[joho] JOHO March 15, 2002

  • From: "David Weinberger" <self@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <joho@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 16 Mar 2002 00:53:25 -0500

 Journal of the
 Hyperlinked Organization  
 March 15, 2002
 Editor: David Weinberger (self@xxxxxxxxxxx)
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 For the fully glorious illustrated and
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| CONTENTS                                         |
|                                                  |
| So much bad legislation, so little time.         |
|                                                  |
| WEB AS UTOPIA: The Web is a place where we can   |
| perfect our imperfect nature                     |
|                                                  |
| WHY I DON'T WRITE... : ... as considerately as   |
| Dan Bricklin or as sympathetically as AKMA       |
|                                                  |
| WORDS OF THE YEAR: The results are in!           |
|                                                  |
| SAME GRIM GAMES MIRE GAS MIMER: The results of   |
| the Grammies are in!                             |
|                                                  |
| KAYPRO NOSTALGIA CORNER: Strolling down memory   |
| lane at 5mH                                      |
|                                                  |
| THE ANALS OF MARKETING: They so crazy.           |
|                                                  |
| SEARCHING: A feature we'd like to see            |
|                                                  |
| WALKING THE WALK: IPS Funds' experiment in       |
| mutual democracy                                 |
|                                                  |
| COOL TOOL: An easy, low-end backup program       |
|                                                  |
| INTERNETCETERA: Dept. of Big Numbers             |
|                                                  |
| PUZZLES AND GAMES: Quirks and oddities           |
|                                                  |
| LINKS: From you, as delightful as ever           |
|                                                  |
| EMAIL: Will you people never let go of the past? |
|                                                  |
| BOGUS CONTEST: Jakob Nielsen Ratings             |
|                                                  |
| My book (www.smallpieces.com) is due out on      |
| March 26, making it quite pre-orderable.         |
| www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0738205435/dweinbergers
| I can tell the time is approaching because my    |
| pre-pub depression is deepening as I mentally    |
| write the scathing reviews that are about to be  |
| unleashed. I mean, it's one thing to attack my   |
| style, my optimism so blind that it's            |
| coextensive with stupidity, and my dumbing down  |
| of thoughts already familiar, but those          |
| comments on my mother are really over the line.  |
|                                                  |
| FastCompany ran an interview with me by Keith    |
| Hammonds in which I manage to say a whole bunch  |
| of pretentious things:                           |
| www.fastcompany.com/online/56/internet101.html   |
| By the way, the online version spares you the    |
| extreme, moles-and-pores full-page closeup that  |
| FastCompany committed to paper. You're welcome.  |
|                                                  |
| FWIW, a couple of days ago, the book broke the   |
| 300 mark at Amazon. That's a good thing. Now     |
| it's dropping back to its natural and deserved   |
| pre-pub depths.                                  |

SMALL NEWS FLASH PIECES: Tom Matrullo has weblogged 
a fabulous review of my book. He does a better job 
of explaining what it's about than I've ever been 
able to do. Thank you, Tom

| OSCAHS!                                          |
|                                                  |
| In my never ending quest to waste my time, I've  |
| written a utility for your Oscars party. People  |
| enter guesses about who'll win in the various    |
| categories and then, as you click on the actual  |
| winners, it totals the score. (This would have   |
| been easy for someone else to do with a          |
| spreadsheet, but my irrational fear of numbers   |
| causes my hands to tremble past the point of     |
| typing whenever one of the beasts crawls across  |
| my desktop.)                                     |
|                                                  |
| This is beta software! If you'd like to try it,  |
| you can download a zipped file here. It's about  |
| 800K, almost all of which is the Visual Basic    |
| DLL. (To uninstall it, you just erase the files  |
| you installed.)                                  |
|                                                  |
| Price of Admission: Your soul. (I.e., it's       |
| freeware for Windows users.)                     |
| IT'S A JOHO WORLD AFTER ALL                      |
|                                                  |
| You can listen commentary on  National Public    |
| Radio's "All Things Considered" on weblogs'      |
| effect on journalism. (You'll need the Real      |
| player to listen.)                               |
| www.npr.org/ramfiles/atc/20020213.atc.15.ram     |
| CONFERENCE COVERAGE                              |
|                                                  |
| I wrote a whole lot of coverage of the TED       |
| conference here:                                 |
| www.hyperorg.com/blogger/misc/tedreports.html    |
|                                                  |
| And I also wrote up the Instant Messaging        |
| Conference in Boston:                            |
| www.hyperorg.com/blogger/archive/2002_03_01_archive.html#75000070


The venal, frightened a-holes we call U.S. 
congresspeople are getting close to enacting 
legislation that will maim if not kill the sharing 
of creative works, and will hamstring the US 
computer industry for that matter. The Security 
Systems Standards and Certification Act is Fritz 
Hollings' extremist response to the entertainment 
industry's demand to have their stranglehold on 
creativity backed by law and hardware. As Hiawatha 
Bray of the Boston Globe writes:

     Read it and gasp: "It is unlawful to
     manufacture, import, offer to the public,
     provide or otherwise traffic in any
     interactive digital device that does not
     include and utilize certified security

This proposed law got derailed by public opinion in
December. The addresses and phone numbers of the
members of the Senate Commerce Committee are here: 
You can send an email to Hollings via a Web form

I like Doc Searls' idea of marching on Washington. 
(www.searls.com) And I think there's something 
mythopoeically correct in Greg Cavanagh's suggestion 
that marching is so old world: Let's instead shut 
down the Internet for a day. Now, there are problems 
with that idea, including the fact that it's not 
just the US's Internet. But surely the intelligent 
and creative readers of this 'zine (and you know who 
you are) can come up with something. Anything. 

