News and commentary from the cross-platform scripting community.
cactus picture Mail Starting 2/14/97

From: jaggi@pingnet.ch (Christoph Jaggi);
Sent at 2/17/97; 4:17:15 PM;

Greetings Dave:

My mail from yesterday contained an error: the sales of standalone CD-Audio players compared to CD-ROM players is 10:1. The number of titles released is 100:1.


From: jaggi@pingnet.ch (Christoph Jaggi);
Sent at 2/16/97; 3:25:28 PM;

Greetings Dave:

I enjoyed your piece about toasters a lot and I'd like to add a few points:

Meetings with stiff-shirted people still exists (industry, VCs, bankers, etc.). Younger and older people, who know nothing about what you are doing, people who seem much dumber than people could *possibly* be. The problem is the knowledge gap. It is like talking Italian to a Chinese. You studied the problem and the environment before you came up with the idea for a solution. You invested quite some time to get the big picture, because it needed time to develop. The people do not have the in-depth knowlegde you have and which is required to get the big picture, so they do not understand you. You can transfer your knowlege, but it is close to impossible to transfer your understanding, therefore people seem dumb. They are not necessarily stupid, but they are uneducated in an area where you have a tremendous knowledge and understanding. To make them understand you have to find the right analogies with something they know and understand. This is the most challenging part: making something complex look easy. Your ability to communicate in a way they understand improves with experience and skills. People will listen to you, when they understand you and respect you, when you make sense.

A toaster might be trivial, but it is at least functional. The NC is actually not a computer, just a fancy terminal and that is where it will find its niche. It is a concept that will fail in other areas as the computer industry still hasn't figured out what makes the consumers tick. Specialized standalone units for different tasks make a lot of sense for the consumer. All-in-one stereos are completely outsold by component-based sets; there are more than a 100 times more CD-players sold daily than CD-ROM drives...



From: wiegand@primary.net (Jeffrey Wiegand);
Sent at 2/16/97; 12:15:13 AM;

Hey Dave,

Just wanted to thank you for the Frontier! It's taken me only 2 years (i do this part time - hoping to make it full) to finally wrap my head around your great software. The NewsPage suite met my growing needs perfectly. Free and Easy. I run a community site, trying to make a buck and do a good thing. It's guys like you who make this shit possible, and I respect you for it.

Hope to meet you again. (java, java, java...just thought id insert a little java)


		|___|___|__ jeff wiegand ___|_ webmaster@soulard.com ___|___|
		__|__ Soulard - the Website ___|_ http://www.soulard.com/ _|_

From: jjens@primenet.com (John Jensen);
Sent at 2/15/97; 9:17:11 AM;
Open Transport

I'm not that familiar with OT in particular, but I see it as typical of what we all (computer scientists) thought we should build 5 years ago:

Got a problem with mutiple networks? No problem, jack up the API to be a generic interface and put the real protocols and networks under them:

		appletalk	serial
		appletalk	ethernet
		TCP/IP		serial
		TCP/IP		ethernet
		SPX/IPX		ethernet

That is great in theory, though a GREAT deal of work in practice.

The only problem is that the world has gone TCP/IP and ethernet. There are odd bastions of other protocols, but why worry?

If the world is TCP/IP is the investment in a generalized network interface required? Especially if you take a performance hit with the generalized interface?


John Jensen
Newport Beach, CA

From: randy@godin.on.ca (Randy MacDonald);
Sent at 2/14/97; 8:04:07 PM;

I bought a bread machine for myself for Christmas, and the slices only go 80% into the toaster, so I get toast with this soft handle, or I burn my fingers turning the slice. You call this easy to use?

With APL, the size of the array is immaterial. You just work with it. Beats a toaster any day. I'd rather make a computer as easy to use as my brain.

From: apaonita@con2.com (Anthony Paonita);
Sent at 2/14/97; 1:28:32 PM;
Not only Romania...

North Korea has a website, too. Forgot the url, but it's worth it to find it. An alternate universe.

Yes, Stevie J. sure is moving right along. The soap opera continues.

Anthony Paonita
Dep. Managing Editor and Mac guru
The National Law Journal

From: malcolm@wings.com (Michael Malcolm);
Sent at 2/14/97; 9:50:55 AM;

I agree with your observation that computers need to be far more complex than toasters. A company I started, Network Appliance (www.netapp.com), has succeeded in promoting the toaster concept for specialized machines that only provide file service. I believe there are several other toaster-like servers that will be successful in the future (web caches, time servers, etc.). But for the same reasons you gave, I have difficulty believing there will ever be a successful toaster-like desktop computer. Of course, we could revert to using typewriters...

From: sshwarts@socrates.pensee.com (Scott Shwarts);
Sent at 2/14/97; 9:30:01 AM;
When did we become so stock focused?

I was watching CNN/FN this morning and they were interviewing the CEO of PageNet who was showing his new voice pager product. The interviewer put up a chart showing their stock price and pointed out that it had dropped a fair amount in recent weeks. He then asked the CEO what was he going to do about that!

This seemed to be such a ridiculous question to me. How is it that a CEO is supposed to "fix" the stock price? The focus on stock price is to me to at odds with the running of a company. Don't you want long sustained growth, developing your products and your customers?

What happens to companies when they become driven to offer short term results over long-term ones?

Can you give me some insight on this?

From: maggy@interaccess.com (Magdalena Donea);
Sent at 2/14/97; 9:50:17 AM;

Happy Valentine's Day, Dave!

One thing: I wonder how many Romanian-born Romanians you have on your mailing list besides me. Just a small comment: it was a country of great, close alliances, and good, honest people, hard working people. "Brutal" doesn't do it justice. Ceausescu was th e darling of the UN, a US-supported megalomaniac, a sick little bastard who had no business getting up out of bed in the morning, let alone trying to run a country. Notice he didn't get "deposed" until after Romania paid off its "preferred member nation" debt to the UN and the other $5 billion it owed to various U.S. banks.

Oh, anyway... none of this should concern you. I just literally jumped out of my seat when I read that part of Toasters today. That's all.

Your column is, as always, insightful :-)


Magdalena Donea

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