Hyperlinked Organization Title

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


Meta Data
Issue: July 23, 1998   
Author/Editor: David Weinberger  
Central Meme: Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy  
Favorite Beatle: John. Duh.  
Current Personal Crisis: Toilet overflowing upstairs floods my office. The only thing destroyed: my back up tape. [Totally true.]
Home page: http://www.hyperorg.com  
Contact information: Click here




It's a David-Centric Universe: Shameless self promotion.
Ignoring Linux: Can a new operating system developed and supported in a truly webby way really break the MS stranglehold? It's a generational thing, dude.
How to Feel Stupid: Keep pressing the !@#$% line feed light on your printer. then replace all your DLLS.
1-800-WEB: The last ecological niche on the Web is filled
Death of Docs, Part Whatever: Are documents really dead? Have web sites killed them? Will Ashley discover that Philip is the father of her sister?
They Know What Your Other Hand is Doing Dept.: They know where you've been browsing and they're going to tell your parents! Be afraid!
Technological Breakthroughs by the Media: Peek behind the curtain as The New Republic goes techno-freak on us!
Walking the Walk: The auto industry tries to iron our supply chain hold-ups so they can pass the savings on to themselves.
Cool Tool: Homesite beta 4.0
Internetcetera: Whom do you trust?
Email, Comments and Rude Remarks
Bogus Contest: Web House Bands


News from the David-Centric Universe    

National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" ran yet another commentary of mine (July 6), this one on how emotion will creep into the computing world on little cat feet. You can listen to it here and you can listen to the rest of them here

Chris "RageBoy" Locke has an excellent column on gonzo marketing in The National Standard that quotes JOHO. (He had the good sense to remove the reference to which part of the body dogs sniff.)

dividing line

Ignoring Linux

Linux InsideJohn Dodge begins a column in PC Week (June 8) by writing: "First, let me say that I' m uniquely unqualified to write about this week's topic."

Hey, John, I'm not qualified to write about Linux either, but at least I have the common decency not to admit it in public. Readers don't like to be all riled up this way. It just makes 'em nervous.

Unfortunately, John goes on to prove his contention by filling up his column inches with a fevered discussion of Linux's bloated penguin logo. I've been struggling to find a side of Linux even more trivial, but, frankly, Dodge has me beat.

There's no question that Linux is here to stay. (Supporters say there are 7 million users. Detractors say that there are 125 users and they all spell "rules" as "rulz.") The question is whether it's going to stay the way Windows is staying or the way Star Trek: The Next Generation is staying.

Linux, for those of you who thought civilization had finally settled on Windows, is a Unix-like operating system that is completely in the public domain and is developed, extended and supported by legions of individual hackers when they're not at Star Trek conventions. It is certainly more open than Windows and is also more stable -- it doesn't crash when you have the nerve to run Word and Solitaire simultaneously, and when a program does crash, it doesn't bring the whole system down.

The problem, of course, is that there aren't a whole lot of applications running on Linux. For example, the big database companies have just announced that they won't be porting to Linux in the foreseeable future. But Tasty Bits from the Technology Front (one my favorite 'zines) reports that Corel is porting its applications, including WordPerfect, to Linux. Of course, Corel has also announced it's shutting down WordPerfect R&D, so this is a bit like taking the movement of "The Nights and Days of Molly Dodd" to the Lifetime channel as a sign of the show's vitality.

Since publishing this, Oracle and Informix have announced they will support Linux. (Ok, so this was actually announced two days before this issue was published, but I'm not on their press release list, thank God. So I was de-scooped.) The only mention of "Linux" I can find on the Sybase site is a December notice that they choose to remain un-linuxified. JOHO is starting a pool to guess the date when they'll announce their heartfelt, warm and enthusiastic support for Linux, the Anti-Gates.

TBTF also forwards a French report that Intel is helping five companies port to the 64-bit Intel Merced chip. This is a bit like Time-Warner producing a new Sinbad sitcom for the WB. Or something. Shoot, I think it's time for a new set of metaphors. Quick, someone send me a paradigm!

Greg Cavanagh, the Voice of His Generation, contributes (at my request) the following manifesto:

Linux Rulz!

by Greg Cavanagh

Have you heard Linus, father of Linux, on the radio?  Or perhaps caught Corel, Netscape, Java and the virtue of the open source model in the news?  Did you know the Linux kernel can directly run Java classes? Heard the 315th fastest supercomputer in the world is a cluster of Linux PCs? Perhaps Linux is a mystery to you.  I suggest you get to know it.

