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    bm 1998



April 1999 Archive


On this day devoted to hoaxes, pranks, and other tomfoolery, it's unfortunate that we need to remind some people that parody is protected speech. Read about Jason Kottke's close encounter with humorless 3Com lawyers -- then see what all the fuss is about and decide for yourself. [4.1.99]

And speaking of blurring the lines between technology advertising and pornography... [4.1.99]

Today's Salon offers a nice wrap-up of yesterday's April Foolishness on the Web. [4.2.99]

If you've seen that new Keanu Reeves movie -- you know the one -- you may be interested in this collection of original Web-only comics and stories inspired by the film, from the likes of Bill Sienkiewicz and Neil Gaiman. (Unfortunately, some of this still seems to be "under construction", as they say.) [4.2.99]

Why deal with all the hassles of brainwashing your kids yourself when you can have your ISP do it for you? [4.5.99]

The Merc's lengthy feature on digital storytelling covers the whole gamut, from grassroots Web sites to wacky performance art to ponderous academic exercises. [4.5.99]

I'm still trying to get my mind around the recursion here: A term coined to satirize the inherent absurdity of religious propaganda is turned around for use in actual religious propaganda. [4.5.99]

Perhaps more significant than Salon's move to salon.com is their move from NT to Linux. [4.5.99]

USA Today has a great piece on the origin and history of O'Reilly's computer-books-with-drawings-of-animals-on-the-covers. (Thanks Rafe.) [4.5.99]

Salon has the inside scoop on AOL's abrupt shutdown of the Netscape Netcenter community areas. [4.6.99]

Despite his recent guilty plea, Kevin Mitnick continues to protest his innocence. [4.6.99]

Ticker spamming exploits the weaknesses of Internet search engines and the questionable research skills of day traders to boost stock prices. [4.6.99]

The study of metaphor -- in linguistics, cognitive science, and interface design -- now has its own Yahoo page. [4.7.99]

I was going to put together an overview of Simply Porn coverage on the Web, but Jason beat me to it. [4.7.99]

I've been curious about personality typing for a while now, but I could never figure out how the various systems fit together until I saw this handy chart. [4.7.99]

In its first update in nearly three years, ESR's Jargon File, the definitive guide to hackish slang and culture, gets a nasty frameset interface. [4.8.99]

In the next five years, Bill Gates is projected to become the world's first trillionaire. [4.8.99]

New 333-MHz iMac color updates: tangerine and strawberry out, banana and cherry in? [4.8.99]

Kevin Smith's upcoming movie Dogma is apparently so troubling to Disney execs that they're setting up a separate company just to get rid of it. [4.8.99]

Free advice for day traders: RTFURL. [4.9.99]

Somehow I suspect that recent misappropriations of the term "open source" by Al Gore and Steve Ballmer may do more for public awareness of the movement than its true proponents ever could. [4.9.99]

You can get a Rio MP3 player to match your iMac, but don't expect to be able to connect the two together -- despite its new stylings, the Rio is still PC-only. [4.12.99]

The smartypants at Xerox PARC are applying a curious mix of traditional economics, ecological systems analysis, and nonlinear complexity theory to the study of user behavior on the World Wide Web. (The abstracts look promising, but it looks like the only way to get the full text is to download raw PostScript!) [4.12.99]

Why not quit your day job and just sell stuff on eBay? [4.12.99]

Damn -- looks like I've just been outportaled. [4.12.99]

The Billboard Liberation Front has been defacing advertisements in the public interest since 1977. [4.12.99]

Yet another standards war is brewing, this time over next-gen audio disc formats. But is anyone really clamoring for the ability to get 8 hours of audio on a disc? [4.13.99]

After years of playing chicken with the law, Kevorkian's busted. [4.13.99]

I was a little disappointed (but not too surprised) to learn the new Man or Astro-man? record only features 13 songs, not the 700 they promised the Onion. [4.13.99]

Thanks to PhoneSpell, I can now tell business associates who want to reach me to dial (714) FUCK YAK. [4.13.99]

Mmm... tasty! QuickTime 4 will feature not only a slick new interface, but also support for streaming MP3. [4.14.99]

"At Controlweb, we steal other people's work so you don't have to." [4.14.99]

Arrogance and cluelessness collide (again) in Microsoft's latest attempt to subvert a growing market with proprietary standards. [4.15.99]

Despite evidence to the contrary, the Force of Evil known as Network Solutions continues to insist that the .com namespace is not mined out. [4.15.99]