Dan Gillmor of the San Jose Mercury News has an 
excellent call to arms now that the Supremes have 
agreed to hear the Eldred v. Ashcroft case that will 
determine if copyright is intended to establish a 
marketplace of ideas or lock ideas away until 
DisneyCo decides it's time to thaw Walt. This is 
serious, despite the fact that the law that needs to 
be overturned is the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension 

You know what? The Tauzin-Dingell Bell sucks also. 
You can read about it at Dean Landsman's site: 
Here's what Bruce Kushnick, telecom Guru, says:

     This bill gives the Bells more money, more 
     power, less scrutiny, and even provides 
     protection from investigations. The proposed 
     bill would block competitors from using the 
     networks, will raise customer Internet rates, 
     and it doesn't address or fix any of the 
     current DSL or competitor issues. Congress 
     should not even consider this bill until the 
     current problems, caused by the Bell companies,
     have been fixed.

If you want to see how your CongressWretch voted, 
and how much money s/he took from the telecom 
industry, go to

You want some good news? Sorry, how about another
bowl of CrapFlakes instead?

Check out the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel's
report here: 
CARP requires Internet radio broadcasters to pay 
fees that commercial airwave broadcasters don't have to.

Continuing the Bad News From Everywhere, David 
Isenberg (www.isen.com) forwards this from 
Benton.org, a non-profit devoted to gaining social 
benefit from communications technology:

     Bush abandons national strategy to bridge the 
     digital divide.

     After a year of public speculation over whether 
     the White House was committed to expanding 
     Internet access and skills to all of America's 
     citizens, the administration has finally broken 
     its silence. In its FY 2003 budget, the White 
     House stripped over $100 million in public 
     investments previously available for community 
     technology grants and IT training 
     programs--programs that offer real payoffs to 
     rural communities, the
     working poor, minorities and children.

So predictable.

(For more infopinion(tm), see the article in the
previous issue of JOHO and a piece called "The
Paradox of the Best Network" that Isenberg and I
wrote: www.netparadox.com)


This is what I remember saying to a session on March 
9, '02 at the Eastern Sociological Society meeting. 
And, yes, I'm aware of the irony of putting this 
article immediately after the one before it. 
(Unedited in the Web version of JOHO.)

I'm not defining a utopia as a perfect place. 
Rather, it's a place with a particular nature. 
Humans also have a nature.  A utopia is a place 
whose properties enable us to perfect our human nature.

Now, I don't mean that we become perfect in a 
utopia. That's not possible. We're humans. We're 
imperfect. That's why we're not gods. Besides, 
imperfection is the only thing that makes life 
interesting. It's a bit like the fact that the price 
of free will is the existence of evil in the world: 
the price of the world being interesting is that we 
are imperfect creatures.

So, what I want to argue is that the characteristics 
of a utopia that enable us to imperfectly perfect 
our imperfect human nature are properties the Web 

First, utopias are always new starts, a fresh page. 
The Web is definitely new and a fresh page.

Second, a utopia is a place and so is the Web. In 
fact it's a world. It is not a medium. A medium is 
something we send messages through, and while we can 
do that with the Web, I believe that the excitement 
about the Web hasn't happened because it's a 
messaging medium. Rather, our language says that we 
move through the Web. We, not our messages. This is 
very weird. While the Web consists of pages, we go 
to them, enter them and leave them. We don't do that 
with real world pages or documents. We experience 
the Web as a navigable space.

This Web place has certain characteristics.

1. It's persistent. That's one reason we experience 
it as a place. 

2. It's conversational. The excitement of the Web 
has something to do with the fact that we're 
connecting with one another by the most basic social 
act: talking.

3. It's hyperlinked. The Web wouldn't be a web if 
the pages weren't linked. But every hyperlink is an 
expression of interest. I link to your page because 
I think my visitors might find your page 
enlightening or amusingly wrong. The real world is 
shaped by a geography of rocks and water. The Web 
geography is shaped by links of human interest and 

Compare this to the real world we're born into. None 
of us asked to be born. Even if G-d gave us the 
world as a gift, it's still the given, the datum. 
And fundamentally this world is indifferent to us. 
We get buried in it, our atoms dissolve, and the 
worms are happy and the atoms don't care. We make of 
this world what we will, but it's damn hard. You 
can't move the mountains and it takes a lot to make 
the desert bloom. It fundamentally isn't our world.