Linux is evolving to be faster, leaner and meaner.  Computer programmers around the world are working 24/7 to make Linux run on the newest and oldest hardware available.  I cannot name a computer, file system, or programming language that doesn't have a team of experts getting it to work with Linux. Linux can run and network a palm pilot, an MIT wearable, or a supercomputing cluster with unmatched proficiency.  Linux is released, upgraded and repaired world wide all day everyday.  Its growth, versatility, and stability are unparalleled.

Linux has a bad reputation as difficult to learn.  The Linux community continues to simplify interfaces and provides detailed books and how-to documents online.  In fact, Linux is no more difficult to operate than win95.

As the strength of Linux grows so does its user friendliness, with special thanks to ambassador RedHat.  System components can now easily be installed or removed with the RedHat Package Manager (RPM).  Graphical user interfaces are ubiquitous.  However, the code and files behind these windows are sleek and manageable.  More significantly, the tools for remote system installation, administration and upgrading are in place today.

The government is upset with the Microsoft bully, but we don't have to be, thanks to Linux.  The WINE project aims to run win95/NT executables entirely within Linux (and other x86 UNIXes). Soon anyone left with an excuse to run a win95/NT machine will do so with Linux running underneath.  Linux is not going to replace win95/NT,  it will absorb it.  Folks, it is just a matter of time.

Meanwhile, StarOffice will read your Microsoft Word files and Quake  has been ported. The operating system is superior, its support is unmatched, its maintenance is unequaled, and the applications are arriving daily.

Linux will rule.


Australian Ron puts it slightly differently in a recent message:

Linux (and BSD et. al.) seem to be doing for Unix what the hum of WWW did to the Internet four or five years ago. There is a growing public awareness, increased accessibility, and rapidly growing user functionality.

Linux might never de-throne Windows, in the same way that IE might never de-throne Navigator, but it will take a pretty big fuckup to stop it from gathering a good share of the 'market' simply on merit. It's hard to market vapourware against a co-operation that can't go bankrupt, is infinitely expandable, and releases daily upgrades ... or as Chris [Locke] might say, "don't kids say the damnedest things sometimes."

And that, ultimately, is the reason to root for Linux: it's so damn webby. It's free, it's the result of the largest distributed software development process in history, and it's not owned by anyone. Just like the Web. In short, it's not a David vs. Goliath story at all. It's The People vs. Microsoft, a radical new way to break the grasp of The DeathStar.

On the other hand, it's so much easier when there's just one serious operating system businesses have to consider. So let's all take off our hats, thank Bill for simplifying our lives, and take whatever he dishes out to us. After all, we deserve it.


The last word (for now) will go to Eric Lundquist who wrote, in PC Week recently (July 13) that after writing a column about Linux, his favorite response came from a manager at a big. unnamed company. The manager likes Linux but says that his company "would never put their accounting system on an OS from somebody that they cannot sue -- and get something."

Game, set, match.


  dividing line

How to Feel Stupid

About 18 months ago, I bought a Hewlett Packard 560c color ink jet printer for the kids' computer. (Businesses still run in black and white for reasons a team of anthropologists from Carnegie Mellon are still trying to fathom.) It prints fine, but before it prints a page, it gives you a software message that the printer is out of paper and requires you to press the "line feed" button at least once. This gets annoying instantly.

So, being a Big Mean Web Machine, I scoured the Web to find an updated driver. I couldn't find anything on the HP page except the one that comes with Windows95, which I already had installed. I browsed through the cryptic HP FTP site listings. I couldn't find anything via DejaNews or any of the search engines. I replaced the printer cable more than once. Still, it remained a one-page printer. So, my children started writing out reports by hand, flunked out of school and now work for Nike as glue inhalers for 25 cents a day.

Then, a few weeks ago, I came across a small note on the HP site. It seems that I am not the only one suffering from the bad 560c driver. And it seems the problem came from a direction I never even considered. Hardware! It turns out that some 560c's have rollers as smooth as my balding legs and need to be roughed up via a medieval contraption HP sends you for free upon request.

