Hyperlinked Organization  Title

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

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Meta Data
Issue: September 25, 1998  
Author/Editor: David Weinberger  
Central Meme: Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy  
Favorite Beatle: John. Duh.  
Current Personal Crisis: Have now caught up with Simpsons reruns. Nothing left to live for.
Home page: http://www.hyperorg.com  
Contact information: Click here



Damn Humans!: Fallibility is going to be very big this year. The Web is built for it. So are we.
Degrees of Knowledge: It used to be that something was knowledge or it wasn't. Not any more.
The Death of Probes: First "probes" offed "sucks." Now "probes" is facing its own stiff competitor...
The Iron Law of Irony: You become what you mock.
Steelmakers Walk the Walk: The Web pushes hot steel, reduces inventory
Cool Tool: XML Notepad.
Internetcetera: Executives don't know what they're doing, and intranet-based training grows way too fast.
Email, Rumors and Rude Remarks
AntiVirus Rankings: Can they cure the common cold??
You're Dumb: Stupid tests!
Bogus Contest: High Wit and Misdemeanors
Contest Results

Coming Soon!
Project Millennium!

The editors of JOHO will soon reveal the details of this exciting new effort. Check your inbox often and keep in mind the JOHO motto:

You can never be over-prepared for disappointment!


JOHO Self-Gratification

I am a victim of Monica-gate. No, I'm not guilty. Yes, you may have my autograph.

You see, NPR aired another of my commentaries. But because of breaking Monica-loves-Bill news (I think that was the day Starr announced the happy couple had spent a lonely snow day last January drawing in the dirty parts in a "Barbie Visits the White House" coloring book), the commentary got bumped from all but a couple of radio stations.

Well, I got paid for it anyway. ($150, although it was awfully rude of you to ask.) Too bad. It was actually a moderately good one, on the Web's cult of brokenness. So, I've expanded on that theme as the lead story in this issue. And you can read a transcript of the original radio commentary at http://www.hyperorg.com/misc/nprbroken.html

In other news, JOHO is breaking out the Bogus Contest, i.e., it's now a separate feature on the home page. You can pay it a visit at: http://www.hyperorg.com/bogus/current.html

Put me on your home page! For no reason!

Finally, you can be the proud possessor of this genuine JOHO promotional chiclet. Just copy the image and insert it on your home page with a link to "http://www.hyperorg.com." (If you find this too difficult, one of our staff of highly professional consultants will be happy to do it for your for free. They can also help you button your shirts and figure out whether your doors open in or out.)  


dividing line

Damn Humans
The year of fallibility

Fallibility is going to be big. Big, I tell you! And you can blame it all on Bill, Monica and the Web.

Frailty and the Web

As we've said before, the Web is always going to be a little bit broken, (to quote Tim Berners-Lee, supposedly). It's in its nature to be broken because it is decentralized. No one is in charge of making sure that the page you're trying to get to hasn't been taken down. There's no one to fix the Web, no one to plan it, no one to complain to.

You could just as easily maintain that all big systems are broken. And you'd be right. Brokenness is a matter of definition. For example, with the phone system we sometimes get busy signals and sometimes the phone rings and rings and no one answers, but we don't count those as signs of brokenness. But we could. If the telephone systems chose to treat busy signals and unanswered phones as ways in which their system is broken, they could make answering machines a standard telephone service. (We could even complain that we have to memorize long strings of numbers, instead of having cute UTLs (uniform telephone locators) like "[email protected]".)

We choose to see the phone system as basically not broken, and choose to see the Web as inevitably broken. Why?

Because fallibility is an endearing trait. It seems to be a requirement for community. We want the people we work with to be fallible. We want them to acknowledge that fact. We are intensely uncomfortable with people who have no weaknesses. For example: Michael Jordan, Jesus and my older cousin Jon.

The Web's frailty makes it more human, less threatening, less out of control (in an odd sort of way).

Frailty in business

We are seeing an increased acceptance of human frailty in hyperlinked organizations, as well. It takes too long to be perfect, so we'd rather ship the rough cut. Our customers also are willing to trade quality for time in many instances (ok, maybe not when it comes to heart transplants and aircraft repair). [See the March 19 issue for more details.]

We no longer assume that the further up the corporate tree you are, the more perfect you must be. In fact, the wider your purview, the more likely you are to make mistakes.

