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2000 Q2

[30.Jun.00]
At least the BSG technology is being used for something useful: the Shakespearian curse generator, you pratling fat-kidneyed crutch!

Minneapolis content maestro James Lileks responded to my June 28th post with this gem:
Read the article too; wanted so, so much more. But I am now reappraising my opinion of the e-bubble - anything that hoovers millions from the wallet of Luciano Benetton is not a misallocation of resources. It's just justice. Maybe the dot.com boom was the equivalent of a big fucking asteroid, an ELE (Extinction Level Event) - killed the dinosaurs, wreathed the skies with soot, shook the global Etch-A-Sketch and paved the way for the next iteration of life, i.e., dogs, horses & humans.

If so, will the geological strata from this epoch be as thick as the latest Fast Company, Business 2.0, Industry Standard - or as thin as the latest gaming mag?
Oh, to be able to write like that.

[29.Jun.00]
Minnesota boy Joel Pryzbilla was chosen 9th in the first round of yesterday's NBA draft. There's something about a boyish-looking, buzz-cut, 7'1'' white guy with a diamond stud earring that just ain't right.

Sign of the times. Yesterday's IPO of internet infrastructure provider Genuity fell flatter than a pancake, dropping 14% from its offering price. My explanation: the company's name. (Note: all copy on the www.genuity.com home page courtesy of the BSG.)

Speaking of IPOs, Ironminds' editor-and-chief and publisher Andy Wang has penned a tune called "IPO Pie," to be sung to the music of "American Pie" — and not that crappy Madonna version. While you're there, check out the hilarious preview of Monday Night Football with Dennis Miller.

Free shipping is fast disappearing on the Web, but buy.com is offering it gratis until July 4th. With super-low prices, low-price matching, and free shipping, buy.com has just gotta be living in negative margin land. But they make it up on volume!

[28.Jun.00]
Ideapad's David Wertheimer has an answer for why Anna Kournikova is so popular: "her ass." I seeeee.

A boo.com postmortem in yesterday's Wall Street Journal adds validity to the point made by veteran Wall Streeters that "money raised by Internet-related companies may represent the greatest misallocation of capital in history."
     Armed with a 5-page business plan and some magazine clippings of a poetry festival they organized (I swear, that's what the Journal said), co-founders Ernst Malmsten and Kajsa Leander snowed JP Morgan, Luciano Benetton, Goldman Sachs, and two other billionaire investors into giving them millions.
     Best anecdote: co-founder Leander, a former Benetton model, was so obsessed with Miss Boo that she "hired a hairdresser to redesign the animated character's hair, plus an ad copywriter to write dialogue for her. Debates about Miss Boo could rage for days, and employees complain they were sometimes called in on weekends to discuss her attributes." She'll be making a comeback shortly.

[27.Jun.00]
As a shareholder in Philip Morris, I was really happy to see yesterday's news that they won the bidding war for Nabisco. This will hasten the spinoff the food part of their business, unlocking billions of dollars of value and unlinking the food biz with that sinful business of making cigarettes, a legal product that people freely choose to consume.

Anna Kournikova is giving Greg Norman a run for his money as the athlete to make the most money on so little professional success. She was recently on the cover of Sports Illustrated, has 18,000 fan web pages, and is the world's highest paid female athlete. Number of professional singles titles: zero. What the heck makes her so popular?

I had no idea that Harry Knowles of aint-it-cool-news appeared on Roger Ebert & the Movies. I had no idea he was bigger than Roger Ebert!

[26.Jun.00]
I asked Jeeves why his stock price has fallen 90% from its 52-week high, and as is usually the case with Jeeves, his answer wasn't helpful.

Below is a list of some of the worst stock price blowups, from Cnet's list of internet content sites. Feel their pain. A few highlights: Dr. Koop.com, NBC Internet, Quepasa.com, and Talk City. Ouch!

Symbol Company Recent
Price
52-week
High
ASKJ Ask Jeeves Inc. 18.94 190.50
ADBL Audible Inc. 4.03 25.00
AHWY AudioHighway.com 2.25 26.00
CBDR CareerBuilder Inc. 3.13 17.38
CARI CareInSite Inc. 20.63 88.00
CNET CNET Networks Inc. 26.56 79.88
KOOP DrKoop.com Inc. 1.88 45.75
EWBX Earthweb Inc. 16.06 55.31
GDEN Garden.com Inc. 2.63 24.13
GOTO GOTO.com Inc. 17.50 114.50
HLTH Healtheon/WebMD Corp. 16.88 93.63
HEAR HearMe 5.06 37.50
HOOV Hoover's Inc. 7.63 33.00
HOTJ Hot Jobs.com Inc. 12.69 48.00
ILIF Ilife.com Inc. 1.69 9.06
TURF Iturf Inc. 3.75 25.00
IVIL Ivillage Inc. 6.72 67.88
JFAX JFAX.com 1.72 10.31
LOOK Looksmart Ltd. 16.69 72.00
MCNS MediaConsult.com Inc. 1.97 14.50
MPPP MP3.com Inc. 17.19 105.00
NBCI NBC Internet Inc. 14.88 106.13
NTVN NetIvation.com Inc. 2.44 12.94
NEWZ Newsedge Corp. 2.44 12.88
PASA Quepasa.com Inc. 1.88 26.88
SALN Salon.com 1.63 15.13
SPLN SportsLine.com Inc. 14.75 83.25
STRM StarMedia Network Inc. 17.88 70.00
TCTY Talk City Inc. 1.88 29.00
TSCN Telescan Inc. 7.88 32.88
TSCM TheStreet.com Inc. 6.61 37.88
TGLO TheGlobe.com 2.13 20.38
TPN TownPagesNet.com 2.00 12.19
VERT VerticalNet Inc. 38.25 148.38
HIRE WebHire Inc. 2.31 18.81

Today's edition of The Minneapolis Star Tribune reprinted an LA Times article assessing the "dot-com morning after." Best quote: "More than a few veteran Wall Streeters have even gone so far as to question whether the money raised by Internet-related companies during the past few years may represent the greatest misallocation of capital in history." (emphasis added)

[23.Jun.00]
Seems like a few Japanese pornography consumers don't like sites done entirely in Flash, either:

FROM: flashdontsell@mo-bile.com
SUBJECT: flash does not sell, an example
BODY: i worked for a web company in sf that had a bunch of adult sites in japanese, it was the only thing they did. one of these sites brought a great amount of traffic so we used it for testing new sites, new development concepts, new spins on pitching our fixed body of content: we'd send visitors here for a week, track sales, then send visitors there for a week, track sales, compare results. rocket science, really.

our findings: given equal traffic and demographics, the one site we did in flash was the worst performer. i think people just said "kore was kuso jan" (this is shit) and split.

small dick or no, you've got a good head.


Last night I threw out my back picking up the latest issue of Fast Company. Hopefully this is my last issue. How on earth does a magazine fall so far so fast? Good buddy Michael Hoff did point out one worthwhile article from the July issue called "Flee Market." The message to dot-com startups that have no chance of ever making money: "Get out now!"

Pity the poor bastard (i.e. me) who just wants a regular iced tea with lemon. Snapple is making Cactus tea with agave nectar, Arizona makes Rx Memory Mind Elixir with tropical and citrus fruits, and SoBe sells Orange Carrot Elixir with a 3C package of Calcium, Chromium Picolinate and Carnitine. For the love of God, what the hell is Calcium?!

Funny sig file of reader Jason Cobb: "If Bill Gates had a nickel for every time Windows crashed ... Oh wait! He does!"

[22.Jun.00]
Forbes (as usual) has the best analysis of current e-tail environment for both companies and investors: "In a climate where cash flow and burn rate are of utmost importance, investors are quick to drop dot-com stocks for fear cash will run dry, leaving companies dead in a ditch."

