Hyperlinked Organization  Title

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

Meta Data

Issue: Feb. 22, 1999  
Author/Editor: David Weinberger  
Central Meme: Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy  
Favorite Beatle: John. Duh.  
Current Personal Crisis: Realized that I'm not afraid I will be like my father to my children but that my children will be like I was to my father.
Home page: http://www.hyperorg.com  
Contact information: Click here



Business Turing Test: Does your business have a human voice?
How Text-y is the Web?: Why the Web will stay a place of words, many of which are spelled correctly
Zisman on Knowledge: Lotus' Strategic VP's inner thoughts
Low Expectations in Hollywood: How to pick up Jada Pinkett
Deconstructing Clip Art: Reading the Zeitgeist in Microsoft's Office2000 clip art
Bad Ads: The ads you love to hate
Links I like: Miscellaneous goodies
Walking the Walk: CFN brings human service to its employees
Cool Tool: HTMStrip downgrades HTML
Internetcetera: Flash! Email use to rise!
Email, Arbitrary Insults, and Suspicious Hacking Coughs: The usual splendid mail from our readers
Bogus contest: Off by One
Contest Results


Back on the Air!

We apologize for the three days (or so) our home page was off the air. Not to point the finger of blame, but it was the fault of InterWeb (www.iwebb.com), our former web hosting service. Interweb has gone beyond offering poor service all the way to not responding to phone or email messages, no matter how frantic or threatening. Instead, they have a beleaguered answering service operator who faxes the questions, requests and death threats over to the Iwebb bunker where the fax line is connected directly to the shredder, resulting in a 47% increase in productivity.

We are now safely nestled in the bosom of Shore.net (www.shore.net) where the service has been fantastic (thank you Tabor Wells!). Not only have they treated me like a human being, they have also responded to dumb-ass user questions via email within 1.5 minutes.

I think I'm in love.


It's a JOHO World After All

Chris "RageBoy" Locke has sunk to a new low — yes, it is possible — with a recent mailing to his readership. In yet another pathetic sign of his repressed longing for my corporeal being — I thought after all these decades of social consciousness raising, we'd all feel more comfortable about these certain peculiar feelings — he has written a screed that looks at the dirty underwear of the JOHO home page — the should-have-been-hidden contents of certain directories. Rest assured I have since cleaned up the errant files, not that there was anything really to be ashamed of. If you want to dignify such topics with your valuable attention, you can squander your funds at http://www.rageboy.com/wein-bunny.html

A new Knowledge Management zine, from out of sexy, sexy Antwerp, cites JOHO in its first issue. Uh oh. http://www.chironpub.com/edito140299.html

KMWorld's web site has run a column of mine (familiar to JOHO users) on the use of narrative as the real way to express knowledge: http://www.kmworld.com/feature.articles/index_articles.cfm?

(Don't forget to unwrap the whole URL.)


Business Turing Test

Businesses don't know how to sound any more. This is because they don't know how to *be.* And this is because the landscape on which business happens has been reconfigured. It's like lifers who have been only able to communicate by tapping on the walls being taken one day to a prom where they're told, "OK, the walls are down. Invent a new way to communicate." Do they make small talk? Do they dance? Do they go straight to the dirty parts? Or do they find a hard object and go back to tapping?

Many forces have conspired to change the landscape, but the Web is foremost. It's given your market a way to talk with itself, to discover that it really does consist of individuals — real people — and that it no longer has to accept the old common denominator view of us. We — your market — have discovered that we can support each other better than the vendors can because not only is our knowledge born of experience, we tell one another the truth. We've discovered that in talking with one another, we do more than swap information. We actually have contexts — aka lives — that engage in unpredictable ways that range from the amusing to the stirring.

Now we go to talk with our vendors, the people selling us the stuff we care about, and we hear the same old patter, although sometimes it's repackaged in a one-to-one manner that says: "Choose us. We're the company that really, really pretends to care."

Businesses haven't figured out how to talk to us because they haven't figured out how to *be* in this new scene. "What's my motivation, CJ? What are my lines? And what are we trying to achieve with this scene, CJ?"

