PS... A Column

on Things

By Paul E. Schindler Jr.
Vol. 3 No. 37

Some things are impossible to know, but it is impossible to know these things.

October 9, 2000

A Slow Week

I have a day job, so I need to make it clear to anyone who comes here that the opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent those of my employer, my family, or your great-aunt Mathilda. Offer not valid in Wisconsin. You must enter to win.

Table of Contents:

General News

  • The Nature of Television

Computer Industry News

  • ACT's Funny Study
  • Al Gore and the Internet

Web Site of the Week

  • None This Week


  • The Top 15 Bill Gates Penny-Pinching Tips


  • None


  • Oops! A correction…

General News

The Nature of Television

Been a long time since I've added a quote to my Journalism Quotes page; this week I added this one:

"The TV business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs."
--Hunter S. Thompson

Computer Industry News

ACT's Funny Study

This, to me, is a perfect example of what the World Wide Web is all about. Craig Reynolds sends me a note about an unusually cogent set of links from someone else's eJournal, and I reprint it here, and suddenly you can read a silly study and some intelligent commentary that you might otherwise not have noted. Cool!

FYI, this is from Dan Gillmor's eJournal which also cites an interesting article about the "blogger" phenomena:

Howlers in the Night

The "
Association for Competitive Technology" is a Microsoft-funded organization that sprung up during the Microsoft antitrust case and coincidentally takes Microsoft's side on antitrust matters. It is back with a howlingly funny study by a pro-Microsoft professor on the supposed impact of a Microsoft breakup.
My impression, after reading it, is that the real world has never been further from the academic one.
Linux Today has an excellent analysis.
And, naturally, Slashdot denizens had some fun with it, too.

Al Gore And The Internet

Daniel Dern passed this along to me. Vint Cerf is widely known as "the father of the Internet." Here's what he says about Al Gore's role is founding it.

By Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf
Al Gore was the first political leader to recognize the importance of the Internet and to promote and support its development.
No one person or even small group of persons exclusively "invented" the Internet. It is the result of many years of ongoing collaboration among people in government and the university community. But as the two people who designed the basic architecture and the core protocols that make the Internet work, we would like to acknowledge VP Gore's contributions as a Congressman, Senator and as Vice President. No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution over a longer period of time.
Last year the Vice President made a straightforward statement on his role. He said: "During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet." We don't think, as some people have argued, that Gore intended to claim he "invented" the Internet. Moreover, there is no question in our minds that while serving as Senator, Gore's initiatives had a significant and beneficial effect on the still-evolving Internet. The fact of the matter is that Gore was talking about and promoting the Internet long before most people were listening. We feel it is timely to offer our perspective.
As far back as the 1970s Congressman Gore promoted the idea of high speed telecommunications as an engine for both economic growth and the improvement of our educational system. He was the first elected official to grasp the potential of computer communications to have a broader impact than just improving the conduct of science and scholarship. Though easily forgotten, now, at the time this was an unproven and controversial concept. Our work on the Internet started in 1973 and was based on even earlier work that took place in the mid-late 1960s. But the Internet, as we know it today, was not deployed until 1983. When the Internet was still in the early stages of its deployment, Congressman Gore provided intellectual leadership by helping create the vision of the potential benefits of high speed computing and communication. As an example, he sponsored hearings on how advanced technologies might be put to use in areas like coordinating the response of government agencies to natural disasters and other crises.
As a Senator in the 1980s Gore urged government agencies to consolidate what at the time were several dozen different and unconnected networks into an "Interagency Network." Working in a bi-partisan manner with officials in Ronald Reagan and George Bush's administrations, Gore secured the passage of the High Performance Computing and Communications Act in 1991. This "Gore Act" supported the National Research and Education Network (NREN) initiative that became one of the major vehicles for the spread of the Internet beyond the field of computer science.
As Vice President Gore promoted building the Internet both up and out, as well as releasing the Internet from the control of the government agencies that spawned it. He served as the major administration proponent for continued investment in advanced computing and networking and private sector initiatives such as Net Day. He was and is a strong proponent of extending access to the network to schools and libraries. Today, approximately 95% of our nation's schools are on the Internet. Gore provided much-needed political support for the speedy privatization of the Internet when the time arrived for it to become a commercially-driven operation.
There are many factors that have contributed to the Internet's rapid growth since the later 1980s, not the least of which has been political support for its privatization and continued support for research in advanced networking technology. No one in public life has been more intellectually engaged in helping to create the climate for a thriving Internet than the Vice President. Gore has been a clear champion of this effort, both in the councils of government and with the public at large.
The Vice President deserves credit for his early recognition of the value of high speed computing and communication and for his long-term and consistent articulation of the potential value of the Internet to American citizens and industry and, indeed, to the rest of the world.

