17 syllables
    bm 1998



August 1999 Archive


Today's L.A. Times looks at the lengths -- and depths -- Web sites will go to for better search engine placement. [08.02.99]

You know that feeling you get when you pull up to the gas pump only to realize your tank is on the other side? NASA scientists must have been feeling the same way last week when Deep Space One's close encounter with an asteroid failed to produce any images because the camera was pointed the wrong way. [08.02.99]

Is it just me, or is Idealab's new intranet hosting venture actually just Yahoo Clubs dressed up in a business suit? [08.02.99]

So many people were committing suicide off Tampa's Sunshine Skyway Bridge that they installed crisis-line phones in hopes that prospective jumpers would call for help instead of taking the plunge. [08.02.99]

Excite claims to have new technology in the works that will allow them to index the entire Web instead of the measly 5 percent they cover now. [08.03.99]

The AP's tussle with New York state troopers over the use of the wire service's photos in the cops' online efforts to bust Woodstock rioters may have interesting implications for copyright law on the Internet. [08.03.99]

The makers of the indie film The Last Broadcast (which gained attention last year for being the first film completely shot, edited, and distributed digitally) say there's more than a passing resemblance between their movie and The Blair Witch Project. [08.04.99]

With the advent of SDMI, Diamond and the RIAA have decided to make nice in their dispute over the legality of the Rio MP3 player. [08.04.99]

Cleveland Free-Net, the historic first effort to bring free Internet access to the community at large, is closing down October 1, having been squeezed out by inexpensive commercial access and Y2K. [08.05.99]

How do you keep track of all those passwords? Mine are all locked in a safe. Now if only I could find the key... (Also: When I first saw this journalist's byline a while back, I thought it was just an amusing typo. Now I wonder: Is her middle name really a number?) [08.05.99]

Some folks in Japan are "very angry" that the National Atomic Museum is selling earrings shaped like Fat Man and Little Boy. (Scroll down a bit to see the earrings; they're just past the framed Cray logic boards. And don't forget to pick up a commemorative "First Atomic Bombardment" Christmas tree ornament while you're there!) [08.05.99]

Maybe you've heard about the guy who's been sued by Universal Studios for linking to their trailers from his Web site. You might think the recent media coverage of his case would have triggered a groundswell of support for his cause; instead, it's only brought him more lawsuits. [08.06.99]

He didn't quite reach the million-dollar mark he was shooting for, but the young entrepreneur who was auctioning off the domain name drugs.com made a tidy bundle for himself -- even though he technically doesn't own the domain. [08.09.99]

The latest flashpoint in the ongoing conflict between Arabs and Israelis over control of the West Bank: Burger King. [08.09.99]

File under "advances in hairsplitting": According to the settlement of Amazon.com's lawsuit against The New York Times over the bookseller's right to use the famous bestseller list, the contents of the list are part of the public record, but the sequence of those contents remains the newspaper's intellectual property. [08.09.99]

"Y2K ate my homework!" [08.10.99]

Just what is MCI/WorldCom planning to do with the domain filthymonkey.com? [08.10.99]

Q: What do you want to see on the World Wide Web? A: Everything. [08.10.99]

Can somebody tell me why otherwise-quite-sensible media entities have decided WebSideStory's utterly unscientific browser-share statistics are worthy of coverage? [08.10.99]

The German government might not be able to force barnesandnoble.com to stop shipping "hate literature" to German citizens -- but the German publishing conglomerate that owns a big chunk of the online bookseller might. [08.11.99]

Lycos's new pay-per-search affiliate program may be just the incentive I need to slide Hotbot back into the top slot on my portal page -- but at two cents a search, I won't be retiring any time soon. [08.11.99]

The enigmatic Jennifer 8. offers some insights into the meaning and history of some of those mysterious extra keys on your keyboard that no one ever uses. [08.12.99]

In the wake of Red Hat's IPO, the Linux developers who finally were allowed to get in on the action are sounding off on how they were treated by E*Trade: "They have managed to screw with everyone that I've heard from in almost as many ways as there are possible." [08.12.99]

"Should you or any of your operatives be caught, Chairman Gates will disavow any knowledge of your actions." [08.13.99]

Are you ready to pay for Microsoft Word by the hour? [08.16.99]

