June 27 , 2000


Table of Contents

Web and Class: How much you long for the Web is how much you hate your job.
The New Gravity: Its merged with its opposite: levity.
Why Search Engines Suck: Parts Whatever to Whatever + 5
Misc.:Bad breaks, web jokes, and more
Cool Tool: CoolBoard gives you a discussion board for free.
Walking the Walk: Kraft goes hyperlinked
Links to love: Mainly your suggestions. Don't blame me.
Email, Slander, and Entropic Ranting: Your letters. Fabulous.
Bogus Contest: Hollyweb: Web remakes of Hollywood hits



Old-Fashioned Fat 'n' Sassy JOHO

Well, it's happened. I've done a series of shorter issues to appeal to your MTV-addled attention spans and to burn through my backlog of articles. So now I have a backlog of great stuff from y'all, bloating this issue to its normal supersized proportions and beyond. This is like jet-lag for content. Oy.


Cluetrain in the Faux White House

I was watching last week's rerun of The West Wing (yes, I watch TV...and you do, too, you lying, pretentious bastards) and in walks Josh, the curly-haired guy, carrying a sheaf of papers and a book. I do a quadruple take as I notice the book has distinctive orange, white and gray stripes. Although I pressed my nose to the glass to try to read the title, I couldn't confirm that it's our little Cluetrain book. So, does anyone have a contact at the show I could drop a friendly little email to to find out, and, by the way, to suggest some interesting plot developments I'm sure they'd find useful; for example, I'm halfway through a script I call "The President Gets Blown." Emmy, hold a seat open for Mr. and Ms. JOHO!


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Web and class

Last week I was in a discussion group after a presentation I made. In the room were senior managers and owners of hotels around the world. My presentation had been the usual Cluetrain twaddle about the Web returning our sense of individuality and voice, and about it enabling workers to route around the org chart. I could not have been more delighted, then, when no more than ten minutes into the open discussion, two guys were on the verge of taking their pinstriped jackets off and saying, "You wanna piece of me?" The issue: How much do workers hate their jobs.

We got there because one participant suggested, not unreasonably, that having his employees surf the web would hurt their productivity. "I don't want to have someone at the front desk telling customers to wait because he's off surfing somewhere. It's bad enough that if they have a computer available to them, they spend half their time playing solitaire."

"So why are your workers so unengaged that they're playing solitaire? They must hate what they're doing," chimed in another participant. The background for this remark was a set of corporate presentations in the previous session touting the ideal of "engagement." I actually found this heartening. To this group, hiring for engagement means — as it should — hiring people who are enthusiastic about their work and who get past the professional smile and the professional chipper attitude. I.e., they're going to try to hire truly hospitable people, no FriendBots(tm).

The conversation quickly turned to why people work in the first place. When one guy said that people don't work primarily for money, another owner said that was "Bull crap" (I'm just reporting), and that was when the coats almost came off. What would I have paid to see two middle-aged hotel owners waling on each other over the issue of why their employees work!

So where did our executive come up with the idea that his front desk people are going to be browsing instead of listening to customers complain that the sheets are scratching their dainty behinds and the masturbatory TV channel went fuzzy during the peak viewing moments? Easy. He sees two worlds: work (that we hate) and the Web (that we love). And there's truth to that view, unfortunately. In fact, in the Cluetrain book I say, sort-of meaning it, however much you long for the Web is how much you hate your job. The Web feels so much better than where most of us work. The Web has hit our culture with all of the power of poetry, making a promise we can't articulate but that is all the more potent for that. And it's going to encourage us all to remake work in the Web's image.

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The New Gravity

Q: What's the opposite of gravity?
A: Levity.

In the new physics of the Web, this line from Firesign Theater is no joke. If gravity is that which attracts bodies, what draws people to sites on the Web is their interest. If I have an interest in, say, the habits of nuns in the 13th century, I will find www.nunshabits.com/13th_century.html inherently fascinating. But, suppose I have no such interest. What would it take to give that site the gravity-producing mass of Jupiter or even of a collapsed star? Maybe if the site were giving away a million dollars, or if the site presented an interactive mystery, or if there were a really funny Habit of the Day joke, or if to get the information I had to slap a moving monkey, or if the nun's habits were being modeled by a certain Sister Pamela Anderson.

