stating the obvious Stating the Obvious is brought to you by
brought to you by <TM> ...
current | filter | archives | feedback | retro-push | features | about


The Obvious Filter
A sentence, a link, and sometimes a quote. To suggest items for the Filter, send mail to

Monday 10/13/97
New feedback.

John Doerr hosted a panel of industry heavyweights on "The Future of the Internet" at the Macromedia conference last week. Halsey Minor of C|Net on Push: "Most of us are trying to do advertising, but there's no tracking for advertising in the push medium, and [I] don't think Microsoft and Apple want to install something that follows your mouse around."

Amy Harmon dissects what's up at Microsoft: The Hip Gives Way to the Useful. "After spending some $1 billion chasing the evanescent business of entertainment and media, Microsoft is finding that the Red West products it likes best are those that bear the strongest resemblance to the pragmatic productivity software packages it already knows so well."

Keith Instone on site usability evaluation.

College radio redux: Savvy Advertisers Marketing to Students On the Internet

Margaret Atwood on John Updike. "Surely no American writer has written so much, for so long, so consistently well. Such feats tend to be undervalued. They shouldn't be."

Yes, Filter took a couple days off last week. Thanks for noticing.


Wednesday 10/8/97
Bank of America and Visa are testing smart cards. They "are being used by about 300 Bank of America employees in San Francisco for Visa's version of electronic cash, for secure access to their PCs, and to gain entry into their office building and parking structure," reports

The Sun/MS suit over Java is part of a larger story, of course.

First UC Berkeley nabbed their own knowledge professor. And now Saatchi & Saatchi is no longer an "advertising agency," but rather an "ideas company." One more little item like this and we'll have a trend...ready to die.

Slate on John Updike's science fiction. "It's not a great novel. ... But Updike, even in this book, is a great writer, the greatest we have, in his particular areas of strength--in the control of visual details, in his rhythmic intensity, in the colors and shapes that come pouring syncopatedly from his mischievous pen."


Tuesday 10/7/97
Marimba adds controls to Castanet. "Castanet 2.0 adds more finely grained administration controls so that a network manager can customize the deployment of Castanet's Tuner client and set access controls without building a separate password-protection system."

More on push: Intermind claims it will receive a patent that will force NSCP and MSFT to pay it royalties. "We're confident in the validity of our patents due to how early Intermind began working on this back in the early '90s," said Intermind president Gordie Gardiner. $3 million a day. 365 days a year.

Windows NT as a publishing platform?


Monday 10/6/97
What I helped build last week, in a day. Thanks to Wired News for spelling my name right.

Finally -- some sanity on the departure of a tech exec. Notes developers shrug off Ozzie's departure from IBM. "It's primarily an emotional event and secondarily an intellectual event, but it's really not a business event," said Rowan Snyder, a partner and CTO at Coopers & Lybrand, in New York, which has about 50,000 Notes seats.

Time Digital as competition for Wired? Please -- they're operating in entirely different markets.

They may be changing their name, but RealNetworks still has a bit of the "Progressive" in them. They'll give away 5% of their profits, according to their IPO filing.


Wednesday 10/1/97
Note: life will be unfiltered Thursday and Friday this week. Just so you know.

Regarding: Release. I define it. Alex Massie dissects it. Allura Ellington burns it. And Ben Brown sleeps with it. What do YOU have to say about it? (Macromedia Flash recommended.)

Jakob Nielsen on How Users Read on the Web. They scan.

What the heck happened to Amazon? One-click ordering, that's what.

Web analysis service evens the playing field. "The service, from a five-employee company called Web21 in Palo Alto, Calif., provides information about Website usage from proxy server logs stationed at 500 ISPs, corporations, and universities. The scope of that sample enables the service to track Web usage among 100,000 individuals."


Tuesday 9/30/97
Aieeeee! Internet Explorer 4.0 is released.

What's an editor to do? Fire a columnist, that's what. A Stanford Daily columnist has been fired for violating the "no Chelsea" rule.

How do you command $70 CPMs? You build a game like You Don't Know Jack and put it on the 'net. And then you stick television-like ads in the middle. That's how you command $70 CPMs.

Wired Digital is adding commerce to HotBot. "The co-branding deals are pure revenue sharing, with Wired Digital receiving 5% to 10% commissions on the sale of each purchase through HotBot."



Monday 9/29/97
New Obvious: From Page to Application.

Progressive Networks gets real. They're changing their name and going public. Big surprise.

Does webcasting work?

It's magic.

Berst on ISPs. Seven minimum requirements and five major categories.

Serf: what do you want to learn today?


Friday 9/26/97
New in fray: "I made small talk and watched as the cars blurred by. Eventually I worked up the courage." Michael Woodward sees taillights.

Think different. Apple's new ad campaign to debut Sunday.

The "Cool Site in a Day" teams have been announced.

Anonymous trading? A new technology got the green light from the SEC last week. "OptiMark Trading System allows users to post the number of shares they want to buy or sell and the price at which they want to do it. But because large blocks of stock are often difficult to execute at a single price, the system allows the entry of a third dimension of 'satisfaction' or 'willingness to trade' at various prices."

Salon on interviewing stars: "Oh, God, another one. Another shy, quiet, sweet young actor. And now I'm going to have to spend tons of time tracking down people he knows to say interesting things about him, because he doesn't have much to say for himself."