Yet another cautionary tale about mobile commerce (a.k.a. m-commerce), this time from a technology buyer's point of view: "Wireless commerce is not a mirage. But it's far from a well-defined opportunity. Keep a laserlike focus on your customers' needs before you shell out the cash to be on the bandwagon."

Romp.com offers interactive shorts and comic strips that are offensive, profane, and dirty. I spent hours there. It was especially fun playing "The Wedding" episode of Booty Call.

Computer geek James Sharman uses an X86 running Linux to make moonshine. (via Jim Benert)

[21.Jun.00]
These guys with a crappy web site asked me to appear on their crappy radio show, and then never got back to me, dammit. No, I'm not bitter.

Flazoom's Chris MacGregor has written another good editorial directed towards Flash developers. Whether or not you agree with him, you have to appreciate the effort he's making to win the hearts and minds of fellow "Flashers."

A CMGI-led investor group has kept Furniture.com on life support, securing a $27 million cash infusion. Seems like another case of throwing good money after bad. Does the idea of selling furniture online seem a little strange to you, too? My most recent furniture purchase was a sofa. I spend a lot of time on the sofa. I can't imagine ever buying a sofa without sitting on it, slouching in it, lying on it, touching it, caressing it ... sorry, got lost in a moment there. Anyhow, maybe I'm old fashioned. Maybe I just don't "get it," as the youngsters these days say. Or maybe selling sofas online is just a really fucking dumb idea.

Check out the size of IBM's Microdrive. (via Peter Lawrence)

[20.Jun.00]
"405" is the most viewed movie at ifilm, and for good reason. Filmmakers Bruce Branit and Jeremy Hunt built a web site explaining how they did it. Very cool.

Halle Berry is on the cover of this month's InStyle, without the scar on her forehead from a February car crash. Ahh, the healing power of Photoshop.

The debate continues about whether or not Napster harms record sales. In my case, I've actually bought more CDs than normal since Napster because it has exposed me to music I didn't even know existed. In the past two months Napster is at least party responsible for my purchase of the following CDs:
» Everything But the Girl — "Temperamental"
» Deep Dish — "Junk Science"
» Deep Dish — "Yoshiesque"
» Various Artists — "The Chill Out Album Volume I"
» Various Artists — "The Chill Out Album Volume II"

I've always thought that web development shop Zefer had their shit together and was going places (in spite of the bits of Flash on their site). I'm not so sure now, after reading a June 19th press release that talks about their "Internet Mojo" ... and how they have only one client:
"ZEFER has an 'Internet Mojo' that is largely responsible for its client's success in the digital economy," said (Media & Telecommunications practice leader Imran) Shah. "This practice offers clients a package of services that blends this 'mojo' with deep industry knowledge, solid experience in these fields, innovative thinking and true capacity for operating at Internet speed. That's what clients need in order to create and implement the best possible strategy in the best possible way."
It's a lot more fun posting flame mail, but sometimes praise mail is just as amusing:

Greetings Dack:

Stumbled upon you while researching Web site content suckification and its implication for the offspring of corporate webmasters.

Your mother must be damned proud of you, boy.

Anyway, when you're finished watching the SportsCenter replays of Tiger's 15-shot win at Pebble (you would have needed a large bucket to get around on Saturday), check out the howling, withering, skin-stretching bullshit on OpenMarket.Com and Sapient.Com. These folks give us "closed-loop e-marketing" and "experience modeling." They deserve a little light.

When Huey Long (even dissolute reprobates have read "All the King's Men") overserved himself with the kickapoo joy juice, which he did quite often, he always took off his shoes — no matter where he was. His entourage referred to this as "the Boss got sock-foot drunk again."

All the best,

Brian C.
[16.Jun.00]
Put those Jesus action figures in the wrong hands and, well, you'll get something that's offensive, sacrilegious, and pretty damn funny (requires Flash).

This was submitted via email by reader Shane Naughton, without any source cited. So please don't sue me if I'm infringing on your copyright (it's fairly long, but well worth the read):
They're calling it Shops or "S-Commerce" and it's being rolled out in cities and towns nationwide.

"It's a real revelation," according to Malcolm Fosbury, a middleware engineer from Hillingdon. "You just walk into one of these shops and they have all sorts of things for sale."

Fosbury was particularly impressed by a clothes shop he discovered while browsing in central London.

"Shops seem to be the ideal medium for transactions of this type. I can actually try out a jacket and see if it fits me. Then I can visualize the way I would look if I was wearing the clothing."

This is possible using a high definition 2D viewing system, or "mirror" as it has become known.

Shops, which are frequently aggregated into shopping portals or "high streets", are becoming increasingly popular with the cash-rich time-poor generation of new consumers. Often located in densely populated areas people can find them extremely convenient. And Malcolm is not alone in being impressed by shops.

"Some days I just don't have the time to download huge Flash animations of rotating trainers and then wait five days for them to be delivered in the hope that they will actually fit," says Sandra Bailey, a systems analyst from Chelsea. "This way I can actually complete the transaction in real time and walk away with the goods."

Being able see whether or not shoes and clothing fit has been a real bonus for Bailey, "I used to spend my evenings boxing up gear to return. Sometimes the clothes didn't fit, sometimes they just sent the wrong stuff."

Shops have a compelling commercial story to tell too, according to Gartner Group retail analyst Carl Baker.

"There are massive efficiencies in the supply chain. By concentrating distribution to a series of high volume outlets in urban centres-typically close to where people live and work-businesses can make dramatic savings in fulfillment costs. Just compare this with the wasteful practise of delivering items piecemeal to people's homes."
[15.Jun.00]
The damn popup window at espn.com has forced me to get my sports fix elsewhere. Don't they know that's really annoying?

Last night Kobe Bryant did a very believable Michael Jordan impersonation. He's 21. He is engaged to marry an 18-year old who just graduated from high school.

Oh, baby. The US Open starts today. The 100th. At Pebble Beach. To commemorate the big event, the USGA has built a spectacularly cheesy web site.

Fucked Company is fast becoming as necessary as the morning cup of coffee. It's apparent from recent posts that employees at fucked companies are submitting stories about their fucked companies ... and even doctoring emails to make their bosses look more tyrannical than they really are. Creator Philip Kaplan claims he built the site "to get chicks." With over 20,000 players predicting the next dot-com blow-up, he probably has to beat them off with a stick.

[14.Jun.00]
Amazing. Last night I used just a single squirt of Gucci's Envy for Men and this is what happened (that's me on the left).

Why hasn't anyone ever told me about ironminds? What a discovery! Great articles on politics, film, music, sports, dating, and a lot more. One of my favorites was "Moby Sells Out" by Tim Grierson. If you're wondering why you're hearing tracks from "Play" just about everywhere you turn, it's because he has licensed all 18 songs for television shows and commercials.

The Recording Industry Association of America has filed for an injunction against Napster. The basis? A study by SoundScan that claims CD sales at stores within a mile of the "Top 40 Wired Colleges" have declined 13% from 1997 to 2000. What a load of crap it is to blame Napster: (i.) Napster didn't even exist until 1999, and (ii.) wired college kids may — get this — buy their music online.

Another contrarian viewpoint about the wireless web: "It's all so reminiscent of bygone fads like interactive TV and handwriting-based computing." (via Michael Manning)

[13.Jun.00]
"Survivor" producer Mark Burnett says his show is simply an extension of modern office warfare. What kind of office does he work in?

Creative Good has provided a Survival Guide, but for many dot-coms it's too late; they've been voted off the island because of negative cash flow and lousy business models. Venerable movie retailer reel.com is the latest to close its doors, and a few other big names are said to be on the dot-com death bed: DrKoop.com, CDNow, iWon.com, Quokka, Varsitybooks, Mothernature, and Pets.com. MSNBC's Gary Siedman: "In the last month alone, there's been enough e-carnage to satiate a generation of 'I told you so-ers.'"

