News and commentary from the cross-platform scripting community.
cactus picture Mail Starting 2/12/97

From: cohill@bev.net (Andrew Michael Cohill);
Sent at 2/13/97; 1:51:06 PM;
Two years is about right...

You said:

I believe it's economically and technologically realistic to set this goal for two years from now. There's demand. The software is ready. Computers are cheap. New systems, new industries, can be created around such an initiative.


Don't worry about all the corporate problems--Apple, AOL, Microsoft, the federal government.....my theory is that all the problems they are having is a *good* thing (bear with me).

See, I used to work for AT&T; at the time, it was the largest company in the world, with more than one million employees. I was there both before and after the break-up, and it was a really interesting experience. My group had designed and built prototypes of a laptop computer in 1985, back when the sewing machine style Compaqs were considered state of the art. The project got canned because I was told that no one would ever want to carry a computer around with them in a briefcase. I left not long after that. It was a good lesson, though.

As long as the big companies keep wallowing around spending billions of dollars on junk, it buys time for little people to figure out the 'net, get a handle on what they love, and go do it without the pressure and competition from big companies, who are off lost in the woods somewhere. What I learned at AT&T is that from the big company perspective, it's more important to fit in than to do the right thing, and most big companies work that way. That attitude kills innovation, which CREATES opportunities for people in small companies to add value, create something neat, and move on. Most of the time. Frontier is arguably a counter-example.

But I really believe that if you add up all the wins and losses, we are winning. We have lots of work to do fighting censorship, working out 'control' issues, and educating the government about the right way to do things, but we can win that because we understand things the big companies and organizations do not.

You are exactly right about two years--we could have most of the country wired in that time. I believe that because we are doing here in Blacksburg and other towns, building by building. In Abingdon, VA, a little town of 7000 people, we showed them how to build their own fiber network without the phone company back in November of 1995. They have had their own fiber network in place for many months now, and you can buy a fiber Ethernet connection for your house for $35/month. It only covers about 2 kilometers of the downtown area, but they have already found a local bank who wants to help extend it. The bank is going to keep a few pairs for their own use, and let the community have the rest. In Blacksburg, we have over 600 apartments in town with Internet jacks in the wall--10BaseT is an amenity just like cable TV. It's really cool, and of course, lots and lots of people in those apartments are running Web servers and doing their own thing on the net.

I think we will win, in the end. Pandora opened the box, and the box held the 'net, and there is no putting it back.

All my best,


From: wesf@mail.utexas.edu (Wesley Felter);
Sent at 2/12/97; 5:43:24 PM;
new Web graphic editor

MicroFrontier, the people who make Color-It!, recently announced wwwART, an image editor that's supposed to be really easy to use. It's $20. Might be what you're looking for. --Wes


From: wnc@mindspring.com (Will Cate);
Sent at 2/8/97; 2:33:25 PM;
Canary's not dead yet

A co-worker of mine, a longtime Mac stalwart, agonizing over the Apple situation, asked me if I would go out and buy a new Mac right now. Without hesitation I replied "Sure!" ...because I know that 3 to 5 years down the road, it will still be a good computer. It will do the things I need to get done, in all likelihood.

I'd like to encourage you and your readers to check out last week's Washington Post article on AEC Software ("FastTrack Schedule"). Quite inspirational.


Now while I agree that most of the press cannot seem to separate Mac the Platform from Apple the Parent, you might consider heeding your own advice: "Write one more 'the end is here' piece and then go cold turkey." You've devoted many, many bits to covering the fates and fortunes of Apple the Parent.

Thanks for reading...


From: RoyLeban@akimbo.com;
Sent at 2/12/97; 2:51:17 PM;
Re:Canary in a Coalmine

> The vast majority of people involved in building websites are
> writers. They need excellent writing tools with spell-checkers and
> easy user interfaces....
> > New tools such as PageMill, FrontPage and HomePage will prove to be
> historic anomalies....

It's a shame you didn't mention Globetrotter. Not only do we agree with this completely, we're the only product on the market built from this perspective.

> Simple text editing is what this market needs. The leader, right now,
> by the way, is BBEdit.