But the Web is a world that we're making for 
ourselves. And we're doing so by connecting to one 
another in conversation and by linking to one 
another out of human passion and caring.

I can't defend the following so I'll just state it: 
We are at our best when we are social and connected. 
The Web is a world that is profoundly social. Its 
geography itself is social, a map of connections and 
passions. It is thus a world that we've made for 
ourselves that is a reflection of our best nature 
and a place where can imperfectly perfect our 
imperfect natures.



Dan Bricklin not too long ago sent me a friendly 
note that ended by suggesting that I help readers 
skim my articles by using typography to flag the 
most important ideas. Dan is one of the computing 
industry's Good Guys: brilliant, thoughtful, 
innovative, ethical, human. And I can feel the pain 
behind his message. He's staring at the endless, 
gray cliffs of my verbiage and is begging for a 
handhold. Who could blame him?

Dan follows his own advice. (For an example -- and 
for some good reading -- check 
http://danbricklin.com/log/ .) He puts key ideas in 
bold, uses subtitles effectively, etc. But I don't 
*want* people to skim what I write. I want to force 
them -- you -- to read every syllable. Arrogant? 
Absolutely. No matter how humble a writer pretends 
to be, he is still presuming that what he has to say 
is worth someone else's time.

Making your writing more skimmable makes total sense 
if you're trying to convey information; the bolded 
words are the ripe fruit waiting to be picked. 
Believe me, If I had salient points to make, I'd 
make them in boldface. But my aim is not to make it 
easier for readers to find the ideas they want and 
get going, but to pull them through ... best of all, 
kicking and screaming, against their will.

Writing: Arrogant *and* sadistic.

What Dan says -- see www.gooddocuments.com -- makes 
total sense. But ultimately I'm not trying to make 
life easier for my readers. I'm just not that nice.

(See Dan on skimming:


I've struck up quite a bloggery friendship with AKM 
Adam. I love his blog. 
He's a teacher and minister with philosophical and 
theological training and interests. Widely read and 
insightful, he's a sympathetic reader. In fact, his 
sympathetic nature got him exercised about a 
offhand, snarky comment in a recent weblog entry in 
which I said that that a particular book by Foucault 
was not "his usual proof of his own cleverness."

Adam replied in an email to me:

   One of the hazards of my vocation entails 
   teaching conservative evangelical students 
   whose version of Christian faith troubles me 
   deeply. But both here at Seabury (where they're 
   rarer) and in previous teaching positions, I 
   worked productively among conservative students 
   because I showed them at least minimal respect: 
   I didn't ignore their arguments, I didn't 
   refuse to let them cite their favorite books, I 
   went to chapel the days they were preaching, I 
   asked them to improve the arguments for 
   positions they weren't going to change, not to 
   abandon positions that were fundamental (so to 
   speak) to their identity. And then I could ask 
   them to extend the same courtesy to me, which 
   they sometimes,
   pretty often, did.

I've taken this out of context; you should 
understand that AKMA is quite humble. My offhand 
remark actually brought him to testify.

My kneejerk response is to say: Hey, buddy, it's the 
Web. If I can't recklessly slap a dead French 
philosopher upside the head on the Web, then where 
can I?

But I know in my heart that AKMA is right. It's easy 
to think hard. It's usually easy to think clearly. 
It's damn near impossible to think kindly. My 
passing swipe at Foucault was intended to get me out 
of having actually to read him with the care and 
sympathy he deserves. Plus, it's a cheap way to puff 
myself up.

Now, the irony is that shortly after this 
interchange, John Dvorak, columnist galore, went 
after weblogging with a bludgeon, in large part 
because (he says) bloggers are never critical of one 

Hah! I could show him some 
exchanges that would put creases in his khakis. But 
the fact is that among the bloggers I've been 
hanging out, we have been critical in what I think 
is the best way: finding what's worth talking about 
in one another's writings, and disagreeing with an 
eye towards uncovering the truth rather than being 
the Smartest Blogger on the Block.

Oh, of course it's not that ideal, but it is ironic 
to see your community knocked for not being nasty 


Michael Quinlon's weekly emailer, World Wide Words, 
(www.worldwidewords.org) at the beginning of 2002 
summarized the words-of- the-year awards from the 
American Dialect Society:

    Most Outrageous: "assoline", methane used as a fuel.
    Most Euphemistic: "daisy cutter", a bomb used by US
    Air Forces in Afghanistan (not new, but definitely
    a distinguishing word of 2001).
    Most Useful: there was a tie between "facial
    profiling", videotaping a crowd to identify
    criminals and terrorists, and "second-hand speech",
    overheard cell-phone conversation.
    Most Creative: "shuicide bomber", a terrorist with
    a bomb in his shoe.
    Most Unnecessary: "impeachment nostalgia", longing
    for the superficial news of the Clinton era
    Least Likely to Succeed: "Osamaniac", a woman
    sexually attracted to Osama bin Laden
    Most Inspirational: "Let's roll!", the words of the
    late Todd Beamer, who mobilised passengers on
    Flight 93 on 11 September to overcome the
    terrorists who had hijacked the plane.
    Most Likely to Succeed: "9-11"

