dack.com  
 home | golf | booze | film | music | stocks | web | misc  archive 
 
you are here: dack.com > archive > 2000 Q4
inside archive:
/archive overview
2008 Q2
2008 Q1
2007 Q4
2007 Q3
2007 Q2
2007 Q1
2006 Q4
2006 Q3
2006 Q2
2006 Q1
2005 Q4
2005 Q3
2005 Q2
2005 Q1
2004 Q4
2004 Q3
2003
2002
2001 Q2
2001 Q1
2000 Q4
2000 Q3
2000 Q2
2000 Q1
1999 Q4
1999 Q3

2000 Q4

[1.Dec.00]
I don't have anything to say today. Except that A Day Without Weblogs is an utterly useless cause. You didn't post today, in order to observe those who have died of AIDS? That's quite a gesture on your part. Better idea: donate your time, or better yet, your money to help find a cure for AIDS, or cancer, or heart disease, or hunger, or whatever other scourge you'd like to see disappear. And then — and this is the most important part — keep your good deed to yourself.

I would argue, in fact, that A Day Without Weblogs may hurt the AIDS cause because some DWW participants who may have actually done something genuinely constructive towards curing the illness may not, because they feel like they've done their part by not updating their web page.

And now, A Day of Constant Weblogging:

[10:15 AM]
I read Kitty Kate today. It was pretty funny.

[10:40 AM]
This Lego film was pretty good. My only criticism: no head removal.

[11:00 AM]
This weblogging is making me thirsty. I'm enjoying a Coca-cola.

[11:31 AM]
Satirewire is a gem of a site. Example: "14 Remaining Netscape Users Rejoice Over Release of Netscape 6"

[1:30 PM]
I had a BLT for lunch. It was good. I wanted pizza, but I'm observing A Day Without Pizza day.

[3:38 PM]
Sweet. There's a new issue of "The Idler." Idler editor Tom Hodgkinson, author of the excellent "Off Peak Living" has published two more must-reads for those aspiring to idle: "On Becoming Idle," and "Against Routine."

[30.Nov.00]
A bunch of new content has been added to this site, mainly in the brand-new music channel: reviews, compilations, useless lists, etc. Poke around and let me know what you think ... but not before you buy a t-shirt.

For those of you without web-enabled cell phones, Cell Phone Theater is now available on an ordinary web browser.

Finally, if it's Thursday that means it's time for the radio show. (Note: Next week, both the "current song" and the "recently played" list will be made available, and there will be a 128K stream.)

  1. Discovery - No Regrets
  2. Tim 'Love' Lee - Your Mum
  3. dack.com/music promo wrongwaygoback
  4. nightmares on wax - bless my soul
  5. Inspired - Life Story
  6. 45 Dip - A Man And A Woman
  7. Kinobe - Hammock island
  8. Nightmares On Wax - Capumcap
  9. Groove Armada - Your Song(Tim Love Lee Remix)
  10. Llorca - The End (hepop Mix)
  11. dack.com/music promo peterme
  12. Afro-Mystik - Tidepools
  13. Funky Lowlives - Nota Bossa
  14. Groove Armada - Light My Fire
  15. Lemon Jelly - Muggsy
  16. Bent - I remember Johnny
  17. Papua New Guinea - Future Sound of London
  18. one dove - white love (radio mix)
  19. Bent - Always
  20. Sieg der Liebe - zweiter tag
  21. Chime - The Air You Breathe
  22. Aim - Cold Water Music
  23. dack.com/music promo goodexperience
  24. Pepe Deluxe - The Beat Experience
  25. Bobby Trafalgar - homeshopping
  26. Souls n Soda - moccascience
  27. DJ Cam - Dieu Recconaitra Les Siens
  28. Fazed Idjuts - Dust of Life (Main Guitar Mix)
  29. Kinobe - Bopalong
  30. air - la femme d'argent
  31. Alex Gopher - Tryin'
  32. Sebastian Schuller - la baie de anges
  33. Blue States - Your Girl
  34. Nicola Conte - il cerchio rosso
  35. dack.com/music promo lileks

And one last thing ... Kitty Kate is back.

[29.Nov.00]
If you're bored with Flash discussion, you probably should stop reading riiiiight aboooout now.

What struck me about Macromedia's new Flash Usability Tips is how shallow and somewhat useless they are:
  1. Remember User Goals
  2. Remember Site Goals
  3. Avoid Unnecessary Intros
  4. Provide Logical Navigation and Interactivity
  5. Design for Consistency
  6. Don't Overuse Animation
  7. Use Sound Sparingly
  8. Target Low-Bandwidth Users
  9. Design for Accessibility
  10. Test for Usability
Groundbreaking stuff, eh? Still, one of the designers who is part of Macromedia's usability push - Hillman Curtis - manages to violate several of the tips on his web page.

Anyhow, Flash developers will probably benefit less from clichés and more from detailed, technical articles that demonstrate how to build more usable Flash sites.

Almost like clockwork, "Flash is Evil" gets passed around the Web every two months or so, and the email flows freely. When the "comically shortsighted" article was first published, the flames outnumbered the praise by about 3 to 1. Now, the messages saying "I hate Flash sites" outnumber the "You're a moron" emails by about 5 to 1. Interesting? Probably not. Anyhow, here's part of the latest bounty:
FROM: Craig Hooper
SUBJECT: sounds great!
MESSAGE: Yeah, sounds good asshole, waste your time trying to keep technology down. I know - animation, sound, and a high level of interactivity are such a bad thing. Static, text based sites are the way to go. Sounds like a plan, buddy. Nothing should move and be silent...sounds fucking great.