Some things are clear, however. The paper wall that companies have erected around themselves are being knocked down fast. The marketing literature, sales guides, corporate slide shows and happy-face t-shirts designed to keep customers from seeing what's really going on inside the company are all looking pretty pathetic. And companies erect exactly the same paper walls inside so that their own employees won't penetrate to the secret truth.

What is that truth? Get ready for a shock: Businesses are run by fallible humans who don't really always know what they're doing, who are frightened, who make mistakes, who are blind to their own faults, and who — less forgivably — think that greed is a virtue and admitting fallibility is a weakness.

The paper wall is tatami: it only keeps us from hearing what's going on in the next room so long as we've willed ourselves into not hearing. And we, the market, the people, have lost our will to be deaf.

One great virtue of the paper wall is that it allowed companies to master a single type of rhetoric that would be acceptable for all occasions and all listeners. That this rhetoric is highly artificial and just plain weird — as fake and contrived as the badinage in a French court — won't really strike us until we've all stopped talking that way.

Now businesses are going to have to learn to speak the way humans do. Not in any one voice, but in many voices.

In case you've forgotten, here's what human voices sound like:

Each has a point of view that may be in line with some corporate interest but isn't identified solely with that interest.

They have attitudes that are embodied in things like rhythm, word choice, pitch, hesitation. There's not a richer human medium, except maybe for the human face.

Voices talk for a reason, not just to fill the space between cash register rings. The reasons are hugely varied and deeply inform the content that is being conveyed. It is only very rarely that humans speak merely to convey information...and even when they're pronouncing their credit card numbers digit by digit, they're doing so not merely for the joy of transferring data.

It follows from this, by the way, that the voices you hear are almost always inspired by a basic optimism. They speak because they think that by so doing, mere voice can bring about success. And the project they want to succeed with is a collaborative one with you. Do you think maybe there's an economics that can be built on this fundament?

Human voices don't speak all the time. They sometimes do this thing where they stop speaking. We call it "listening," but it really is more than just being silent. It means you try to learn what the other person's interests are and understand how the world looks to them. But this is an advanced topic that we should save until you've gotten your feet wet.

Now we get to the really, really hard stuff. Voices come from individual humans. Everything else is just the sound of a voice, an imitation, a trick. But corporations aren't individual human beings. So how can you have a voice?

Don't despair. It can be done.

First, try letting people speak for themselves as well as for the corporation. Let your customer support people admit in frank words, in embarrassed words, in funny words — in their own words — that your products don't always do what they should. Let them become advocates for your customers. Take the Powerpoints away from your sales folks and give them corporate mythology, history and narrative they can speak in their own voices. Tell your marketing people that nobody believes their brochures anymore. Customers want lots of information, and then the opinions from people they trust. Maybe ... it'll be hard, but just maybe ... some voices in marketing can gain customer trust by speaking as humans proud of the company they work for. Oh, and smash the printing press that publishes the corporate newsletter. It's just embarrassing you.

Second, let your corporate personality emerge. It's there. It may be frightening and you may feel like Sybil for awhile, but ultimately the cacophony of voices will result in a look, a feel, a sound, a style, an approach, a point of view, an attitude, a sense of humor, a sense of decency, a sense of outrage.

Third, listen. Your market is just beginning to find its voice, too. Do not be ashamed.

Begin with the sound of joy.

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How Text-y is the Web?

I find myself deeply troubled by the question of rich content. How rich do we really want it?

Take email. Here's a medium that's succeeded because when you write a message, the expectations are so low. Everyone knows you've used a primitive text editor and everyone forgives you if you didn't run your spellchecker on it — because then they're forgiven for being equally sloppy. They forgive you for poor turns of phrase, overstatement, bad jokes, and the use of emoticons in place of actually communicating what you mean.

If we had to perfect our messages, then apply complex typographic formatting, and maybe put in some run-arounds, and fire up the old graphics package because an email without graphics is like a day without a random act of kindness, we'd see a lot less email crossing our desks.

Sure, that wouldn't be such a bad thing, but it'd eliminate precisely the sort of email that counts: messages from people who just want to say something, and don't want to sell us on themselves and their prowess with a formatting engine.