Web Site of the Week

Web Site Here


The Top 15 Bill Gates Penny-Pinching Tips

First double-play in a long time: 9 and 13.

October 2, 2000
Note from Chris: Forbes magazine reported that Bill Gates' fortune has fallen from $85 billion to $63 billion. TopFive sat down and came up with a few ideas for how Bill could lower his monthly budget...
15> Switch to *single* ply hundred dollar bill toilet paper.
14> A dirty set of monogrammed China and Waterford Crystal can, surprisingly, be re-used if cleaned with soap.
13> Insist lawyers turn off Justice Department lights when they leave.
12> Swipe a few cents from the penny cup at every Starbucks in Seattle.
11> After getting hit in the face with a pie, ask for a doggie bag.
10> Make those $7 haircuts last an extra week or two.
9> Only reboot the house twice a day.
8> Setting up a batch of overseas companies: $25,000,000; Liquidating and transferring all assets: $50,000,000; Flipping Janet Reno the bird as you relocate to a third world country: priceless.
7> Cut back on helicopter runs to the store for milk.
6> Fire the marching band that follows you around playing the Star Wars Imperial March whenever you walk down the hall to take a leak.
5> Quit spending billions on Pokemon merchandise on Ebay.
4> Nightly strolls through Microsoft headquarters to turn off the monitors.
3> Suspend construction of the Death Star for a few weeks.
2> When hiring staff for your evil lair, remember that one angry Bobby Knight is worth a hundred killer defense androids.
and's Number 1 Bill Gates Penny-Pinching Tip...
1> From now on, just watch "Star Trek" on TV -- no more paying Nimoy and Shatner to act out episodes in your living room.
[ The Top 5 List ]
[ Copyright 2000 by Chris White ]
Selected from 140 submissions from 48 contributors.
Today's Top 5 List authors are:
Marshal Perlman, Minneapolis, MN -- 1, 7 (4th #1)
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA -- 9, 13
Chris White, Irvine, CA -- List owner/editor


None This Week

You want the facts? Go to the Internet Movie Database.


Oops! A correction

You know, the 1975 World Series was so burned into my mind that I didn't bother looking up the Red Sox series history. I knew they were snakebit. Supposedly it is the curse of Babe Ruth; they haven't won a series since they traded him to the Yankees in the 1920s. The Sox have finished second more than any other team in baseball history.

Well, my anonymous correspondent has checked in with this correction:

With respect to the lobster shift story, according to whomever maintains this website, the Boston Red Sox were in the World Series in 1946, 1967, and 1975. The Boston Braves were in the World Series in 1948.

What amazes me about this correction is that, in order to know to look it up, this busy professional had to know I was wrong first, which indicates a depth of baseball knowledge that suprises me. By the way, from the same source: the Sox didn't get into the series from 1918 until 1946. That year they lost 4-3 to St. Louis, which they did again in 1967, before losing 4-3 to Cincinnati in 1975, then 4-3 to the Mets in 1986 (they were one out away from winning that one…). I think if you look up hard luck you'll find a picture of the Red Sox.

By the way, the same correspondent suggests:

Great column by someone who probably should borrow Warren's jet next week, relax and leave the driving to someone else (as, for example, the pilots).

I'll take praise, even if it is anonymous.

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