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   TBTF Log, week of 2000-01-30

This is the TBTF Log, week of 2000-01-30, an experiment in reporting important breaking news in a very timely way. The TBTF newsletter continues unchanged. The most recent issue is TBTF for 2000-02-06: Privacy at the boil.

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Saturday, February 05, 2000

2/5/00 5:27:59 PM

    Cach, IL
  • updated Trouble right here in Cach, Illinois. Recordable.com's online store tells some hard truths about shipping by UPS Ground. I wonder if anyone has clipped this paragraph yet and emailed it to the CEO of United Parcel Service? It sounds like a solvable problem,

    IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT UPS GROUND -- UPS Ground is a very slow and clumsy service (it is not unlike a crippled, drunken turtle with astigmatism). It can take over 2 weeks for your shipment to reach you if you select this shipping method. If the UPS truck is full, there is a chance that your package will be towed behind the truck (at least it will look like it was). Your shipment may also be kicked (probably more than once) by a UPS driver who's annoyed that the package was heavy. We want you to know this up front. To put it bluntly, UPS Ground stinks, but we offer it because many of our customers insist on the lowest priced shipping option available, and UPS Ground is it. The problem is primarily the fault of the UPS sorting facility in Cach, Illinois. Just about every "Ground" shipment we send out West goes through this hub. The Cach facility will sit on the shipment for 3 or 4 days, and then send a package that is bound for Seattle, instead to Florida. We're hoping that UPS reads this because they've got a real problem there that needs to be fixed. If you are going to need your order delivered to you in less than 2 weeks, please select another shipping method (like UPS 3 Day Select). If you do select UPS Ground, please don't write us scathing emails screaming at us about where your shipment is. We tried to warn you. (as you have probably guessed, UPS Ground has become a real problem for us and our customers). Thank you.

    Thanks to Brian Bechtel for the pointer.

    here Updated 2001-01-16, 10:09 am: The Recordable.com link cited above no longer features this colorful descriptive text. Perhaps someone told UPS and they fixed the problems at CACH. I'd be more inclined to believe that UPS's lawyers sent a nastygram threatening legal action.

    Alert reader Richard Benak pointed out an error in my original map -- the one you see now has been corrected. Benak wrote that the original is misleading about the actual location of "Cach":

    CACH, IL is actually the UPS Chicago Area Consolidated Hub (CACH) in Willow Springs, IL. Your map points to Cache, IL, a totally different place.

    A strange error. All the online mapping services I tried point to Cache, IL when asked to search for "cach, IL". The one I used as a starting-point for the original map -- MapsOnUs -- even in close-up does not show the name of the actual town. Its location is marked by a label containing the text I searched for, "cach, IL". Both Yahoo Maps and Mapquest find Cache, IL when asked for the misspelled version. But at least they both show the true name of the town on the map, and don't use a marker that reproduces the input error.

    Adding or dropping an e from the names of other towns and cities causes MapsOnUs to return a "not found" error, as one would expect.

Thursday, February 03, 2000

2/3/00 12:46:11 PM

  • VA Linux to buy Andover.net. The deal is worth $913 million, though InternetNews says $813M. If you've got a Wall Street Journal account you can read about it here. VA Linux (Nasdaq: LNUX) will trade 0.425 share of its stock for each outstanding share of Andover.net's (Nasdaq: ANDN), and kick in $60M in cash. In effect, at Wednesday's LNUX closing price of $136.875, each share of ANDN would be exchanged for $3.81 in cash and 0.397 LNUX share. This values ANDN shares at $58.17, a considerable premium to its Wednesday close of $36. VA Linux thus adds Web sites Slashdot.org, Freshmeat.net, Mediabuilder.com, and Slaughterhouse.com to its stable, which already includes Linux.com, Sourceforge.net, and Themes.org. LNUX stock dropped about by about 7% on the news, while ANDN rose by about 28%.

Wednesday, February 02, 2000

2/2/00 2:14:24 PM

    The Industry Standard
  • Grokking it For the curious, this page links all of the articles I've written for the Industry Standard's Media Grok over the 6 months I've been contributing to that email newsletter. Media Grok's subtitle is "A review of press coverage of the Internet economy." Grok is not Net news, it's criticism of how the media are covering the Net news. People tell us they drop everything and read the Grok when it arrives each weekday. (Kind of like TBTF, I hope.) You can subscribe to Media Grok, and the many other email newsletters The Standard offers, here.

2/2/00 1:14:58 PM

  • updated DoJ, EC drop NSI investigations. [Note added 2000-02-05, 10:38 am:] NSI got relief on both sides of the Atlantic last week, as this report from internetNews UK discusses. The European Commission called off the investigation it had begun in 1998.

    In 1997, just before Network Solutions went public, the Justice Department announced that it was opening an investigation of the company, then the monopoly supplier of domain names. Now that at least limited competition has come to domain-name space in the era of ICANN, the DoJ is dropping its investigation. This CNNfn report speculates on the announcement's effect on NSI stock, but concludes the company's big jump in valuation yesterday may have been due to other factors.

2/2/00 12:55:51 PM

  • Unclear on the concept (Internet time) The European Commission this week will move to request that ICANN create a dot-EU top-level domain. Europe is falling behind the US in Net-fueled economic growth, and it makes sense to imagine that a domin name particular to Europe might give its Net economy a boost. Such an EC decision would be followed by six weeks of consultations with various and sundry before an official request is made to ICANN. I guess that's reasonable; but six weeks can be an awfully long time on the Internet. This note in the CNN story tears it, though. They just don't get it. Big time.

    [The spokesman] said the Commission will have to examine whether the formal registration of the .eu domain name requires approval by both the European Parliament and Council of Ministers, a process which could take up to two years.

Monday, January 31, 2000

1/31/00 11:00:54 PM

  • Robot labor gangs. Canadian researchers have developed a team of robots that, like ants, can work together to complete complex tasks without intercommunicating. Ron Kube and Hong Zhang at the University of Alberta built 11 mini-robots with wheels, sets of eyes, sensors, and on-board computers to provide instructions. Each robot operates under simple instructions such as "find a block and push it towards the light." When presented with a block heavier than any one robot can move, groups of robots cooperate smoothly to get the job done.

    The research was published this week in the UK journal New Scientist, according to the U of A, but it's not up on their Web site.

    Thanks to Randy Pavelich <randy dot pavelich at ualberta dot ca> For the pointer.

1/31/00 10:04:06 AM

  • Poet Laureate of Internet commerce. FNwire (motto: Fast. Free. False.) has done it again. You know The Onion"? Well, these guys are The Garlic. Read their straight-faced account of the poet who has captured the Webgeist: e.e.commerce.

    The best-known of the so-called "Internet Poets" -- whose swelling ranks include DSLiot, William Keywords Worth, and Elizabeth Barrett Browsing -- commerce is considered a master of the genre. As Davis Galt, culture editor of Computer World, wrote of commerce: "He guts the Internet as a fisherman does a perch, yet the perch is better for the gutting, for his knife is love."

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This venue represents an experiment in more timely and less "cooked" TBTF news coverage. You'll read here things that came through my desktop machine mere minutes before. The TBTF Log replaces the Tasty Bit of the Day feature.

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