My newly butched rollers now pull the papers through (and confer upon them a pleasant sand-papery texture) with alacrity, requiring no human intervention. In fact, sometimes at night I hear them starting up on their own, pulling in paper from across the room. Frankly, I'm frightened.

And I feel reeeeal stupid.

Recently, after steeling my nerve by swabbing it with Absolut Windex (vodka so strong that you walk through glass doors), I attempted to get Windows CE and Microsoft Outlook98 working together. After reinstalling CE 5 times and Outlook 6 times (I wish I were kidding), they still were engaged in a Feydeau-esque farce of missed meetings. So, I called Microsoft.

After 7 hours on the phone with various reps (I wish I were kidding), their last and best support person asked me what type of computer I was using. "A homebrew 400 megahertz," I replied.

"Well, I'm thinking that might be the problem. I don't know that we've tested Outlook98 on 400s."

Microsoft Support is given two cyanide pills to issue to customers when they have a problem that Support no longer feels like pursuing. The first is to blame the hardware. The second is to insist that the call can go no further until the user reinstalls Windows. Sensing that both pills were about to be popped into my mouth, I pulled rank: "I write for Wired with some frequency, and if you're telling me that Outlook98 doesn't support 400 megahertz computers? Well, that's going to make a great story. Thanks!"

"No, I was, um, just, ... you know, you have to consider every possibility."

So then we got back on track, playfully reinstalling every DLL we could think of, in alphabetical order.

BTW, the problem still isn't solved. (This is where Greg Cavanagh gets to tell me how Linux Rulz.)

dividing line


As we try out every non-Web business on the Web to see if it works -- "Say, suppose we had ice cream sampling spoons on the Web! What would that be like? Or the Web equivalent of Hare Krishnas in the airport! Or the Web equivalent of pay toilets!!" -- here's one that doesn't seem to fit: 800 numbers. But, where there's a market niche, some life form will fill it.

This particularly mutated bioform is NETcall800 from NETcall PLC in Cambridge, UK. It's designed to overcome the problem that some Web applications require realtime communications although the Web isn't a realtime medium. For example, if you post getaway packages on your travel site, you want prospects to be able to talk with you as soon as they see something that's interesting to them. So, with NETcall800 you post your "hyperphone number" at the bottom of the package blurb. When a prospect clicks on it, a robo-voice calls an appropriate salesperson, passing her or him the page from which the prospect "called." You then pick up a plain old phone and call back, shouldering the phone charges (as in an 800 call). For this you pay NETcall US$0.18/minute for your callback call.

Why do this instead of just letting the customer send you an email or fill out a form to which you then react quickly? Well, you couldn't then call the service a type of 800 number for the Web and some other life form would have to occupy your niche. (Some major catalogue companies, including ICAT, Intershop and Catalog are users of this service, so they must find something more than just a compelling analogy.)

Tip o' the hat to Mike Harrison at NETcall and a JOHO reader...

dividing line


Death of Docs, Part Whatever

The always-thoughtful Jim Meyer -- a man who truly lives up to his beard -- has this to say about our continuing discussion of the "death of documents" and my claim that web sites will "kill" office documents:

Chris RageBoy may be right, maybe documents don't exist.  Despite a fear of the word metaphor and the reaction it elicits, isn't a document a metaphor (along with all media) for storing or transmitting thoughts and ideas?

And if the document is a metaphor, can it die? Certainly, it can be supplanted, but be careful--only two historically acknowledged media have been truly supplanted and totally abandoned: floppy disks and telegrams.

Famous declarations:

Radio will eliminate newspapers.
Television will kill radio and movie theatres.

Cable will kill TV and movie theaters.

Web sites will kill documents.

Each new medium, allows early medium to find their most appropriate role and abandon unrealistic roles assigned by the public until a better medium comes along.  That is why children of the 50's, raised by broadcast TV, watched as children of the 70s were raised on public TV, and allow video tapes to raise their own children, while the next generation is raised by chat rooms.

Web sites are not a metaphor for ideas, web sites are a metaphor for enlightened (and unenlightened) dialogue.  The behavior you so readily attribute to web sites and deny for documents is an expression of enlightened dialogue.

Regrettably, Frank Gilbane defends the use of documents for enlightened dialogue in the form of research journals. Many of his arguments make sense, but here I agree web sites are better suited for dialogues. So, shall we proclaim the death of documents as a means of dialogue? Yes. But, shall we proclaiming the death of documents for ever? Bury them next to radio.