One Amiga developer is trying to resurrect the long-defunct Commodore brand name in an attempt to curry favor with Amiga diehards uneasy about the platform's new Linux-on-Intel direction. [08.16.99]

Centraal, the company whose two-year-old RealNames keyword scheme has suddenly been deemed newsworthy in recent weeks, is taking its business model to the next level by selling pieces of words. So who gets the letters 'MS': these folks, or these, or maybe these? (Also, isn't it just a matter of time before RealNetworks goes after RealNames for trademark dilution?) [08.16.99]

As Salon looks back on how Stan Lee revolutionized comics, The Man himself is looking forward to transforming the medium again -- on the Web, of course. [08.17.99]

If your eyes can handle the neon green page, you might enjoy this secret history of the Hamster Dance. [08.17.99]

Farewell, "information superhighway": The accelerating pace of change in modern society causes buzzwords to lose their luster at an unprecedented rate. [08.17.99]

The battle lines are being drawn in the nascent set-top box market, as AOL and CBS line up behind TiVo, while Time Warner and NBC back Replay. Disney, in classic Microsoft fashion, is playing both sides against the middle. [08.18.99]

Classified advertising, once thought to be the killer app for newspapers moving online, just isn't producing the revenues publishers were hoping for. [08.18.99]

Ouch: News.com calls toysrus.com "a cautionary tale in how not to build a business online." [08.18.99]

When AuctionWatch's redesign set off a firestorm of criticism from users, site administrators locked them out of the message boards and deleted every critical post. [08.19.99]

The development of Intel's 64-bit Merced chip has been so fraught with difficulty that HP, the company that helped design the chip, is now telling its customers not to bother with it. [08.19.99]

Better stick to beige, boys: iMac design lawsuit number two hits eMachines. [08.19.99]

Big fish swallows little fish. Big fish is then swallowed by even bigger fish. Little fish then claws its way out through the bellies of both bigger fishes. [08.20.99]

What's on the front of O'Reilly's Lego Mindstorms programming book? A clockwork bunny, of course. Only slightly creepy. (Thanks Dan.) [08.20.99]

They announced the winner of that contest to find the oldest PC still in operation. It's a MITS Altair -- you know, the one that's just a box with rows of flashing lights and toggle switches. [08.20.99]

When all the doctors, psychoanalysts, counselors, therapists, crystal healers, acupuncturists, homeopaths, osteopaths, and naturopaths have failed you, maybe it's time to see a philosopher. [08.23.99]

There's a veritable glow-in-the-dark menagerie on its way: Not only glow mice, but glow monkeys too! [08.23.99]

Rumor has it the journalists at Britain's famed Financial Times are so frustrated with that paper's execution of its Internet strategy that they're ready to stage a "mass walkout" and do it themselves. [08.23.99]

One company's attempt to wrest some domain names away from a vanity e-mail service provider has failed because the court determined its trademarks simply aren't famous enough. [08.24.99]

Scientists are using mice genetically engineered to be fearful to test the effectiveness of new drugs in treating human anxiety disorders. [08.24.99]

One design. Two knock-offs. Three lawsuits. [08.25.99]

Next-generation grocery delivery services require a next-generation mailbox. [08.25.99]

Dismayed at their small town's mounting reputation as the leading source of evil on the East Coast, the residents of Burkittsville, Maryland are striking back -- on the Web, of course. [08.25.99]

This product naming business can get tricky. Responding to pressure from the FDA, one pharmaceutical company is launching a campaign to make sure doctors don't confuse its arthritis drug with two popular neurochemical medications. (I know, you're asking yourself, "Why don't they just change the name?" They tried that already to no avail.) [08.26.99]

Is the right-hand sidebar on this Forbes page advertising or editorial content? The publisher says it's clearly an ad, but the American Society of Magazine Editors says it's cause for a formal review of the magazine's advertising practices. [08.26.99]

About.com has hired a major Hollywood talent agency to promote the quasi-portal's "guides" in offline media. [08.26.99]

After an AOL chat room for gay men made headlines as ground zero for a syphilis outbreak, its denizens found themselves the target of anti-gay hate mail and death threats. [08.27.99]

Memo to Ford Motor Company: Nothing silences a critic faster than cold, hard cash. [08.27.99]