Thursday 9/25/97
Jennifer New ain't gonna work on billg's farm no more. "I had a near-compulsive, overwhelming need to escape all things Microsoft, to elude the corporation's omnipresence in the Emerald City."

Intel will announce today a technology that will reportedly speed up delivery of web pages. This field is all of a sudden getting very crowded...

House panel rejects crypto agreement.

The spam king gets cut off. "At this time, we don't have any connection to the Internet," Sanford Wallace told The Philadelphia Inquirer.


Wednesday 9/24/97
Upgrading business rules for e-commerce. Lobbyists and commissioners battle it out over the Uniform Commercial Code.

The meme-du-moment: Salon dissects the newly colorized New York Times. "The last thing I want from my newspaper is flash and in-my-face friendliness. I don't want my paper in color any more than I want my mother in a miniskirt or my president on MTV. It's embarrassing, and it looks like hell."

Mattel is suing Nissan over the popular Barbie spot...

Do you want to be filthy rich?


Tuesday 9/23/97
GEIS launches a service that uses its infrastructure to build extranets. "GEIS called distribution of ECXpert a 'key step' in its strategy to extend traditional EDI, a forms-based means of communicating directly from computer to computer without human intervention, and electronic commerce over the Internet."

IBM licenses the PalmOS and announces the "WorkPad," a handheld PC. "Basically, this gets the product into the corporate market. It's a pretty good move [because] 3Com now has inroads to corporate accounts," said Diana Huang, an analyst for IDC.

Wired News on Alexa Internet. Founder Brewster Kahle: "We're not competing with directory sites like Yahoo. We try tokeep you on track by giving more precise recommendations based on what other people say."


The New York Times on "What we're trying to do is tie the writer with the reader directly with an economic exchange," said creator Joe Franklin. "The idea is to cut out publishers, printers, advertisers and glitz. We believe significant content coupled with insignificant prices should yield very significant audiences."


Monday 9/22/97
Morgan Stanley's Internet retailing report.

Snap! launches today.

Want to reach young adults on the web? Then start to think like a college radio advertiser, says Jupiter. ""They are totally into free samples of things." Like, totally.

The gray, er, technicolor lady.

Joey in NetSurf on surfing with a crowd. "Would the perception of audience tracking change if it were presented as entertainment in its own right?"


Friday 9/19/97
The 1997 American Internet User Survey. "49% of all adult Web users use it daily."

Oh, the headlines that C|Net's new online service breeds...

Barnes and Noble has launched its own "affiliate network" to compete with the Amazon associate program. affiliates will earn 5 percent to 7 percent commissions on each transaction, depending on the sales volume generated from the site."

AOL in retailing pact with N2K. "The online giant said it planned to make a small investment in N2K's upcoming initial public offering and added it expected N2K would use some proceeds from the offering to fund part of the retailing deal."

Web Review on fielding a winning web design team. "[T]he needs of the client and the content of the site should determine where the design process starts."


Thursday 9/18/97
Hmmm, and they were expecting one in the first place? IE4 won't active Mac, Win 3.1, reports

The man in black in front of Congress. "Of course, we sold the copyrights in most foreign countries," he told the committee. "But it's an example of the abuse that is out there, that they [are] selling it over the Internet."

Ashley Dunn on The Changing Value Chain of the Information Revolution. "There has been a gradual shift from linear value chains over the years to more web-like chains dependent on the flow of information. What was lacking until recently was the last link that could carry information directly to consumers."

Intel and Compaq are announcing a networking partnership. "Both companies suffer from a dearth of high-end products, including modular hubs, switches and routers."


Wednesday 9/17/97
Sun takes aim at the handheld market with its acquisition of Chorus Systems. "There will be more than 48 million non-PC devices connected to the Internet by the year 2001," predicts Jim Herbert, general manager of Sun's embedded software group.

Michiko Kakutani's review of Underworld. "[It] is an amazing performance, a novel that encompasses some five decades of history, both the hard, bright world of public events and the more subterranean world of private emotions in which individuals are connected by a secret calculus of hope and loss."

Stuart Elliott on the Softbank Network. "We're not talking about Ma's Home Page. They're solid editorial environments with terrific content. By banding together, they can maximize revenue opportunities."

Pushing vertical info: PointCast is planning ten new channels, from telecommunications to real estate.

Steve Silberman on the Webcrawler Search Voyuer (sic). "It's like being the telepathic angel Damiel in Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire, and taking a stroll in a shopping mall."


Tuesday 9/16/97
A new obvious: wishing the fray a happy birthday by performing a Porter's five forces analysis.

Ad Age: Research Firms Respond to Need for More Data. "There are so many companies doing research. One of the things I'm kind of amazed with is their lack of getting the word out," said Karen Edwards, director of marketing at search engine Yahoo!

HP spews spam to the mailing list for one of its scanners. "It was full of irate, weird messages. People were freaking out."

A lawsuit over meta tags. A judge orders a site to remove the words "playboy" and "playmate" from it's meta content description.

Is management consulting just a lot of hocus pocus? A review of the new book Dangerous Company, on Slate. "Instead of a serious analysis of the evolution of consulting or a discussion of the differences and similarities between consulting and traditional corporate management, we get argument by anecdote." That's a shame, because if there's one field that needs... Oh, don't get me started.


Filter from September 1 - September 15, 1997...

Stating the Obvious is copyright 1995, 1996, 1997 by Michael Sippey