself an outrageous act at the time. Las Vegas was considered the opposite of architecture: purely commercial buildings created on a ridiculous scale without regard to the environment into which they were dropped. Au contraire, argued Venturi. They are supremely responsive to their environment. It's just that their environment is devoted to attracting people to large rooms where the laws or probability will inevitably separate them from their rent money. In this environment it makes perfect sense to build giant plastic cowboys, to put the parking lots in front of the building, and to seal off the casinos from anything that might remind gamblers that tempus fugit and so do their retirement funds.

How the Web is like Las Vegas

Networks before the Web were, generally speaking, centrally planned and administered. The Web, if you haven't noticed, isn't.

The Web follows its own market forces, just as Vegas does. The result is a global system that -- rather fractally -- reflects the nature of those forces on the micro and macro levels. Just like Vegas.

So, in Vegas at the micro level you get casinos designed to pull people in. The casinos are admirably good at this. At the macro level, you get a hodge podge of styles that make Vegas the global leader in recombinant garishness.

On the Web at the micro level you get commercial web sites designed to pull people in. Some are admirably good at this. At the macro level, you get a hodge podge of styles that make the Web the global leader in recombinant garishness.

Even at this level of oversimplication, there are some differences ... but these differences establish the Web as out-vegasing Vegas. The chief difference is that Vegas shows a remarkable unity of purpose: all casinos exist to prey on human folly. Web sites serve as many different purposes as there are purposes; the Web as a whole is far less consistent than even Las Vegas.

The key similarity remains: Both Vegas and the Web at the macro level look like what they are because there's no one to build a facade or to enforce design rules. And they look like what you get when you let a million invidiauls build whatever the hell they want.

Like who cares, man?

Well, those of us who studied Venturi in college care, you young whippersnapper! Do you know how happy my parents would be that I actually got some benefit out of that waste o' time history of architecture course?

There are two other reasons to care:

Web Pride Month. Some people look at the chaos of the Web and think it's time that adults stepped in, mowed the lawn and slapped a new coat of whitewash on the picket fence. To them we can now say, "Next thing you'll want to enforce a no-lighted-signs policy in Vegas. The Web looks like what it is, man, and we love it!" That is, we can feel good about our adolescent, I've-never-paid-for-a-haircut attitude.

Intranets Just Gotta Be Free. If you're going to use your intranet for something more than one-way publishing (i.e., cramming feel-good, morale-smothering, everyone's-snickering-at you-behind-your-back corporate messages down the gullets of your workforce), then you have to let your intranet look like what it is. Don't worry too much about achieving consistency. Instead, open it up. Its identity will emerge.

In short, it's a Happening, dude.


Are Documents Dead?

In the previous issue, I wrote that the Web is killing documents not just by replacing printed pages with web pages but by replacing printed pages with web sites. Building a web site is really, really different from publishing a document and not just because web pages are hyperlinked, shorter, and unsequenced. The big difference is that documents have traditionally been about people coming to conclusions and taking a stand. If I build a web site devoted to a topic (e.g., let's come up with a product spec or a business plan), I am not coming to conclusions and I am not taking responsibility for a position. (KM World ran a version of this essay on their web site.)

Eric Severson, Executive Consultant for IBM Global Services responded with a thoughtful, nicely written essay. (Eric talked about how his organization is "hyperlinked" in an early issue of JOHO.) (He asks me to remind you that he's not speaking for IBM, by the way.) Here's Eric's response:

Document Management Dead? -- I Don't Think So!

David Weinberger, publisher of the Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization, has declared that documents and document management are dead, that the web has killed them. Like Frank Gilbane of CAP Ventures, I beg to differ.

Document management is not dead, and neither are documents! However, I would say that highly structured, static documents are in fact dying quickly, as are highly structured, static workflows and business processes. Just like the hyperlinked organizations David describes (mine is one of them!), document management is absolutely present and accounted for, but more and more focused on smaller documents fitting together in less predictable ways, and integrated with increasingly dynamic business rules and processes. Without a doubt, it's also getting difficult to talk about document management without using the word "web" in the same sentence.