The San Antonio Express News (of all places!) throws some cold water on the red-hot wireless web meme: "Wireless devices are selling, but consumers aren't flocking to the service. Instead, they're asking: "Is this freedom, or is this crap?'"

Last Wednesday the New York Times published their quarterly e-commerce report. Lots of good stuff there.

[12.Jun.00]
Whew. ABC has cancelled Kevin Smith's animated series "Clerks" after just two episodes, replacing it with Spin City re-runs. Smith claims he was sandbagged by ABC, but the reality is that the show's ratings sucked.

Battlefield Earth
Budget: $73 million. Gross through June 4th: $21 million. Watching Scientologist John Travolta's pet project go down in flames: priceless.

SMU professor Richard Levine has patented a way for all of a person's communication devices to share one phone number. Sounds great, especially since the telecom industry predicts that four-digit area codes could be necessary in the next decade. 11-digit dialing?! Ugh.

Wells Fargo's Robert Chlebowski is the man behind the new, souped-up ATMs that will play movie trailers, offer news headlines and stock quotes, and will someday offer web surfing. If you think Road Rage is bad, you ain't seen nothin' yet: ATM Rage will sweep the nation as long lines form behind the guy who, despite the queue of people simply wanting to get cash, will insist on buying stamps, reading email, and checking his stock portfolio.

[9.Jun.00]
Sympathy for the Plug-in, by Peter Balogh (Peter, you rock):
Please allow me to introduce myself.

I am the cancer that has riddled the formerly healthy body of the Web.

Though you have called me many names, there is only one:

Flash
Grrrr. Don'tcha just hate it when web-related magazines don't keep their web site up to date with the print version? (Deep breath) In the July issue of Web Techniques, editor Amit Asaravala describes how he spent (wasted?) an entire Sunday visiting weblogs linked from blogger.com, and argues that "the future of content may very well be in the form of blogs."

Critics of the SUV will enjoy The Ultimate Poseur's Sport Utility Page. Be sure to check out the Kenworth Pilgrimage, the first SUV to be rated in Gallons per Mile by the EPA. (via Bob LinDell)

Kids these days! They don't know the difference between "your" and "you're." The whole world's going to hell in a handbasket.

[8.Jun.00]
Fucked Company is turning into a good way to follow downbeat dot-com news. Some recent closings: violet.com, toytime.com, surfbuzz.com.

Funny email: "Some airhead sent me your URL in one of those long, awful, virus-spreading chain forwards. And, for once, I was pleasantly surprised!"

Like most men, I'm in favor of thin women. They're a good thing. But this skeletal model for Tequila Sauza is a bit much, er, not enough.

The June/July issue of Jane has an important article called "The Penis: A User's Manual." Writer Jeff Johnson:

There is a sea of sexually aware and forward-thinking women reading Jane, and I can't fathom how many miles of penis you have probably been associated with in your collective lifetime. But the penis is a potentially complicated piece of equipment, and many of you, while you know how to work it, may still not know how to get the most out of this fine instrument. So please take the time to read this manual before you start your next use of the apparatus.

(Note: article only available at newsstands)
[7.Jun.00]
Tonya Harding was the guest on last night's Larry King Live. Get this: she was raised in a trailer park. Shocking!

BBspot is the best Onion copycat I've seen yet. Sample headlines:
» New Ford Exorbitant Comes with Spare Explorer
» Moral Dilemma Resolved With Tequila
» Office Jesus Turns Water Into Coffee

Speaking of Jesus ... Biblical Action Figures. Choose either a black Jesus or a white Jesus, and get additional angels for only $4.95. (via Dano Williams)

I'll soon be adding a music channel to this site, and one of the fun offerings will be theme-based compilations. So far I've got the Road Rage Mix™ and the Strip Club Mix™. Can you think of another mix you'd like to see? Tell me.

[6.Jun.00]
Americans Aren't in the Market for Freedom. A wonderful essay by Daniel Akst, who argues that freedom (freedom to do what you want) is as much a commodity as a professional-quality gas range, or a $40,000 sport utility vehicle. This article is required reading for idlers, idlers in training, or anyone else who wants to free themselves from the race of acquiring stuff.

I'm a little busy arranging financing for the posh country club I want to join, so I only have time for one more:

TO: dack@dack.com
FROM: Barry
SUBJECT: got to be a joke, right?
BODY: You have got to be taking the piss.

Select a target and make the most outrageous, un-informed and stupid comments you can about it, then sit back and laugh as people vent their spleens at you.

However it seems that you are sincere in your stupidity. It's time you faced facts.

Flash isn't evil. It's breathed life into the web, making sufing the internet a pleasurable experience.

Having used the web for research extensively when at university I encountered thousands of disgracefully bad HTML websites, that looked shit, were intirely un-memorable and downright difficult to use.

I aggree with you that there is bad Flash, but there are bad HTML, DHTML and XML sites too. Just as there are bad soccer players, crap print designers, singers who can't sing and cars that brake down too often. It's part of life. It doesn't mean that all soccer players etc should be hunted down like a puritanical witch hunt from the middle ages and burnt at the steak. There's a time and a place for everything and HTML will survive in some form, but Flash is the future for the web, it does everything HTML does, quicker, better and smaller.

It seems to me that you are one of those computer programmers who thinks that because he can program a computer he can design websites. You can't! Your site may work but it looks shit. That yellow is TOO BRIGHT and the whole thing is totally uninspiring and boring to look at.

I reckon that you know that you can't design to save your life and you see Flash as a threat to your livelyhood. You can't accept the fact that you don't need to be a computer geek to build websites and that the design community has taken your previously drab, dismal virtual world and turned it into something vibrant, interesting and pleasurable to use.

Finally as for the browser back button, if you are relying on the back button for users to navigate around sites then you haven't a clue about navigation.

Seeya, don't wanna be ya.
Barry.

[5.Jun.00]
Why do some countries fight wars and others remain at peace? There's a simple explanation: golf (or lack thereof). Writer David Plotz:
Countries where golf is popular never fight other golfing nations — and don't fight much at all — while countries without golf are strikingly belligerent. Have you ever met an Afghan who golfs? Are there any Serbs on the P.G.A. tour?
First there was the Bullshit Generator. Now there's the Bullshit Analyzer. (via Ken MacGray)

MP3 is out. I'm kickin' it oldschool with MIDI. (via Gregor)

Answerspace.com has written a good white paper (PDF) on how to build better software and web sites. It's too bad things rarely work this way.

[2.Jun.00]
A Cancer on the Web Called Flash. Eloquently written by Chris MacGregor, the publisher of Flash weblog Flazoom.com. Best quote:
Think about the problem that you are trying to solve before you open Flash and start working. Is Flash the only solution for that problem? Is Flash the most effective solution? Can you solve the problem with HTML? Think about the work you do and remember that what you put on the web is not for you, but for your visitors.
Amen, brother.

If Roger McNamee is your VC, you know your company is in trouble. (From the Summer 2000 issue of Forbes.com. I didn't know they could print the word "bullshit." Cool!)

Visit Fucked Company and make your picks for the dot-com dead pool. (Notice the generic stock chart in the site's upper right-hand corner. Very funny.) The developer of Fucked Company did it "cuz I thought it would make me cool and get chicks."

Amen, brother.

[1.Jun.00]
You've been bitching about the content. Too much web design stuff. Too much boo.com. Too much thestreet.com. I hear you. Christ Almighty, everybody in the state of Minnesota hears you. You want the weird, the lewd, and the nude. I understand, because I do too:

» A dog in a dack.com hat
» The world's biggest belly-button lint collection
» A soccer player getting kicked in the joint
» Why poop smells
» Porn mullets

[31.May.00]
Taylor didn't think much of yesterday's anti-fullscreen rant. For the record, I'm not blaming Flash for popping up full-screen windows. It's just that they seem to go together, kinda like Jim Jones and Kool-Aid, or the Titanic and icebergs.