You can think of this as a rush for the bottom, a desire for the least common denominator, but you'd be wrong. We — and here I'm speaking for the human species — like our email rough hewn for the same reason we like speaking to our friends without notes and teleprompters(tm). It's direct, it's easy, and we're confident that what we mean will shine through what we've actually said. (The ability to understand what we say despite the mistakes we make in saying it is one of the firmest confirmations of friendship.)

So, email is going to stay flawed and ugly.

But how about the Web itself? One line of thought says that the Web is primarily text-based because we have insufficient bandwidth to allow for true multimedia interaction.

This has to be wrong.

Won't you use every excuse you can to avoid installing video-conferencing equipment? When we finally have sufficient bandwidth to make it possible, and when every home computer comes with a video camera as standard equipment, sales of black electrical tape will skyrocket as people disable this technology in crude-but-effective fashion.

Tell me the truth: Are you really looking forward to the day when you have to comb your hair before you sit at your computer?

The text-iness of the Web has several correlative benefits:

It can be asynchronous, which is a fancy way of saying that it's convenient — I can read my texty messages when I want and can reply within 48 hours (which seems to be the current maximum delay before you have to apologize for not responding)

It is funny. Most of our intentional humor is word-based. And the physical humor is hard to accomplish while sitting at a computer.

It's searchable.

It's skimmable. Sure, we could leave each other voice messages, and those messages could even be automatically turned into text so that they are searchable. But you can't skim voice messages. You have to listen to the whole bloody thing, whereas I can easily skip over the incredibly tedious and self-concerned portions of your email — a lesson you all have learned by reading JOHO.

But, what about the virtual world evoked in Snowcrash? Won't our avatars get together for coffee and casual monkey sex (since avatars can have as many apertures as you desire) in cyberspace?

Yeah, sure, bunky. But when they're done, our avatars will sit down and write text-based email to one another.


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Zisman on Knowledge

Michael Zisman, executive vp for strategy at Lotus, is a man I once annoyed for a quarter of an hour that he's sure to have forgotten by now. (Prediction: In the future, everyone will be annoying for fifteen minutes.) Infoworld (Feb 1) interviewed him about knowledge management. The interview is painful to read because it's so obvious that Notes has so little to say about KM ... except the phrase "KM" "KM" "KM" over and over as a mantra against Notes' coming obsolescence.

By happenstance I came across Zisman's own, unedited inner thoughts as he answered the interviewer's questions. Judge for yourself:

Inner Thoughts
Why do you feel it is necessary to come out with a concept like knowledge management?
Clearly there has been a tremendous amount of vibration in the marketplace about this thing called knowledge management. Must follow market! Must follow market! Must be leader in following market!
And so we have both the opportunity, and in some sense, the obligation to our customers to add some structure to it and define it. Omigod, I've said we're clarifying KM. Please let me get a phone call before he asks me what I mean. Or a heart attack. Please...
Frankly, I feel it is a natural evolution from groupware. In fact, the world never got a good definition of [groupware], other than to say groupware was Lotus Notes. I see KM as a natural evolution of that. [But] Notes and collaboration is only a pillar of KM. It is much broader than that.

First we couldn't explain what groupware is which is why Notes stalled for its first five years. Now Notes is KM which is even broader and we still don't know what it is.

Omigod, did I just say that Notes and collaboration are two different things? Maybe the interviewer won't notice...

It's the inherent broadness of the term, though, that confuses people. It is almost like a Rorschach test for IT — it can mean dozens of things to many people.
It's not like there is one answer. It can be arbitrary, but you have to apply some common sense to it. We are starting with the notion that you clearly have a process within a company of creating knowledge, organizing knowledge, and distributing knowledge ... There aren't many answers. There are no answers. Unless knowledge is whatever crap you shove inside a proprietary, flat Notes database...
Is part of the problem asking IT to think about broader concepts and not products ...?
I won't necessarily disagree with that. I think part of our role is to lead the market. But I want to emphasize that you can't lead by only having what they will need two years from now. You can only lead by supplying things people need today. We're two years behind the market.
What mix of products and services do you envision...?
...I think there are a lot of similarities between ERP and knowledge management, and that services will be a large part of KM. Let the service providers figure out what the hell KM is. Heh-heh.
How can chief financial officers be assured that this isn't a formula for disaster through runaway costs and open-ended consulting engagements?
...I don't think people are going to say, "Well, if KM is collaboration and business intelligence and three other things, maybe I'll do all five of these things right now..." This had better be a formula for runaway costs and open-ended consulting engagements
If people take KM to heart, will this result in companies massively redoing their business processes?
I think it will continue to enable something that is going on fairly fundamentally today in organizations, which is virtual teaming and dynamic work relationships.... Say, we could call this the hyperactive organization! No, the hyperlanky organization. No, no, how about, oh, oh, Groupware-enabled KM. Yeah, that's it!