We disagree here. BBEdit is most definitely not what the average user wants to use or will be using in the future, though I'll grant you that BBEdit isn't much worse than PageMill. BBEdit is for progammers, hackers, etc. Today, few people beyond the programmers and hackers can create web sites, but that won't be true in the future, as Globetrotter and those who copy us become more popular.

Roy Leban
Chief Technologist
Akimbo Systems

Globetrotter -- Web Publishing for the Rest of Us http://www.akimbo.com/globetrotter/

From: wellman@apple.com (Lisa Wellman);
Sent at 2/12/97; 11:33:53 AM;
Re:Canary in a Coalmine

tweet tweet..... tweet......................

Lisa Wellman
Senior Director
Worldwide Publishing, Entertainment & New Media

From: InterMark_Consulting_Group@compuserve.com (Erik Sherman);
Sent at 2/12/97; 12:17:57 PM;
Canary in a Coalmine

Yes, YES, YES!!!

The Web *is* publishing. Too few people on the outside are getting this. Too many techies, investors, and business people are sure that the Internet is totally different and that you can't learn from the past. Those people are going to get caught short, because they are still seeking the "silver bullet" solutions to the problems which are really themselves.

You are right: Apple won't get it. Even now there could be hope, but they'd have to think differently. Instead of being bold, Amelio is trying to revive the past. That won't work. You have to live in the present, while remembering what the past has taught you, but Amelio and Apple don't want to have those lessons. Why? Because they are painful and unpleasant. They don't realize that the lessons can also be glorious at the same time, just like adolescence.

One thing I'd add to your "system analysis" is to make the desktop *really* powerful. Eliminate the boundaries between print, the Internet, audio, video, and film. Let's eliminate them by realizing that creating content is a process, not a particular product. Think big from the beginning.

It's ironic: many of the companies that want to be biggest have the smallest thoughts of all.

Erik Sherman

From: pholmes@ucsd.edu (Preston Holmes);
Sent at 2/12/97; 10:04:27 AM;
Re:Canary in a Coalmine

> Apple makes hardware systems, developers make the market. Repeat it
> over and over. Be patient, it will take time for it to sink in.

Actually I hope that Apple gets out of hardware all together. I'm hoping there will be Rhapsody for Intel/Sparc/Dec Alpha etc!

It is the combination of compelling OS features, and large installed base that I want.


From: JFavetti@concentric.net (Julie L. Favetti);
Sent at 2/12/97; 12:47:59 PM;
A Minute of Silence please!

I agree...publishing and the web. It is Apple's only path to survival. But don't forget that the Mac has been the computer that has appealed to many different types of users. I would tighten the reigns on the number of CPU models, but to cut back to the drastic count of three would mean the death of Apple. Apple survives for one reason...users. Mac users start at the age of 9 and go all the way up to 100. Some are business, and some are families. Small business and education. If it weren't for the dedication of the many users Apple would have died many years ago.

The return of the founders is more or less publicitiy. Something for the rest of the industry to talk about. One only needs to look at Jobs' fanatic push at the release of the Mac to know that the man has a desire for perfection. Maybe he just might be the one to push Apple to the edge or maybe to the Web. I only sit back comfortably behind my Mac and enjoy the ride.... Juls

From: mark_gardner@Merck.Com (Mark Gardner);
Sent at 2/11/97; 7:09:26 PM;
It's all about context. (Re: Breaking Rules)

You wrote in Breaking Rules:
	| ...A link is the ultimate salute, the highest form of respect. I'm
	| going to share my flow. We're going to listen to someone else for a
	| moment. I'm going to trust you to come back to me. Or not. I don't
	| want to own your attention. I want you to listen to other people.

I agree... almost. Fundamentally, a link provides what was (incompletely) achieved in print with footnotes and references: context. The links may not be anything approaching respectful; they can be critical, or even condemnatory.

A prime example is Nizkor, http://www.almanac.bc.ca/, as listed in Rick Smolan's page on DaveNet. The purpose of linking to any of the hate groups listed in Nizkor is not a salute, but to provide context for the criticism one is reading. It's an acknowledgement of the adage that there are two sides to every story. Regardless of any web writer's viewpoint, it's up to the reader to make his own value-judgments -- and to hold the web-writer accountable to the truth.


PS: My personal site is at http://www.oms.com/ -- The One-Man-Site. Dug with Microsoft FrontPage, and eagerly awaiting Frontier for Windows. :-)

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