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Steve Bogart

News, Pointers & Commentary Archive: August 1998

27 August 1998 "Soup is Good Food"
--Campbell's Soup slogan, chosen because I'm rather under the weather but enjoying a lovely, satisfying bowl of Campbell's Vegetable Chunky Soup. Good stuff.

Well, it's about bloody time: From its introduction, I've liked the idea of the Zip drive (and I do own one), but I felt that it was overpriced for what you got. The media in particular seemed exorbitantly priced - $15 per disk even when purchased in quantity? Pull the other one!

Sure, there's the argument that it's cheaper than the equivalent 70 floppies, but it still felt like I was being gouged every time I bought one. Finally their pricing takes a turn for the better:

Of course, they don't say what the individual per-disk price has changed to (if it's changed)...

Another fine Dr. Fun cartoon:

If you're not familiar with the acronym, just think about it, it'll come to you...

Sometimes you can't avoid it: the rest of today will Microsoft Schadenfreude Day here on the show - the enjoyment of their misfortunes.

Not a terribly gracious thing to essay, granted, but there it is. They just make it too, too easy. "Pride goeth" and all that...

Rats, ship, sinking:

The last two paragraphs of the column are particularly engaging reading as well, but I don't want to over-quote.

Raise your hand if you're surprised by this news story. Now raise your hand if you're surprised these memos were found...I'm genuinely surprised:

For intentionally writing (or even seriously discussing writing) code that will deliberately cause other companies' code to fail, they deserve whatever legal scrutiny they get.

Telling your programmers to write code that fails is NOT serving your customers, is NOT "innovation", and is NOT giving your customers what they have asked you for (all of which are Microsoft's descriptions of its own behavior). God. What a bunch of power-mad ... misguided ... nouns fail me ...

Oh, and there's some new bug in Microsoft Access 97, 95 and 2.0. Data gets corrupted. The usual. Another fine example of the stellar QA you can expect from an innovative software company that actually has the massive resources at its disposal to test its software pretty thoroughly...if they chose to...

And finally, a magazine editor - gasp - praising an industry exec? Not only that, but an APPLE exec? Bar the door and fetch me a cup of java!

22 August 1998 "Those who can, do. Those who can't, nitpick and whine, moan and groan, and generally make themselves pains in the tooshes to those that do."
--.sig of Sharon from Beaumont

All right then. Missed a lot of big news events this week. Trying to play catchup...

A different kind of Clinton humor:

Avoid: I was thinking 'The Avengers' would be a decent movie to go see sometime -- pretty far down my list, but at least on the list -- but everybody's saying it's pretty awful.

Toni & Pete didn't like it at all either. Good enough for me, I'm staying away.

Jon Katz on Geeks:

I love the phrase "frighteningly well-informed"...

NT this, NT that: But...but...there's a really great quote in this one!

Further automation != simplicity.
Further automation = (possibly) greater productivity, but:
Further automation = more code ?= more bugs != simplicity.

And finally, comics!

16 August 1998  
Western Union


8 August - 15 August 1998 "God either is or isn't. If God doesn't exist, not all our belief can create Him. If God does, then not all our doubts can unmake Her."
--Father Richard Craemer, John Ostrander & Tom Mandrake's The Spectre #61, published by DC Comics

Fun with language(s):

1. Mark Twain eviscerates the German language (very funny, especially if you know a little German, but also very long):

Actually, I found German reasonably consistent when I took four years of it in high school. English is supposedly the really hard language to learn as far as exceptions, weird pronunciations and nonsensical rules...

2. I hereby do extend an apology to everyone I've ever thought of correcting on the matter of the use of 'their' to indicate a single unspecific person. It's so much simpler to say 'their' than 'his or her' every time you mean 'someone', and it's really OK to do so:

In the category of things I was not aware of (yes, I just ended with a preposition): I've always generally expected that the bigshot newspapers had really trustworthy editorial boards; seems that may not always be the case:

An interesting daily survey-of-media page:

I stumbled on some writings of Penn Jillette, the verbose half of Penn & Teller. Some funny stuff.

See more of his columns at

Obligatory NT-is-not-the-second-coming article:

I'll keep on with (roughly) weekly posts through the end of August. I'm actually liking this pace; I get more time to gather stuff. Once September rolls around we'll see if I get back to more frequent updates.
1 August - 7 August 1998 "Veni, Vidi, Velcro" - I came, I saw, I stuck around.
-- .sig of "Zard"

Moxy Früvous gets press attention!

Cool. Great band; see them if you ever, ever can.
Apple Price Drop TODAY: Now G3 Macs are cheaper...see

Buried way down on CNN's page...something that could be a Big Deal:

Funny thing on CNN's site: At around 11:00am Central this morning, the top story on the home page was: Clintons leave behind troubles -- but only for a wekend. Sic!!

I checked back a few minutes later -- still there.

Now (11:15am) it's been amended to: Clintons leave behind troubles -- but only for a weekend.

Wonder how long that was up there...

Also, I wonder why it's Clintons leave behind troubles... instead of Clintons leave troubles behind...

Anyway. Rambling.

For fun: The words to the songs Phoebe has sung on Friends.

Hmm...hadn't really thought about that... You can run any number of different versions of Netscape on the same PC, but only one version of Internet Explorer. This interferes mightily with people who want/need to test their web pages in more than one version of each browser (which everyone really ought to do).

My opinion is that Microsoft can't/won't offer 'standalone', coexisting versions of their browser because they'd lose the ability to hide system-level upgrades under the banner of a 'new browser version' like they do now.

But by doing things this way they just end up looking bad, because how hard can it be to provide two or more different HTML-rendering engines on the same hard drive? Heck, I've got Opera, Netscape AND IE (version 3) on my NT machine. Why can't I get IE 4 without giving up IE 3?

Because that would mess up their Plan... (ominous organ chord)

A while back I was looking for The New Yorker's online edition, which I was certain would exist by now. Well, it wasn't in any of the obvious places and I couldn't find it with ordinary casual searches so I gave up.

I eventually stumbled on it while doing some other reading. Turns out it's kinda sorta online (hidden in a larger site) with a little bit of teaser content and the table of contents from each new issue, but it's not yet a full-blown participant in the Web:

Strangely, the page at the first link doesn't actually show the list of article links in IE 4.01/'s just blank (the links are discoverable if you View Source, though). Rather odd; that's why I included the second & third link.

More fun: Garrison Keillor has a fabulous advice column in Salon. Here's a particularly good edition:

And yes, even more fun: Salon ran a contest to come up with wacky new company names based on existing companies. The winner was Disney + InfoSeek = DisInfoseek. Check out the rest...

Pathetically, annoyingly, sadly, the day job is starting to take up so much time I can't make any progress on the night job, both of which take precedence over, well, everything else (except the occasional movie or dinner with friends, though that's suffering too). August is looking baaaad. I'm not even going to change the month color this time around because it's all just melted together for me at this point...

Hopefully I'll post again next weekend. (August 8-9)

Until then...

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