[Previous winners and more in the online version of 


     NOTE: A recent New Yorker ("The Riddler" by 
     Burkhard Bilger) about puzzle fanatics mentions 
     that one of the puzzlemasters points out that 
     Pepsi-Cola spokesdroid Britney Spears anagrams 
     to "Presbyterians" while Pepsi-Cola anagrams to 

At last night's RIM GAMES, hosted by TART JEW SON, 
it was no surprise that SILKY ACE AI won a total of 
5 GERM AIMS or that FOLLY NATURED took Best Female 
Vocal Performance. And YELL DAME DRAMA from the 
movie RUIN MULE GOO deserved the award it got. Old-
Timers ZANY RV TINKLE won for Male Rock Vocal 
Performance and ROYAL JAM SET got Male Pop Vocal 
Performance. But no one was expecting EARTH WHORE 
BOTHER TOUR to walk away with album of the year! 

Ok ok, here's the key:

Grammies, Grammies
RIM GAMES=Grammies
TART JEW SON= Jon Stewart
SILKY ACE AI=Alicia Keys
GERM AIMS=Grammies
YELL DAME DRAMA=Lady Marmalade
RUIN MULE GOO=Moulin Rouge
ZANY RV TINKLE=Lenny Kravitz
ROYAL JAM SET=James Taylor
HOW HE TORTURE EAR BROTH=O Brother Where Art Thou?
ASS LEG RUB=Blue Grass


While checking the date I bought my first computer 
in 1983, a KayPro II, I came across a site that 
gives a history of the machine: www.yoy.org/kaypro/

There you'll find not only a scan of the original 
brochure touting the "9-inch monster screen" (green 
character-based) but also a KayPro simulator written 
in Java as a class project. Ah, the familiar DOS 
prompt at last! And MBasic! Do a DIR and you'll see 
that they've ported a few of the original KayPro 
games, including a character-based version of Space 
Invaders. What a flashback! (There are also links to 
CP/M information.)

I gave mine up when I got my first IBM PC (actually 
a Zenith ... such an early model that there were 
hand-soldered wires on the motherboard to correct 
some late-discovered bugs)...

It makes me giddy to think that even our best 
machines today are banging rocks together compared to 
what's to come. Give me more!


RageBoy points us to an article at Wired about 
profitless companies successfully suing disgruntled 
customers who go on line to say mean things.

And they say there's no viable ecommerce business


The lovely www.tinyapps.org site that features --
surprise! -- tiny applications is running a contest 
with the following prize:

     The first subscriber to provide an answer
     that solves this problem ... will receive
     a gently used copy of (this is not a
     joke) "Writing Solid Code & --
     Microsoft's Techniques for Developing
     Bug- Free Programs". I spotted it at my
     local "Friends of the Library" for a mere
     10 cents. ...


Through an email conversation with Jeff Chapman, we 
have come up with a Request for Product for Google.

Suppose you could say that you'd like your search 
terms translated into other languages and then get 
returns in those languages. For example, suppose you 
were looking for information on what vegans eat. 
Enter "vegans eat" into the search box and click on 
the "Find German pages" box. Behind the scenes 
Google translates your search terms into German and 
returns the pages that contain the phrase "Vegans 
essen". It optionally translates those pages into 
English for you. Or, search for "environmental 
politics" and click on the "All languages" box, and 
it will translate your search terms into however 
many languages Google has dictionaries for.

As the engineers used to say at Interleaf, how hard 
could it be? You just have to get the bits in the 
right order :)

My college alumni magazine (Tagline: "Hey! You Got 
Fatter than Your Classmates!") ran a notice about 
one of my haven't-seen-him-since pals who is behind 
www.yourdictionary.com, a very nice site for all 
your word-finding needs. It includes some 
translation services that so far seem quite

  MIDDLE WORLD RESOURCES                      


  I accepted the PR person's invitation to set up 
  a call with Greg D'Amico, president of IPS Funds 
  and IPS Advisory because I use the IPS "plain 
  English" risk disclosure statement as an example 
  of how humor can work in business. It turns out 
  that IPS is doing something quite interesting.

  On January 1, 2001, they added their third fund: the 
  IPS iFund, an aggressive fund that invests in 
  disruptive business models. Here's the exciting 
  part: iFund Investors have complete control. They 
  nominate stocks, which are then discussed on the 
  message board. They vote on the stocks they want to 
  buy. They even vote on how many people have to vote 
  in favor of a stock to add it to the fund. (Your 
  vote counts more if you've invested more.)
  So far, the fund is small, with only about 30 
  investors. But IPS didn't start marketing it until 
  the fall of 2001.