In a hyperlinked organization, never having failed is a sign that you're not taking enough chances.

So, it turns out we're human after all. We make mistakes. We screw up. We sometimes hurt our own cause. We sometimes hurt people we care about. Sometimes we have sex with interns and then lie about it under oath. It's all part of the sitcom we call "life" we perform for the amusement of the Guy Upstairs with the Big Remote.

(BTW, that last sentence doesn't refer to God. I happen to live beneath a guy with a big remote who keeps flipping my set to the World Gay Wrestling Federation channel, I think by accident.)

Forgiveness vs. atonement

When even the President's predilections are so much a matter of Need-to-Know that the government does the largest publishing job in history, it might be useful to consider what the consequences of fallibility should be.

This nation has two great traditions joined by a hyphen (plus a whole bunch more we'd rather not have to think about). Unfortunately, the Judeo-Christian hyphen hides more than it reveals (although I have to admit to always enjoying the chance to use the prefix "Judeo" because it summons the image of black-hatted rabbis doing mighty fancy karate moves).

The Great Christian Tradition (about which I'm in no position to comment, but if I let that stop me, JOHO would consist of nothing but email and disclaimers) apparently believes in forgiveness, a hugely powerful idea. We're fallible (and may have been born as sinners), so accept it and love the stupid jerkface who side-swiped your car and didn't stop to tell you about it.

Jews, on the other hand, look at this generally more in terms of atonement. You're fallible so you'd better make good for what you've done wrong. The mental state of forgiveness doesn't do you a lick of good if you don't return the wallet, replace the broken dinnerware, pay off the orphans, and clean up after the chimp.

(Of course both traditions have elements of forgiveness and atonement in them. But the emphasis is different. And we can at leaset all agree that, no matter what our faults and weaknesses, we're better than those damn Zoroastrians.)

The relation to the Web

On the Web, the concepts of forgiveness and atonement are replaced by that of flaming.

All hail Torquemada!

The in-ness of fallibility

So, Bill is contrite. Sorry. Penitent. Pathetic. And we're beginning to see a rash of personal confessions by other public figures. This is going to be the Year of Fallibility in which public figures will vie to outdo one another in announcing the ways in which they've debased themselves, their families, their country, and their little dog Toto, too.

In the political field, we'll see increasingly abject apologies for crimes of decreasing significance in order to get the thrill of confession without the risk of loss of support. Let me be the first to kick off the wallow-fest:

I confess. Yes, I did it. For a period of more than two years, I ate library paste. And let me tell you that I did it willingly. I savored it. I let it dry against my lips so they would part with a sweet slapping sound.

But there's more. I knowingly and deliberately enticed others to share this vice. And to little Biffy Magruder and Timmy Snagel, I can only say that from the bottom of my heart, I am sorry.

As for the stain on Biffy's jumper, well, just soak it in cold water. And stop saying "Ooo-eee, ooo-eee!" It's just library paste, dork face.

On the Web, these confessions will take on a different shading. People will flaunt the ways in which they've sinned, but won't get all whiny and weepy about it.

Instead, we'll see the "Color me human" defense used more and more to justify stupidity and carelessness. "Sorry I spammed China. Color me human. And I hope y'all are able to recover your credit cards soon."

"Color me human" or "CMH" is bound to become a big Web abbreviation. The fact that this type of response has nothing to do with either forgiveness or atonement makes it all the more inevitable.

Special Mini Bogus Contest

Come up with the emoticon (y'know, the sideways smiley face thingies) that expresses Color Me Human.

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Degrees of Knowledge

"Knowledge" sounds like an all or nothing proposition: either it's knowledge or it ain't. And that's because that's what "knowledge" meant before a bunch of drowning vendors with their last breath grabbed its edge until, like Leonardo Di Capo di Tutti Capi, they slip beneath the waves, their blue-tipped fingers still twitching.

Anyone remember what my point was? Ah, yes...

So, knowledge now comes in degrees. We make sophisticated judgments based on the source and context.

This isn't a new thing. We've always done this. But with the info explosion, we're more aware than ever of its necessity. Maybe we'll even develop formal or heuristic techniques for evaluating info. And, certainly, KM systems will have to include in the "knowledge objects" themselves the contextual info we need to judge their credibility.