Unfortunately, we're not as far apart as you think. Docs will remain as a legacy system, and will be used as the record of decisions made (and dialogues ended). So, no, they won't die the way that telegrams did, but they will die the way cars killed horses. So, I agree with you, although you put it better.

As for burying our documents next to the radio, man, that sounds totally perverse. How can you hear anything if you bury your radio? Wow, learn some acoustical science, Jimbo!

Jim also sends an email message entitled "JOHO -- Manure or Chthonian Swamp?" I'm hoping that being a Chthonian swamp is a good thing, especially since by coincidence, just last week I signed on, over the Web, to a vacation package tour of Chthonian swamps. (It was that or the "Stygian Weekend Getaway," a real bargain.) He writes:

Knowledge is organic.  How can it be anything else? At the most absolute level, this is not a metaphor.  Knowledge is a by product of an organism. It is organic.


Ideas are fueled, like many organisms, with manure.  And the best ideas gain strength and support through their successful use.  Weak ideas fall by the wayside.  So, knowledge is organic, growing and changing and adapting. In this metaphor, JOHO is the chthonian swamp--bringing forth a new, more powerful life form.

Context is everything, get a new one.

First of all, not everything produced by organisms is organic. Consider pig iron, long division and Pamela Anderson, to name just four. But there's undoubtedly utility in considering knowledge to be organic.

And, gosh, Jim, I'm always happy to find a new context. But do you have any that, you know, aren't so redolent of decaying leaves and mildew, maybe something with a nice lawn and a small gas-fueled BBQ unit?


They Know What Your Other Hand Is Doing, Dept.

According to an article in Inter@active Week by Randy Barrett, ISPs can "with a few keystrokes" find out just about everything about your surfing habits, including where you've been and when -- and even the content of the email you've sent and received. The article says:

Although Internet providers have a potential treasure trove of information at their fingertips, none are willing to jeopardize subscriber privacy to make an extra buck by selling billing or Web-habit information to third parties.

The silent "Yet" is deafening.

The article quotes Lance Julander, owner of Terragon Media, who tried out a "packet sniffer" (man, there's a job description I don't want on my resume) and was amazed at the wealth of information it turned up about his customers. He is quoted as saying:

It was like I was sitting over a subscriber's shoulder. It almost made me feel kind of queasy to be able to see that much."

Almost? I think full blown queasiness is required here.


Technological Breakthroughs by the Media, Dept.

The July 6 issue of the ever-slimmer, recently fiction-free The New Republic proudly reports:

We are ... pleased to announce that, as part of a technological upgrade here at TNR, we now have two new Internet mail addresses. Subscriptions, inquiries and changes of address should be sent to: [email protected]. All other correspondence, including letters to the editor, can be sent to: [email protected]

We here at JOHO are just as proud to report that thanks to a technological upgrade, JOHO now supports the use of multi-colored fonts in the Web version of our super-advanced newsletter.

Scene: Editorial offices of The New Republic. Editor-in-chief Martin Peretz, literary editor Leon Wieseltier and acting webmastron Windy Aloof are listening attentively to Eduardo Mistral, account exec from Web Cha Cha Consulting Services. Eduardo, dressed all in black, is in his early twenties and is nursing an oversize cup of choco-latte (latte with Bosco).

MISTRAL: So, as I'm sure you've already figured out, putting in a second modem will double your ADSL gigabits per megahertz bandwidth ISP.

PERETZ: Wow! Fantastic!

WIESELTIER [acting cagey]: Yes, but -- Martin, you'll excuse the phrase -- what's the bottom line? How will this technology help us advance the political take-over by Jewish intellectuals that's been our secret agenda for the past ...

PERETZ: Leon! You promised not to tell anyone!

WIESELTIER : Damn! It just slipped out! Forget I said that, Eduardo.

[Eduardo makes a conspiratorial pistol gesture with his fingers, winks, and chucks Leon under the chin.]

ALOOF: Well, it seems to me that we simply have to have that second modem. What's it going to come to?