Excellent Suck List submission: "A coup d'etat in the country you were about to take an expensive, really cool vacation in."

Execute a Teletubbie, version 0.4a. (via G. Mittersinker)

MarketGuide has dumped their Windows-based stock-screening app (StockQuest) in favor of a web-based app called NetScreen. No more tedious data updates. I like that.

It's not online quite yet, but the July issue of Software Development has an article explaining how managers should incorporate usability and interface design into their next software project. Author Lucy Lockwood delivers a glancing blow to all those clunky, let's-use-cutting-edge-technology-for-the-hell-of-it intranet applications out there:
"The thick stack of complaints coming into your company's call center is sitting on your desk, silently mocking you. On top of the stack is a yellow sticky with a note from your boss: "Who is responsible for this?" The souped-up, feature-laden intranet application that you delivered to such fanfare a few months ago has turned from a technical triumph into a usability disaster. New users can't figure it out and old ones are becoming nostalgic about the good old days of simple black and white forms uncluttered by graphic controls no one understands and links that lead everyone on a merry chase."
From foruse.com: Structure and Style in Use Cases for User Interface Design (in PDF).

[30.May.00]
The James Cramer Hostage Situation (via Ariana)

Forget human rights in China. More urgent is the need to protect the English language from the torture and mutilation inflicted by Amicus Software:
"Amicus Software's aspiration is to build and operate the major channel for delivery of dynamic, interactive content and commerce opportunities across all devices in all markets. By establishing and evolving the internet channel, Amicus empowers individuals with the ability to fully utilize internet and content services."
<rant>
Flash developers have a new trick up their collective sleeve and it's bad news for users. I'm talking about the practice of opening a new, full-screen browser window without the Windows title bar that includes the Minimize, Maximize, and Exit buttons (IE only); badboyonline.com and intellispace.net being a couple of examples. Many users have enough trouble dealing with new windows, but to take over a user's system and open a new window that can be closed only by (a.) finding the Close Window link in the site's interface, or (b.) pushing Ctrl + W, is to treat him with contempt. Who has time to scan an unfamiliar interface for a Close Window button? Nobody. How many Windows users know that Ctrl + W will close a window? Few.

What (or who) is behind this nonsense? The March/April issue of Communication Arts has an interview with Kioken (developer of badboyonline.com) co-founder Gene Na in which he says: "Most of our designers think like film directors. Designers have to understand motion now. Our big design philosophy is getting away from the page." (Emphasis added.) Badboyonline, CA explains, is "a prime example of Kioken's approach to information design where the Web destination is given a virtual operating system ..." Just imagine: hundreds of millions of sites on the Web, each with its own way of closing, printing, bookmarking, searching, copying & pasting, going back and forward, adjusting fonts, etc., etc.

Noooooooo!
</rant>

[26.May.00]
Shouldn't boo.com, like, take their site offline or something? You can still shop the site and add things to your cart, but you get an error message when you try to check out. I called the customer service line and everything sounded like business as usual ... until I picked up the phone 30 minutes later and was still on hold.

Telecommunications Reports International says only 4.5% of the more than 50 million total ISP customers in the US currently have cable or DSL connections. This is in line with the Gartner Group's (shocking) prediction that in 2004, still 60% of residential internet users will connect with analog modems. If you develop a site for the general public and assume folks will see things as fast as you see 'em in the office, you are setting both you and your client up for failure.

Flash at its best: Indiana University chemistry professor Bah B. Nai. (via Chad Moline. Note: cable or DSL connection recommended.)

If your MP3 collection is getting a little stale, spend the day tuned in to your local police scanner.

[25.May.00]
Behold the versatility of free trade. At once it will weaken a dictatorship in China and strengthen a dictatorship in Cuba.

Hey Flash fans! Here's a weblog especially for you: flazoom.com (via Neale). More splash screens than you can shake a stick at!

Watching the recent follies of TheStreet.com is more entertaining than any prime-time sitcom. A couple of people have emailed me wondering why I'm so harsh on TheStreet and its founder, James Cramer. Here's the deal: if you say stupid shit, and are so unethical as to tout your own company's stock on an "objective" investment show, you deserve to get reamed.

[24.May.00]
Boo.com may be gone, but it's certainly not forgotten. Founder Ernst Malmsten, in deeply delirious state, maintained his fashion web site could've been a great success: "If we had got the money then we would have turned the business around. History would have been very different. I do not think the bankers understand the e-commerce area and how complex these companies are."

There have been many tasteless, downright disturbing submissions to the Suck List, but this one takes the cake: "finding farmteens.com in your parents' browser history."

I hope y'all enjoy these messages even half as much as I do:

TO: dack@dack.com
FROM: Larry Sullivan
SUBJECT: [blank]
BODY: I think you are dead RIGHT about Flash.

Let's face it...people who use Flash are the same type of jabronis who always talk about "coding html" (as if it were C/C++), can't write a single javascript script unless DREAMWEAVER does it for them, think PERL is some sort of jewelry, and try to disguise their lack of layout/design skills by placing the LARGE flash animation in the center of the screen.

The real future is XML/XUL/JAVA and only people who have the gumption to learn how to manipulate the DOM and master OOP concepts are going to make FAT BANK...not the ham and eggers who use a crutch like Flash.

(Note: a jabroni, as Mr. Sullivan had to explain to me, is "someone from the shallow end of the gene pool.")

[23.May.00]
The Web Economy Martini (courtesy of Todd Patrick):

1. Embrace mission-critical glassware. Beware of cutting-edge receptacles.
2. Aggregate three (3) frictionless olives into glass. Toothpicks are for end-users.
3. Facilitate "Best-of-Breed Gin Extraction" initiative (codename: SapphirePour). Maximize to 1/4 inch of glass rim.
4. Leverage splash of world-class Johnny Walker Black. Visualize "vermouth" as partnership is synergized. Incubate.
5. Target consumer mouth. Disintermediate.
6. Proactively engage olives as gin's top-line is crested.
7. Rinse, reinvent.

It's a lot more fun undressing the Adult Paper Dolls than it is dressing them. (Check out the page's javascript rollovers while you're there.)

Anyone got a muzzle? James Cramer is in trouble for touting TheStreet.com's stock on TheStreet.com's show on FOX. Sheesh. Look for TheStreet.com to eventually go the way of boo.com as they move from the failed subscription-based model to a free-content model. That's if there's anyone left to do the work: apparently all option-holding TheStreet.com employees at all levels are stampeding toward the exits. Cramer himself is perhaps looking for an exit strategy: his unique commentary is showing up on inside.com, a soon-to-be subscription-based site in which he is an investor.

[22.May.00]
A long weekend spent in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area made clear that au naturel is definitely not in vogue with the women there. Besides allowing people to openly carry firearms, Texas state law requires women to paint their toenails, bleach their hair, and wear a lot of gold jewelry ... and boob jobs are tax deductible. Yeeeee-haw!

Last Friday the BS Generator was featured on Cool Site of the Day, which must not be all that cool anymore: there was only a minor bump in this site's page views. Those who did rate the page were pretty harsh, scoring it in the bottom quartile of other "cool" sites.

For techno fans, first there was Modulations, now there's Better Living Through Circuitry.

Feel the love:

TO: dack@dack.com
FROM: kollapse@fuckyou.co.uk (anonymous, of course)
SUBJECT: Flash is evil
BODY: HA HA HA HA HA! You're killing me! While I certainly agree that there is a huge amount of gratuitous FLASH animation on the web. I also believe that a little bit of style goes along way (as evident in your site design). Who would have thought that the blistering mustard-ish yellow that wants to be orange color you have chosen for your background would have been so displeasing to the eye until you actually had the nonsense to try it out for yourself? Congratulations for qualifying your site as one that should belong on any web-sites that suck list. It is blatantly clear that you are angry because your garage based, lemonade stand of a web-business failed due to lack of design skills and valid opinion. Now all you have is your 386 and a 14 inch, 16 color monitor to view porno sites over a 9600 baud modem while using AOL as your ISP. It's no wonder you have nothing better to do than rant on a glaring ugly, unintelligent, text based web-pile.