Cringely says MS will win out over MP3. [4.16.99]

Sometimes I wonder about Roger Ebert's sanity. Four out of four stars for Tron? [4.16.99]

The crowd at Spring Internet World had a fit when 3Com announced its metered-bandwidth pricing model for the forthcoming wireless Palm VII. [4.16.99]

The NY Observer takes a satisfyingly cynical look at the mounting Star Wars media frenzy. (From Maura via CamList.) [4.16.99]

For most of its history, Apple has been battling the Beatles in court over the company's name. (Warning: this piece may set a record for number of excruciating pop-culture references in a news article.) [4.19.99]

Microsoft's new mice have no balls. [4.19.99]

Looks like them creative types really do think different. [4.19.99]

Remember that page with the pictures of the Michigan State rioters? If you identified one of them to the cops, you may now be a target. [4.19.99]

If you're an independent filmmaker, @Home wants to help you find an audience for your work. All you have to do is keep it clean for the kiddies -- and keep it short so @Home's friends in the cable industry don't get nervous. [4.20.99]

After Paine Webber won an injunction against the owner of wwwpainewebber.com (note the missing dot), Citibank's going after wwwcitibank.com (owned by the infamous pornmongers at IEG). There are lots and lots of these bogus domains out there -- way too many to list here. See for yourself: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z [4.20.99]

Just what AOL needs: yet another chat client. Say, fellas, shouldn't you finish what you started before rolling on to the next big thing? [4.20.99]

Can Lycos really be taking the lead away from Yahoo? [4.21.99]

The Web is not TV -- or is it? [4.21.99]

Celebrating nine years of publication, the venerated Macintosh newsletter TidBITS waxes philosophical about the virtual community that has sprung up around it. [4.21.99]

For more than 20 years, a cottage industry of independent filmmakers has labored to bring their own variations on the Star Wars mythos to life. [4.21.99]

Librarian extraordinaire Jessamyn West finds (gasp!) a useful purpose for the weblog model at librarian.net. [4.21.99]

If you use the word "2Pac" on your Web site, the estate of dead rapper Tupac Shakur will shut you down. [4.22.99]

Solid Oak continues its long history of unethical behavior by capitalizing on the Columbine massacre to sell more copies of Cybersitter. [4.22.99]

Smells like disinformation: Look, I want an ultra-thin PowerBook as much as the next guy, but anybody who's been tracking the ongoing development of Lombard could tell you InfoWorld's recent report on the new line was way, way off. [4.26.99]

The Wall Street Journal offers an extensive list of potential scapegoats for the Columbine massacre, including, but not limited to: Doom, the Internet, Goth culture, German industrial music, pot smoking, cruelty to animals, the movie "Heathers", and of course, the trench coats. Whatever it was, I'm sure the good people of Littleton had nothing to do with it. No sirree. [4.26.99]

Today's Salon cover story tells us what we knew all along -- the real problem with modern American cinema is that there's not nearly enough nudity. [4.26.99]

Will Amazon's acquisition of Alexa turn Netscape's What's Related button into the next hot e-commerce point of sale? [4.26.99]

If people keep getting your domain name confused with your competitors', maybe it's time to get yourself a new one. [4.27.99]

Although it now appears to be official company policy, some people would claim Microsoft customers have been paying for beta products all along. [4.27.99]

It may be even cooler than HP's classic Shockwave Pong banner: Kill some time with Sun's Java Breakout banner. [4.27.99]

The disgruntled former employee who was spamming Intel's corporate mail system with allegations of the company's unethical activities has been ordered to stop. [4.28.99]

An effort to commemorate the contribution of legendary computer scientist and mathematician Alan Turing has hit a roadblock in the form of prejudice. No, it's not because he was gay -- it's because he was British. [4.28.99]

Nick + CTW = Noggin. Probably the only place where you can still catch The Electric Company. (Thanks Steve.) [4.28.99]

The long-awaited Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy site is finally up and running. I think my favorite feature is the list of least popular entries. [4.28.99]

When a small Canadian software company demonstrated a major flaw in the Pentium III ID scheme, Intel retaliated by blacklisting them as virus distributors. [4.29.99]

If you have to spend half your time in a cubicle, why not make it a round one? It even rotates -- like a Sit 'n Spin for wage-slaves. [4.29.99]

"When we said unlimited, what we really meant was... er..." [4.30.99]

File under "unclear on the concept": The sumo wrestling establishment is cracking down on wrestlers for being too fat. (Found in Rebecca's pocket.) [4.30.99]