MISTRAL [pretending to do calculations on his Palm III, the batteries for which ran out 2 months ago]: Whew, momma, this type of architectural deengineering doesn't come cheap. Let me see. With the JIT Java compiler, modifying the Netscape source code -- but let me tell you, ever since they made it available at ten cents a line, you're gonna be saving Big Time -- and then there's the Boolean VRML charge...I gotta connect to the Cray. I'll get back to you.

PERETZ: I don't see that we even have a choice about this. We have to have that second modem. Everyone agrees? Good! Eduardo, thank you for coming in ...

WIESELTIER: Martin, I'm sorry but I have one more question. Eduardo, we get a deluge of email every day from our readers and freelancers ...

ALOOF: ... up to 8 a day when we run a stab-our-friends-in-the-back cover story ...

WIESELTIER: ... and sorting it is killing us. Not to mention that whoever gets to the inbox first gets to read everyone else's private mail. Isn't there some way we could have more than one email address?

MISTRAL [rolling his eyes and stroking the Hitler moustache that he houses under his bottom lip]: Two email addresses? Totally rad idea! Let me think how we could do that? It'd mean short-circuiting the phlogiston drives, and setting hyperflux aliasing links to do a DHTML cross-over. But if you're willing to live with the carbonaceous bit build-up -- you'd just need to file the residue off your drives every 3 months -- we could make some Web history here. Of course... [The three TNR staffers lean forward] ... it's gonna cost you.

[Curtain falls as Eduardo takes out an old transistor radio that he pretends is a wireless, speech activated web browser, and inserts the antenna up Peretz's rectum "to get better reception," as Wieseltier fumbles for his checkbook.]  


Middle World Resources

A Compendium of Resources
Walking the Walk  

According to InternetWeek (June 15), thirty automobile industry suppliers, manufacturers and dealers met at the Detroit Yacht Club to discuss ways of "creating industry standard practices for development of collaborative Web applications that would route sales data back to the manufacturer and through the supply chain more quickly and in more detail than ever before." This would mean, for example, that at long last there would be some industry regulation of the plaids worn by car dealers.

About 30% of the cost of an average car rolls up after it rolls off the production line. According to John Waraniak, of Benchmarking Partners (motto: "Would we lie to you?"), the industry could save 20% or $1,200 of "demand-chain" costs," passing through to the consumer a price reduction of approximately $1.27 with the rest being applied to the cost of developing a cup holder capable of withstanding the force of an air bag deployment.

Cool Tool
For the Hyperlinked Organization

To produce the Web version of JOHO, I use Macromedia DreamWeaver for the basic typing and blocking, and Allaire Homesite 3.0 for the tricky HTML bits (like getting the indented blocks to be blue and Courier, something DreamWeaver has trouble with).

This issue's cool tool is the beta of Homesite 4.0. Homesite has always been for editing HTML code, with a browser preview mode. Now you can edit in the browser preview mode, which means DreamWeaver just lost a big reason for being. (Also, Homesite's link checker works better than DreamWeaver's, not that I'll ever get 'em right anyway.)

In addition, the beta adds a small feature that is a big plus for productivity. In previous releases, you could automatically insert boilerplate content and markup but you had to choose from a menu. Now you can assign them to keyboard shortcuts. Hardly a technological breakthrough, but a real time saver.

So, I'm now switching back to HomeSite as my primary authoring tool.

To get a copy, you'll first have to become a registered HomeSite 3.0 user.


InformationWeek reports (June 1) on a United Press International poll of computer users that found:

43% trust what they read on the Net vs. 35% who trust what they read in other media

They spent 59% of their computer time working and the other 41% for pleasure

45% believe that Bill Gates plays a more significant role in their lives than Bill Clinton does

Another 72%  said they'd rather go back to watching the Simpsons than answer damn fool questions from another goddamn pollster.



Email, Comments, Suggested Lifestyles


John Peters reports on some supposedly broken links in the previous issue (an artifact of the wrapping of some of the longer links, yet another reason to prefer the Web version to the email version), and from this oddly concludes:

I believe that this succinctly demonstrates that you are a fig newton of RB's [RageBoy's] imagination...

And on the topic... If you go to


and download Version 1.01 Rev. A (15 May 1998), an application entitled "RB Pro" will appear on your start menu (presuming some current version of Windows). If your current version happens to be NT Workstation SP3, the installation will screw up your DLLs since it apparently presumes that it's installing on W95... Proof that RB now works for Compaq, having given up on pretending to be a pretend marketing shill and moved on to compound document development. If that doesn't scare you to death, run the app and read the generated reports in detail, revealing further evidence known, to this point, only to Linda Tripp...