  Yes, the fund was down 40% in 2001 during which time 
  Nasdaq was down 24%. The other IPS funds were 
  comparable. Greg says that on up days, the iFund 
  beats the indexes...but it also beats them (in the 
  wrong sense) when the indexes are down. Greg thinks 
  the fund will do better when more people invest and 
  thus "group intelligence" can kick in better.

  Cool idea. Let's hope it works

  I think I can recommend SecondCopy, a low-
  cost backup program that I use to copy key files 
  onto another disk drive every night. The UI is 
  straightforward and seems to do what I want done. 
  It creates zip files that Winzip can read. It lets 
  me exclude all those MP3s and anything with the 
  word "draft" in the title.

  It also seems to be well-behaved. No low-level 
  services interrupting every disk write, no 
  intricate rewiring of my registry. It sits in the 
  system tray and for the past month seems to have 
  been doing what it's supposed to.

  It's free for 30 days and $29 after that. You can 
  get it from www.centered.com.

  Since we seem to have some free space, I will 
  recommend a Web site that automatically builds an 
  online Oscar entry form for you and your pals. 
  Thanks, Matthew Baldwin! www.acesup.com/oscars

  | INTERNETCETERA                              |
  |                                             |
  | Some large numbers:                         |
  |                                             |
  | According to InformationWeek (Feb. 11),     |
  | here are the size of some databases, in     |
  | terabytes:                                  |
  |                                             |
  | Telstra: 10.36                              |
  | British Telecom: 8.45                       |
  | UPS: 7.88                                   |
  | SBC: 10.50                                  |
  | First Union National Bank: 4.5              |
  | Dialog: 4.25                                |
  | My Outlook PST file: 40.6                   |
  |                                             |
  | The article goes on to say that CERN's      |
  | Large Hadron Collider will generate 5-20    |
  | petabytes per year when it starts up in     |
  | 2006. It will manage and process this data  |
  | using 1,000 dual process Intel servers      |
  | running Linux. JOHO's prediction: The       |
  | project comes crashing to a permanent halt  |
  | when senior executives on the project who   |
  | say they're "uncomfortable reading on a     |
  | computer screen" insist on printing out     |
  | the data.                                   |


A friend (you know who you are, Steve) points us to 
the Wonderlic 12-minute IQ test given to athletes to 
see if they're smart enough to fall down instead of 
up. The site gives a 5-minute version and sample 
scores for various professions.


As with all such tests, I turn out to be a freaking 
genius ... but only if given enough time. As Steven 
Wright says, every place is within walking distance, 
if you have enough time.

So, who's smarter, a brainiac who scores high on an 
IQ test sitting in a sealed room or a normal person 
who scores higher on the test in the same amount of
time but with access to the Internet ... and a
way-smart buddy list?

An engineer I know likes to "stress test" 
prospective employees by asking them to come up, on 
the spot, with the algorithm for determining the 
angle between the hour and minute hand of a clock at 
any given time.

My attempt to distract him by reciting the theme 
song to "The Flintstones" in the voice of Barbara
Walters did not work.

Dana Parker sends us to Julian Baggini's Staying 
Alive: The Personal Identity Game 

It presents three scenarios having to do with what 
constitutes self-identity. For example, in the first 
one, you have to decide whether you'd rather get to 
Mars by taking a risky space ship or via a 
teleporter that maps your atoms and rebuilds you on 
Mars. The entire game takes about five minutes to 
play. Then you can read a brief and clear analysis 
of your results. (The site is presented by The 
Philosopher's Magazine, which looks like an 
interesting compendium of ideas.) 


The text-based version of Pong 
(www.karber.net/textbased/pong/) is a funny idea, 
but I've always wanted to play an email-based
version of it:

  From: PongServer@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  To: self@xxxxxxxxxxx
  Subject: MailPong Move #23

  The ball has been served to you
  Velocity: 10px/second
  Angle: 32.85

  Please indicate the parameters of your
  move (All measurements in pixels):
  Top edge of your paddle:
  Point of impact:
  Velocity of paddle at point of impact:

Now that would be fun!

From Chris Pirillo's Lockergnome games discussion 
board comes a free game, called Crash!, that is 
surprisingly hypnotic in a Bejeweled sort of way. 
Thanks, Ernest! (The help files for this beta 
version aren't very helpful. The object is to clear 
the board. Clicking on a square will clear it if it 
shares a border with two others of the same color; 
its border mates are also cleared. The bottom line 
of the screen shows you the next line of squares
that will be added.) 


Gary Stock (www.unblinking.com), Creator of the 
Googlewhack, points us to The Secret Life of 
Numbers, a fascinating (in the literal sense) site 
that does an amazing job of presenting its research 
into the frequency with which particular numbers 
show up on the Web. I assume that the fact that I 
can't make heads nor tails of the shimmering 
graphics is my fault; I have trouble interpreting 


Gilbert Cattoire has a pair of finds. First at the 
home of the Post-It Note, he writes, we learn that 
"refillable holders have a unique, very specific 
objective: Improve employee relations." Wait, I 
thought they were the backbone of a Knowledge 
Management system!

