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NY Times: "I would boycott Google if I could," said Mr Cadenhead, of St Augustine, Fla, who said he spends hours a day on the site. "But I can't. It's like boycotting gas." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Via Seb: "Crazy old men are essential to society." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Andrew wants to buy a cell phone that works in the US and Europe. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Vive la difference Permanent link to this item in the archive.

NY Times: "Unlike conventional advertising, to which vast creative effort is devoted, a search engine like Google already has access to users looking for something in particular."

This NY Times article is a milestone; it describes the basic difference between the economy of publishing versus the economy of eyeballs. On the Internet, over time, the role of "audience" goes away, being replaced by a network of people with information that other people use, and products people want, that other people can buy. On the eBay of tomorrow, the vendor of the product you buy may never have even seen the product, maybe never have seen a prototype, all they knew as that a need wasn't being met, and they took a chance on the idea. Manufacturing will be done where it's most efficient. Things that used to require experts, like advertising, travel agencies, realtors, will decline.

One of the cool things about the Google prospectus, which I've only read second-hand, is that they stick by the principles of the Web, which say you give up control and provide a service people want. But I wonder if they've grown so big that Sergey and Larry don't know what their company is doing. If that hasn't happened yet, it will happen soon, IPO or not. As good as Google is, as much as they are Of The Internet, as they grow, they aggregate functionality that's probably better off being distributed. It'll become tempting if it hasn't already to make money at the expense of the commons. Already Google is acting like big chunks of the commons are private property.

Strange names are okay Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I got an email from a friend asking if "RSS" is really the best name for the activity of creating and reading XML-based news feeds. I think it is, because if there was only going to be one name for the activity, RSS would have to be it. I can prove it. Suppose you call it XYZ and convince some people to call it that. Then some people will call it RSS and other people will call it XYZ. Unless you can convince everyone to change, which is a very hard thing to do, you're going to have two names for one thing, which is more than twice as confusing as one name.

An example. I use a GSM phone in Europe. I even met the people who designed it. I have absolutely no idea what it stands for and I don't need or want to know.

Another example. In Germany the high speed trains are called ICE. When I got on my first train, the American than I am, I called it an ice-train. The conductor explained that it's an acronym. I-C-E. What does it stand for? Inter City Express. This in a country where the first and only language is German. An English acronym is the name of their high speed rail system, one that they are justifiably proud of.

All around us are things which have incomprehensible names. Eventually that fades into the background and they become new words in our common vocabulary, familiar and happy. Like TV. What is that short for? Tele Vision. What the hell does that mean?

One more. Read the title of this section. Okay. Now think about that for a minute. It's a fairly universal cross-language word for "got it." We all say okay all the time. It's an acronym, right? What is it an acronym for? I bet you'll be surprised.

Going north, slowly Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I decided I don't have enough time to do justice to the south of France, so I'm going to slowly return to Amsterdam, via Cologne, where Andre and Andrea of Spicy Noodles fame reside. Andre used to work at UserLand and is one of my favorite people in the world. Very smart, great programmer, and he laughs at my chokes. Er jokes.


Last update: Saturday, May 01, 2004 at 4:55 PM Eastern.

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