Oh wait....I just noticed your are from someplace most people have never heard of - Minneapolis. That explains it.

The only thing remotely intelligent on your website is that you made your own Suck list. For that, I raise a toast - Cheers!

[18.May.00]
Bank of America didn't like what Samuel Stoddard's Dialectizer was doing to its web site, so they the threatened him with legal action and essentially shut the Dialectizer down. Hmmm ... I betcha they wouldn't like what Jesus does to their site, either. Jesusify your own site today! (I'll see you all in hell.)

Top web retailer collapses. Wondering who? I'll give you three guesses.

If you think you have a decent martini recipe, please let me know. I'm going to collect 'em and post the best on the martini page. Reader Tom Schooley submitted an interesting version called The Bruised Martini:

1. Coat a chilled martini glass with vermouth and discard the excess.
2. Fill your shaker (a mason jar works just fine) with ice.
3. Pour Bombay Sapphire over the ice so as to begin the bruising process.
4. Shake the piss out of the gin/ice combo.
5. Pour gin into glass (use the lid of the mason jar to strain the ice).
6. Add 3 green olives (quality is important) or 3-4 capers.
7. Enjoy.

If that's not quick and dirty enough for you, he suggests: "If you're in a hurry simply grab a rocks glass, fill with ice, add Sapphire and olives — drink."

[17.May.00]
The Adventures of Action Item, Professional Superhero is highly recommended. I can't wait for my Action Item Secret Decoder Ring! (via Bryan Allison)

The Bullshit Generator brings home the bacon, baby. Reader Simon G. leveraged the interactive e-service to the tune of $100,000, convincing "the board" that his new project would "empower interactive technologies" and grow his company's "global niches." Atta boy, Simon.

[16.May.00]
Torture. It's not just for the Chinese anymore.

This company's portfolio can also be used as a collection of case studies on how not to build a web site.

CNN says it's the golden age of the short. It is for me. Currently I'm working on three little movies: two animated shorts and one with real actors that's been over a year in the making. The time and effort it's taken to make a 3½ minute movie makes one appreciate how much hard work it is to make a feature-length film, and how insanely difficult it must be to make an epic flick like "Titanic" or "Apocalypse Now." (Many apologies for putting those two movies in the same sentence.)

Seasonticket.com went live yesterday. It's quite an ambitious combination of frames, Flash, DHTML, and media players.

[15.May.00]
Here's prima facie evidence that the Webbys are, in fact, a crock (as if there was ever any doubt). Sites are supposedly judged on the quality of the content, structure and navigation, visual design, functionality, interactivity, and overall experience, yet cockybastard lacks in all the above criteria, and is really nothing more than public masturbation.

If you think the Webbys are annoying, you ain't seen nothin' yet. After watching just a few seconds of the Webby webcast, I thought of a few other things I'd rather do than sit through the entire 5 hour show:
» Squeeze my head in a vice.
» See Where the Heart Is.
» Read Deepak Chopra's latest book.
» Attend a Kid Rock concert.
» Kill myself.

Fascinating article about movie studio owner Elie Samaha, the man behind "The Whole Nine Yards," "The Big Kahuna," and most infamously, "Battlefield Earth." I caught the end of last week's Roger Ebert & The Movies and heard: "Two thumbs way down; way, way down for the awful Battlefield Earth." In the same vein, kick-ass movie critic Elvis Mitchell says: "'Battlefield Earth' may well turn out to be the worst movie of this century."

Woody Allen's new movie opens this Friday and the previews look great. Critic Gene Shalit: "I went bananas for this smart sleeper about stupids, so take the money and run to see 'Small Time Crooks'." Ugh.

Self-marketers (especially webloggers) should read Rob Walker's short criticism of management guru™ Tom Peters' Brand You philosophy.

[12.May.00]
If you (a.) get the Sundance Channel, and (b.) groove to electronica on occasion, then you should check out Modulations, a documentary about techno featuring Robert Moog (inventor of the eponymous synthesizer), Kraftwerk, DJ Spooky, Orbital, Prodigy, and more.

She sure doesn't look like she's 16.

[11.May.00]
Forbes has published its Y2K Best of the Web issue that'll keep you busy for hours, if not days. One of their best golf sites, chipshot.com, has an ad that's being emailed around quite a lot lately. While you're at Ad Critic you should check out (if you haven't already) President Clinton—Final Days.

It's unlikely anyone digs The Idler as much as I do, but if you're interested in getting your hands on the 1999 annual, a very nice Brit named Martin will send you a copy of "The Idler #25" for £15. If you're wondering what an Idler is, here's from Appendix 4, An Idler's Glossary. Idler:
"There are plenty of lazy people and plenty of slowcoaches, but a genuine idler is a rarity," writes an idling expert Jerome K. Jerome. "He is not a man who slouches about with his hands in his pockets. On the contrary, his most startling characteristic is that he is always intensely busy." Despite the dictionary definition, then, although the idler might not "work" in any recognizable fashion, he is neither shiftless nor lazy. His energies, having been freed from the merry-go-round of the working life, are channeled into the pursuit of wisdom and pleasure.
Reader Don McKay on the Buddhist style of web development:
Flash, like chocolate syrup on ice cream, is a wonderful adjunct. However, if the application is overdone, web sites - like the ice cream - can and do become sickly sweet. Flash is nothing more than a tool; thus it should be utilized as such, when and where needed. For awhile, when DHTML was the budding rage, all kinds of cute tricks were making their way to the web. Then Java applets were the vogue. Now, it's Flash in full flower. Next, we'll have an epidemic of LiveMotion. Moderation of usage is the key to the issue... the taking of the middle path.
[10.May.00]
Stop sending anonymous flame mail from a Yahoo! or Hotmail account. That's for wussies. Real bomb-throwers send email from an address with bite: fuckyou.co.uk.

Hidden away in the left-hand column of its web site is perhaps The Onion's best feature: Horoscopes by Lloyd Schumner Sr., Retired Machinist and A.A.P.B.-Certified Astrologer. A couple of recent gems:

Taurus: (April. 20—May 20)
This is a good week for you to start new projects—especially those that involve taking a few dozen inches off your disgusting thighs, for Christ's sake.
Capricorn: (Dec. 22—Jan. 19)
Your making certain not to let your left hand know what the right is doing is negated by the fact that you cannot find your ass with either one.

I've got this friend who has come up with a great way of dealing with dipshit coworkers who open mysterious email attachments. He's created a new rule in Outlook that will send the following message to anyone in his "Dumb enough to run the Love virus" group:
Your past actions regarding the "Love Bug Virus" and its variants have demonstrated that you are incapable of responsibly using modern computers and specifically email. You have demonstrated that you (1) do not read virus bulletins from technical support, (2) have no knowledge of Internet news, and (3) are unable to protect yourself or others from rogue software.

As a consequence, all your messages to me are now being automatically rejected via an email rule. No further messages will be accepted regardless of the subject or contents until further notice.

If you feel that your privilege to correspond with me via email should be reinstated please leave me a voice mail at xxx-xxx-xxxx. Your voice mail should include your name, email address, and three reasons why you are now responsible enough to correspond with me via email.

It is embarrassing that an employee of a technology company could be duped into running unverified software — this reflects poorly on you as well as the company as a whole.
[9.May.00]
Hmmm ... veeeery interesting. A search for Organic + boo.com brings up Organic's clients page. But there's no boo.com. Considering that boo.com's design is greatly responsible for boo.com's failure, I'd probably take boo.com's name off my client list, too.

