News and commentary from the cross-platform scripting community.
cactus Mail Starting 5/24/98

From: maevans@earthlink.net (Mark and Melanie Evans);
Sent at Mon, 25 May 1998 10:36:40 +0100;
Netscape's Internet OS

Microsoft was specifically barred from this behavior by the consent decree. Many people seem to forget that the consent decree was created in response to other abusive and illegal behavior Microsoft exhibited in the past.

Their agreeing to the consent decree is no different than any criminal facing trial who agrees to a plea bargain. The plea bargain, (consent decree), may restrict the behavior of the criminal, (Microsoft), in any way the court feels is appropriate.

For instance, if a convicted criminal is barred from leaving the state as one of the conditions of a plea bargain, does it matter that other citizens can come and go as they please? If this same criminal, is later arrested for violating the conditions of their probation,(leaving the state), could they then argue to the court, (or court of public opinion in this case), that "it's not fair that they can't leave the state because every one else gets to"?

The basic point being, it doesn't matter what Netscape or Quicken or anyone else is allowed to do, the issue is what Microsoft is allowed to do, and what they were specifically barred from doing.

From: schwager@wwa.com (Michael A. Schwager);
Sent at Mon, 25 May 1998 10:18:00 -0700;
Re:Hey Pocky Way!

You are one funky-ass mo' fo, bro. Now where else but Davenet can I get industry trend commentary and funky dance lessons? Hehee! Thanks for reminding us what it's all about. Have a good day. -Mike

From: rubin@amug.org (Michael E Rubin);
Sent at Sun, 24 May 1998 22:08:02 -0700 (MST);
"Hey Pocky Way"

Talk about total Flow going from one to the other! I'm totally with you about dancing.

I'm 23 and part of an a generation whose experience with dancing is usually limited to fond recollections of trying to look "cool" for a girl at a Sadie Hawkins Dance. We boogied and breakdanced, but to be honest, that was really just a bunch of people showing off for each other.

As "dorky" as this sounds, I love watching 'older' people dance. This includes my parents, who are always up on the dance floor at a Bar Mitzvah or wedding, doing the Electric Slide or disco dancing. Or even my grandparents ... it always amazed me that even though she was suffering from late-stage Parkinson's, my Bubby Bev got up and danced with my grandpa at my Bar Mitzvah. It's a blast!

I really think that my generation has lost something - in its effort to be cool and sophisticated, we forgot how to Get Down!

In the past month, though, I've discovered a craze that's sweeping the nation (to borrow the line from the old Danny and the Juniors tune): SWING DANCING. Dave, I'm telling you, it's great! Here in Phoenix, there is a total revival of West Coast Swing going on. During the week, there almost always is a club that hosts an hour of free lessons followed by a live swing band afterward. It's great! You don't have to know complex rhythms or master difficult steps. Most of the time, it's all a matter of FEELING the rhythm, boppin' along, and just having a good time! There's nothing quite like the feeling of twirling a woman in your arms, feeling the rush of pure adrenaline going through your body like pure liquid energy. GO DADDY-O!

This is a shameless plug, but the Arizona Lindy Hop Society has a web site with all the latest info and plenty of links - http://www.azls.org

The amazing thing is that I don't know how to dance. But it doesn't matter. Many people who go to these swing nights don't either. Between you and me (and a bottle makes three tonight!), I think they're there in an effort to reclaim a part of their heritage ... a groove and a rhythm hard-wired inside that's been buried under layers and layers of oh-so-cool detatchment.

But the neat part is watching those folks gradually start bopping their legs, snapping their fingers, and just nodding along until they just can't help it anymore .... the forces of good ole' Louis Prima ("baby baby it looks like it's gonna hail!"), Rosemary Clooney ("hey mambo italiano, you crazy goomBAH!"), and even the Chairman of the Board ("you and I are just like a couple'a tots running across the meadow, pickin' up lotsa forget-me-nots) are too strong. They penetrate the soul, enter the heart, and get the feet movin'. It's about LIFE, my friend.

Namaste y'all (*snap* *bop* *boom-CHA*)

Keep digging, Dave!