FROM: James Diss
SUBJECT: Flash is Evil
MESSAGE: I happen to think that all the people who said that you're short-sighted or jealous are failing to hold themselves in check; Flash is proprietary, Adobe has recently found that trying to write a competing tool to Flash is difficult when the company you're competing against doesn't release all the source. This method of control is practised across the board wherever there is closed source, and a lot of the mouth-breathers that you've come across don't understand that they're going to limit their choices in the future.
And then there's this rage-inspiring suggestion:
FROM: Christine O.
SUBJECT: Denny's inspires RAGE
MESSAGE: http://www.dennysrestaurants.com

Our company used to have this account, the old version was quite sane, but the new co just went apeshit with Flash.
[27.Nov.00]
<coffee and sausage McMuffins for everyone!>
The success of wireless technology in America is heavily dependent on the amount of time we collectively spend taking a dump:
Forbes magazine on the BlackBerry:
People that use (the BlackBerry) act addicted, thumbing away on the wireless gadgets throughout meetings, at boring client dinners-even during visits to the rest room.

Email from a Motorola employee:
I can tell you people around here are addicted to their 2 way pagers. It is impossible to have a five minute conversation with someone without them opening up their pager and typing away at someone. And yes, the keyclicks are constantly audible from behind bathroom stall doors.

Elink and Yahoo! print ad
Finally, Yahoo! Everywhere, even in the can.
</coffee and sausage McMuffins for everyone!>

It's about time someone parodied "Who Moved My Cheese?" There are now two, with the same (predictable) title:

1. "Who Cut the Cheese? - An A-Mazing Parody About Change (and How We Can Get Our Hands on Yours)
2. "Who Cut the Cheese?: A Cutting-Edge Way of Surviving by Shifting the Blame"

A search for "Who Cut the Cheese?" turns up another title that's been added to my amazon shopping cart: "Who Cut the Cheese?: A Cultural History of the Fart."

[22.Nov.00]
Back in April this column thought Vince McMahon's XFL was going to be big, but I had no idea it would be like this. (photo from the XFL combine, summer 2000. Via Chris Franson.)

Jesus seeks loving woman. "Golden-haired, blue-eyed Jesus seeks loving young woman (18-29), preferably of recent Norse-Germanic heritage, who wishes to live in the spirit of the eternal."

"MarchFirst is going down the tubes"

Yesterday's link to an interview with Frog Design creative director Val Casey generated a surprising amount of email, most of it slamming Casey's comment that "usability is dead." Here's a sample:
Val Casey thinks usability is dead because she fails to see what usability really is about. She thinks usability engineers are out there to make users look like idiots who don't know how to use the computer. She is comparing using a computer to perform tasks to the 'consciouness' users get from 'watching television.' She has no sense of what it means to support a user and the task. I am sure she has never ever done a task analysis, and it shows. She believes usability specialists are there to make the web look 'horsey', and she thinks people like her are there to make the web 'democratic.'

As a testament of her ignorance, I will quote her, which speaks for itself:

"You know how in a magazine, you [try to] flip to page 86 and you can't find page 86 because it's on a black ad? You don't hold that against the magazine. You just figure it out. So why do people not have the same patience with the Web?"
[21.Nov.00]
Business 2.0 tells web developers to "Hold the Bells and Whistles" in the age of broadband:
"(Jcrew.com) ... has experimented with flashy 3D presentations, but the technology failed to pay for itself, says David Towers, director of customer experience. In short, consumers didn't use it, so J. Crew didn't keep it. That is just the point. If a technology does not help users do what they need to get done then it isn't worth deploying. The focus must be on usability, not capability."
But wait! Frog Design creative director Val Casey says "usability is dead."

Grim reaper come a knockin'? E-stamp and Stamps.com are failing at B2C, so they're — get this — shifting their strategy to B2B. Both have been complete disasters so far: in 1999 they combined for $116 million in losses against $1.65 million in revenues. The GartnerGroup's explanation for their troubles has been repeated often for online firms that try to change people's behavior: "It's hard to change people's behavior."

RIM's BlackBerry is known as "crackberry" due to its addictive nature. Like crack. They're hot now, but Forbes thinks Motorola may eat RIM's lunch.

[20.Nov.00]
CMGI has lost $22 billion in market value since the beginning of the year. CMGI chairman David Wetherall has made $193 million over the past 15 months.

Fans of "Waiting for Guffman" and "Best in Show" should be watching PBS's Antiques Roadshow, where average folk have their treasures appraised by experts. Most appraisals are success stories, but there is the occasional unpleasant surprise that keeps me glued: "You paid $4000 for this book signed by Mark Twain? Well, it's a forgery and it's probably worth about $40."

Dot-com roadkill. The NY Times Magazine asks "What's next?" for victims of the dot-com shakeout. Mike Pola was fired when Gazoontite.com went tits-up, but wants another taste of dot-com life:
"A lot of people will go back to traditional positions. But those with the dot-com start-up mind-set won't. Once you taste it, it's a drug, and you kind of want to go back to it. I'm willing to sacrifice stability for another roller-coaster ride."
[16.Nov.00]
I went to college at UW-Madison, but now I realize that was a terrible mistake. Ohio State rules!

The needy women discussion continues:

FROM: Maryse Fleuriot
MESSAGE: Most of you guys should be so lucky to have a women who neeeeeeeeds.
HAH!
We have batteries! We have vibrating electrical devices! We have turkey basters! We have frozen sperm!
Who needs YOU?
You better LEARN to EARN our attention, boys. Lots of work to do.......

Joe Queenan picks the Five Crappiest Tech Jobs:
1. Packer for dogdoo.com
2. Porn sifter for filtering company
3. PR account executive for a dot-com startup
4. Chat room monitor
5. Online lackey

P.S.: Joe Queenan is a hilarious smartass. I highly recommend two of his most recent books: Red Lobster, White Trash and the Blue Lagoon, and My Goodness: A Cynic's Shortlived Search for Sainthood. Nevermind the average star rating for "Red Lobster;" there are lots of one-star reviews from embittered readers who had their favorite musician, author, restaurant, or city skewered by Queenan's sharp wit.

More from Forbes FYI: "Call Me Fishmeal: Microsoft's grammar- and spell-check programs are quietly taking over." Works that failed Microsoft's grammar check: Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death," the Preamble of the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, and Hamlet's "To be or not to be."