I usually like golfing with the boys, but this gal can join my foursome anytime. (via Mike Vipond)

What came first? The chicken, er, USABancShares, or the egg? (via Christian Stovall)

Even though it's still in beta, reader Tom Karlo thinks Microsoft's Media Player 7 is going to suck big-time:
Microsoft has decided to take all of the worst parts of Quicktime 4 (awkward, non-standard interface) and Real Player (marketing, marketing, marketing) and mush them together into an awkward, ungainly duckling they want to make the "universal" media player.
[8.May.00]
Soon we won't have boo.com to kick around anymore. In a classic example of throwing good money after bad, on Friday boo.com got a $30 million bailout to postpone the inevitable for a bit longer. Management shakeups and a chaotic work environment are being blamed for the company's problems, but perhaps the biggest reason for boo.com's imminent failure is the site's bleeding-edge design. When customers cannot complete a transaction (because of a confusing interface, slow download times, browser crashes, computer crashes, unreadable text, plug-in requirements, that goddamned Miss Boo, etc.) nothing else matters.

A study by Stanford University and The Poynter Institute concludes that Online News Readers Prefer Text Over Graphics. (via Ray Canton)

[5.May.00]
The creator of the "Love Bug" isn't only a clever programmer, he also knows a thing or two about human nature. People's heads know better than to open a mysterious love-letter attachment, but their hearts make 'em do it anyhow. Fools! The heart is always wrong!

An iswag.com study suggests that getting that next promotion might just be a matter of drinking coffee from a mug emblazoned with your company's logo. Hmmm ... looks like it's time to retire the "F*ck Off. I'm reading The Onion" mug.

Mark Hurst, the Yoda of User Experience, says Jeffrey Rubin's usability book (mentioned yesterday) is out and the Creative Good "listening lab method" is in. Please share it with us, Mark, won't you?

Yesterday I got a letter from New York governor and US Senate candidate Rudolph Giuliani, asking me not for my vote (I live in MN), but for my money. Rudy says, "Don't you think it's time you and I put an end to the Clinton episode in American politics?"

[4.May.00]
Next time you're stuck in Minneapolis and need a bunch of strippers, you'd be wise to avoid A-A1 Absolute Perfect 10. It's the ol' bait-and-switch. They claim to have women like these, but instead you're sent, well, women not like that at all. One of ours had a Salvador Dali painting tattooed on her bicep! Oh boy, what a turn-on!

Minneapolis-based Duffy Design is featured in the May/June 2000 Communication Arts. Duffy design director Dan Olson on the web site design process:
We start with paper; we start with pencil. If a designer uses Photoshop too soon, the work becomes decoration instead of structure. It is really important for the writer and designer to organize the information together—to create a clear vision of what the site will accomplish. You have to plan, map and organize.
In preparation for some usability tests I'm re-reading a few parts of Jeffrey Rubin's Handbook of Usability Testing. Rubin on why many designers fail to design usable interfaces:
Today's user is no longer even remotely comparable to the designer in skill set, aptitude, expectation, or in almost any attribute that is relevant to the design process.
[3.May.00]
If you work on a computer all day you probably have, or fear, carpal tunnel syndrome. Here's the Carpal Tunnel Control Center. Oooh, those exercises feel good.

Write a song about "why you support Napster" and win 5K.

Reader Dan Lynch compares flame mail to road rage:
Road rage in part is due to a person being separated from the outside world by being in a car, being part of a machine. All the other people on the road become cars, and regarding them as such makes it easier to do nasty things to them. I think people spending their lives behind computers is a similar phenomenon. The lack of personal and physical interaction leads to a debasement of how people regard each other.
[2.May.00]
Wired.com's Leander Keaney writes about Flash's increasing popularity and how it's eclipsing Java as some developers' tool of choice. Flash is everywhere, apparently, and now runs on PDAs, cell phones, and set-top boxes. USABancShares is so excited about the technology that they're developing an entire banking site in Flash. What a great idea!

The aforementioned "Flash is a Gas" article has a link to this site. You can't believe some of the things people will say when they can hide behind the anonymity of an email account from Yahoo! or Hotmail. I've been called a drunken fool, a pathetic loser, a crackwhore, and a c*nt. Can't we all just get along?

<I am not making this up>
[company name withheld] combines cutting-edge programming techniques, advanced instructional design methodologies, out-of-the-box design and proven project management methods to offer dependable solutions to our business-to-business customer needs that maximize their Return-On-Investment.
</I am not making this up>

[1.May.00]
From the Microsoft Bug Department: Explorapedia Nature: Earth Rotates in Wrong Direction
(via Steve Ulrich)

The best of Kottke's list of 5-word Webby acceptance speeches: "The Webbys are a crock."

An inadvertent exposure to Blink 182 over the weekend has caused me great pain and suffering ... and potentially permanent brain damage. (New suck list addition!)

On Saturday night an Eritrean cabbie and I struck up a conversation. The poor guy's got three brothers fighting on the front lines against Ethiopia, a country with a million-man army that lets its people starve to death.

What doesn't matter?

Why XML Matters
Why IE5/Mac Matters
Why Mozilla Matters
Why Internet Privacy Matters (New Times Mag article)

[28.Apr.00]
Videoclips Online: part "America's Funniest Home Videos," part "People Getting Hurt Really Badly." (The latter is a new show on FOX, premiering next week!)

Flash really is pretty good for one thing: animated shorts. Heavy Industries presents a profile of Puff Daddy. "Puffy's eclectic style of bobbing his head and standing around (in other artists' videos) gained major attention from the critics."
(via Vincent O' Keeffe)

Speaking of Vincent O'Keeffe, he runs a nice UI-focused weblog called Mersault*Thinking that's definitely worth checking out.

Someone accurately pointed out that I missed the best part of Raymond Strowbridge's "Flash is Evil" email response:
(On why he's building his company's new site in Flash) "The users never previously went to our website mainly because it was boring and just filled with information."
The horror! A site filled with information?! Please make it stop!

[27.Apr.00]
The most whacked-out site I've seen in a while: snarg.net

Reader Craig Ness wonders if these "honest to God" quotes heard at work recently are web economy terms or porn:
» "let's take this data and plug it into your backend"
» "we don't at all know your backend and we don't want to know it."
» "let's do that until we can get a feel for your backend."

I've finally gotten around to posting some of the feedback I've received from the "Flash is Evil" article. My favorite quote:
"I am currently working on a Flash website for the company I work for and the Boss was exited to hear that the company logo was now going to be able to jump to life and talk to the users in our company."
[26.Apr.00]
Some smartypants submitted e-normicom to looksmart's list of Naming and Branding Marketing Firms. (scroll down to the E's)

JavaScript on crack. (Click on the logo, if you dare.)

I played with this gravity (left-click) anti-gravity (right-click) applet waaaay too long.

The amount of feedback I've gotten from yesterday's David Siegel post has made one thing very clear: a lot of people really hate the guy. Someone suggested Siegel's similarity to Roger Black, a "fellow baldheaded egomaniac." The mention of Mr. Black reminded me of Mike Hicks' wonderful (and deadly accurate) review of Black's web design book:
Every now and then a book comes along that is so fatuous, so egregiously full of itself and just plain bad it makes you want to watch "Shoah" for fun. "Roger Black Web Sites That Work", written by Sean Elder is such a book.

(Note: "Shoah" is a 9 1/2 hour documentary of the Holocaust.)
[25.Apr.00]
An open letter to McDonald's Corporation:

1. Please return the Cheddar Melt to its rightful place as a permanent menu item.
2. Please tell your burgermakers to stop putting both pickles right on top of one other.
3. Please make the burritomakers at Chipotle wear plastic gloves.

I once liked Fast Company so much I gave subscriptions as gifts. No more. Over the past several months there has been an almost perfect correlation between the magazine's size and its quality: the heavier it gets the more it sucks. The April issue (which weighed in at a record 8.5 pounds) was a new low. Besides the really lame roundup of web-enabled cell phones, there's a PR piece, er, article featuring web designer-turned-business consultant David Siegel. His new shtick is telling companies how to build the company of the future, which is kinda strange coming from someone with no experience building the company of the future.