I am happy to say that I trust you implicitly and have skipped the actual downloading, installation, and reinstallation of Windows 95 to restore my lost DLLs, all in order to get an "RB" on my Start menu.

And on the topic of RageBoy and bad links, Chris "RageBoy" Locke just has to show me up by succeeding where I failed at locating a particular article on the Information Week site:

here's the link to the InfoWeek article. took some doing but this is working for me
btw, I did find this using the Information Week advanced search thingie. the one you published was
haven't read the issue yet -- just looked for technical errors I could beat you up over...

Fine, RageBoy, we all bow before your magnificence. But, maybe you ought to check your own site a little more carefully. I tried punching in the Trident launch codes you gave away in your last issue and only succeeded in delaying the E train at the Jamaica station for ten minutes, not "annihilating all funny-sounding Eastern European countries" as you promised. What a gyp!

Jeffrey Millar takes up the challenge to come up with new units of measurement:

A dimple: The amount of time it would take an infinite number of rednecks in an infinite number of pickup trucks shooting an infinite number of shotguns at an infinite number of road signs to produce the works of Shakespeare in Braille.

A Craplet: The total value of all productive time lost by employees downloading useless Java apps.

The loserbyte: Value, in bytes, of all packets transmitted by people looking for a mate, or even a date, from online matchmaking services over the course of one year. My extensive, um, research in this area has me very close to a definitive number. Stay tuned.

This leads, inevitably to:

MillarTime: The blocks of lost time spent coming up with bogus contest entries

But God bless ya, Jeff. We love ya.

In response to last issue's article about Gartner Group research showing that CIOs don't like the name "Knowledge Management," Danny Boulanger writes:

If the Gartner Group did not invent the name Knowledge Management, that means it does not exist (.6).

First, Danny, I'm a little concerned about the emoticon you end with [(.6)]. Does this mean something in French that I don't understand? Are Montrealers able to wink an eye, open their mouths and simultaneously stick their tongue out of the top of their mouths? Is this some weird sex thing?

Please do not enlighten us.

But Danny raises a good point. To get KM kicked off right, we really need some trademark-able names and phrases so that the vendors and consultants feel they own a defensible chunk of value. We need stuff like

"Send your knowledge to college™"

(on which JOHO owns the trademark) and

"Is your business running on K-M or on K-Empty?™"

Or perhaps something simple and elegant like:

"Wise up."

or the tough love

" Yo. What are you, a bunch of frigging morons or what?"

JOHO is currently accepting contributions on this topic.

Clinton Glenn is also exercised about KM, and replies to recent writings by me and RageBoy

You guys have really lost it. All this crap about Knowledge Management was driving me crazy until I finally figured it (and you two) out. You guys are stalling for time until the next "buzz word or term of the Year" comes out, right??!! Hell, why wait - start one of your own and be the first on the block to beat the new horse to death.

Boy, I feel a lot better now. Thank guys.

I responded:

The next buzz word is "interlinear KLC."

Please write once you know what it means.

Clinton claims to have figured it out already:

I've got it!! "Interlinear KLC" is a group of individuals standing in line between posts and ropes (like in a bank!), waiting in line for the new Kentucky-Lite Chicken. What do you think - is that absurd enough??!! The Colonel can rest in peace - technology has taken him to the next millenium with a thinner waistline.

Clearly Clinton is not taking this very seriously and so further correspondence would be fruitless. Clinton, this is not how the Knowledge Management industry raised itself to its current mighty heights!

Danny Boulanger also contributes the following:

A PC is like a woman's purse ... the bigger they are, the more you fill them. I have been using PCs since 1986 and three months ago I bought a Pentium II, 120 meg of SDram, 8 gig of hard disk, 24X reader. Believe me, it seems to be the same speed. The faster they get, the fatter the application will be. Are we improving? Who is really getting the benefit?

I don't know about this purse metaphor, but it's clear to me that your problem is that you need to reinstall Windows and then everything will be fine.

Jeffrey Mann of the META Group jumps into the remarkably provocative question of how Dutch taxi drivers immediately spot me as an American:

Amsterdam taxi drivers can tell what nationality you are by looking at your shoes. It does not matter where you bought them; they still will give you away.