From: david@coursey.com (David Coursey);
Sent at Sun, 24 May 1998 12:38:08 -0700;
Re:Hey Pocky Way!

You are a day ahead of everyone else, who will honor our nation's war dead on Monday.

Maybe you could let the good times hold for a moment in honor of these men and women, who made your career -- and maybe even your existence -- possible.

That's what I'll be doing tomorrow, at least for a few minutes -- remembering something that's not in vogue today -- patriotism.

From: chewy@mcione.com (Paul F. Snively);
Sent at Sun, 24 May 1998 11:36:36 -0700;
Two Models of Technology Development

Read John Jensen's e-mail and felt like I had to respond.

John wrote:

"As an aside, I called Microsoft technologies 'knock-offs' above. The interesting thing, is that the 'six month version' is often what customers really needed. I think the grand long term projects that ran on at Apple were more concerned with programmers satisfying themselves, than satisfying the customer."

Having been at Apple from '89-'91, I can say in all honesty that, while I can see why the situation would be perceived this way from outside, it's not true at all.

The difficulty lay in striking an appropriate balance between the competitive business pressure of shipping something early and acquiring market- and mind-share vs. constructing a well-designed, well-integrated architecture that not only solved some well-thought-out, well-understood problem of today but provided a framework for constructing solutions to tomorrow's problems. I would argue that Apple's largest engineering failure has always been lending too much of its energy to the latter than to the former. Apple's greatest management failure has always been its inability--or unwillingness?--to communicate the necessity of a more appropriate balance to its line managers in a compelling way.

Incidentally, I can assure your readers first-hand that John's assertion that whatever Apple finally ships is perceived as a "me-too technology" is true. When OpenDoc finally shipped in the mid '90s, it was widely perceived as a "me-to" reaction to OLE. The truth of the matter, though, was that OpenDoc was the culmination of an engineering vision at Apple that was already well in place in the sense of knowing what its goals were by the time I arrived in 1989. AppleEvents, AppleScript, and OpenDoc were not originally defined as separate technologies that would be delivered in stages over a period of some 5-7 years; they were all pieces of a single unified architecture that internally went by the name of "Family Farm." Indeed, some of us former Apple engineering types got together at the WWDC where the "Bedrock API CD-ROM's" were given out (remember those?) and mumbled things like "We need to make T-Shirts that say `I was a Family Farmer when Family Farm wasn't cool'" because we felt as so many at Apple have felt: we had the right idea at the right time, and what it needed most from our management was committment and a unity of vision. Family Farm might have turned out very differently had Apple committed the necessary resources to it and integrated it with other engineering efforts such as MacApp. Furthermore, MacApp itself is an example of Apple neglect, as any MacApp developer who looked to it to help them integrate System 7.0-aware functionality can tell you. Such fundamental tools as a class browser and documentation tool ("Mouser") were not even sanctioned projects but rather labors of love on the part of individuals at Apple who were convinced of the need and that doing them would be the Right Thing.

On an individual level, this was Apple at its best. The tragedy lay in the fact that, all too often, it was a reaction to Apple at its worst.

From: jjens@primenet.com (John Jensen);
Sent at Sun, 24 May 1998 19:45:41 -0700;
netscape os

I do remember Netscape's public statements that they were gunning for Microsoft and building towards a Netscape Desktop. On the one hand I thought it was a fine plan, and on the other I thought that Netscape had torn the worst page from the Apple play book.

Apple used to call press conferences to announce new technologies. They would show something cool, and announce that it would ship in a year. Six months later Microsoft would ship a fast knock-off of the idea and win market and mind share. Six months later (if they were on time) Apple would arrive with what appeared to be a "me too" product.

All the Netscape Desktop stuff happened around the time of their public offering, so it may have served its purpose in driving the stock up. It also served notice to Microsoft that someone was out to get them. I think that is something you never want to do.

Given all that, I think Microsoft had every right to compete with Netscape. I think the antitrust investigations are focused on the correct question: Was that competition legal?

As an aside, I called Microsoft technologies "knock-offs" above. The interesting thing, is that the "six month version" is often what customers really needed. I think the grand long term projects that ran on at Apple were more concerned with programmers satisfying themselves, than satisfying the customer

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