Low Expectations in Hollywood

From Us magazine, February:

Jada Pinkett explains how she fell for Will Smith. They were having dinner in 1966. She says, "He said, 'See that glass of water? When you look at it, it's to your left. That's a fact. But I'm sitting across from you, and that same glass is to my right.' I looked at him and thought, this guy has everything I need."

Clearly, I need to redo my pickup lines:

Hey, pretty lady... I can't see my own eyes. Wow.
Live around here?

Life is a mystery: Mirrors reflect left to right, but not up and down.

Want to go for a drive in my Jag? Planes sink in the ocean but they fly in the air. What's up with that?
I love this song. If you were 10 and I were 20, I'd be twice as old as you. But thirty years after that, you'd be like almost caught up.
You wanna party all night long? My nose runs and my feet smell.

Jada, babe, my number is on my web site: www.dumbguysrule.com

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Deconstructing Clip Art

If you want to get your finger on the pulse of Korporate Amerika, where would you go but Mikrosoft? (Pardon the K mania — it's 60s shorthand for "the fascist insect that preys on the lifeblood of the people," derived from the K-rich Kafka's spelling of "Amerika" correctly in German.)

Office2000 has an expanded series of "autoshapes," also known as clip art, provided out of the box by Uncle Bill. This rich melange of instant cliches is divided into categories.

Given JOHO's penchant for wasting your time chasing down meaningless metaphors, we of course were drawn to the category "Metaphors." Inside we found 27 images The Masters of Redmond feel will be very useful in our business Powerpoint presentations.

It tells you a lot.

Although some of the images are ambiguous and some are just plain twisted, by our count they break down as follows:

success 5

danger, strife, risk 4

bewilderment 3

failure 3

gossip, conformity 3

harmony 2

authoritarianism 2

drudgery 2

ideas 1

high value objects 1

home page 1

In other words, for every image of success, in the eyes of the Minions of Monopoly, you are going to need 3.5 of danger, failure, bewilderment and grinding authoritarianism.

Further, what counts as success in Microsoft's visual world?

Lazing about sprawled across the top of the globe (causing tsunamis in the PacRim, massive caribou outages in Canada, and skidmarks in Greenland)

A granite-chested executive juggling four balls in a pattern that defies the laws of gravity, geometry and graphic design. (He also has a pornographically large protruberance on his hand which may be intended as a thumb.)

A squiggly man approaching a door with a key almost the size of the door itself.

One worker being pulled up a squiggly graph arrow by the person ahead of him.

Gold bars piled up next to two dice showing 12 — a loser bet if ever there were one.

In short, these are surprisingly passive images of success — kicking back, juggling, gambling and being pulled up. The most active is the picture of the man approaching the door. Why, you'd almost think that if you own, say, the operating system used by 95% of the market, success doesn't require a lot of work.

Also, all of the people pictured are white men. Just a coincidence, of course. Hey, white men have to succeed too, you know!

As in any nightmarescape, the most important images are the oddest. Ignore the predictable pictures of people jumping through hoops (literally) and three images of people at crossroads. Let's turn our attention to two weirder drawings.

One shows a man with a trench coat writing on a piece of paper while another (smaller) man inside his trench coat is also writing on it. You don't have to be named Sigmund to see that this is a picture of the psyche itself, the id writing one script while the superego writes another. The dream itself is the piece of paper. But what are they writing? The same document? Or is one writing out, say, his plan for acquiring the assets of The Moron Brothers consulting company while the other is cursing in Arabic? If we could only read that paper, think what we might learn about the inner psychic dynamics of the Reapers from Redmond.