Jeff, I'm a little disturbed to learn this. Does Interpol yet know that your shoes can serve as a unique identifier no matter where you bought them? Just asking, mind you.

Or do you think I was given away by my 7-lbs. Nike "machines for running" that look like I took large, fluffy towels, threw in some Erector Set bits, and fiberglassed them around a pair of rubber ankle waders? Or was it my "I Survived the White House 98 Beer and Interns Blast" commemorative T shirt? Or was it my profligate ways with the world's energy supply that flagged me as American?

Pauline Angione points us to the Digital Landfill at http://www.potatoland.org. The "artist" responsible for the site layers in whatever unused, discarded scraps of pages people send him. The result is an ugly, useless, pointless site. (Ah, it must be art!) Not only does it waste our time, it also wastes a good domain name. Fortunately, www.potatoland.com is still available.

Thanks for the site, Pauline.


Those of you who don't read the Web version don't even know that every issue contains a one-line "current personal crisis" feature with hilarious bon mots concerning my family, political and sexual problems. In the previous issue, I confessed discomfort with a pang of sadness about the death of Barry "Let's Nuke 'Em Anyway" Goldwater. John Burton -- a good boy who reads the Web version -- responds:

As a young Democrat I was horrified by his acceptance speech. As an old Republican and sometimes lobbyist I appreciated his straight forward approach and no BS comments about issues such as gays in the military and Pres. Clinton. The only one I miss more is E. Dirkson. Now, there was a Senator -- whatever party.

I've been carrying a torch for Everett Dirkson as well, but it's purely a physical thing. On the political side, I daily mourn the loss of Adam Clayton Powell. Keep the faith, baby.

David Hitchcock writes to thank JOHO for plugging his site:

Thanks for the mention. England in a bit of a depression having been knocked out of the World Cup....Half the population watched the Q final against Argentina on Tuesday.

Wow, what a bummer! I heard about that World Cup thing. Apparently it's a sports event. Best of luck to your brave chaps as they take "centre court" and give those beef-eating, bolo-throwing island-stealing Argies a run for their money. You know all of us on this side of the Pond are rooting for you!

Michael Heim, the official Philosopher of the Web, points us to a NY Times article (you'll have to register first) on people who are choosing to disconnect:


Well, people are entitled to type their novels on old Underwoods, to wear wind-up watches, and invest in the miracle of aluminum siding. But that doesn't mean that when the revolution comes we won't kill them. And, best of all, lacking a modern communications system, we should be able to round them up well before they hear what's going on...unless some neo-liberal, gun-less egghead squeals to them in advance.

We'll be watching you, Heim.

Mike Totman responds to Michael Barrett's complaint in the previous issue that someone I cited referred to Han Solo talking of parsecs as if they were a unit of speed.

I have 2 things to say about this:
1) Technically he was measuring time, not speed.
2) There are a couple of theories about this "error", here quoted from "Star Wars Bloopers", Compiled by Robert Leithe Version 1.0, last updated on 30. October 1996 http://frodo.hiof.no/~deak/blooper/online/txtswb1.txt

I'm offering 2:1 odds that Mike Totman is a Linux user.

Mike also writes that "War" was first recorded by Edwin Starr (which is true) but states that he thinks that Bruce Springsteen wrote it (false) and did a cover of it (true).

Andy Moore writes:

It was Edwin Starr and "War." (name of the band AND its single hit. When I look back to my pharmacologically hampered youth, small serendipities such as this are warmly regarded.)

But wasn't "War" the name of Eric Burdon's group after "The Animals"?

If I actually cared about this, I'd ask to be straightened out.


Bogus Contest: Web Bands

The Web needs a house band. For example:


  The Waitles

Question Mark and the Wild Cards

Stan the Spam and the Pharaohs

The Mothers of Disintermediation

The 404 Tops

The (ya)Who

Credence Clear Cache Revival

Harold Melvin and the Big Blue Notes

(For extra points: Can you name the person who drew the cover illustration for the first Poco album. Hint: He's dead.)

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.

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

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

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

The Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization is a publication of Evident Marketing, Inc. "The Hyperlinked Organization" is trademarked by Open Text Corp. Information on preemptive trademarks™™ can be found at http://www.hyperorg.com/misc/trademarks.html.