All of the above is actually just a way to sneak in the most hilarious movie blurb of the year. Y'see, when you read blurbs in a movie ad, you automatically apply knowledge heuristics to judge the movie. If the best they can do is:


North Platte Intelligencer


"I laughed!"
Pete Waley, 'The Pete Waley Show,'
Chuckyburg Cable Access


"A great film!"
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

then you know the film sucks, um, probes.

So, imagine you are the producer of "The Negotiator" starring Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey. The cast's not too shabby. You have high hopes. And your VP of Marketing comes in with the early reviews. And your heart sinks like Leonardo DiPopsicle when you see that the very best you can do is, yes, a quote from Peter "If It Moves, I Looove it!" Travers and the following actual blurb:


The Most Intelligent thriller since 'Die Hard'!
Matt Levitz - LEG Productions

Frankly, I find this outrageous. As intelligent as Die Hard!? Isn't this like being called the best lookin' dude since Gerard Depardieu? If I were Dr. Levitz I would just be praying that Steven Segal doesn't have this ad read to him.

The connections to knowledge management are too obvious to belabor.


dividing line

The Death of Probes

You may recall that it wasn't too long ago that JOHO proposed that "sucks" was getting pretty tired and that a suitable replacement might be "probes," as in: "That really probes. That probes the deep one."

We stand by "probes." In fact, we think it's become an even stronger candidate as a "sucks" replacement. But we do have to admit that it hasn't caught on quite as rapidly as we had thought. Yes, it showed up a couple of times on Nightline (Ted Koppel to Orrin Hatch: "But, tell me, Senator, don't you think that poverty -- in the words of the young -- really probes?") and the "Ken Starr Probes the Big One" t-shirts have been selling pretty briskly in the more politically aware areas of the country. But probing isn't on the tip of everyone's tongue. Yuck, now that I re-read it.

So, we are introducing a companion term. This is not a replacement for "probes" but a supplement to it. Think of it as being a quirky RoadRunner tie for those occasions when the yellow power tie is overkill. (Personally, I think you can never go wrong with a yellow power tie. In fact, my will stipulates that I be buried in one. And in nothing else.)

Here it is. Brace yourself:


Sample usage:

"That really thongs."

"That thongs the big one."

"Don't be so thongy."

Let's be clear about the relation between "probes" and "thongs." Not only is "probes" a stronger term, but it also implies more active engagement in badness, whereas "thongs" applies best to that which induces behavior that probes. For example:

Having your computer crash thongs. Writing a computer virus probes.

Being out of milk after you've poured the cold cereal thongs. Finishing off the milk by giving it to the cat and not replacing it probes.

Having to learn of the president's sexual practices thongs. Releasing government-sponsored pornography probes.

Please use these terms at least three times a day. Together, we can change the mighty course of the river of language!

Do we need further proof that our government Just Doesn't Get It? In the hours before the Starr report was released, clicking on the Thomas site (the surprisingly well-named but poorly urled Congressional site: http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas2.html) produced the following:

You have reached the web page where the Independent Counsel's Report to the United States House of Representatives will be made available.

The Report will be available following a vote in the House of Representatives accepting the Report as soon as possible.

To avoid overcrowding please check back periodically.

Rep. Bill Thomas, Chairman
Committee on House Oversight


Ok, let's get this straight once and for all. When you're looking at a Web page, nothing is happening between your computer and the site you're looking at. Clicking away to another site does not free up any of the page's resources.

It's not like you're sitting in the coffee shop dawdling over your brioche and double decaf latte and there's a line of stomach-grumbling, decaffeinated patrons mulling outside, swearing under their breath at you. Except instead of it being just a coffee shop, it's a combination Starbuck's and strip joint and everyone wants to be there when the 50-something, pasty-something commander in chief is about to free Willy for the first time in public, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, my point is that our government is stupid.




The Iron Law of Irony

Irony is the strongest force in the universe. This is easily proved.

If you ever boast, "I've never had a car accident," you can be certain you will have a car accident within 7 days.

If you ever say, while driving through Queens NY, "Boy, am I glad that I don't live in Queens!" you can be certain that the universe will conspire to force your company to relocate to Queens even if that means reversing the flow of time and causing gravity to run uphill. This will probably be the only time it seems the universe cares about you at all.