Entertainment, you see, is not the opposite of information. Entertainment is information that stimulates interest in itself. Entertainment bends the information space so that bodies head toward it. For example, if ten years ago you'd asked me to rate my interest in the Scottish leader nicknamed "Braveheart" (actually, Lenny the Bruce), I'd have given him roughly a zero out of ten. But, then came the vastly entertaining movie based on his exploits ("Road Trip") and suddenly I find him fascinating. The movie created an interest where there wasn't any before. [Note: Please send your comments about the movie to me at [email protected] Thank you.]

The vastness of the Web gives advantage to those sites that are not just informative but also entertaining. This is because of the law of nature that says: We find interesting things interesting.

Pages that present information in straightforward (= boring) ways that once would have been acceptable, we now find unacceptable. There's got to be at least some nice formatting, maybe a joke or two, and preferably a logo-ed character who can show up in the Macy's Parade holding a sharp object right behind Jeeves. This ratcheting up of entertainment value may be invisible to us, but just compare any informational page today with how it would have looked on the Web six years ago: gray background, Times Roman font, and no graphics ("Gifs waste bandwidth, dude").

Is this mere pandering? Consider a certain large oil company that found its off-shore platform operators were over-specifying the amount of ultra-expensive drying chemicals because the manuals were too boring to read. So the company "jazzed up" the manuals with some "fun" graphics and cut the amount of chemical used by over two-thirds, saving Millions of Dollars. (This is true, by the way.) Sure, if the entertainment value gets in the way of the information, there may be an issue. But if it brings people to your site, if it gets them to read the information you've posted there, you're only acknowledging what every civilization has come to realize: we are not information machines. We actually enjoy enjoying ourselves. Go figure.

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Why Search Engines Suck, Parts Whatever
to Whatever + 5

Search Engines that Randomly Suck in Our Favor

Hans Paijmans writes from The Netherlands with a search result I didn't believe until I tried it and which I still can't explain:

You won't believe this, but I stumbled over your page after being a bit bored and typing in Google:

"well, let's see what you can find"

I promised myself to read *whatever* was the first hit. Google returned your site as first hit...

The Cluetrain.com clues page is now #6 on the list. But, jeez, until now google was my current favorite search site. Now I've lost a lot of respect for it.... especially since the search phrase doesn't appear on the page.

Search Engines that Tell You that You Suck

Michael O'Connor Clarke writes about a search engine he found:

This one still sucks, but it also tells you how much you suck while you use it. The rudest search engine ever invented:


Oh how I love the Net.

Search Engines that Know that They Suck

Lycos ("The Search Engine that Can't Find Anything") has all but admitted its own suckitude, handing off the searching to a Norwegian company (Fast Search and Transfer ASA). Lycos now says (through Fast's CTO, John Lervik), "We are focusing very much on having the world's best technology...", thus reversing their previous strategy of having technology that sucks. Lervik claims he can index 100 million pages a day and has indexed a billion pages. Danny Sullivan, of Search Engine Watch is skeptical (according to the Boston Globe). That means we are too.

Search Engines that Get Paid to Suck

AskJeeves.com ("The Least Imaginative Mascot in History") has announced that it's auctioning off keywords. According to a terribly written article in eWeek (formerly PCWeek, formerly MainframeWeek, formerly FlatRockswithScratchesWeek) by Grant Du Bois (June 12), you now can buy whatever keyword you want, although it's completely unclear what this buys you. The lead of the story says that it's a way to "eliminate those annoying banner advertisements on Web sites and still allow advertisers to reach Web surfers." But what do you get instead? "After users type in a search keyword on a partner's Web site, a portion of the search results is devoted to companies peddling their wares." Huh? What partners? And what's in this portion if not a banner ad? Apparently "text-based ads" which are either a step down in effectiveness from banner ads or are a euphemism for text that's an ad that doesn't say that it's an ad. Are companies buying placements in the returns list as at goto.com and during an ill-advised experiment by Open Text lo these many years ago when I worked there and found myself uttering the phrase "over my dead body" way too many times for comfort?

I don't know what AskJeeves is doing, but I know I don't like it.