Second, he points us to www.Annotis.com where you 
can get tools to scribble on top of your email, 
highlighting passages, drawing little smiley faces, 
and putting horns on top of every instance of the 
phrase "my manager." 

Peter "Nicest Person on the Planet" Kaminski 
recommends Lawrence Lessig's Creative Commons where 
creators will be able to download IP licenses that
make sense.

Dave Rogers recommends a lecture by Brenda Laurel 
called "Creating Core Content in a Post-Convergence 
World." She proposes that we think "transmedia" to 
begin with, rather than rooting the content in any 
one medium, and then talks about ways to think about 
this cross-device content, including a quote --
worth the price of admission -- from Rob Tow that 
"narratives are the constitutions of new worlds."


Here's a John Perry Barlow interview in which he 
uses the phrase "private totalitarianism" to label 
the corporate attempt to own the economy of ideas
as well as the economies of work and money. 

Kevin Marks blogs about Richard Dawkins in response to my annoyed
comments. Says Kevin:

     Dawkins has written very well and clearly, and 
     had some very original ideas. However, these 
     days he seems to be writing the same book over 
     and over again...
Or, as I'd put it, Dawkins is one meme away from 
being a crank. (Please ignore the comments earlier
in this issue about reading with sympathy.)
Kevin: http://epeus.blogspot.com/2001_11_11_epeus_archive.html#7053068

Martin Jensen recommends this site about Dawkins: 

At Dan Dubno's site, Gizmorama, you'll find a link 
to the amazing EarthViewer, demo'ed at the TED 
conference. Type an address into the client and it 
delivers a cinematically thrilling aerial view of 
the location. There's a 14-day free trial on the 
site. The Gizmorama site also has links to other 
digital images of the earth and a link to CBS News' 
comprehensive links about disasters of every

There are some lovely maps of the Internet at 
Albert-Laszlo Barabasi 's site. 
He's the Notre Dame physicist who found that there 
are 19 degrees of separation between any two 
randomly chosen sites on the Web. (This is back when 
there were only a billion pages on the Web. ) More 
significantly, he and his team have discovered a 
pattern of nodal clustering that seems to pertain 
not just to the Internet but to any self-organizing 
network. I had a chance to talk with him a couple of 
weeks ago -- a very enthusiastic and engaging 
fellow. He has a new book, Linked, coming out soon.

Ryan Mulcahy, from Darwin Magazine for whom I write 
a weekly online column, recommends a site for people 
trying to quit cigarettes. My mother died of lung 
cancer, Ryan, so you know I mean it when I wish you 
luck and strength.

Mike O'Dell sends us to 
http://www.winternet.com/~mikelr/flame1.html. It 
took me a minute to realize what it's up to. See
how many categories you fit into!

Chip recommends a long article by Ron Callari of The 
Albion Monitor (http://www.monitor.net/monitor) that 
provocatively lays out the circumstantial evidence 
that It's the Oil, Stupid. Many fascinating tidbits 
loosely joined. For example, Zalmay Khalilzad, 
former consultant to Unocol, the oil company that 
was negotiating with the Taliban for a pipeline, "is 
the Special Assistant to the President and National 
Security Council member responsible for setting up 
the post-Taliban 'Pro-Unocal' regime in Afghanistan."

The Monitor is a stronghold of lefty conspiracy 
theories and outrage ("Olympic Torch Bearer Uniforms 
Made In Burma Sweatshops," "Could Irradiated Mail 
Cause Super-Anthrax?"). Just because they're lefty 
and conspiracy theories doesn't mean they're not 

Paul Graham, who is an acquaintance from a previous 
life at a software company, has written a really 
interesting explanation of why his startup used Lisp 
to write their application, including an argument 
about what constitutes a higher level language. 
(Thanks to Bret Pettichord for pointing
this out.)

This recalls the old joke that circulated via email 
about ten years ago. "I've managed to hack into the 
Defense Department's Star Wars code," it explained 
breathlessly. "Unfortunately, I was only able to get 
the last page." What followed were 2,000 close-
parentheses. Oh, the tears of laughter were
like CDRs to the Lisp geeks' eyes over that one!

My own book, The Adventurer's Guide to Interleaf 
Lisp , continues to sell high into the single digits 
every year. I only wish I were kidding.


Dave Rogers blogs on Dvorak on Cluetrain and 

Tom Shugart has started a blog. His very first entry 
is a reflection on authenticity. 

Hermani Dimantas has started a blog. I assume it's 
good because, although it's in Portuguese and thus 
impenetrable to me, I know from correspondence with 
Hermani that he's an enthusiastic, smart guy. 

Dan Pink (author of Free Agent Nation) has a blog 
that is blessedly short and pithy. And entertaining: 

Halley Suitt is blogging away at 

Jeneane Sessum and Others have started the " 
BlogSisters" communiblog. I love the tagline: "Where 
men can link, but they can't touch." 

