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Permanent link to archive for Friday, March 17, 2000. Friday, March 17, 2000

Reuters: New Internet Start-Up Offers 'Amazon in a Box'.

Apparently due to hitting a random milestone, NTK must now move to California. Although it pains me greatly to say this, this is somewhat cool.

NY Times: From Geek Improvisers, a $99 Personal Computer.

Sheila Simmons is counting the days until the implosion of the Kingdome in Seattle. A little over 8, as of today.

Another idea for demonstrating resistence to the rule of patent. A programmer's strike. No code, no support, perhaps we even we shut down our servers, for 24 hours, in demonstration of our opposition to patents rewriting the rules of the software business. Instead of trying to convince the suits that this is wrong, let's show them how dependent they are on us. What do you think?

BTW, in all but the most offensive patent-owning companies, such a demonstration would probably have the support of management and ownership. I believe most companies think the current situation is unworkable, at least if you take their comments at face-value.

Oliver Breidenbach: "A man comes into a park where he meets a girl with a beautiful dog sitting on a park bench."

Forbes: "Sun Microsystems' lawsuit claims that Kingston's primary product, add-on computer memory modules, is infringing on a Sun patent. Kingston, with sales last year of $1.4 billion, is the world's largest maker of the after-market modules, which are used to expand memory in computers."

O'Reilly Network interviews Mozilla's Brendan Eich and Mitchell Baker.

Tim O'Reilly says patents are OK, he's just against stupid patents. In the spirit of Touch of Grey, Tim man, patents are lock-in of the worst kind. There's no way to route around them.

Consider this paragraph from yesterday's DaveNet. "I believe we must take extra steps to guarantee that there's no customer lock-in. It's even more important in the age of the Web when the user might not even have a copy of their own data. One of the cardinal requirements of this market, even before we try to get the UIs compatible, is an export function that leaves un-rendered text and data on the user's hard disk in a format readable by software that's available at a reasonable or no cost."

Tim, give it some thought. I'm sure you agree with the paragraph above. But any patent, stupid or not, will create an environment of certain customer lock-in, not just probable lock-in.

The only choice, imho, is to watch the Internet revolution wither and die while customers want features and fixes and are told about patents.

To paraphrase Doc, this will not be a very happy conversation. The kids will ask what we did during the war. Is it worth going to jail for, as Professor Lessig warns? The day before they put me in jail, for writing software, I'll write one hell of a DaveNet.

I was struck by the characterization of Tim and myself as hippies in the Salon piece. "If the guys in the button-down shirts say the system doesn't work for us, it would be hard for Congress not to listen," Samuelson says. "They have the clout; they don't look like a bunch of ragtag Internet hippies trying to get out from under the strictures of the patent system, which is exactly how the anti-patent crowd has been portrayed." Yeah I am a hippie. And I make software. And I have users who like it. Some of them are hippies, and some of them are very powerful people too.

To me, being a hippie means having a mind and a heart, and remembering to dance when you get the chance.

***Was JFK a hippie?

Hey, if he had lived, would JFK have been a hippie?

"And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

BTW, one of the things I can do for my country is put on a button-down shirt. It's not that big a deal.

Thanks to Mike Jamieson for a full MP3 scan of Touch of Grey. What a gorgeous song. Tears running down my face and I'm laughing. "The ABC's we all must face, try to keep a little grace. I know the rent is in arrears. The dog has not been fed in years. It's even worse than it appears."

Great email from Deadheads. From Keith Hurwitz, "I started the internal distribution list, deadheads at Microsoft, in 92. I think I still have an extra "deadheads at Microsoft" t-shirt - on the back it has a cool steal your face skull with Windows logo in the center and billg glasses! I'd be honored to send you one if you are interested!" The Dead was a culture that permeated everything in my generation.

What's wrong with this picture? 3COM, which owns 95 percent of Palm, has a market capitalization of $22 billion, but Palm has a market cap of $31 billion. In the Old Economy, this would be immediately adjusted, stock traders would do the math and see that 3COM was totally undervalued, it's just math. But one plus one doesn't equal two anymore. Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.

I found a RealAudio interview with Jerry and Phil. Great quote about taxes. "The first problem we couldn't deal with by completely ignoring it." Probably not the last!

This is a test for my friend Dave Jacobs, a vice-president at Macromedia.


Last update: Tuesday, December 07, 2004 at 3:17 PM Eastern.

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