If you spend your time castigating rap music, it is a certainty that you will end your days working for a rap music station which pipes in its own product 24 hours a day, even if this means violating the three laws of thermodynamics and the seven undiscovered laws of quantum coincidence.

Be careful of what you make fun of, for you shall certainly become it.

Uh oh.


Middle World Resources

A BiWeekly Compendium of Resources
Walking the Walk  

Inter@ctive Week (Sept. 7) reports that three big steelmakers are conspiring to sell $30M a month in excess steel in a cooperative venture that turns enemies into partners.

The site -- www.metalexchange.net -- will offer for sale surplus steel that otherwise would be fashioned into artificial spines for members of congress. MetalExchange will take a 2% cut on each sale, which is expected to bring in $7M per year; the project has a total cost of $5M.

The companies -- KTV Steel, Steel Dynamics, and Wierton Steel Corp -- currently already flog their second quality steel but the inefficiency of the system means they carry 90-120 days of inventory. With the new system, they hope to cut that to 30 days, thus freeing their warehouses for 60-90 days, during which time they can be rented out for mass blue collar weddings and federal grand jury anniversary get-togethers.

All part of the general shake up we like to call "The Web."

Cool Tool
For the Hyperlinked Organization

Are HTML bullies kicking standards in your face at the beach? Microsoft has just the fitness program for you!

It's called XML Notepad, although it should really be called XML Toypad. But it's free, so who are we to complain. (Hey, we're the Internet, dammit! Complaining about free stuff is what made the Web what it is today!)

XML Notepad is the absolute minimum you need to get going with XML. In the left pane, it lets you manipulate the structure of the document in an outline-like way. You can create new elements, making up your own names for 'em (no more p! No more h1! What a thrill!), and even give them attributes. In the right pane, you can type in text. It saves as XML.

That's it. You've exhausted the tool's feature set.

It won't let you save if the file isn't well-formed, i.e., if you haven't closed all the tags, if there are unnamed elements, etc. But it doesn't do anything to make sure that your document conforms to a particular document type definition, unless you're using MS IE 5.0 (its Document Object Model, to be precise). In that case, it will validate the document on opening it but not on closing it, so you can introduce as many errors as you want and it will happily preserve them.

Nevertheless, it's small, it's lightweight, and you can muck around in XML and see what the output looks like. Cool!

Note: The release notes point out that this app will strip out namespace declarations when you load it. This may make you unhappy.

Get it at:




InformationWeek (Aug. 17) reports on a poll by Andersen Consulting that found that 71% of senior executives use the Internet at least once a week, but only 36% say they're comfortable doing so.

This is a positive indicator. If they were comfortable with it, it would probably mean that they have no idea what they're doing.

Infoworld (Sept. 7) reports on an IDC survey of 200 managers that found U.S. corporations will spend over $9B this year on training programs for IT skills. (Can we expect to see a corresponding jump in productivity, hmm?)

In 1977, 73% of IT training was classroom-based and 21% was delivered via a computer. By 2001, human, physically present instructors will account for 63% of IT training, and technology-based training will grow to 32%. Between 1996 and 1997, the Internet-based training market went from $2M to $91M, while intranet-based training went from $45M to $87M. (So, in 1996-97, while the term "intranet" was just catching on, there was already a $45M market for training over it??) By 2000, Internet-based training will go to $1.04B, and intranet-based training will slow its growth to $859M.



Email, Rumors, Rude Remarks

In response to last issue's lead story on India InternetWorld, told with all the insight and authority that 5 days in a fancy hotel can bring, Srinivas Pannala writes:

... Democracy is an expensive form of governance in an underdeveloped country but who cares, I can go out today and criticize our PM and his entire staff and not be arrested for it or shot down!!!

The entire GDP of USA would not suffice to put the telephone network of India on the lines of even modestly developed economies. Around $75 billion are required to provide around half the average consumption of power of USA.

Are you kidding? When the US eats a foreign economy, we belch $75 billion. Why, we can't build a zero-gravity toilet, pave a forest or impeach a president for less than $75 billion. Hey, I myself cleared $75 billion last year in spurious lawsuits alone!

Srinivas continues:

As Kenichie Ohmae, author of Borderless World and Mind of the Strategist and former head of McKinsey, Japan says, the hope of underdeveloped countries is not in the entire development of countries. It must be in the form of city states like Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, developing and reaching world-class standards like Singapore. Slowly, enough percolation will occur to fan out development everywhere....