Call it "the web taking over," call it "knowledge management," call it what you will. What's really happening is that the world is changing faster than you and I can keep up with, and the old definitions, techniques and assumptions are being forced to change along with it. This is not just true for documents, by the way -- we're simultaneously questioning structured, static definitions of business units, organizational hierarchies, office hours, career paths, policies and procedures, product sets, and information systems. Like all these other things, it's not that people no longer need documents, it's just that documents are adapting to fit much more dynamic requirements. As a means of flexibly sharing information, documents have existed longer than any other medium save cave painting and language itself. And no, they're not going away soon. However, the specific medium keeps changing with the times (stone tablets to papyrus to the printing press to email and electronic books to web sites), and with each new paradigm comes a loosening of prior constraints and a host of new opportunities.

There is still a constant, however, and that's the need to manage these documents, whatever form they take. The plain fact is, whether you are dealing with the ancient Library of Alexandria or a really cool 90's web site, you expect -- and need -- the information you're relying on to be absolutely accurate, timely and complete. And you'd better be able to find what you actually need in a reasonable amount of time. It's just the way we look at "management" that keeps changing. Like 19th century assembly lines giving way to dynamic processes and just-in-time planning, the definition of document management is changing from static libraries to dynamic systems that facilitate collaborative thinking and assemble and deliver information right when it's needed. Web technology and web architecture fit right into this new picture, but the web has not obviated the need to manage the underlying information. As an IBM ad expresses it, "What's the difference between a little kid with a web site and a major corporation with a web site? Nothing -- that's the problem!" And believe me, with more and more organizations trying to move mission-critical documents and applications to the web, the reality of these issues soon upstages the philosophical debates.

I love Tim Bray's quote cited by Frank Gilbane (that defining the difference between documents and non-documents is as meaningful as pinning down whether an electron is a particle or a wave). I would take this even further. Scientists will tell you that the answer you get depends on how you ask the question, and that while in many circumstances it is useful to think of an electron as a particle, in others it is more useful to think of it as a wave. I like this concept of "useful" as the reason we bother to worry about such definitions at all. It may be that an electron is actually both a particle and a wave -- all at the same time -- but in reality it is neither. "Particle" and "wave" are concepts that we humans invented because such concepts seemed useful at the time. The electron continues on with its own reality regardless, blissfully ignorant of our feeble attempts to "define" it. And when the electron doesn't quite fit neatly into our self-proclaimed definitions, we are puzzled and call this a "paradox." Hmmm.

So it is with "documents" vs. "non-documents," "document management" vs. "the web," "knowledge management" vs. "context management," and so on and so on. We can argue definitions and terminology, but business processes and business needs will continue with their own reality and urgency no matter how we try to characterize them. Ultimately, this whole debate is just a war of words, except as these concepts help us change from a static to more dynamic way of thinking. I find there are indeed times when it is useful to think of an object as a "document" or an application as "document management," and other times when it's more useful to talk about "knowledge" or "web-based business." But, regardless of the names we use, the more we persist in thinking of these kind of applications as highly rigid and lockstep, the more we are failing to keep up with today's business reality. Conversely, the more we are tempted to think that documents and document management are no longer needed, the more we are missing the point.

Clearly there are environments in which document management will continue to be required. So, no, documents aren't dead the way dodos are dead. But the Web is killing them the way that cars killed horses (i.e., not by running them over), and this is not just a disagreement about words. (Besides, words aren't so inconsequential in any case.) It won't be so long before traditional documents start to feel old fashioned. I believe that we'll rapidly see the documents we currently use to make and justify decisions transform into web sites where teams hash things out. There will continue to be reference documents, of course, but as they are increasingly delivered electronically over webs, they will take on the characteristics of computer applications, not documents, i.e., they will be things with which we interact and which are created dynamically for our needs. In short, what email has done to memos the Web is doing to the rest of the document world.

In shorter shortness, documents are on the verge of becoming a legacy system.

That is my response.

Now, Chris RageBoy Locke saw Eric's response and it seemed to have touched a deep nerve of crankiness in him. He responded with a savaging of Eric's article that is more overstated than is typical even of RageBoy. You can read it here, but first, be warned: this is strong stuff. (BTW, RageBoy assures me that when he refers to JOHO as a "crappy little webzine" he means it affectionately. Really. I actually got a nice batch of subscriptions via this article. So, Chris, when I write that EGR is a stinky pile of pointy-tipped dog poop, you can rest assured I'm just trying to drive up your readership!)