Check out Christopher Seaman's Charts from Hell, a graphical representation of fucked or about-to-be-fucked companies. Carnage!

There's no radio show next Thursday, so get your dose of chilled grooves today from 1-4 p.m. central (7-10 p.m. GMT). Just click here. Here's what's on tap:

  1. Planet e - klub kola (uptight on the rocks mix) - [5:18]
  2. Alex Gopher - 06 10 98 - [2:05]
  3. David Holmes - Rodney Yates - [6:02]
  4. Astrud gilberto - maria quiet - [1:52]
  5. dack.com/music promo wrongwaygoback - [0:10]
  6. Isolee - Beau Mot Plage (Freeform Reform Pts. 1&2) - [5:12]
  7. Deadbeats - got it goin on (aim remix) - [5:08]
  8. Way Out West - The Gift - [3:38]
  9. Yves Montand - Pour Faire le Portrait d'un Oiseau - [6:15]
  10. Destiny - Blu - [6:41]
  11. Nightmares on Wax - dreddoverboard - [5:48]
  12. Jaffa - elevator - [5:02]
  13. Nail - All This - [5:14]
  14. Funkylowlives - funk construction (latazz mix) - [7:39]
  15. Zero 7 - Lo - [3:49]
  16. A Man Called Adam - Steady - [4:06]
  17. Kinobe - Slip Into Something More Comfortable - [5:00]
  18. The Songstress - See Line Woman - [7:23]
  19. Costes La Suite - Symphatique - [2:34]
  20. Jazz Transit - lets do this - [7:31]
  21. dack.com/music promo peterme - [0:08]
  22. Blue States - your girl (bullitnuts remix) - [4:38]
  23. Tosca - Doris Dub - [4:00]
  24. Bent - Chocloate Wings - [5:41]
  25. Shirley Bassey - Light My Fire - [3:26]
  26. Groove Armada - Playing Your Game Baby - [6:05]
  27. Costes La Suite - You Are Love - [6:39]
  28. Headspace - Bliss - [7:38]
  29. Nemo - darkest day - [3:37]
  30. dack.com/music promo goodexperience - [0:08]
  31. Bent - Private Road - [6:29]
  32. One Dove - breakdown (cellophane boat mix) - [6:39]
  33. Massive Attack - Protection - [4:55]
  34. Tosca - Orozco - [5:24]
  35. Coco Steel & Lovebomb - yachts (a man called adam mix) - [5:57]
  36. Air - kelly watch the stars - [3:44]
  37. Nightmares On Wax - Ethnic Majority - [4:31]
  38. Flying Pop's - Love The DJ - [4:29]
  39. dack.com/music promo lileks - [0:09]


[15.Nov.00]
Today, dack.com presents "A Week in the Life of an Email Inbox."

AmIHotOrNot broken down by subjects' scores (via Andy Baio, the creator)

AmIHotOrNot parody #1 (via Bob LinDell)

AmIHotOrNot parody #2 (via Michael Leff)

AmIHotOrNot parody #3 (via David Howard)

The Jive Server (via Dave Guidice)

What men think about (via Jon Swenson)

Random mullets (via Rick Von Sloneker)

Fat Chicks in Party Hats (via Bob LinDell)

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (via Steve Ulrich)
Good: Your hubby and you agree, no more kids
Bad: You can't find your birth control pills
Ugly: Your daughter borrowed them

Good: Your son studies a lot in his room
Bad: You find several porn movies hidden there
Ugly: You're in them

Good: Your husband understands fashion
Bad: He's a cross dresser
Ugly: He looks better than you

Good: Your son's finally maturing
Bad: He's involved with the woman next door
Ugly: So are you

Good: You give the birds and bees talk to your daughter
Bad: She keeps interrupting
Ugly: With corrections

Good: Your wife's not talking to you
Bad: She wants a divorce
Ugly: She's a lawyer

Good: The postman's early
Bad: He's wearing fatigues and carrying an AK47
Ugly: You gave him nothing for Christmas


FROM: Gabriela M.
SUBJECT: needy women suck
MESSAGE: Ah yes! But those of us who aren't, intimidate. So we get to choose from two flavors. In my modest observations the needy ones do much better.

(Editor's note: Bullshit.)

FROM: Jeanne P.
SUBJECT: Website
MESSAGE: Hmmm. Someone told me about your "rants" so I took a walk through your site. It seems like you don't like much of anything. And that you really like to generate hype as much as bash it. Kind of the shock jock mentality to website propaganda creation. I'm not really impressed, Dack. And will continue to be unimpressed until you can get and report ALL of the facts (instead of just hearsay) and until you can put together specific, detailed plans on how you would construct life differently. Until then, you're just a whiner. Nothing innovative about that.

And it's interesting that you quote Pat McCurdy...because he writes about guys like you all the time. Self-centered and willing to say anything to get attention.

"Everything revolves around me...I'm a tyrant, Svengali, an asshole... anything I want to be..me...Nothing is important but me..." Pat McCurdy's Ode to Dack from his "Showtunes" album 1995

(Editor's note: Full lyrics to Pat McCurdy's "Me" found here.)

FROM: John B.
SUBJECT: dack
MESSAGE: Are you for real? What is dack? And what is Flash??

[14.Nov.00]
<always low prices>
It's true. Wal-Mart — America's second-largest company — has dropped BroadVision — an expensive, proprietary middleware tool that costs hundreds of thousands (or more) in licensing fees — in favor of GNU Server Pages, which is free and open source. Makes sense to me.