A multi-personaed person possibly named Matt Moore 
or Daniel Byron has started "evil twin blogs." One 
charts his travels and stays in India. The other is 
more contemplative, although I'm not confident that 
I've characterized either well.

One of the first certified cases of multiple blog 


[Many of these have been edited for space. But not 
in the online version.]

From Jim "Jack Vinson" Fenwood:

     Since I knew you wouldn't be able to pass up an 
     opportunity to use my mail to shamelessly 
     promote your latest opus, I was confident that 
     my fifteen minutes of JOHO fame was a sure 
     thing. Imagine my shock and dismay to see Jack 
     Vinson identified (albeit tentatively) as the 
     author of MY message.  It was in fact me, Jim 
     Fenwood.   My big chance, gone in a puff of 
     scrambled hard drive electrons!

Sorry, Jim. The exquisite chocolates are in the

Kevin Marks responds to my weblogging of the little 
Oscars-scoring program (above) that I wrote in 
<shame> Visual Basic </shame>:

     You don't wanna use that, you wanna use this:


     ... Or if you really love Basic, use this:

     http://www. realbasic.com/

Love Basic? Not hardly. Back when I was running DOS 
I far preferred C. (I could never master C++ or 
Java.) But VB has one compelling strength if you're 
strictly an amateur programmer: Microsoft has made 
it really easy to bash together a UI.

So here's the plan: Make your OS too hard to develop 
in and then sell the dumbed-down kit so people can 
develop in it. And I fell for it!

Ah, let the flames begin.

Gaspar Torriero (www.gaspartorriero.it/blogger.html) 
responds to my asking: "Are we in a time that could 
rival the golden age of Athens in its capacity for 
reinventing ourselves?"

  You ask yourself a very rhetorical question. 

  ...Sometimes a small mouse will rise the head over 
  the maze and briefly guess the whole picture...:

    "Access to communication and information 
    will be soon free and ubiquitous. New the 
    technologies will allow us to switch from 
    representative to direct democracy, and 
    the State will auction its services 
    through ebay. ..."


    "We will swim in the same shit as ever, 
    and will be all killed by our greed and 
    stupidity, or by the swift indifferent 
    strike of a meteorite."

  Who cares? We will not be there. All the same, 
  I like to pretend that yes, this is our golden 
  age, this is our occasion to reinvent 
  ourselves, every day. It's much more fun this 

Ok, then can I ask if we're maybe in a time that 
could rival the golden age of Newark?

A couple of you have pointed out that the Foucault 
text I talked about in the previous issue is  
available online for free:

Jacob Shwirtz of www.gazm.org writes about the
topic of Foucault's lectures:

     ...when studying the Talmud, in the original 
     Aramaic, there is a word used often, 
     "Pharhessia" (phonetically spelled), which 
     means "in public." Not sure it has any 
     connection to the Greek word but it got me 

If it's a coincidence, it's an interesting one. 
Words are funny things, aren't they? They could 
practically be cute little woodland creatures if 
they were anything like them.

Prof. Tom Wilson writes about my article about

     ...Interesting how far behind the industry 
     'leaders' are (even when they are right!). It 
     was in 1986, I think, that a man called 
     McKenzie, wrote a book called "Sunrise Europe" 
     (very interesting, if you haven't read it) in 
     which he suggested that Europe as a whole 
     needed an inter-governmental policy to take 
     broadband (cable at that time) to every home, 
     school, office and factory in order to build an 
     information economy that could stand up to the 
     USA and Japan.

     Needless to say, nothing was done about it 

     And where is Britain in all this? In spite of 
     the Prime Minister's voiced desire to make the 
     UK the leading broadband country in Europe, it 
     is currently behind Portugal and just about 
     ahead of Greece. The UK isn't five years behind 
     the trend, but twenty years!

Vergil Iliescu comments on authenticity and the Web:

     I've just started reading "The Psychology of 
     the Internet" by Patricia Wallace...Chapter 3 
     is called "Online Masks & Masquerades", and 
     includes the following comment: "When we alter 
     the characteristics of ourselves on the 
     Internet ? even fundamental ones like age, race 
     or gender ? we might not think of ourselves as 
     liars or con artists. "... We might feel more 
     like researchers, or experimenters. We are 
     playing with our own identities and trying out 
     different hats..."

     The Internet creates the opportunity to create 
     a persona (mask), and this is generally 
     acceptable. ... I think the Internet somehow 
     creates a distance, a separation which allows 
     you to be/play a different personality.  I 
     wonder why. Maybe it because you just don't get 
     the same visual and verbal clues, and it is 
     easier to be consistent, since you are writing, 
     for the most part.  In Billy Connolly's 
     biography, written by his wife Pamela 
     Stevenson, she notes that Billy doesn't use the 
     internet because the people who do are "the 
     kind of people you wouldn't talk to in a pub 
     anyway" (or something like that, I'm quoting 
     from memory).  I don't agree literally with 
     that comment of course, but I think it 
     illustrates that his perception is that the 
     relationship, for him, would not be 
     sufficiently authentic ? can't see the guy, 
     can't smell the guy, and worse, can't share a 

Any email to JOHO that has the good sense to cite 
Billy Connolly is assumed to be not only right and 
true but wise.