Interesting idea. Sort of a trickle-down theory for cities. Except, unlike our discredited trickle down theory (well, it's still believed by people who continue to maintain that Reagan ended the Cold War), it doesn't rely on patently false assumptions about human nature.

Amit Sawarkar writes from India:

I know, and you've emphasized in the writeup, that India has a long way to go. In some aspects, we still have to address basic issues of telephones. In others, well, I was glad to read that regarding awareness of the Internet and Intranet applications, the Indian audience is where the USA was 18 months ago. That's pretty close.

Yes, it is pretty close. So, to maintain our lead we'll have to throw more Web dust in your face to distract you. Say, have you heard about ... push technology? It's going to be big!

Varun Arora liked the article on India, and especially appreciated the "humour." He goes on to point out that Indians spell "humor" with an extra U.

So, if they know it's wrong, why do they persist? Must be a cultural thing.

Jim Montgomery of KM World seeks our collective wisdom:

We're in a theological tussle, and I've climbed the mountain to ask the sage's help.

We're trying to distinguish between "cynical" and "snarky." It would appear that the former is a generic voice of doom & gloom, while the latter is directed at a particular entity.

For example...

cynical: This project will never amount to much.
snarky: If this project doesn't amount to much it's probably because of Incompetent Harvey.

cynical: What's the point?
snarky: What's your point?

cynical: Maybe it'll work, but I doubt it. snarky: Let's wait until next month when Pisces is retroactive in Gemini, that'll maximize my chance of giving a damn about your f***ing stupid project.

I've come to ask the Supreme High Chancellor of snarkiness to ask for enlightenment. Any hope of distinguishing between cynical and snarky?

I await your response with less-than bated breath....and a grain of salt.

Well, Jim, you've certainly come to the right spot. I pride myself on being a world-class authority on snarkiness. (Of course I'm not, but my self-esteem class said I should pride myself on something.)

Snarky, according to my understanding, implies taking a potshot from a position of smug superiority. Cynicism is the state of presumptive disbelief and implies an aloof distance from the object of one's cynicism.

E.g., I am cynical about knowledge management. I make snarky comments about KM World.

Michael O'Connor Clarke writes:

Remember your point (http://www.hyperorg.com/backissues/joho-aug17-98.html#Prozac ) about biofeedback "psycho-organic" technology:

"What we really want are keyboards that put things in bold if we bang on the keys hard enough and italicize words when we type them in all slanty-wise. A million dollar idea, and it's yours for free."

Looks like someone was listening: "There's already software out there that can identify your fingerprints, recognize your iris, and distinguish the shape of your face. Now get ready for technology that knows how you type." http://www.msnbc.com/news/196230.asp#BODY

Stranger than fiction, indeed.

In the object-oriented world, ASCII characters are wrapped in XML that captures not only character number and escape code but also the velocity at which you hit the key, how long you held it, the exact time of day, and the typing finger's galvanic skin response. As a result, the email version of JOHO swells to 1.7 gigabytes.

Mike Heim, the Nietszsche of the Net, the Weber of the Web, the Heidegger of the Wired Diggers (and JOHO reader, of course), posts a message that I am a tad too late to run:

How real is virtual reality? Have you personally flown through a 3D landscape? Have you invited friendly avatars into a virtual home you built on a terrain that resembles Mars or Atlantis? What does the 3D Internet mean for society and culture?

Starting September 15, a group gathers online for an intense 7-week private seminar on the theory and practice of virtual worlds.

If you're interested in joining Mike's cyber-study class, drop him a line at [email protected]. Better hurry because you already have homework due. (Hint: It's Jennifer Aniston's head but not her body.) And if you're too late for this round, hey, Mike, how about posting a cyber-signup list for next time?

Chris "RageBoy" Locke, the official Scourge of JOHO, writes in response to Macromedia's call for submissions of pages proud to be "Made with Macromedia":

think I could win with this?



PS: I think that would look good in JOHO don't you? -- and it does demonstrate the same high degree of rigor the publication has become known for...

Now wait one gosh darn moment! JOHO happens to be written with DreamWeaver (a proud Macromedia product) and other than its filling up several kilotons of the newsletter with meaningless font tags, it's a heck of a product. Of course, JOHO exhausts just about all its sophistication...

