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TBTF for 1996-07-02: Buzzword luck

Keith Dawson (dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com)
Tue, 2 Jul 1996 04:31:38 -0500

An unstable environment but mine own

I didn't intend to take the month of June off, truly I didn't. TBTF resumes publication this week in the midst of hardware turmoil. To those of you who sent your condolences, thanks. The circa-1989 Mac IIcx with the DayStar Digital accelerator may never rise again: its power supply finally failed, apparently taking the logic board with it. It's repairable but totalled.

For the moment I've got my 16-MB PowerBook 540C set up as a desktop machine with keyboard and mouse, and talking to my original external disk drive and an Iomega ZIP removable. The ZIP cartridge is the final resting place of the contents of the IIcx's internal drive. The 540C (a Motorola 68040 at 33 MhZ) is a bit speedier than the accelerated IIcx (a 68030 at 40), but its screen is smaller and dimmer and it displays only 8-bit color, vs.the IIcx's 24-bit. And in this configuration the 540C crashes a lot -- it didn't do that before -- usually when I'm doing something innocuous such as opening a file in Excel.

Coming in a couple of weeks: a brand new Mac clone from Power Computing [1], a 32-MB PowerPC 604 at 132 MhZ with 17" Sony monitor, VRAM to support 24-bit color at 1280 x 1024, and an Iomega JAZ drive (1 GB removble) built in; 4x CD-ROM and 28.8 modem.

You may wonder how I can in good conscience sink money into what many believe to be a dying technology. It boils down to this: when I work or play in front of a Macintosh it makes me happy; always has. When I work or play in front of any machine from the IBM/Wintel lineage it makes me crazy. Life's too short to suffer a bad user environment.

[1] <http://www.powercc.com/>


Strange bedfellows Down Under

Apple and Motorola are working together in Australia to sell servers running Windows NT. The servers, called PowerStack, carry a Motorola brand name and run on a 133-MhZ PowerPC 604 chip. In fact Motorola has been selling NT servers for some time -- see for example this product data sheet from August 1995 [2] -- but Motorola's Australia country manager called the product "one of the computer industry's best-kept secrets" and added, "It's our stealth marketing department. We're really very shy." Uh-huh. The arrangement to distribute the NT servers through Apple's channels is a new development, and represents a strong if left-handed endorsement of the growing demand for Windows NT. Glenn Holland <grh at cybernet dot co dot nz> posted this item to the apple-internet-users mailing list from the Sydney Morning Herald of 1996-06-25.

[2] <http://www.mot.com/GSS/MCG/products/systems/powerstack/DT604.html>


Marimba: Java pioneers' new company emerges partway into the light

>>From the Weekly Recap (1996-06-03):

> Kim Polese, Arthur van Hoff, Jonathan Payne, and Sami Shaio, for-
> mer members of the Java development team at Sun Microsystems, have
> founded Marimba, Inc., a new company to provide technologies for
> deploying network-aware Java applications.

The unveiling [3] of Marimba [4] occurred at the JavaOne conference about the time the last issue of TBTF hit the airwaves, so it's not exactly new news. In fact the former JavaSoft employees announced their departure early this year, 17 days after the new Sun business unit had been established. The news was broken, as best I can reconstruct, by Suck [5] on 1996-01-26. Arthur van Hoff confirmed the rumor in a newsgroup posting [6] the next day. Suck sheds its customary oblique and baleful light on its subject, and still makes compelling reading even though dated (these were the days of a rumored Sun-Apple merger, dubbed "Snapple").

The then-unnamed startup was originally called "YAJSU," Yet Another Java Startup. Puts me in mind of Dan Bricklin's latest company, toiling busily away at they won't say what; it's actually incorporated in Massachusetts as "dbnewco," i.e. Dan Bricklin's New Company. I'm not making this up.

Note added 1996-07-05: Ted Farrell <ted at babylon5 dot HQ dot ileaf dot com> sent two notes relating to this clever name. Perhaps the companies used the same lawyer for filing incorporation papers.
Are you thinking of David Stok's new company, founded in Mass and called DRSnewco? or is this a coincidence? ... Did some research. We are both right. Both people have come up with the same clever name! Go figure.

Marimba doesn't say what they're working on either. Whatever it is is in the hands of some lucky alpha testers and will be announced when an open beta begins "early this summer." HotWired speculates [7] that the secret software is a HotJava killer, a browser implemented in Java. Perhaps they'll name it YABIiJ.

[3] <http://marimba.graham.com/press.html>
[4] <http://marimba.graham.com/>
[5] <http://www.suck.com/dynasuck/96/01/26>
[6] <http://www.javaworld.com/jw-04-1996/jw-04-polese.newspost.html>
[7] <http://www.hotwired.com/flux/96/24/index0a.html#2>


The most venerable What's New page goes dark

Todd Somers <somers at best dot com> directed the attention of the apple-internet-users mailing list to the Netly News for 1996-06-28 [8]:

> It is a bit of a eulogy for the NCSA "What's New" page that has been
> shut down and has some interesting URLs to historical WWW documents.
> For example, way back in 1993 (gee, did they even have telephones
> then? <grin>) What's New started as Marc Andreesen's bookmark list
> (count 'em, 20 links).

Netly claims that Andriessen's bookmark list [9] originally linked every site that was available on the Web.

[8] <http://pathfinder dot com/@@@L0VEAYAbex*QgqZ/Netly/daily/960628 dot html>
[9] <http://shemp.ncsa.uiuc.edu/NCSA/Staff/SDG/TESTER/Experimental/demoweb/old/interesting-links.html>


Sorted out

For high-gloss coverage of some of the same ground furrowed by TBTF -- electronic privacy, wiretapping, surveillance, encryption, the V-Chip and Clipper Chip -- see "sorted" [10], a "new journal of electronic issues on an insecure planet." The first number features articles by NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu and Joel McNamara, author of Private Idaho. sorted's FTP site [11] will eventually include a full mirror of the Cypherpunks PGP archive, they say, although it's empty at the moment.

[10] <http://www.sorted.com/>
[11] <ftp://ftp.sorted.com/pub/encryption/>


Buzzword luck

This CGI script [12] generates buzzword-laden home pages for fictitious corporate entities. You get a new one each time you reload. It's a hoot and a holler. In a curious case of revived interest, the page had a brief moment of fame beginning in October 1995 when it was named a Cool Site of the Day [13]. An Alta Vista search now reveals 126 links to this page since that time. In mid-June the page was rediscovered by Chuck McManis, email address unknown.

[12] <http://www.athenanow.com/cgi-bin/engine.cgi>
[13] <http://cool.infi.net/>


The term "totalled" comes from the auto insurance business -- a car is totalled when the cost of repair exceeds the vehicle's value on the open market.


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Keith Dawson dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com dawson@atria.com
Layer of ash separates morning and evening milk.


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