"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 11 January 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run XVI



Boredom and indignation: at this

week's MacWorld Expo we were

smothered by the former and

bemused by the latter. Even

before we reached Moscone

Center, we noticed that someone

had done a bang-up job of

plastering dissident flyers on

every available telephone pole

within a two-block radius -

"What's the difference between a

man and a woman on the net?," the

mysterious Grrl.Scout broadsides

pondered. "About 30-50K." Just

as we were composing ourselves

after spotting a pointed, if

ultimately trivial, attack on

Marc Canter, news got to us that

the second Keynote address had

turned into a near-riot.

Apparently someone interrupted

a John Perry Barlow polemic on

censorship with howls to the

effect that the porn infesting

the net acts as a de facto

censor to women. Though we can't

endorse the Grrl.Scout's

reductionist arguments, even

absurd protest beats Syquest vs.

Iomega, not to mention

door-to-door cookie sales.



MacWorld or AdamCon? We were

beginning to wonder which when a

representative from Bandai gave

us a demo of the PowerPlayer,

which runs a version of the Mac

OS called Pippin. Priced at about

twice as much as a Sony

Playstation, the PowerPlayer

plays ported titles from the Mac

OS such as Just Grandma and Me

instead of, say, ported titles

from arcade hits such as Ridge

Racer. We were also treated to

the PowerPlayer running

Netscape, but, sans optional

keyboard, we found ourselves

asking the question: Do all

links really lead home? Other

options include the "TeleCom

Adapter" (a GeoPod) and "Docking

Station" (a floppy disk drive).

Think ColecoVision: it could be

expanded into the Adam home

computer with optional keyboard,

modem, and disk drive. Or don't.

The Bandai rep didn't seem too

pleased with our comparison.


[Net Pub Live]

Elsewhere on the MacWorld floor,

Apple and Adobe are training

"first-time webmasters" (of the

oxymoronic variety, we surmise)

to "publish" their own home

pages. If these are homes, this

is tract housing - either that,

or MacWorld attendees have much

more in common than an OS.



In an act of comic timing

unlikely to go unappreciated by

most fans of legal clownery,

just as the boys of Bunnyhop

finished sending hundreds of

X-Acto-decapitated Binky heads

to Matt Groening's irritable

attorneys, their current

issue rolled off the presses:

The Normal Issue, featuring

cover art of the Family Circus

lineup on the skids under a

clean pinch of Playboy's

typeface. We're reminded of the

hassles encountered by the perps

behind The Dysfunctional Family

Circus, and are left hoping that

Bil Keane and his legal

associates will balance an

appetite for litigation with a

modicum of humor. By wisely

bypassing attempts to trumpet

the outré and sticking to

editorials, instructive

how-to's, and interviews on

"normalcy," publishers Tolentino

and Robson have spat out a gem

more deserving of a read-through

than systematic mutilation.


[Club Web Family Approved Links]

How many clicks to get to the

center of the net? If we start

from Firestorm Productions' Club

Web Family Approved Links, three

clicks gets us to a teenage

cheerleader looking for "new

fronteirs [sic] (hint, hint),"

four clicks gets us to the

gratuitous use of the word

"fuck," and five clicks gets us

to the famous Time photo of a

man, erm, fucking his computer.

Apparently "family approved

links" mean fun for the whole



[Club 666]

The exposure of yet another

iconoclastic underground via the

Web isn't exactly the brightest

news flash to break blood

vessels in tired eyes, nor are

we the staunchest advocates of

pastimes requiring physical

exertion and/or an unhealthy

fixation on the outdoors. But

Chunk 666, self-proclaimed

"bicycle gang and temperance

league," is notable at least for

its frolicking images of

vehicles that bear a

disconcerting resemblance to

primitive torture devices, if

not for its masterful command of

the language of microcosmic

hype: "The usual bicycle tools

must be supplemented with a

hammer, a long pipe for whacking

things, anesthetic, first aid,

radiation pills, and weapons to

fend off marauders... The cargo

bay is also used when we recruit

kids who are sick of their

parents and take them to our

Secret Hideout." Maybe this is

what McLuhan meant by "the

mounting degree of human

creativity and destructiveness"

precipitated by the wheel.

courtesy of the Sucksters