Given that they've gone open source, and are now focused on "ease of use, site reliability, and speed," has Wal-Mart transformed itself from laughingstock to one of the savviest retailers on the Web?
</always low prices>

As CMGI told analysts it planned to divest itself of 1stUp.com and ICast.com to help it become profitable, many more suggestions rolled in for the CMGI Acronym Challenge:

Commodes Make Good Investments
Creating More Godawful "Innovation"
Carrying More Gross Indebtedness
Crosseyed Money-Grubbing Ingenues
Corporate Monkeys Getting Inventive
Cro-Magnon Grade Investments
Complete Money Grubbing Idiots
Call Me Goddammed Insane
Crappy Marketing is Getting Intolerable
Cash Money Goes In (nothing comes out)
Calculated Marketing, Goodbye Internet
Customers Make Great Investors!
Crap, More "Great Investments"
Can't Meet Goals, Insolvent
Canned Meat - Good Idea!

And then there was this contrarian view from Sid Soni:
CMGI has made money out of garbage... The public wanted to buy junk, so they produced it. They are geniuses. Just b/c the public isnt buying anymore, doesnt make them stupid. They turned off the faucet almost immediately back in april. The jokes on everyone BUT CMGI... who else got 10000000% ROI in the last 3 years?
[13.Nov.00]
Walmart.com is back. About a month ago this column wondered if Wal-Mart even needed an e-commerce site, partly because its demographic is a freakshow. We've got confirmation of this from Walmart.com CEO Jeanne Jackson, who says, "The reality is that the Wal-Mart demographic looks exactly like the U.S. population demographic."

On the new, unsexy walmart.com, CEO Jackson thinks the industry rags will slam them, saying, "'These guys are idiots, they don't know the technology that's available, they don't have any streaming video,' or this or that. But we're not going out there to do leading-edge technology. We're doing things that make the shopping experience easy. My mom isn't going to make a transaction on the Net until it's easy for her to do."

Oh, one other thing about the new walmart.com: Their URLs don't look like BroadVision URLs anymore ...

CMGI was founded in 1968 as College Marketing Group. Cynical reader Brian Carter suggests some other, better possibilities:
Can't Make A Good Investment
Change Money into Garbage Instantly
Call Me a Goddamned Idiot
Carnivorous Money Gobbling Idiots
Capital Markets Gone Insane

Got an idea for another one? Tell me.

[10.Nov.00]
CNN political analyst Jeff Greenfield on the post-election developments and their threat to the republic: "This is like a car on a hill headed towards a cliff. There is plenty of time to stop the car before it goes off the cliff. Everyone likes the car. They want to preserve the car. But the car is now approaching the cliff."

The car will stop. The troops will remain in the barracks. W will be president. I just hope he completes his required reading before January 20th.

The Japanese are making some seriously cool cell phones (and a bunch of other neato devices). Check out these photos from a tech show called CEATEC (Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies).

FC's new "Happy Fun Slander Corner" is the source of some of the best entertainment on the Web. Here's a small sample from yesterday:

COMPANY: bike.com (closed)
MESSAGE: Their online store was ugly and had absurdly high prices. The only thing going for them was their good editorial content and we all know what content and a nickel will buy you. Yep, that's right, a big cup of didly squat!

COMPANY: evite.com (big layoffs)
MESSAGE: I wonder if management sent out an "evite" to all of the employees getting whacked. "Please verify your attendence to our company meeting. P.S. bring all your shit from your cube, you'll need it."

COMPANY: ROIDirect.com (big layoffs)
MESSAGE: came into work yesterday morning to find the network locked down. no e-mail. no internet access. we got into a meeting where the big cheese told us we're fucked. we get paycheck and accrued vacation but we wont get our promised bonuses form last quarter...last week they said it was a accounting snafu. total bullshit. some guy was actually wearing a fuckedcompany t-shirt after the meeting.

[9.Nov.00]
Republican Clay Roberts, director of Florida's Division of Elections, is pooh-poohing the impact of the poorly designed ballot in Palm Beach county. This data suggests he may be wrong.

Fierce Wireless awarded its Cool WAP Site of the Day to MyWapWord, and had this to say:
Mywapworld is the winner of the Yell 2000 award for "most innovative technology" presumably based on its attractive web page design constructed using Flash animation technology. However, the slow downloading of this system means that it is probably quicker to load the page using a WAP handset. And the WAP version is much easier to navigate than the confusing graphics and buttons on the web site. It would appear, for a change, that WAP's very basic interface gives it an edge over the more established rich medium of the web!
I think this is, um, against the law or something, but here's the playlist for today's radio show. Tune in today from 1-4 p.m. central (7-10 p.m. GMT) by clicking here.

Aim - Sail
Alex Gopher - You, My Baby & I
Tosca - Boss In Boat
Groove Armada - A Private Interlude
Recloose - Spelunking
Moby - Run On (Dave Clark Mix)
Aphex Twin - Xtal
Sidewinder - Stanway's Revenge
New Phunk Theory - La Neblina del Verano
Checkov - blow your cool
Moloko - The Time Is Now
Nightmares On Wax - Stars
Smoke City - Underwater Love
Aquarium - Life Times
Bent - i love my man (lazyboy´s anyone for tennis mix)
Aquanote - Only
jay-jay johanson - tell the girls I'm back in town
Bent - Welly Top Mary
Afterlife - Breather 2000
De-Phazz - No Jive
Pat Barry - side to side
Muki - Fullscope
Groove Armada - Snappiness
Swag - Aug Munch
Nightmares On Wax - Jorge
Mashuphedz - Cuckoo Clock
Groove Armada - Your Song
David Holmes - Gritty Shaker
Daniel Ibbotson - celebrate
Rinôçérôse - Machine Pour les Oreilles
Air - talisman
Groove Armada - at the river (english riviera mix)

2000 Q4

[8.Nov.00]
The CMGI empire is in crisis. Furniture.com and Mothernature.com are dead, and it's rumored that iCast will be shuttered on Friday. That's news to iCast public relations director Stu Zakim who said, "We have no information on that story at all. It's definitely business as usual." Poor bastard.

Brokerage house recommendations are usually pretty lousy, but brokerage house recommendations on companies they've taken public are a complete and utter fraud. To wit: Pets.com closed yesterday, yet three of the four underwriters of Pets.com's IPO — Merrill Lynch & Co., Bear Stearns & Co. and Thomas Weisel Partners — still recommend that investors buy the shares.