Search Engines that Find Pagans

Chris "RageBoy" Locke (http://www.hyperorg.com/backissues/www.rageboy.com/index2.html) unearthed the following:

New Search Engine Supports Pagan E-Commerce and Networking
Family of Websites Brings Freedom of Expression to Once-Isolated Group

CARLSBAD, CA - May 25, 2000 (INB) — It's not easy being pagan - at least until now. Pagan Internet Industries launched its new portal, AriadneSpider.com http://www.ariadnespider.com with services designed especially for the "Pagan Only" niche market. The search engine has already spun its web to reach an estimated 3 million pagans visiting cyberspace, supplying access to 1,500 witchcraft and pagan-related links.

Three million pagans in cyberspace? Yeah, sure. And they're all writing code in HexML, and using their spellcheckers, yada yada yada. C'mon, RageBoy, you think I'm going to fall for this one?

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Dept. of Bad Breaks

An article in the International Herald Tribune (by Edmund L. Andrews) details the exploits of a recently disgraced German journalist, Tom Kummer, who for five years fabricated interviews with Hollywood stars such as Brad Pitt, Sharon Stone, and Courtney Love. Kummer wrote primarily for the Suddeutsche Zeitung (Southern Germany Newspaper), or, as the umlaut-deprived Herald Tribune writes it, Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Towards the end of the article, an unfortunate line break caused the following sentence to be run: "Referring to Mr. Kummer and his editors at the Sued-deutsche magazine, ..." Sued indeed.

Making spam no longer mere virtually, I received a boiler-room phone call from www.ohgolly.com recently, informing me that they just needed to confirm the name of my company in order to turn on the free web site they're building for me.

Please put ohgolly on your Never-Visit list. Thank you.

Wendy Masri sends us the following Web Humor. (Hmm, we need a name for these jokey articles that circulate through email. Weblaffs? Nettickle? Teeheemail? Mini-bogus contest time!)

Investigators at a major research institute have discovered the heaviest element known to science. This startling new discovery has been tentatively named Administratium (Ad). The new element has no protons or electrons, thus having an atomic number of 0. It does, however, have 1 neutron, 125 assistant neutrons, 75 vice neutrons, and 111 assistant vice neutrons, for an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by a force called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since it has no electrons, Administratium is inert. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.

According to the discoverers, a minute amount of Administratium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete when it would normally take less than a second...

There's more. But it got a little wearing.


I tried to register the domain www.microsofts.com. It's taken. Damn! It was a million dollar idea!

Cool Tool
For the Hyperlinked Organization

http://www.coolboard.com/ is an outsourced discussion board you can link to from your site. It's free. It has some nice features and might actually be useful; for example, it doesn't require people to subscribe to it in order to view it. And between the time I first looked at it a couple of weeks ago and now, they've removed the banner ads for free, rather than requiring you to pay them to do so. Cool!

You can take a look at one I put together under the JOHO aegis to see if you like it: http://www.coolboard.com/boardshow.cfm/mb=8187405215568

(Ah, what an elegant URL!)

Walking the Walk (But Coughing Vigorously Afterwards)

Kraft Food is organized by food category — Desserts, Condiments, Perpetual Cheese, etc. — but recognizes that many of its efforts cross those lines. For example, they market food that appeals to children in several different food categories. So, in addition to their official food group clusters, they form virtual teams of differing degrees of virtuality to cut across by market. They use email and intranet tools to keep in touch. And they allow in people who are outside the Kraft family fold, such as suppliers and distributors...so appropriate from the makers of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, the ultimate webby meal (cheese strand hyperlinks connecting chunky nodes) — soon to come in a low tar version for the kiddies!

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Links to love

WebChick (heck, in our hearts, aren't we all web chicks?) sends us to


which is a parody of a hot dot-com IPO that's ridiculous yet almost credible, e.g. "Now you can get your OwnBetterDog, 100% compatible with BetterDogFood.COM products and our corporate objectives." A sign of the times.

James Sherrett writes about a very interesting case:

I just came across an article I thought you and other JOHO readers might be interested in. It's from the Industry Standard and specifically their Net Law newsletter — which I highly recommend as a source of information on the legal developments in Internet law, intellectual property, copyright, etc. The full article is available at http://www.thestandard.com/article/display/0,1151,15503,00.html?nl=nl and the newsletter also points to the full text of the decision at http://www.cand.uscourts.gov/cand/tentrule.nsf/d68455b37093cb058825677f0076e1bc/d0fc1406324de0cd882568e90081ebf4?OpenDocument

So what's all this hullabaloo I'm pointing out to you about? A recent decision by a U.S. federal judge banning Bidder's Edge bots from patrolling eBay for the purpose of generating price-comparison reportage. The decision was based upon trespass laws, which is really the interesting part...