Sam Sifton may be onto something with this whole Just Gay Enough thing. Betty (not her real name) writes:
regarding your post about the talk magazine article -- It's definitely true. I have friends that discuss their husband's/boyfriend's "good gay qualities." A sample of the ones they desire in a man is: gossiping, taking pictures, talking to their family a lot (but not too much with their mom -- that's spells trouble), and shopping for shoes. So, women are very selective about the gay qualities that they want. Examples of bad gay qualities..... scoping out other guys, being prissy, etc.
[24.Apr.00]
The VH-1 "Behind The Music/Legends" Drinking Game
Drink anytime: a band member files for bankruptcy, is arrested for drug possession/DWI, enters rehab, etc.

Cynical observers of the "dot-conomy" will enjoy Serge Wilson's (ex-Freemerchant.com CEO) Times article, in which he argues most dot-coms exist only to burn cash ... on things like negative margins, Super Bowl ads, and Herman Miller chairs.

Talk magazine is only worthwhile when there's something by editor/writer Sam Sifton. In the current issue (May 2000) he says that in the '00s, straight women are looking for a new heterosexual ideal, and it's called Just Gay Enough. What's that? One woman interviewed for the article says, "You want him to be a little gay about things. You want a lover who has pride of ownership in his house, who cooks, likes to dance, loves his mother, cares about his wardrobe and his body, but who doesn't go too far in any of those pursuits. You want him to be Just Gay Enough."

Forget testosterone. Please pass the estrogen!


[21.Apr.00]
Ever since the e-normicom satire it's hard to tell what's real and what's make believe. Case in point: Jamcracker. "Jamcracker is a reliable, comprehensive, and scalable platform based on Jamcracker's innovative ITML technology."

Gun violence isn't just for high-school kids anymore. Grandpa will put a cap in your ass, too. 2 dead in Detroit, 2 dead in Peoria, AZ.

To: dack@dack.com
Date: Friday, April 7
Suck: The thought of the first Elian Gonzales made for TV movie

To: dack@dack.com
Date: Thursday, April 20
Suck: The reality of the first Elian Gonzales made for TV movie


[20.Apr.00]
The backlash against conspicuous cell phone use is finally picking up steam. What the hell took so long?! Actor Laurence Fishburne ("Matrix," "Boyz N the Hood") is my new hero: during a performance of "The Lion in Winter" on Broadway last April, he stopped the show and hounded a cell-phone user out of the room. He received a standing ovation.

One of the best parts about Forbes is a quarterly publication called Forbes FYI. In the Summer 2000 issue, Bruce Selcraig writes about his visit to the annual PGA in Orlando. Get this: Nike marketing hacks "know months, almost a year ahead of time exactly what clothes Tiger (Woods) will wear on each day of a particular tournament. Everything is scripted. The pants. The shirt. People come into stores all the time and say, 'I saw Tiger in a new shirt. I want that.' So it's all designed to coincide with retail delivery." How convenient.

Time magazine plays "follow the leader" and has a cover story about testosterone. Coming soon: testosterone gel. This will probably soon replace the testosterone patch, which works best when applied to the scrotum.


[19.Apr.00]
The guys at 37signals rock. Not only do they "get it" when it comes to interface design, they're also a very clever bunch of smartasses. (Highly recommended)

Steve Mulder's Webmonkey article called "Sizing Up Text on the New Browsers" has some good information for site builders. Even better are a couple of excellent quotes:

1. "Mac lovers might question why the browser makers chose to use the PC text sizes as the standard. But the reality is that the Web is dominated by Windows, so it makes more sense for Mac users to change."

Thank you.

2. "You might think that Mac users (using IE 5) will see the new big default text and go straight to their preferences to change it back. While it's true that some Mac users will do this, the vast majority won't ever touch any of their preferences. Heck, my mom can't even bookmark a Web page."

Attention web developers who build sites targeted at the general public: Next time you consider building a tricked-out DHTML interface, creating your entire site in Flash (?!), or want to use some new-fangled technology for the sake of being cool, please think of Steve Mulder's mom.


[18.Apr.00]
William Shakespeare on animated gifs and Flash animations: "I were better to be eaten to death with a rust than to be scoured to nothing with perpetual motion." — Henry IV, Part II, Act 1, Scene 2. (via reader Jim Petersen)

Steve Buscemi sure has fallen far. Just a few years ago he was in oddball sleepers like Trees Lounge and Living in Oblivion. Now he's in a box-office hit with Sandra Bullock. How sad.

Turns out I was wrong all along. The Idler is not dead, just taking a long break; something any idler must certainly appreciate. They did recently publish a 320-page tome called "Man's Ruin," that covers such topics as drinking, drugs, violence, gambling, and other things that make us live shorter lives than women. Problem is, the only place I can find a copy is in England, and they only ship to the UK. A little help, anyone? (A BIG thanks to Ian Connelly for sharing the great news.)

Neale says: "Dack, you need "The Suck Directory," or ... "The Suck Portal"... with a few good lines from the bullshit generator, you could IPO within a week." Hmmm ...


[17.Apr.00]
Last week's market meltdown reminded me of a popular justification for overvalued stocks that I heard quite often just a few weeks ago: "It's different this time." No, it's not. Eventually, things like sales, earnings, and a stock's price in relation to those earnings really do matter. Gleeful short seller Marc Cohodes argues in yesterday's Times that the correction is a good thing because it will help keep capital out of the hands of money-losing dot-com businesses. He says, "People who burn cash and have no business model — that game is over." Yep.

I have a good buddy whose fortunes have been closely tied to the NASDAQ's run-up and subsequent free-fall. Six weeks ago his options in a certain B2B dot-com e-business were worth $2.4 million. As of Friday's close they were worth $18,000. Like many others whose compensation is tied to stock valuations, his motivation, and therefore his productivity, must suffer.

This season the NFL is cracking down on end-zone celebrations. The XFL, on the other hand, says "hugging, dancing, finger-pointing, taunting, and trash-talking (after a score) will be mandatory and sharpened during two weeks of pre-season education at the Stone Cold Steve Austin Institute of Shame." Vince McMahon is on to something big here ...


[14.Apr.00]
Butt Art.

<shameless sucking up to a 5K judge>
Good Experience's Mark Hurst did a nice job poking fun at a few of the "nt" shops out there. Ripe for parody is the trend of naming a company by mixing together vaguely Latin words: Agilent, Omnera, Aveus, Embion. Bonus points if it ends with a vowel! Sheesh, these actually make the name MarchFirst sound reasonable.

Hey Mark, how's this for customer experience? (Um, I don't buy my clothes there. I was just visiting last night):
J.Jill's server is too busy
</shameless sucking up to a 5K judge>

Someday I'll post all the responses I've gotten to the "Flash is Evil" article (someone was kind enough to post it to a Flash newsgroup), but until then here's one of the more colorful comments:
Speak on brother. The ignorant lemmings that latch onto Flash as "the solution for producing and delivering high-impact web sites" can lick my proverbial left one.

Wrt the morons who claim that it's an idea whose time has come, please get a rope. Flash has been annoying us for the past couple of years, if you think that it's a new or novel idea you need to get out more often.

Flash enables designers to annoy those of us trying to get at our content; it's not indexable by search engines and hardly provides a consistent interface or user experience. There are enough people out there still struggling with the concept of the back button that the "flash experience" leaves them looking even more foolish than they started out.

Keep Flash in the toolbox and playgrounds of the artf*cks who can indulge in their mental masturbation while the rest of us responsible for the providing networks and infrastructure to deliver their colorful ejaculation get real work done.

Keep the Flash wank juice off my screen, or at least let me decide when I have to look at it.

The final unforgivable sin of web design wankery is to provide the Flash splashscreen/navigation with no backup for those of use that don't want to participate in this web design circle jerk.