The best thing about a presidential election night is the folksy metaphors and goofy wit of good ol' Texan boy Dan Rather:

» After the early Gore comeback: "Bush's lead has melted faster than ice cream in a microwave."

» On Bush's success in the south: "Bush is whipping through the south like a tornado through a trailer park."

» Gore winning the presidency without California is "like trying to scratch your ear with your elbow."

» On Gore winning Florida (early), governed by W's brother: "Bush has got to be as mad as a rained on rooster."

» "We're back, and the presidential race still hotter than a Laredo (Texas) parking lot."

» And finally: "On this night, votes talk, everything else walks."

[7.Nov.00]
I have to agree with Bush strategist Karl Rove, who predicts a comfortable win by the first ever all-DUI ticket.

The Car Talk guys rate the 10 worst cars of the millennium. About the 4th place finisher, the AMC Gremlin: "It was entirely possible to read a Russian novel during the pause between stepping on the gas and feeling any semblance of forward motion."

A Scient employee emailed me the address of their non-Flash site. Sooo much better in so many ways ...

As is tradition at dack.com, on a presidential election day I open up the email bag. Haven't missed one since Nixon-McGovern back in '72. This fan mail all came yesterday:

SUBJECT: needy women suck
MESSAGE: what's up with that? did your girlfriend just break up with you?

SUBJECT: angermanagement (sic)
MESSAGE: Find topics on how to control anger/fustration (sic)

SUBJECT: bull
MESSAGE: your site is horseshit

[6.Nov.00]
I missed a big week. Jakob Nielsen published Flash: 99% Bad, which generated a tsunami of antithapy, discussion, and debate. TheMan and Urban Box Office folded, and boo.com returned from the dead. Oh, and Australian weblogger Neale Talbot published his 1st Anniversary Spectacular.

What surprising about some of the recent dot-com blowups is what completely catastrophic failures they were: Urban Box Office spent $50 million and had revenues of $150,000. Boo.com sold a single item in Italy, a $2.50 key chain that cost boo $11 to pay for the shipping and return. TheMan was burning through almost $1 million a month, and tried covering those costs by selling cologne and grill sets. (Note: if anyone has knowledge of how much stuff TheMan.com actually sold, please email me.)

Some people just can't get enough of the boo.com failure earlier this year. I'm one of them. It's a damn shame his article isn't online, but freelance writer Michael Rey (who worked at boo.com) has a helluva behind-the-scenes look at boo in the September issue of GQ. The highlights:

» Boo web designer Cameron Hickey: "Everyone thought they were rock stars."

» There was fresh fruit, chocolate, and flowers in the boo office every day.

» In the first three months, founders Ernst Malmsten and Kajsa Leander flew the Concorde several times from London to New York for one-day meetings and weekend layovers.

» In one month, "one new buyer racked up $20,000 in expenses, including $5,000 cell phone charges, hotel massages and conjugal visits by her boyfriend, who was flown over from the States on weekends."

» Accounting was regularly seeing $15,000 - $30,000 in individual monthly expense reports.

» One of the several launch parties turned into a huge techno rave. Former staffer Dave Sag: "There were circus acts and bunnies on roller skates handing out vodka—and there was a regular blizzard going on in the bathroom. The whole company was a bunch of freaks."

» Another "ex-boobie" on drug usage at boo: "It was pretty damn easy to purchase pills and lines or anything else in that office. One time in the London office, we passed around a CD cover with lines of cocaine on it."

[27.Oct.00]
CMGI CEO David Wetherall blames the federal government's Y2K policy for this year's NASDAQ meltdown. Better explanation: dot-coms, some "incubated" by money-losing CMGI, revealed as non-businesses.

Remember Scient? The company that helped Verde.com go from launch to bankruptcy in less than 60 days? Well, they have given themselves a new lease on life, and are now working in the "next economy," because, as their chief marketing officer says, "The new economy is dead." A former client shares his experience working with Scient (from the CNET article's feedback):
SUBJECT: Scient blows
MESSAGE: I had the unfortunate 'pleasure' of working with Scient on the build-out of the first generation of my company's web site last year. (I knew several of the senior technical folks, as I'd previously worked with them at PointCast.) What a nightmare. From process, to staffing, to billing, to contract, everything about Scient was a poor experience. Ultimately we took our business elsewhere; from everything I've heard from other's (sic) in the industry who have worked with them, my situation was not unique.
The born-again Scient has a new web site, done entirely in Flash. Flash sure is great for rapping Founding Fathers and cartoon porn, but what the heck is the point of using Flash for a site like Scient's?

drawbacks
benefits
- Plug-in required
- Cannot copy-paste
- Not printable
- Not indexable
- Not intra-page searchable
- Not bookmarkable

- Complete control over the user interface

Want to add an item to the "benefits" column? I'm all ears.

I'm sure to hear from Christopher Robbins, who's created a Jakob Nielsen/usability parody at youzit.com. (Note: site can also be accessed at usabilitysucks.com.)

FEEDBACK TO THIS ENTRY:
» "Scient Flash benefit: A potential sucker can't copy-paste living.com from Scient's client list into his/her address bar, thus making it that much less likely that he/she will see living.com's bankruptcy information.

Oh, wait... Total Control... forgot."


» "Are you blind? Can't you see why Scient uses Flash?

Flash (a dynamic web technology) compliments Scient's dynamic business model. Both change daily, you can't pin either down and there's no evidence that either ever existed.

I think scient would argue that their failures stem from being ahead of their time. Is that any worse than failing because you are behind the times? Probably not...

"scient. Innovate - for what's next" -- seems to me they should spend a little more time thinking about what's here now.

If I ever use a consulting company I want one with a slogan "We understand yesterday, we have a pretty good grasp on today, and we will understand tomorrow when it gets here."