Danny Boulanger also had an interesting response to the original article, which you can find below.



If you ever wonder how far Windows is from being a Web-friendly operating system, consider the fact that it doesn't have a way to represent HTML documents.

To get a sense of what I mean, taking your favorite 75-slide corporate Powerpoint presentation and hit the "convert to HTML" option. You will end up with hundreds of incomprehensibly named files.

It's not that Powerpoint does a bad job converting to HTML. It's that Windows can't tell the difference between a directory and an HTML document. As we all know, an HTML page consists of a text document with links to other pieces of content such as graphics and related frames. We all know this, but Windows doesn't.

If you were designing Windows after the Web hit, you'd create a special type of object called "web page." Let's pretend it exists. It has its own icon. Like normal documents, when you double click on it, the system loads the page into the appropriate application (in this case, a web browser) so you can read it. If you right click on it, you see an "Expand" option that treats the web page as if it were a folder, and you see all the contents. If you then try to move or delete one of the files inside this web page object, the system warns you that you are about to destroy the integrity of the page. (Yes, life gets more complex when the referenced content pieces aren't all in the same Windows directory. But life always gets complex when you look at it appropriately. Besides, all you'd need do is put URLs into the directory.)

The benefit of this is that users could move, copy, cut and view web pages by dealing with a single object, while also having access to the inner workings.

Imagine my delight then (go ahead, imagine it -- it has something to do with red blotches forming all over my upper torso) when I got called into Trellix to preview a product that they were about to release. It's called a Trelligram. And it comes close to fulfilling my dream (pathetic though my dreams are).

Let's back up. Trellix is software designed to be used by office professionals who want to create online documents that aren't just traditional documents with the paper pulp dissolved. You create sites with Trellix that look like they combine Powerpoint and Word, and you create them damn easily. You then post them so other Trellix users can read them (or you hope people will download the Trellix viewer plugin) or you export them to very fine HTML. Trellix is a product of Trellix, Inc., which is a product of Dan Bricklin.

The initial idea behind Trelligrams was that Trellix users need a way to package and email their Trellix documents. But the idea quickly transformed itself. You can easily make a Trelligram out of any HTML page.

There are limitations. All of the referenced files have to be in the same directory as the main page. And the Trelligram adds about 80K of extra weight because it comes with its own embedded HTTP server.

On the other hand, it's free. You can download it here.

Until Microsoft wakes up and realizes that Windows really wasn't designed for HTML and reaches down its beneficent hand and makes all our problems vanish into a twinkling cloud of happy dust, Trelligrams are a darn good start.


Middle World Resources

A Biweekly Compendium of Resources

Cool Tool
For the Hyperlinked Organization

It is with some trepidation that I report that AltaVista Personal Search is causing my upper torso to break out in red blotches (of delight). My trepidation is based on the fact that I used to work for Open Text which used to compete with AltaVista's Web search site. (Open Text now has a site called Pinstripe for searching for business information -- it's definitely worth a look.) But I'm a big enough person to let bygones be bygones, especially after I've been hammered into the ground and left with no alternative except to plead for mercy.

AltaVista Personal Search is a free download and an easy install. It will index your documents but, more important, it indexes your email. After years of suffering through Eudora's stupid frigging search incapabilities (which never make it onto their upgrade to-do list), AV actually lets me find old email. Imagine that! You just train your web browser to the search site it creates on your hard disk, and you can search every which way from Sunday. Yahoo!

The indexer itself is a brute force beast. It doesn't do incremental indexing, so whenever you want to add a day's worth of email, you have to let it grind for a couple of hours while it reindexes the entire shooting match. But who cares! I can find email! Indulge me in another cheer: Yahoo!


Internet commerce may expand beyond $300 billion within the next four years, according to a new report from the Commerce Department on the "emerging digital economy" (http://www.ecommerce.gov/emerging.htm). (This particular factoid is based on a study by Forrester Research.)


Email, Comments, Suggested Lifestyles

The Checker Board (in this case, Amy Krane and Chief Checker Bob Treitman) has weighed in heavily in response to the following paragraph from the email version of the previous issue of JOHO:

For the fully glorious illustrated and hyperlink-saturated online version
of JOHO, please visit: http://www.