The other twisted picture shows four people holding up pieces of paper, each with a zero written on it, like the judges at Tonya Harding's ethics hearing. They are not just in lock step conformity, but they are also essential nothingness. This is, indeed, the absence of anythingness that characterizes the oppressiveness of das Mann, the other, l'etranger, the alienating look of Bad Faith, and the complete works of Albert Camus.

In short, is this clip art or is it a suicide note?

Where's the clip art of liberation, the clip art of joy? Please, someone, get me a link, quick ... with the bourbon on the side.


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Bad Ads

In the previous issue, I made fun of Macromedia ads that show the letters WWW spelled out in various repulsive media, including flies on fly paper. I suggested some ludicrous extensions of this campaign.

Macromedia has possibly outdone me by running an ad with the letters "WWW" written on a pig's ass. Life imitating fart?

IBM Global Services is blitzing the mags with full page ads showing young and hip (in a clean-scrubbed, casual-but-dry-cleaned way) employees. The tag line:

IBM Global Services
People who think. People who do. People who get it.

JOHO has no choice but to declare open season on this ad. Please forward your contributions to JOHO (yes, it's a mini-bogus contest). For example:

People who think. People who do. People who get it at the Gap.

People who think they do get it.

People who think. People who do. The people you hated in high school.


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Links I like

Peter 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.

John Lewell wrote to see if we could do a little link log-rolling. He has a site that lists directories of sites, called, aptly, Metaplus: http://www.metaplus.com/ He "hopes to include a link to JOHO soon."

Are we at soon yet, John?

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Middle World Resources

A Compendium of Resources
Walking the Walk  

According to an article in CIO Web Business (Dec. 1, 1998), Consumer Financial Network (CFN) is hoping that companies figure out that it's better to help their employees access the Internet efficiently rather than try to prohibit access.

CFN makes services such as shopping for auto insurance and mortgages — during business hours! — available to employees via the corporate intranet. So, instead of having to pretend that you're checking competitive information while you're actually trying to finance your car, you can get the job done faster just by going to your own corporate intranet.

CFN doesn't charge employers for this service. Instead, it does deals with financial service companies. Unfortunately, that means that the employees' choices are highly limited, and thus they will likely be tempted to go back out onto the Internet to get better deals, destroying the entire point of the exercise.

But we like the premise. We hope to see some forward-looking company apply it to pornography.


Cool Tool
For the Hyperlinked Organization

If you've noticed a change in the email, formatting-degraded version of JOHO, you can thank (or blame) HTMStrip, a little utility that lets you turn an HTML page into a pure-text facsimile.

Until now, I've been composing the HTML version in a combination of Macromedia Dreamweaver 2.0 and Allaire HomeSite 4.0. Then, I load it into Netscape and use the "save-as" text feature. (Thanks and a tip o' the hat to RageBoy for pointing out this trick.)

Netscape does a surprisingly good job of rendering HTML into text intelligently, but fails at a few basic tasks. First, it doesn't let you set the margins. Second, it doesn't do a very good job of tables.

HTMStrip overcomes both weaknesses. And it has many other parameters that can be set. Oddly, however, it is a DOS app, which is why (I'm guessing) its name is "HTMStrip" and not "HTMLStrip" — 8-letter file names, don't you know?

HTMStrip is freeware. You can get it at http://hotfiles.zdnet.com/.


Group Computing (Jan/Feb) makes the incredible prediction that email use will continue to climb! Man, they're out on a limb on that one! They site Forrester research as follows:
Messages per day

So, apparently users will greatly increase the number of messages they send per day, possibly as they discover the power of the "Reply to all" key.

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Email, Arbitrary Insults, and Suspicious Hacking Coughs

Peter Merholz responds to a quotation from Brian Ferry in the previous issue:

His name is Bran Ferren.

Yeah, well, his name *ought* to be Brian. I was doing him a favor.

Our special issue on the nature of reality provoked many interesting letters.

We even heard from our college philosophy professor, Richard "Little Richard" Brockhaus, a man who at 24 seemed to be separated from us fledgling Denksters by a gulf of decades. Dr. Brockhaus writes:

I heard your distant but familiar voice on NPR; I'm not certain what you were yakking about, but the voice sounded familiar. But ... you need to read Austin's "Other Minds" on "real" and how the contraries actually wear the trousers. (Real as opposed to toy? stuffed? ersatz? illusory?)