Only a bunch of morons would claim to understand tomorrow when it's painfully obvious they haven't got a fucking clue about yesterday."

[26.Oct.00]
Winners of the "I Look Like My Dog" Contest (via John Hardy).

Launched in September, fucked in October. That's the story of Modo, one of the most spectacular flameouts yet. Jakob Nielsen raved about the device but questioned the business model. If you think that selling a single-use device to big city hipsters to tell them what's hip sounds like a bad idea, you're not alone.

The radio show is inching closer to an official launch. Tune in today from 1-4 p.m. central (7-10 p.m. GMT) for a handpicked selection of groovy chill out music, featuring Bent, Blue States, Nightmares on Wax, Alex Gopher, and more. It's the antidote to the rage that's engulfing the rest of your life. If it's time, click here. (Note: You need an MP3 player to listen to the stream.)

[25.Oct.00]
Somebody please help me. I'm not sleeping, I'm not eating ... hell, I'm not even drinking. All I can do is rate women at amiHOTorNOT. This is almost as fun as sitting in the window of The Pub on State Street (in Madison, WI) with a deck of cards. Hey ladies, while you're there, rate me.

Oh, the pain. Three weeks ago Razorfish lost half its value. Yesterday it was MarchFirst's turn to crater, losing nearly 60%. Who's next? Do I hear 70%? Maybe, if Michael Mandel is right.

Crabby ZDNet columnist Charles Cooper tells so-called internet visionaries like David Wetherell (CEO of the doomed CMGI) to shut up: "I'd be ... happy if Wetherell and other leaders of "the new economy" took a time out. If you got it, flaunt it -- or whatever. Just shut your mouth and don't make out as if you were the second coming of Isaiah Berlin."

I'm not much for sim games, but Start-Up 2000 looks like a gem. Now everyone can run a Fucked Company! (via Mark Wagner)

Viant Forms Partnership With Groove Networks, and then uses new terms that need to be added to the BSG. A sample from Viant CTO Tim Andrews:
"P2P computing is a significant technological macroforce, and at Viant we specialize in sorting out the sustainable benefits surrounding such macroforces. Groove provides a compelling implementation of a platform enabling creation of '3c applications' (control, collaboration, and contribution) in a business context. This will be the key to creating innovative business practices leading to sustainable competitive advantage."
[24.Oct.00]
Ironminds' James Morrow has some of the best thoughts yet on New Economy Webonics, and then points us in the direction of The T'Inator, where "visitors can plug in a URL and have it turned into Mr. T-speak, a.k.a. 'jibba jabba.'" I pity the fool who don't listen to dack.com/music on Thursdays between 1-4 p.m. central (7-10 p.m. GMT).

Unstrung's News and Notes is mobile internet commentary with a bite, but too bad it's written anonymously. Wimps. On Razorfish slicing off 10% of its workforce:
Try getting a wireless strategy. Everybody already has a website. How much more upselling can you do to companies that already work with you? Not only are people sick of the orange jump suits--they can't stomach the million dollar price tags for work that 19 year old techies are willing to do for a third of the price.
Fucked Company is being updated about as often as Kitty Kate. No Fucked Company and no Kitty Kate makes Dack a dull boy.

[23.Oct.00]
Downside.com's Deathwatch predicts dot-com deaths based on a company's cash flow. "All we do is look at cash flow. When you run out of money, you're in trouble. The incredible thing is that, for a brief period in 1998-1999, people believed otherwise." A few notables:

1. TheGlobe dead on November 20, 2000. TheGlobe is memorable for one of the biggest dot-com IPOs of all time. Now it's a penny stock.
2. Amazon dead on March 19th 2001. I'll really miss this one. A government bailout, perhaps?
3. Ariba's predicted death is May 31, 2001, but it's trading at $130/share. Lookout below.

Transcript from the fourth presidential debate (via Ethan Johnson)

The book Power, Money, Fame, Sex has a super-cheesy web site. The book's best idea so far is the value of "sprezzatura," which is the appearance of a graceful, easy carelessness. One shouldn't reveal calculation or effort because "the appearance of exertion detracts from your achievements."

[20.Oct.00]
I'd rather go to the dentist than to the grocery store, but last night, while waiting in the express lane with a roll of TP and a bag of Ruffles, I saw Bumblebee Man on the cover of TV Guide. He made the cut as one of the 24 Secret Stars of the Simpsons. Es bueno!

Another useful report from Mark Hurst and his prolific colleagues at Creative Good. A highlight: By CG's measure, improving the checkout process alone could add over $6.5 billion to worldwide holiday sales. One of their solutions: Do not require shoppers to register before they buy.

A box from Amazon came just in time for the weekend. In it, a juicy-looking hardcover I've been told to read: Power, Money, Fame, Sex : A User's Guide. "Learn from Michael Jordan, Robert Moses, Machiavelli, and Madonna — here at last is the guide for using power, money, fame, and sex that describes what actually works, rather than what ought to work."

I don't write 'em, I just post 'em:

SUBJECT: flash as an ecommerce suicide tool
MESSAGE: the only sites i've seen that use flash effectively are parody and humor sites like joecartoon.com and heavy.com. as for using flash for ecommerce - w/o at least offering an HTML alternative - that's like sticking a .44 magnum under your client's chin and squeezing the trigger, boo.com style.
This chap is a spot-on favourite to be the poster boy for rageculture.com:

SUBJECT: Article feedback
MESSAGE: Flash is going to take over html, html sucks!!!!!!!You suck!

Flash is the latest and greatest tool for building interactive websites that give the user a better experience that plain old boring html.

Everything should be flash including your site, your site sucks man, leanr how to design!

You are a F-U-C-k-I-N-G M-O-R-O-N!

If i ever see u im gonna wup yo ass right out of this planet!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bastard fucker, wanker, shit, fuck, arse, prick, bollocks, arse fucker, bullshitter, drainpipe driller, rear ender bender!