Bob writes:

Gee, I knew that your organization was growing, but I didn't realize that you had taken over the entire World Wide Web! Congratulations!

I can see why you're confused. But the fact is that JOHO got official word from InterNIC that our application has been approved and we are now the official owner of the limiting case of domain names, "". It wasn't easy. We had to beat out several other contenders, including the World Nihilist League, The Mime Guild, and several Buddhist groups. But, through persistence and a small donation to Al Gore's campaign fund, "" is ours! Revel in it, baby!

Ron, our Pen-Pal from Down Under, responds to last issue's interview with Rosalind Picard about emotional computing.

Emotional computing huh. I can't wait. A whole new breed of desktop tools that's just too embarrassed to tell you how many times CLINTON & BLOWJOB appear in the same text. Perhaps it might even replace salient vowels with little ast*risks, so it never really said 'it' anyway.. And then we could have a whole new market for emotional computer counseling software, for when corporate mainframes go to the Bahamas on stress leave.. or leap out a Hong Kong hotel window.. ..though there would be something strangely guilt free about regularly reducing an automated billpay service to quivering tears of disfunction with a few snide remarks.. ;)

Ron followed up with a long, rollicking essay, which, for purposes of space, I've edited, leaving out his fractal asides and jokes. In short, like any good editor, I've applied a firm grip to his writing's carotid artery. (Work hard and someday you can be an editor too!)

I have serious questions about her [Picard's] link between intelligence and emotion. When she speaks of emotion, she seems concerned with a strange mix of mainly the most limiting emotions that humans have ever suffered. Now maybe it's just me, but I've seen angry or embarrassed people do some of the most amazingly unintelligent things. [...]

And computers won't help us best by simply pandering to our own failures. Computers work best for us when they complement our shortcomings. The shortcoming of course that I'm referring to here (aside from crunching numbers) is knowledge. Collective knowledge. The sort of adaptive knowledge that can only be obtained from a person who is right there, right now, and preferably talking to *you*. And that knowledge diffuses our limiting emotions, and promotes intelligent decisions. [...]

If they are trying to parcel human emotional responses to be recognised by a computer then ... what they will end up with is likely to be a huge box full of last year's emotions, not unlike modern advertising. And just like such advertising, it will appear appealing only to last year's people. I think the Internet can do a little better than that to make the best use of undoubtedly the most valuable resource we have.

I'm all for anything that makes something work better. And having watched what the introduction of Automatic Opening 'Safety' Devices taught many new skydivers about being responsible for their own safety (in more than a few cases they had the rest of their lives to think about it..about 3 minutes).

SGML War Memorial Proposal

Every Web citizen -- whether s/he knows it or not -- owes an enormous debt to our SGML veterans. Sure, many of us in our younger days protested against the SGML Wars. We thought it was a good cause but was being taken too far, or we sincerely thought we were forcing an alien way of life on unwilling peoples.

But with the passing of time we can see clearly two facts that perhaps our youth obscured. First, without SGML, there would never have been a Web. It's just that simple. Second, our brave boys and girls who fought the Wars deserve our kudos and our gratitude.

So, JOHO proposes the creation of a special memorial for Veterans of the SGML wars.

We are open to suggestions as to its design, inscription etc.

But let us at long last welcome our brave SGML veterans with open arms, gratitude, thanks, and perhaps a tear or two.

Peter Flynn challenges my assertion in the previous issue that even though Chris RageBoy Locke can publish to the Web from his tech-weenie text editor, we don't yet have office word processors that make it easy to create truly Web-ready material:

Actually, weenie editor or no weenie editor, anyone who uses SGML to produce documents has been able to do this since 1991. The _real_ killer will be when all those corporate dicks who were misled by sleazeball "consultants" (into committing all their org's information into HTML, and then fouling it up by creating mock-HTML with things like FrontPage) realize that to use XML every single invalid/nonconformant page is going to have to be converted _by hand_, whereas the reviled pedants who stuck to the rules, used a DTD, and validated every page with a real validator will just run a convertor over their site.