The founders of BiddersEdge are old buddies of mine, and I interviewed one of them recently. It is indeed a fascinating issue...a very clear case of the old metaphors slipping off like lipstick on a duck (or like metaphors on this paragraph). The judge's decision (linked above) is fascinating reading. Really.

http://www.movielens.umn.edu/is an interesting experiment in collaborative filtering. Enter movies you've liked and it will compare your taste with that of others and make guesses about what other movies you might like. It turns out that I should like "Space Amazons, Part II" and "Abbot & Costello Meet Hamlet."

Chris Worth writes:

Chris Crawford was (is?) a games designer who wrote some great stuff years ago in Interactive Entertainment Design. Ever since seeing a quote of his on Feed I've been searching fruitlessly for an archive of his work - fruitless, that is, until now: http://www.erasmatazz.com/library/ Fascinating. It's all so old, yet so much of it rings true. Try this for starters: www.erasmatazz.com/library/JCGD_Volume_7/Fundamentals.html

The piece Chris points us to argues for conversation as a fundamental metaphor of interactivity. Or vice versa. As one of the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto, I must, however, continue to claim that we (henceforth, The Authors) discovered and/or invented the concept and/or practice of conversation and hold all rights to it as adumbrated in the Geneva Conventions covering prisoner's rights and lost luggage. In short, our lawyers will be in touch.

Craig McAllister invites us to the beta of ePrompter at http://www.eprompter.com/. There you'll read:

ePrompter™ is a free email notification utility that automatically checks up to eight AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo, and POP3 email accounts at the same time, featuring a unique screensaver that lets you know at a glance the current status of your selected email accounts, whether your computer is online or offline.

I haven't tried it yet, but Craig's word is his bond. Right, Craig?

In a similar vein, Mark Hurst of http://www.creativegood.com/ jumps on the Goodness Management (as seen in an earlier issue of JOHO) bandwagon with

so, what we need is a consulting company that will help OTHER companies create more Good behavior. hmmm.... what would i name that company...

..perhaps Creative Good?

JOHO thus fulfills its destiny: giving free plugs. What the heck, Mark's a good guy (= he plugged JOHO in his newsletter).

And let's not leave Darrell Berry out, as he refers to yet another previous issue:

bibliographic metaphor of 'pages' vs websites as 'places to visit'?

you might like to see what we've built as our website/intra- and extranet

we're at http://www.hhcl.com/

Howellhenryland is a graphic conversation space — that is, it's a graphic space, although the conversations can be graphic as well. If you're in the US, bear in mind that you're most likely to find other people to talk with during reasonable hours GMT.

Mark Dionne writes:

If you have ever wondered how the concept for Starwars was born, check out the movie, "George Lucas in Love." It can be found at http://www.mediatrip.com/per/House_Picks/.

This is a nine-minute short parodying both Shakespeare in Love and Star Wars, suitable for viewing through a magnifying lens. But it's funny.

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Email, Slander, and Entropic Ranting

So much great mail. And this is just one ladle from the bucket.

We start with Stuart Creque who writes about our proposal that the natural extension of knowledge management isn't "wisdom management" (yech) but Goodness Management:

My first thought upon reading your column on goodness management was of the girl in the tight 501's in the old Levi's commercial who yells at her beau, "Travis, you're years too late!" After all, weren't the 1980s all about quality management? And what is quality if not goodness? (Indeed, what is quality?)

But then it occurred to me that you might be on to something. Consequently, I am preparing a series of seminars on "naughtiness reduction initiatives in the workplace." It should be a hot seller: it's easy for prospects to understand that if, for example, naughtiness in the Oval Office had been reduced by just a few percent in the 1990s, the productivity of the entire country would have been far, far greater (once you factor out selling tabloids and tabloid TV from "productive uses of capital").