Huuuuuuhhh take that you lowlife piece of shit!
[19.Oct.00]
I want to be a rock star. Kristoffer Bohmann wants to be Jakob Nielsen. And they're both from Denmark. Spooky! (via Keith Gillespie)

After a 9-week wait my first movie has made it to ifilm. In a somewhat ironic twist, it's only viewable if you've got the Real Player installed (a decision made by ifilm). Fellow "filmmaker" Jeff Moeller and I created Reminisce as a way to learn more about the art of making movies. It's a baby step, for sure, but we learned a ton and are working on a new one, which promises to have real action and dialogue.

Speaking of lousy filmmaking, Matt Zane's Backstage Sluts 1 and 2 are the two worst movies I've ever seen. There ought to be a law against making porn that bad.

[18.Oct.00]
I got my hands on a copy of Sam Sifton's new book, A Field Guide to the Yettie, which is the Official Preppie Handbook for the web economy. He categorizes all internet animals into three archetype yettie strains: The Nerd Made Good, the Neo-Yuppie Prepster, and the Mouse Jockey. Webloggers, of course, are mostly Mouse Jockeys, for which the Talk editor offers a painfully accurate description:
"In the world of the Mouse Jockey, we find the last gasp of neo-primitive tattoos and piercings, chop-socky clothing choices, and hacker rage. Also, as fortunes rise, mid-century Modern furniture. And a downloaded-from-the-web soundtrack that runs heavily to electronica and hip-hop. We see in the Mouse Jockeys rampant creativity, and occasionally a fiercely reactive Luddite strain that manifests itself in appreciation of books and vinyl recordings. And satire, self-hate, raw animosity, confusion ..."
A couple of gems from Fortune's cover story Dot-Coms: What Have We Learned?: (i.) A smug Dave Winer says money is boring and has "turned everything to shit." (ii.) a bitter and delusional James Cramer says TheStreet.com would be a success if it were a private company; TheStreet.com would be more successful if he had total control; the Internet is tiresome and uninteresting; and doesn't have a "fuckin' clue" about what's next for TheStreet.com.

Wonder what i-mode is like? Here's a sampling of screen savers from NTT DoCoMo. Momo Chan & Momokichi Kun are so darn cute.

If you've read this far you're either a mad dog or an Englishman. Or both. Anyhow, tomorrow from 1 to 4 pm central (7-10 pm GMT) is an unofficial broadcast of dack.com/music. Come back tomorrow, click this link, and let me know if there are any streaming problems.

[16.Oct.00]
Dress up Jesus. And I'll see you in hell.

Report from the CTIA Wireless Conference: Sunday's Wireless Developer Seminar was not a developer seminar at all, but a Sales Seminar. It was complete crap, except for presentations from the open source guys Tim O'Reilly (O'Reilly Publishing) and Keith Bigelow (Lutris Technologies). If you're into open source you should definitely check out Enhydra, an open source Java/XML application server.

If you thought the recent market meltdown would reduce the number of day traders, you'd be wrong. Volatility is their friend. "It doesn't make a difference to day traders if the market is going up or down."

No way, man. No freakin' way does that dork Steve on Sex and the City get the hot chicks. I know it's just a TV show, but no way. No way.

[13.Oct.00]
Soundbitten recommends MTV's Jackass, which looks like reason enough to get cable. (Grrrr. The site uses Real Video as its sole streaming software. Don't they know that Real Networks is a loser? The world would be a much better place without Real Networks software.)

The best BSG feedback in a while, from Carlos Radillo:
Hey, I'm beginning to notice a trend in the direction and source of this bullshit. More and more of the terminology is coming from Newtonian Physics: leverage, impulse, momentum, etc. I predict more words along these lines: gravity, trajectory, acceleration, inertia... And after that, they will probably move on to particle physics, and then the shit will really be incomprehensible.
Sex sites teach the mainstream web shops
"Porn sites also quickly understood that it should keep its sites easy to navigate and they were among the first ones to adopt java software programs that eliminated the need for "plug-ins" to play videos. 'When we started we were too focused on technology,' (porn purveyor Toine) Rodenburg said. 'But we found that consumers lose interest if they have to download plug-ins before they can watch anything.''"

Speaking of downloading a plug-in before watching anything, here's part of a commentary about Flash 5 from evolt.org:
It has taken over a year for 74% of the online populous to bring Flash 4 onto their computers, how long is it now gonna take for the upgrade to Flash 5? Those confident few who have already started using Flash 5 are just kicking their users in the balls and contributing to the overall unfriendliness of the net.

The solutions; don't upgrade to Flash 5, don't upgrade the plugin, and don't upgrade your Flash 4 creation software. Sure, you can do some more complex programming with Flash 5, but there are other working solutions to such problems. Learn Perl, or CGI, use solutions that work automatically on the web, not ones that require your users to jump through hoops to see your content. Your life will be easier, and your visitors will be just as happy.
[11.Oct.00]
<brownout>
Wal-mart's online store is offline "for a few weeks" while they "remodel." I wonder...

Will the new wal-mart.com run BroadVision?
I'm betting against it.

Does it make sense for Wal-mart to even *have* an ecommerce site?
I don't know if you've been to Wal-mart lately, but it's a freakshow. Their customers don't have computers and aren't online, and those that are wired aren't likely to buy dog food and toiletries over the Web.