Richard is making one of the right points to make. As I recall from the dust that is my memory, Austin's point is that we use the term "real" almost always to differentiate one thing from another. For example, we only talk about a "real dollar" in the context of claiming that it's not counterfeit, not imaginary, not Monopoly money, etc. Thus, the term "real" does not refer to some realm of things but is instead simply a way of saying something is not unreal in some specific way. So, it's a mistake to go looking for the "Real" world, although it's interesting to study all the ways in which things can be unreal.

(If that paragraph was appealing to you, you might want to look into Richard's Wittgenstein book: "Pulling Up the Ladder".)

By the way, Richard takes up the marketing mantle and writes:

A good motto for you: "Now this knowledge is not the work of your reasoning nor information passed on to you by teachers; it is something that your mind sees, feels and handles . . . " Descartes to Silhon (But compare, alas, with Husserl's discussion of the "counterfeit grades of clarity" in Ideas #68.

I certainly agree with this Descartes fellow that knowledge derives from lived context. Does anyone have an email address for him? (I *think* he was CTO at Sun for a while, but I'm not sure.)

Don Hosak also responds to the article on reality:

I suspect that your examples of "real" things being non-independent of their sustaining technology is a bit more pessimistic than is called for.

Let's consider less dramatic cases than the computer infrastructure completely vanishing. Imagine instead a temporary downtime: The gate computer is not working or cannot connect with the airline reservation system. If I have a paper ticket, there should be no problem getting on the plane anyway. With a virtual ticket? Maybe, maybe not. Depends on whether the person at the gate decides to believe me.

Similarly, if phone service is down, I can still take pieces of metal and paper with monetary denominations to the local grocery store and buy food. But if I try and pay with an ATM card I'm out of luck (a credit card might be possible if they still have a manual ka-chunka machine at the store and are willing to make an imprint like that).

There's no question that paper can serve as an adequate backup for temporary computer failures. And we could argue over what this means for the reality of paper versus the reality of the electronic originals that paper expresses. But I think Austin (via Prof. Brockhaus) has it right: "real" is more like the word "very" than the word "heavy," if you know what I mean. (If you don't know what I mean, please write to Brockhaus, not me.)

Daniel Dulay writes on the same article on reality:

Consider my debit card. With it I can make entries directly into my checking account ledger! And there is pretty widespread acceptance of this "not real" transaction. And I don't think that anyone believes the bank is taking some bills out of my pile of money in the back room and placing them in a store's pile. I think that it is safe to say that people realise that these transactions are virtual and don't have a problem with it. They just don't think about it.

Yet paper money is "real," and I think that convincing most people otherwise would be very, very difficult. If the U.S. government were to survive and be healthy despite a financial computer meltdown, I think that dollar bills would probably still hold value. This physical object represents more than an electronic bank ledger entry. I think that this complicates your question, "Which is more real, the piece of paper or the information it represents?"

But, Daniel, "To oversimplify is to understand" is my credo!

Meredith Sue Willis, accredited Novelist, writes:

I enjoyed the JoHo article about story-telling as an efficient and entertaining way of sharing knowledge. It's especially nice if done on a dark and stormy night with the folks gathered around an old stone fireplace smelling of smoky-damp logs.

The telling, of course, is the way the knowledge is created out of bits and pieces. Folktales get told over time by many tellers and thus more knowledge accrues.

One problem with stories, though, is that they don't encourage snarkiness...

If you think stories don't encourage snarkiness, you haven't been reading Susan Cheever's biographical work. Oh, and you might want to look into that smell of smoky-damp logs; I find it's often an indication that squirrels have been chewing through the insulation on the power wires again.

I wrote:

The Internet was built, as we know, in part to provide a nuclear-proof communications infrastructure.

Fred Hapgood replies:

Not even in part. The first internet link was built to gang the computers running in four West Coast university research labs. The guys writing the networking protocol found some of the ideas they needed in a Rand report written several years earlier to address the question above. This act of appropriation no more makes nuclear survivability part of the intentional metaphysique of the internet than car roofs are built "in part" to display pigeon shit.

While I admire your metaphor (gotta love it!), the Internet is somewhat larger than the original net of 4 labs. Your point — which is well taken — is like saying that the national telephone system was built to connect A.G. Bell with Dr. Watson.