Of course, the key is focusing in on just the right set of naughty behaviors to eliminate. Things like cornering subordinates of the opposite sex in the supply closet or using company funds as working capital for a cocaine distribution ring would rate as very naughty, whereas writing e-mail to web columnists on company time would only rank as a bit naughty. Just enumerating the naughtiness rankings in a client company would keep my consultants in billable hours for months.

Peccadillo Management! We're going to be rich!

Larry Fitzpatrick has an early sighting of Goodness Management:

About 5 years ago I read an article in a magazine (the name escapes me, I think the initials were FW... a small weekly) about an auto parts distributor in Penn. that operates under a set of principles laid down in the 1970's by a guy named Richard Whetherill. The principles are essentially "managing goodness." The company was put together by a dozen of his "disciples" (I don't think he would have called them that... he was dead by the time they did this... no he hasn't been sighted since!), a few of which are elderly marms. The article referred to his writings. Several times over the last few years I have tried to track down publications by him and cannot find a thing... Anyway, the article described how in a few short years, the initial crew had grown the company to hundreds of employees and owned a big chunk of their market... the success, of course, was attributed to the "principles."

You mean Richard Whetherill, the pioneer explorer of the Anasazi culture of the Four Corners Region of the southwest? Nah, probably not. Closest I could come...

BobF has another sighting:

To burst your bubble a bit, look into an OD (organization development) practice called "affirmative inquiry" in which the consultant goes in, finds out what the company is doing right (as opposed to what it's screwing up) and figures out ways to increase the level of "doing things right."

While I admire the vacuousness of the phrase "affirmative inquiry," I hate to see goodness reduced to "doing things right," presumably along the lines of (men only!) avoiding sticking your dick into the pencil sharpener.

Presumably BobF agrees because in the same message he writes:

My philosophy professor, the one I listened to, proposed that there are just a few of what he calls transcendental terms, i.e. words that mean way more than then the word itself. He said there are five, and probably only five:

Goodness Truth Beauty Being Love

Makes me want to add "management" to all of them (and then shoot myself).

Good point. On the other hand, the philosophy professor in me, the one no one listens to, wants to point out that *all* words mean way more than the word itself, except the word "um."

Have I sufficiently distracted people from your point yet?

Mark Federman also thinks GM is distressingly real:

Goodness Management, that is promoting and increasing the good practices of a business, and attempting to replicate these practices in other businesses, has already been done. So it's not as derision-worthy as it seems. In fact, it's been done so well, that tremendous credibility has not only been given to "good practices", but also to "better practices" and especially to "best practices". Hmm... maybe you're right. Deride on!

No no no! Goodness Management is clearly differentiated from Best Practices by the fact that it's spelled entirely differently — the key to great marketing.

Michael O'Connor Clarke ("So nice they named him twice, and put an extra E on the end") comments on the new, JOHO format:

Catching up on my JOHO backissues - love some of the new stuff and the new "Interval" idea. Kind of a JOHM, isn't it? A Journal Of the Hyperlinked Microcosm. Or a HSPIHO: Hastily Scribbled Post-It of the Hyperlinked Organization, perhaps.

I prefer to think of it as JOHO Made Readable.

Patrick Ebert also comments on the new short-form JOHO (of which this issue clearly is not an example):

You seem to be apologizing for having more to say (longer issues). Does this mean you really have nothing to say and feel bad that you have burden the faithful with a load of drek? Or is being shorter a virtue unto itself? Which would lead one to postulate that the perfect newsletter says nothing at all.

I am working on a newsletter that works like the anti-sound head sets that feed back the inverted wave of current noise, so that the noises cancel each other out. This newsletter does the same for the written word. I'm going to be a millionaire, I tell you!

Larry Fitzpatrick writes about wikiwebs, those wacky pages that let anyone — yes, anyone — edit them.

...wiki's do have their downside, it appears. A lot of folks in some of the ones I frequent complain about the deterioration — I attribute this to the TragedyOfTheCommons behavior and just a natural phenomenon. Seems that, just like for open source code, there must be someone(s) with authority to clean up turds and smack misbehavior once the community gets beyond a certain size (or other dimension). 

Yes, and I think we all agree on just who that Herdsman with an Iron Fist ought to be: Alan Greenspan. 