Steve Ulrich
sulrich@botwerks.org
(He'd love to hear from you!)
[13.Apr.00]
This article made Coke shoot out of my nose.

Man Eats Underwear to Avoid Breathalyzer
(via Steve Ulrich)

The precipitous downfall of Tommy Hilfiger has given me great joy. His gear has fallen out of favor with the fashion-conscious, sending his stock to a new low and putting the company itself in jeopardy. "Tommy" is undoubtedly a great marketer, and has successfully created a cult of personality (see site), but his "design" has always sucked. I'm sorry, but slapping a giant red, white, and blue logo across everything from hats to tennis shoes is not design. Marketing, sure; design, no.


[12.Apr.00]
Robbed. Cheated. Disgusted with myself for making such poor choices in life. That's how I felt after renting Just a Little Harmless Sex, a really bad comedy with really bad acting by Alison Eastwood (Dirty Harry's daughter) and Kimberly Williams (Pete Sampras' ex-girlfriend). It gives 200 Cigarettes a run for its money for the worst of 1999.

Here's your chance to flush Britney Spears. Other nominees: Leo, Puff, Rosie, N'Sync.

Spy Magazine founder Kurt Andersen and former Spin editor Michael Hirschorn are teaming up on a forthcoming journalism and data service called inside.com. Hopefully it'll work out better that Spy, which unceremoniously folded a couple of years ago. I miss Spy almost as much as The Idler, the hilarious (but now defunct) British mag with the tag line "Literature for Loafers."

Reader Bryan Allison says:
I love the Web economy bullshit generator. I actually had the pleasure of attending a Goldman Sachs conference on E-tailing (here we go!) a week ago, and came across these beauts:

"need states"
"leverageable"
"habituated"
"age compression" (from a Toys R Us exec, describing how kids outgrow their toys at a much faster rate)

I actually counted one guy use the term "monetize" 12 times in 45 minutes. Whew!
[11.Apr.00]
Here is possibly the worst print ad in the history of the medium. A grown man shedding a tear of joy because American Airlines is adding more room in coach?! Gimme a break.

Whoever submitted "my friend emily, who is all about herself. shes always sick too! its like shutup!!! i hate her now. she needs to grow up and get a life!" to the Suck List, you should probably not be reading this site without your parents' permission.

Start tossing around the term "vortal" in your next meeting and you'll be well on your way to Senior VP. It's the featured term in this week's Internet World "Say What?" section, and Gartner Group predicts there will be 10,000 vortals (vertical portals) within a year or so. (Hey Internet World: why does your web site's content lag so far behind the print version?!)

Love will make you drink and gamble, make you stay out all night long
Love will make you do things that you know is wrong

— Billie Holiday, "Fine and Mellow," one of the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century (according to NPR).
[10.Apr.00]
Yesterday Vijay Singh won the 2000 Masters. Most people don't know that earlier in his career, Singh was banned from playing the PGA tour in Australia because of unpaid debts, and was suspended from the Asian tour for allegedly adjusting his scorecard (i.e. cheating) during the 1985 Indonesian Open.

Whoever submitted "The thought of the first Elian Gonzales made for TV Movie" to the Suck List, you rock. Politically Incorrect's Bill Maher put it best when he said "Elian can stay in America once he's developed a decent curve ball."

Men on TV: Dumb as Posts and Proud of It. The New York Times' Anita Gates says, "Men in a growing number of comedies are depicted as rude, crude, sex-crazed, sexist, childish and blindly egotistical." Finally, TV is accurately portraying reality.


[7.Apr.00]
The inevitable has happened. Amazon.com was forced to break their famous, er, infamous tab navigation into two rows. I think Lawn & Garden was the straw that broke the camel's back. Unable to resist the temptation to ridicule others, dack.com presents amazon.com circa 2001.

There are some really great uses of client-side Java out there. Even if you're not into golf you should check out the live scoring applet (located in the left column) IBM has built for the Masters. You can track the leaderboard in real-time, or follow your favorite player hole-by-hole. What a way to spend an afternoon at the office! Also, TheTrip.com has a really cool applet that lets you track flights, providing air speed, direction, and altitude ... and the little plane icon moves! (Thanks, Pete L.)

Dear Mr. Ragus,

God Bless you and God Bless Michigan State.

What a lovely way to start the day. Thank you for bringing such joy to my life.

Mr. Duren
[6.Apr.00]
Andrew Sullivan has written an awesome article about testosterone and how it dooms men to shorter (but more exciting) lives than women. Says Sullivan:
There is something ... tragic about testosterone. It can lead to a certain kind of male glory; it may lead to valor or boldness or impulsive romanticism. But it also presages a uniquely male kind of doom. The cockerel with the brightest comb is often the most attractive and the most testosteroned, but it is also the most vulnerable to parasites. It is as if it has sacrificed quantity of life for intensity of experience, and this trade-off is a deeply male one.
Never look to Print Magazine for the latest trends in web development. The most recent issue says "A killer app using vector-based motion graphics technology is taking the Web by storm." What would this killer app (blech) be? Flash. Writer Andrea Moed then cites boo.com as a successful application of Flash for e-commerce. This is the same boo.com that was forced to offer an "easier-to-use" Flash-free version of their site.

The President and Mrs. Clinton sure are a giving couple, taking time out of their busy schedules to share Bill's scrapbook with a group of school kids. (Note: this link not suggested for people with slow connections, men with heart conditions, or my boss. Especially my boss.)

That giant sucking sound you hear? That's dack.com sinking to new lows. But hey, edgy content sells!


[5.Apr.00]
TO: dack@dack.com
FROM: BJ
SUBJECT: misanthrope
BODY: You.

It may take a while for you to hit the jackpot, but The Bullshit Generator can now generate "synergize synergistic synergies." It may be time to stop adding to the list.

We've never seen volatility like this before. Yesterday, Copper Mountain Networks' (CMTN) trading range was from $49 to $91. That's a 52-week trading range for most companies.

Fans of The Onion need to listen to yesterday's Talk of the Nation. (Real Audio required). The follow-up to "Our Dumb Century," The Onion's Finest News Reporting, is now available. On a side note, Juan Williams is becoming more and more annoying by the day. Ray Suarez, we miss you.

As a little boy I was told Wisconsin had the best sports fans. As a young man I came to believe it. But now, as an old man, I'm not so sure. I think Michigan State might have the best fans ... or at least the best fan. (Note: this link not suggested for kids, people who don't like to see women's breasts, or my mom. Especially my mom.)


[4.Apr.00]
While in Chicago last weekend, I picked up a copy of The Onion and noticed that they're recycling old stories for the print version. It's not a good practice, but they did republish an article with one of the all-time best Onion headlines: "14-year-old Sudanese Boy Suffers Midlife Crisis." (Unfortunately not online)

Speaking of Chicago, it's home to possibly the best bar on the entire planet: Liar's Club. It's the only place I know where the women try to pick up the men ... and they don't want money! But that's not why I like it so much. It's really for the, um, music. Yeah, that's why.

This kid's site is nothing new, but the emotion for "Working on a tech support line, answering your 500th call of someone who claims he can't send email" is worth another viewing.

I'm told only dorks use Napster. Apparently IRC is the place for tunes.


[3.Apr.00]
A last-minute decision to attend the Final Four forced me to develop the 5K entry in my car. While driving. Soooo, if it's a bit ragged, doesn't work, or otherwise sucks, you know why. Now that expectations have been sufficiently lowered, here's Supper Club Nation.

<RANT>
SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT!
SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT!
SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT!
SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT!
SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT!
</RANT>

If you (a.) invest in IPOs, and (b.) believe Americans have an insatiable appetite to eat stuff that makes them fat, then you need to own shares in this company. (IPO scheduled for this week)


lyrics I dig
"You can have my girl, but don't touch my hat."

— Lyle Lovett


email: dack@dack.com© 1978-2012 dack.com