An unrepentant, unabashed SGMLer! This is about as rare as finding clear-faced Quake player or an unabashed Clinton supporter! What Peter says is the Lord's own truth. The only question is whether the cost, expense and humiliation of producing SGML in the first place is going to turn out to be lower than the cost of converting HTML and mock-HTML to XML. You can do so much with computers these days ...


Peter also contributes a haiku to our bogus contest:

Writing a poem
in seventeen syllables
is very diffi

This is a totally conformant, valid limerick instance. Thanks, Peter!

It reminds me of two meta-limericks reported by Martin Gardner:

1. There once was a lady from Crewe
Whose limericks went to line two.

2. There once was a man from Verdun.

(Martin Gardner is a mathematician and thus is excellent at counting.)

Danny Boulanger writes to maintain that, despite the article two issues ago on how web sites will replace documents, the change is less drastic than it might first appear, agreeing with Eric Severson, above. (He also points out that the next issue of Infotech, in Quebec, has an article on how the Web has killed documents.)

I agree that information on a piece of paper is a document. Do we agree that we are all talking about "information," and we are really fighting about the description of an information object? Who cares if it is a document, a "WebDoc," e-mail, white board, panel, toilet paper ...we are all talking about the same thing -- how to create, organize, manage, retrieve, synthesize, distribute, and repurpose different kinds of information objects so our knowledge workers can make intelligent decisions.

First, a small point. I actually do care if it's toilet paper.

The point at issue is really important, and it goes straight back to McLuhan: can we meaningfully abstract contents from containers (messages from media)? We could go around on this topic forever, but ultimately it will turn out that we all agree that abstracting the content loses something of importance but provides a way by which the contents can be "managed" by computing systems. There, I just saved you several hours of annoying debate. All part of the service here at JOHO...

Rob Beairston is a little fed up with my dissing the email version of JOHO in favor of the online version. He points out that some corporate environments have truncheons for people who read non-business related stuff like JOHO while at work. And....

Some people print out things to read when (and where) they have opportunity. Passed from stall to stall, both formats are about equally rich.

See, Danny, it does matter if it's made out of toilet paper!

But, having been brought up in a WYSIWYG word processing world, I have to differ with Rob on this. The plain text of email systems is format-deprived and thus is unable to represent the structure of the information well. I mean, _underscores_ to indicate italics is pretty pathetic.

He continues:

Your tone re: mail is slightly supercilious.You can bite me twice...

Jeez, I actually don't even want to bite you _once_! But I very likely will remain quite supercilious. Feel free to skip those parts.

Bret Pettichord has come up with an ethical dilemma in response to our bogus contest looking for same:

Your team mates are playing quake on the company network when they should be working on a project that is past deadline.

Question: do you give your team leader the "very happy ammo" cheat code?

As a trained ethicist, it's clear to me that you do not want to give your leader the cheat code since that will end the game faster. Instead, you want to give your client or customer a copy of Quake so that you will be in geo-synchronous delay schedules.

Priscilla Emery was interested in the "managed friendship" service promulgated by Ross Knights in the previous issue:

What I'd like to know is if this is an "exclusive" friend service. What I'm trying to get at here is the problem of spousal compatibility of friends (when you're married these things do happen even if your spouse is "supposed to be" your "best friend"). My husband can't take most of my friends and that too works both ways. I'm assuming that this service takes absolutely no responsibility for spousal compatibility of friends and that those are issues one still has to sort out on his or her own.

You are correct. There is an insurance policy, however, that covers this. Unfortunately, because of the huge risk of spousal incompatibility, no one can afford it.

Henry "Hank" Levine writes to denounce my reference to another correspondent, Jeff Kassel, as "Woof," a college-age sobriquet:

 Dear Dr. Weinberger:

I had the occasion to read your so-called JOHO rag for the first time today. I was dismayed at the lack of precision and accuracy evident (no pun intended) in the publication. It clearly did not reach the standard that I would expect of someone who highlights in his self-promoting web page his keynote address to the rheumatoid arthritis foundation! Let me cite just two examples: Jeffrey Kassel's nickname in college was "Woof-Woof", not, repeat not "Woof". I realize there are many parts of that era you would like to rewrite, but there has to be a limit.