Victor de la Vieter writes about my late arrival on the wireless shore:

About the telco thing - sounds very US. Come over here to futureland Europe where we all have cross border GSM and are now on to the next phase - GRPS meaning mobile faster than ISDN - without a bleedin' cable! WAP enabled mobiles are now all over the place - the services come a wee bit slower but...

Oh, sure, like Europe is going to beat us at wireless when you can't even figure out how to get to EuroDisney. Get real, Vic!

HenryS writes:

I just wanted to let you know about my experience with wireless... I have been at La Guardia airport since 2:00pm and my flight has been delayed until 10:00pm to Florida... The best thing that has happened to me today is that I was able to enjoy your newsletter because I have an Omnisky wireless modem on my Palm V...

Are you aware, Henry, that everyone hates you when you say things like this? I tell you this as your friend...

CurleyD responds to our random mention of clicking on Jennifer Anniston:

The current Adbusters mentions that Pottery Barn bought an episode of Friends last year. One of the characters hates PB, but ends up loving it once she sees how great their stuff is.

I think that stuff like this is the real future of advertising. An entire TV episode that's an ad without your realizing - and thus ignoring - it. Supposedly informational web sites backed by corporations (I seem to recall Proctor & Gamble or the like being behind some sort of baby advice site, but I might be wrong). "Funny, when I go to www.WhichCarToBuy.org it always recommends Fiat." It's the concept of Astroturf lobbying but extended to everything.

I refused to believe that Friends could be bought. But here's the script of that episode: http://thecfsi.jellybaby.net/season6/611towat.htm. There are a lot of PB mentions, although many of them are slighting. Phoebe doesn't quite see that PB's stuff is great but rather that all of the stuff in their apartment in fact comes from there.

Jack Vinson jumps into the seemingly perpetual search for ambiguous URLs:

I don't know if you have already seen this one... http://www.ishophere.com/. I think it is a geometric object.

Well, I think that'd have to be isosphere, but it's ambiguous anyway between I-shop-here and Is-Hop-Here, and I suppose what was once said by someone wishing that Christopher Isherwood was as acidic as he once had been: Ish, O Ph, ere.

Michael O'Connor Clarke responds to an ancient article on "Faith in Technology":

For years I've been bringing up E.M. Forster's short story "The Machine Stops"... Seems no one, but no one has ever heard of the story - but it paints a wonderfully bleak picture of a post-apocalyptic dystopia in which man has become so dependent on technology as to be rendered completely helpless... "As technology advances, our relative understanding decreases, and our helplessness and confusion increases," as you said...

Neat thing about the Web, of course, is that the story is now available, out of copyright, online. Amongst other places: http://plexus.org/forster/index.html

Haven't read it. Haven't heard of it. Will wait until Emma Thompson stars in it.

Kyle Lord Patrick is incensed about an article I recommended. (I've edited the following for space):

...Graydon Hoare (quite the improbable name) simply holds XML up to a lot of tasks it wasn't designed to do, and finds it lacking by those metrics. Semantic content? Well, you can't brush your teeth with a riding mower either, but what has that got to do with the price of eggs?...

...XML's value is really in its programmatic interface and DOM structure, which allows applications using XML to store and transmit data using a common interface. He implies that there's no value in this, as each set of communicating applications could just as easily use its own little format for both file storage and network transmission, and it'd likely be a lot more efficient than XML. While this is true, its also what we're trying to escape with standards. His model implies a top-down approach where the needs and implementation of an application are entirely mapped out before the programmers even hit pseudocode. This isn't how things truly work. Applications get extended, things get used in ways they weren't meant to, and things that no one ever planned can become the most valuable component. So, the value of using XML is simply that any application writer can interface, either through network or hard storage, with data from other applications *without* having to try to implement an arbitrary, proprietary format.

Example: try to get a non-Office, non-MS application to interface with either the standard Word file format, or the equivalent Word document exported to OfficeXML. Since there's no way you're actually going to try this, here's the result: you can't do the former, you can do the latter.

...Of course applications need to be built around the published DTDs, I'm not sure why this fact upsets Mr. Hoare so very much. ... Yes, most applications could probably write a more efficient native interface, but the bottlenecks which would make such things profitable are loosening, both in bandwidth and computing power. Think of the two saved bytes which led to the never-to-be-further-discussed-you-rat-bastard Y2K problem. Same deal...