Well, it's enough like that to keep me from having to be wrong again, isn't it?

Gershom Bazerman writes:

I'd like to note, as far as microsoft "Getting it" that the image at the top of the microsoft homepage looks to me like a woman achieving orgasm.

Or maybe I just have a dirty mind.

Gershom, I'm happy to confirm, yes, you do have a dirty mind. To me it looks like she's just had her teeth deep-cleaned and is checking on the remarkably fresh feeling in her lymph nodes.

Greg Cavanagh, Ordained Minister in the Faith of Linux, writes

just your everyday military plans to put chips in warriors brains http://www.au.af.mil/au/2025/volume3/chap02/v3c2-4.htm

Allow me to quote from the above-referenced document:

The implanted microscopic brain chip performs two functions. First, it links the individual to the IIC, creating a seamless interface between the user and the information resources (in-time collection data and archival databases). In essence, the chip relays the processed information from the IIC to the user. Second, the chip creates a computer-generated mental visualization based upon the user's request. The visualization encompasses the individual and allows the user to place himself into the selected battlespace.

Well, boosting the military's RAM can only help. Besides, Greg, given that your own education is in a combination of neural anatomy and computer sciences, aren't you in fact becoming what you eat (in the educational sense, of course)?

Actual drawing from military implanted chip document
Absurd amateur drawing from military white paper

Mike Oliver takes issue with my mindless promoting of the Communist Life Style:

Yeah yeah, communists have it all right, and us capitalists are all power hungry oppressors of the working class...no oppression between comrades in the politburo, no. Poppycock, the human natures of greed, gluttony, lust, etc. are in every political and socio-economic system if those systems have people in them and not just theory of the authors of books and other media...like SOHO!

So communism basically made the mistake of being too optimistic about human nature? Awfully cynical for one so young. Oh, and by the way, your description of capitalists is right on, comrade! Mind if we quote you? Something along the lines of "Capitalists are all power hungry oppressors of the working class," according to M. Oliver? (I believe the authorized wording, by the way, is "the fascist insect that preys on the blood of the working class.")

Jon Pyke passes along the following Web effluvium:

The following phrase: PRESIDENT CLINTON OF THE USA can be rearranged (with no letters left over, and using each letter only once) into:


Interestingly, the letters in "Jon Pyke" can be rearranged (no letters left over, and using each letter only once) into: TOO MUCH FREE TIME.

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Bogus contest: Off by One


Sometime being close just isn't good enough. This issue's contest asks you to find URLs that are just one character different in terms of spelling but miles apart in experience.

Here are some examples (not all of which slavishly obey the one-character rule and some of which are just plain pornographic):




Contest Results

Chris Worth writes:

The perfect framejack just popped into my box. You can't find the right guy called Chris Worth, so you... email other Chris Worths and ask if they know him..... ! ——

-Original Message——-

From: [email protected]
To: [email protected] Date: 27 January 1999 07:15
Subject: Gargoyles!!

I am looking for the chris worth on the CHEVY comercial!! The one with the Gargoyles in the comercial? PLEASE help ME find HIS WEB PAGE!!! CAN NOT FIND HELP!!!!THANKX!!!!!

We won't be sure that this is actually case of frame-jacking (the radical mistaking of contexts) or just very annoying, recklessly stupid Spam until our judges in the Hague (den Haag — you haven't pronounced correctly if you didn't bring up phlegm) are back from their mandatory DWI school. But we're enjoying it nonetheless.

The following R-rated frame-jacking reply came from Gershom Bazerman:

...as far as framejacking goes, and going on with the dirty mind thing, there is a website whose url I forget that was sent to me. It lets users of a porn site write their own porn movie script.

The script — terrible of course.

Furthermore, they all make puns on "cum."

But they are writing for the screen, not the page. Hence framejacking.

No, no, Gershom, It's frame-jacking, not frame-jacking-off. Completely different contest! See this issue's Bogus Contest, above.

And so we singlehandedly bring this massive volume to a close, as the wipers slap away the sky's stormy residue, the drains opening to receive this spent issue, circling clockwise (widdershins in the southern globe) until its presence is only olfactory...

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