Henry then goes on to crudely attempt to extort money for not revealing Jeff's nickname to his law firm and for hiding certain incidents in the past such as the time Woof tipped over the vending machine in the basement of the Trax dormitory to get at the supply of Little Debbie snack cakes.

I think you can tell from this message just what an debonair and, frankly, hilarious threesome we were in college and why -- even though we had a virtually never-ending supply of snack cakes -- we never got any girls.


Email I Didn't Finish Reading Dept.

Dear Investor, Invest as little as $1.00 USD to Start your own Bank in Panama.




Making Fun of Strangers Dept.

JOHO has never been one to pass up a cheap shot, so here are three, starting with a funny-namer anecdote:

1. Internet World (April 6) provides the following: "The programming we think the market is asking for is the game shows, and that's why we're focusing on this." This comes from the mouth of none other than Lisa Simpson, who will head Sony's online games business unit. (Bart, currently serving 8-12 years for the crime of being different, could not be reached for comment.)

2. From an InternetWeek (April 6) interview with James Gosling, VP of Sun's JavaSoft unit: "I hate to use the word merge, but we're trying to bring them [CORBA and Java] together and interoperate them." Hmm, Jimmy hates to use the word "merge" but is happy to use "interoperate" as a transitive verb.

3. From the same interview with Gosling:

InternetWeek: Bill Gates has called Java a programming language. What's your reaction?

Gosling: He's absolutely right. Java is just a programming language. But on the other hand, languages are in some sense the crowning achievement of the human species ... So saying that something is just a language is actually a pretty big deal.

And now on to the Equivocation Lightning Round in which we prove that since Java is coffee and coffee is a diuretic, Java makes you pee!


Bogus Contest: Witty Standard Addenda

Here's some Web jetsam (edited), origin unknown:

Lines from Star Wars that can be improved if you substitute the word "Pants" for key words:

The pants may not look like much, kid, but they've got it where it counts.

These pants contain the ultimate power in the Universe. I suggest we use it.

General Veers, prepare your pants for a surface assault.

I used to bulls-eye womp-rats in my pants back home.

She must have hidden the plans in her pants. Send a detachment down to retrieve them. See to it personally Commander.

That blast came from those pants. That thing's operational!

A tremor in the pants. The last time I felt this was in the presence of my old master.

Your pants betray you. Your feelings for them are strong. Especially one. . . Your sister!

Jabba doesn't have time for smugglers who drop their pants at the first sign of an Imperial Cruiser.

Attention. This is Lando Calrissian. The Empire has taken control of my pants, I advise everyone to leave before more troops arrive.

Yesssss. The hate is swelling in your pants.

We've probably all played a slightly similar game with fortune cookies in which you append the phrase "in bed" to whatever the fortune is. Some of us have pretended that it's just as funny to append "on the Web." It's not. And you can often achieve a hilarious result by appending the phrase "As Bill said to Monica" to whatever someone has just said.

We need a phrase like this so that Web geeks can at least pretend to sound funny, something that might be taken as humorous if you say it often enough with the appropriate gay lilt or snarky sneer. Here are some examples...


Sample sentence

Generic Clever Remark #1

Generic Clever Remark #2

Generic Clever Remark #3

Generic Clever Remark #4

My damn ISP's line is busy again!

And then Microsoft crushed them.

But I don't respond to spam.

404! 404!

Oh, sorry, I'm not allowed to bundle that with my operating system any more.

Their technical support person was of no help

And then Microsoft crushed him.

But I don't respond to spam.

404! 404!

Oh, sorry, I'm not allowed to bundle that with my operating system any more.

Oh no! The Java on this page has hung my browser!

And then Microsoft crushed them.

But I don't respond to spam.

404! 404!

Oh, sorry, I'm not allowed to bundle that with my operating system any more.

I heard Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy on a panel at InternetWorld

And then Microsoft crushed them.

But I don't respond to spam.

404! 404!

Oh, sorry, I'm not allowed to bundle that with my operating system any more .


Ok, so most of these don't work very well. That's why it's a contest! And remember the Bogus Contest's motto: To Enter Is to Win.


Editorial Lint

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

To subscribe or be removed from the JOHO mailing list, click here. There is no need for harshness or recriminations. Sometimes things just don't work out between people.

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