I think the Lord doth protest too much, heh heh. (This means absolutely nothing, but does raise all sorts of suspicions, eh?) Kyle is right. But Hoare is, I believe, deflating expectations he believes *others* have of XML. Can't the Lord and the Hoare agree to disagree, while still nursing a healthy hatred of one another?

Christian Gehman responds to the notion of memory as architecture in a previous issue:

yep, an old idea. but a more recent treatment than the memory palace of matteo ricci might be the borges story about the library ... or the garden of forking paths ...

why people don't write? simone weil, "to be free and sovereign as a thinking being for an hour or two a day, and a slave the rest of the time, is such a torment to the soul that, to avoid the pain, most people renounce the higher forms of thought." of course most people aren't interested in much more than the next cheeseburger anyway.

The Borges infinite library that contains every possibly combination of letters is different from Ricci's evocation of a strict discipline of memory that assigned memories to specific rooms in the imaginary palace of the mind.

Anyway, don't you find Weil's attitude rather smug since we're to presume that Weil whiled away the whiles by thinking freely, while we fritter away the fritters while ...woops, pardon me, but a rerun of Friends just came on and that Phoebe is so funny!

Bill Seitz responds to Arthur Clarke's comment, quote and discussed in a previous issue, that sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice.

Mini Bogus Contest!

A request for information from Mickey Allen:

I am on a list called http://www.freepint.co.uk/, which is an information resource for information professionals (an oxymoron?) There was a recent request (which I responded to) about Spam Clusters - any other ideas of what it means. Is it KM related ?

My response was as follows :-

It is actually a historical quotation, which dates back to the last century, and describes the heroic but ultimately doomed attempt by the forces of the US Cavalry to send bulk email to a group of drunken Red Indians, who (sadly being marginalised) did not own computers.

It is of course known as "Clushters last Spam"

... Can anyone tell me a) what Spam Clusters are and b) where I can find out about them?

Someone help Mickey ASAP before he emits any more gawd-awful puns!

Continuing the Thread that Will Not Die, Bill Seitz aids us in our quest for URLs that contain suggestive words inadvertently, which has long since been twisted into a quest for URLs with "fuck" in them.

You can limit the location of the tacky word to the hostname, rather than the full URL, by using host:fuck (on Altavista, at least).

This returns a list of eyebrow-scorching domain names for sites not one of which is up to any good. Oh, do you remember when JOHO was actually about how companies are affected by this thing we call the Web? What happened, my friends, what happened?

Click here to unsubscribe. Sigh.


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Bogus Contest: Hollyweb

With Hollywood's sweet-tooth for more of the same, we need to update movie titles so they can be made with a semblance of Web relevance. For example:


Updated for the Web

Missing (or Vanished)


Citizen Kane

Citizen Gates

Il Postino


Toy Story

eToys Story









Gone in 60 Seconds

You Are Being Forwarded

9 1/2 Weeks

1.3571428 Weeks (= 9.5 / 7)

Contest Results

CurlyD suggests a jargon term that is one letter removed from an actual piece of jargon, in this case "legacy system":

BTW, how about pegacy system - an enterprise flying horse.

Craig the Circus Man comes up with a list:

ROT-COM: The Internet pure play company that starts big, but suffers from ongoing financial erosion until finally being absorbed by a larger pure play, thus extending the cycle

BRIORITIZE: To consciously decide which projects (and, for each project, to what specific degree) will be afforded one's personal enthusiasm and vigor (i.e.: brio)

SPORTAL: What ESPN ought to be creating.

SINERGY: The energy required to ... umm ... well ... er, you know ...

Hilarie or John (who write, ironically from together.net), responds to our plea for a sentence that maxes out on meaningless Web marketing drivel:

My GI toys, wired in groups of five, a virtual community of action-items arrive in the mail precisely on the dot-com and see what's in the Priority package; but she, not 'e-commerce is her major concern, enabled by an extensible harpoon, her portal awaiting, but how to prioritize the revolutionary line awaiting her, strategic handfuls of cash offered suggestively, scalable according to her demand, but what did she mean by vortal ?

I believe this is a good entry, but, despite many attempts, I was unable to read it all the way to the end. In other words, we have a winner!

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