RageBoy also forwards an invitation to join in a new, well, something. Here's part of what was sent to him:

Over the last 6 months, a small team of people have been developing an exciting concept and the first phase of establishing a Knowledge Ecology Network (KEN).

"Knowledge ecology" is an interdisciplinary field of management theory and practice, focused on the relational and social aspects of knowledge creation and utilization.

KEN will be a vibrant, global community of knowledge workers, organized as a constellation of communities of practice, where members can find and create opportunities for continual learning, development and access to tools and resources to support their application of knowledge ecology in the organizations (business, government and community) in which they participate.

If they invited RageBoy to join, surely they will be happy to have you participate as well. No matter who you are. To enlist in KEN's Knowledge Army, go to: http://www.knowledgeecology.com/kenf

RageBoy, noting the KEN acronym, comments:

If I were the editor of JOHO, I'd right now be thinking up a good acronym instantiation for the NEXT thing: BARBIE. let's see...

Barbarous Antics Recorded By Internet Entrepreneurs (RealAudio Upside Conference Proceedings)

you get the general idea.

Not only do I get the general idea, I think I hardly need one such as RageBoy to tell me my business as editor of JOHO. And don't think I don't see the implied threat. Well, let me say this, Mr. RageBoy (if you are a mister at all), the day that you take over as editor of JOHO is the day that the United States government publishes pornography on the Internet!

In any case, let's not forget Ken and Barbie's "friend" Skipper:

Some Knowledge Initiatives Provoke, Prod and Enrage RageBoy

Screw Knowledge! Instead Push Prozac, Enter Rehab!

Yeah, this is a mini-contest. We're accepting contributions. Sigh.

While we're discussing Stupid Knowledge Tricks, Larry Fitzpatrick reports he came across the following at www.collaborate.com:

"Most analysts estimate that 80-90% of the knowledge within an organization is in people’s heads."

Larry sensibly asks: "What happened to the other 10-20%?"

Y'see, Larry, the Knowledge experts are waaaay ahead of you. The 80-90% in people's heads is known as "tacit" knowledge and the rest has been written down and is called "explicit" knowledge. Or, put differently, the stuff people know is tacit, and the stuff that no one knows any more but is sitting on a shelf somewhere is "explicit." The aim of KM is to get more of the knowledge out of people's heads where it is known and onto paper where no one has to know it any more. We can only hope for the day -- known as Knowledge Evisceration Day in the trade -- when all tacit knowledge has been made explicit so that none of it is actually known any more.



AntiVirus Rankings

TBTF, the oft-cited zine, recently ran the following:

Shake Communications Pty Ltd. has released the results of an independent study of the top 20 virus-scanning products on the market. ... The complete results appear in the September issue of the Shake Security Journal...

The study tested each product in a "hot zone" of 16,000+ viruses ... Shake says that few of the programs performed consistently across all virus categories. ... Here is a capsule of the survey's results, in terms of the percentage of viruses detected. Thanks to Simon Johnson for forwarding this table, not available in the cited public sources.

1 Anywhere Anti-Virus 99%
2 F-Secure 94%
3 Norton Anti-Virus 93%
4 Find Virus (Dr Solomon's) 93%
5 Inoculan AntiVirus 93%
6 Avast 93%
7 McAfee VirusScan 91%
8 Thunderbyte 91%
9 LANDesk Virus Protect 90%
10 Sophos 88%
11 AntiViral Toolkit Pro 87%
12 House Call 86%
13 ViruSafe 79%
14 Vet 73%
15 Virus & Macro Buster 2% [14]

Press release:
Shake Journal


You're Dumb

From Mark Schenecker:

Read the following sentence:


Now count aloud the F's in that sentence. Count them only once. Do not go back and count them again.

Here comes the answer. Mark writes:

There are six F's in the sentence. One of average intelligence finds three of them. If you spotted four, you're above average. If you got five, you can turn up your nose at most anybody.

I must be a bloody genius. I counted seven!


Bogus Contest: High Wit and Misdemeanors

On the Web, jokes are so bad that we have to laugh at them ourselves -- by inserting smiley faces -- to indicate that they're actually jokes. Merry Sue Willis, Novelist, reminds us of a wittier time::

Here's some stuff from my Trollope reading group... some samples of Disraeli wit that made me giggle:

Once when an opponent condemned the route of the proposed Uganda railroad as running through country "fit only for monkeys and Jews," Disraeli took the man gently by the arm; "Come, we will go there together."