I agree that there's something important going on 
about the social construction of our selves. The 
notion that the self is a set of persona or even a 
set of relations isn't new. But, as you indicate, 
the way our selves are being re-valued in the 
hyperlinked social world of the Web is new. And the 
fact that it is a written self strikes me as 
important. I wish I knew what it portends.

Mark Justman, Futurist, writes:

     Your blurb in the recent issue of JOHO on 
     omniweb brings to mind another (if smaller) 
     example of a software company using quirkiness 
     as a key marketing asset www.zootsoftware.com

     Zoot is a ECCO/Agenda-like PIM that is coded 
     and sold by a one-man operation. What can be 
     rather interesting is that bug fixes and 
     suggested new features can (and do) get added 
     in a matter of days...not months or never.

     Also, the Zoot faithful do a fair share of user 
     support on the Zoot discussion group, which 
     also contains sample databases and 
     instructional files created by Zoot users. 
     Several of these users have even begun to 
     construct a collaborative guide and help manual 
     for Zoot: groups.yahoo.com/group/ZootForum/

     It's also a very nifty tool for personal
     Knowledge Management.

Mike O'Dell has figured out a way to get back to the 
habit of reading:

     i pick up the keyboard off the desk and set it 
     on top of the monitor. it's not on the desk, 
     tempting me to type on it - it's just out of 
     reach. AND i have a place to actually put a 

Isn't this an urban myth like the person who calls 
the customer support line and complains that the PC 
"cup holder" is broken only to find that he's been 
using the CD tray? Reading books? Sure.

Gary Lawrence Murphy responds to our short piece 
about CNN's depiction of an asteroid smashing into
the earth:

     ...I thought it only fair to warn you that by 
     next year at this time you will have the 
     opportunity to compare the image to its 
     reality: http://xfacts.com

It seems there's planet in our solar system we 
haven't noticed because every time we count, we 
forget to count ourselves. Or some such.

Steve Telleen writes:

     ...No one pays attention to spam. So if you are 
     a terrorist cell, you embed your coded message 
     in the spam email text, purchase a list of 
     100,000, sprinkle your cell list of 10 or 20 
     email addresses through it, and send it out 
     through the normal spoofed spam channels.

     ...So what do you think? Should the Homeland 
     Defense guys be concerned?

See www.spammimic.com and then tell Tom Ridge that 
it is now a national priority for the Homeland 
Security Office to confiscate all spammers and to 
lock them in the Opryland Hotel where they will be 
forced to opt-in to listen to a 24/7 loop of 
"100 Jingles We Can't Forget." If they want it to stop, 
they need to call an 800 number that rings and rings 
and rings.

By the way, if you want to see the internal 
governmental version of the Homeland Security 
Advisory System, go here: 


Jakob Nielsen, the guru di tutti guri of usability, 
has a book out -- E-Commerce User Experience -- for 
$250 that in 389 pages lists 207 rules for designing 
sites real good. (You can read a a review of it 
here: http://www.webreference.com/new/020131.html In 
fact, I have only seen the review, not the book.) 
The rules include:

11. Don't show products that customers can't buy.
51. Show total cost, including taxes, shipping and
handling, as soon as possible.
70. Allow customers to purchase without registering.
108. Design comparison tables to highlight
111. Put the search box on every page.
114. Support search for nonproduct terms.
199. Write all text in EASL (English As a Second
206. Don't use metaphors that are intimately
connected with a specific country.

Excellent advice. But few people know that Jakob has 
an Evil Twin named Bokaj who has produced the same 
book, but with the worst possible advice for e-
commerce sites. It includes rules such as:

     Popups, popunders, pop in-betweens ...
     just keep on poppin'!

     Click away from your shopping basket and
     you're asking to have it emptied

     Force a purchase commitment before
     revealing the shipping charges

     Disabling the "Back" button is a sure way
     to make your site sticky

     Everyone loves naked ladies. Sprinkle
     them throughout!

Have you heard any of Bokaj's rules?


Stu Rubinow:

     Did you notice that the scum-sucking dead-
     dog's-mourners'-guestbook spammer in 'Worst 
     Marketing...Ever' has a URL 
     [www.magicrates.com] that could be entered in 
     your "ambiguous Web addresses" contest?   
     Either a location for unbelievably low plane 
     fares, or a site selling packing cases to ship 
     the Three Wise Men.

Viz, www.MagicRates.com or www.MagiCrates.com. I 
don't know, Stu. I appreciate your tenacity, but 
unless we get some better Ambiguous URLs, we may 
have to draw this contest to a close.

Nah. We at JOHO don't like to bring anything to a 
close. We'd rather just go on and on and on and on 
until we're the only ones left in the room.

Hello? Anyone still reading? Dan Bricklin, is that 
you? I can hear you breathing. Could you turn off 
the light when you finally grope your way to the 


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