For many things it seems most people actually like the act of shopping. What else can explain the imminent failure of internet grocery store Webvan? They save people lots of time and hassle by delivering groceries to their door, but according to Forbes they can't get customers, and those that do sign up cost $137 to acquire. Losses are climbing, the stock is down from $34 to $1.75, and even the CEO's outlook is bleak: George Shaheen (who holds 15 million underwater options) says he's up against "good old-fashioned human behavior."
</brownout>

New bookmark: soundbitten, a weblog/ezine from the mind of Greg Beato, a freelance writer who edits at SPIN and contributes to Business 2.0 and Suck. A couple of gems:
1. The Demise of Verde.com
How Scient helped Verde.com go from launch to bankruptcy in less than 60 days

2. The Slacker Jesus Rock 'n' Roll Porn King
Matt Zane, Backstage Sluts 1 and 2, and the rock/porn trend.
Another new bookmark: The Idler. Last time I wrote about The Idler their site said "coming soon." No more. Lots of good content there now, especially the recent Letter from the Editor that calls for people to reduce stress by living "off peak":
Off peak living means sleeping when others are awake, going out when others are at home, working when others are playing and playing when others are working. Instead of going away for the weekend, for example, the off peak liver will avoid the crush by going away from Tuesday to Thursday. Your train tickets will be cheaper and there will be no bawling families or dishevelled executives suppressing their anxieties with Stella Artois in the buffet car.
[10.Oct.00]
Kottke says my weblog is suffering from "quick link death" and essentially tells me to get with the program. I'm in full agreement that this site needs to get its shit together. It needs "permalink" and a search function and a bunch of other things, including banner ads. (Just kidding about the search function). I'm currently looking for a better content management system, one that will be most certainly built from scratch by some smart programmer buddies who, in exchange for beautiful code, ask for only beer, pizza, and pornography. Right guys?

Another cool cell phone accessory: the Hands-Free Kit. (via Nic Skitt)

Forbes columnist Joseph Garber says electronic books are gadgets that have "loser" written all over them. "... don't sell your stock in International Paper. The printed page will be with us for a long time to come."

At least someone is putting the CueCat to good use. Reader Christopher K. has turned his into marijuana paraphernalia, but complains that "it's a little harsh on the uptake."

Beer.com, where have you been all my life? From their rotating beer-related quote machine:

"Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer."
-- Henry Lawson

"It was a wise man who invented beer."
-- Plato

"Give me a woman who loves beer, and I will conquer the world."
-- Kaiser Wilhelm

"Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."
-- Dave Barry

[9.Oct.00]
Some rage was generated from last week's link to clickfactor.nl: "Dack, If you ever put a link like clickfactor.nl in your site again I will find you, rip both your legs off and beat you to death with them."

Communication Arts' Interactive Design Annual 6 highlights some fine web design, but there's something rotten about a competition that allows judges to vote for their own sites. Three of the seven judges also had winning entries:

Judge: Gene Na
Firm: Kioken
Winning Entry: Bad Boy Online
Built/Designed by: Kioken

Judge: Robert Abbott
Firm: Motivo
Winning Entry: Dewar's
Built/Designed by: Motivo

Judge: Cathryn Buchanan
Firm: Altrec
Winning Entry: Crown of Africa
Built/Designed by: Altrec

Yikes! On Friday Razorfish lost almost half its value, and is now trading more than 90% off its 52-week high. I wonder if a chart of employee morale would vary much from a company's stock chart ...

[5.Oct.00]
Microsoft Linux shipping in November 2001.

In a recent test "wapverts" (ads on your cell phone) scored a much higher click-through rate than traditional web banners. Shocking, since most wireless web users seem to be focused on finding specific information.

Early next year Motorola will release the Accompli 009, which may be the most interesting smartphone yet. "It's a floor wax, it's a dessert topping."

John Dvorak says XML is killing the Web.

(Sniff) Yesterday the last Rover "Mini" rolled off the assembly line.

Questra's e-CRM solution (blech) is sure to cause death and destruction on this country's highways and byways. (See photo)

A few more rage-inspiring suggestions:

yigal-azrouel.com
okwranglers.com
virtualaffairs.com
sixflags.com
drpepper.com
blastradius.com
clickfactor.nl

[4.Oct.00]
A bitter James Cramer says it's the endgame for the Web. Huh? Just because TheStreet.com is a Fucked Company doesn't mean this whole Web thing is over. (via Mike Manning)

Ian Austen of the New York Times says the wireless web's popularity is growing despite its limitations. For some, the wireless web is preferred to its wired counterpart:
(Robert Smith) likens using his sleek, state-of-the-art Samsung phone to his early days of personal computing, when he was a proud owner of a boxy Kaypro.

"What I find on the Web is too much junk," Smith said. "Logos and graphics don't thrill me - content does. But the wireless Web is like it was in the old days when we were tapping into bulletin boards with a 300-baud modem."
Just a few of the sites people think are capable of inciting rage:

any site visited on an iMac with that shitty mouse
bang-olufsen.com
cuecat.com
icq.com
maccosmetics.com
reflect.com
smashingpumpkins.com
tombstone.com
worldnetdaily.com
yahoo.com

[3.Oct.00]
Apologies for not posting yesterday, but duty called.

Last week I registered rageculture.com. One of the many ideas for content is to highlight web sites that incite rage. First on the list may be montblanc.com, which incorporates a truly rage-inspiring navigation scheme. (Know of a web site that makes you want to throw a punch? Send me a note.)

Sony has been one of the leaders in the fight against Napster ... the music division of Sony, that is. The consumer electronics division of Sony has filed a friend-of-the court brief on behalf of Napster because they know the proliferation of MP3s will only increase product sales.

The Great Dot-Com Shakeout just keeps on shakin'. Productopia.com and kibu.com are toast; more.com and garden.com slash staff. (From cnet's shakeout portal page.)

Speaking of the Shakeout ... on September 18th I received this message from a reader with a keen sense of BS:

FROM: A fellow from Healtheon | WebMD
SUBJECT: Bullshit generator
MESSAGE: A month ago our CEO sent out an all-staff email in which he wanted "to realize cost synergies across all assets" — meaning, of course, that there will be a new round of layoffs. Until the axe falls I'm doing my part on a go-forward basis to generate a goal-oriented attitude in order to repurpose my results-driven resume!

On September 28th, WebMD laid off 1,100 workers.

lyrics I dig
"They can take away my pride and my dignity

They can use up all my blood and sweat and tears

They can take away my name and give a number

But they can never take away my sex and beer"

— Pat McCurdy


email: dack@dack.com© 1998-2017 dack.com