When an exasperated rival shouted at him; "You, Sir, will die on the gallows or of a venereal disease." Disraeli replied, "That will depend upon whether I embrace your politics or your mistress."

Man, I wish I knew who was writing that Disraeli guy's material! It's killer stuff! Dyn-o-mite!

But surely the collective wit and wisdom of the JOHO readership matches or surpasses that of Disraeli. Well, ok, I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt. Here are some set ups -- softballs really -- lobbed at Bill Gates. All you have to do is supply the incredibly piercing, immortally scathing, and jaw-achingly funny punchlines. (Feel free to tweak the setups as required.)


Insert Witty Reply Here

Scott McNealy (Sun) to Bill Gates: Tell me, sir, is the sequel to Windows 98 -- Windows 00 -- named that to indicate its value?


Larry Ellison (Oracle) to Bill Gates: Sun says the network is the computer. I say the computer is the network computer. How say you, sir?


Janet Reno to Bill Gates: Sir! Given the quality of Microsoft software, the success of Microsoft the company can only be attributed to your monopolistic position.


Scott Cook (Intuit) to Bill Gates: Sir, how dare you compare MS Money to Intuit! You had to make your software almost free to entice people to use it.


Marc Andreeson (Netscape) to Bill Gates: Being a man of honor, I would rather fail at producing good software than win at shipping dreck.


Steve Jobs (Apple) to Bill Gates: You, sir, have stolen and then squandered an insanely great idea.


Bill Clinton to Bill Gates: Tell me, sir, do you know the difference between Monica and a harmonica?



(As I think they say in golf, that last one is a gimme.)

Now it's your turn. Remember, here at the Bogus Contest, To Enter Is to Win™


Bogus Results

Eric Springman responds to our call for Web classified adds:

JOHO virgin and EGR slut writing from his emotional desktop in a highly respectable pharmaceutical research corporation - saving the lives of web-users and future KM messiahs alike - sez: 40-ish duplicitous/pasty/ hermaphrodite internet publishing magnate seeks bisexual/electronic/mail, preferably professional, for lively intercourse including veiled threads and firm rebuttal. To understand me you must understand my personal motto: "to enter (or be entered) is to win".


By coincidence, Arlene Karsh, who sends out amusing articles to a group of us easily-amused types, sent an article (by Joel Garreau, in his Cybersurfing column in the Washington Post) that seems like a response to one of the "infokoans" in a previous bogus contest. The infokoan asked what happens to files deleted from the recycle bin. Unlike genuine entries to the Bogus Contest, however, it is not all that amusing. Here are some excerpts.

QUESTION: Where do the characters go when I use my backspace or delete them on my PC?

ANSWER: The characters go to different places, depending on whom you ask:

The Catholic Church's approach to characters: The nice characters go to Heaven, where they are bathed in the light of happiness. The naughty characters are punished for their sins. Naughty characters are those involved in the creation of naughty words, such as "breast", "sex", and "contraception".

The Buddhist explanation: If a character has lived rightly, and its karma is good, then after it has been deleted it will be reincarnated as a different, higher character. Those funny characters above the numbers on your keyboard will become numbers, numbers will become letters, and lower-case letters will become upper-case.

PETA's (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) explanation: You've been DELETING them??? Can't you hear them SCREAMING??? Why don't you go CLUB some BABY SEALS while wearing a MINK, you pig!!!!


Editorial Lint

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

The 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.

Subscription information, or requests to be removed from the JOHO mailing list, should be sent to [email protected]. 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.

Note to distributors: If you are interested in reselling the popular Hyperlinked Organization brand line of memorabilia, please contact our manager of JOHO Channels, Divad Regrebniew. (The JOHO corn dog attack vehicle with lifelike action figures is no longer available, and will return once we fix the eject button and pending the outcome of the lawsuit.)

The Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization is a publication of Evident Marketing, Inc.

"The Hyperlinked Organization" is trademarked by Open Text Corp. JOHO gratefully acknowledges Open Text's kind permission to use this felicitous phrase.

For information about trademarks owned by Evident Marketing, Inc., please see our Preemptive Trademarks™™ page at http://www.hyperorg.com/trademarks.html.