"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 26 September 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run LIII



The problem with computers, you

know, is all that goddamn

typing. The typing will kill

you, really. And the mouse? It's

so '80s! We want a computer

where you don't have to move a

muscle. We want to be one with

our software. Lucky for us,

Silicon Valley microcompany

The Other 90% has given us the

MindDrive. Basically a sensor

that fits onto your finger to

interpret bioelectric signals

like those horoscope machines at

movie theaters, it allows for

pre-Atari levels of input

(yes/no, up/down, in/out, etc.)

Sounds perfect to us, but even

better is the compatible

software (which subscribes to

the Wired Ventures, Inc. school

of product naming): MindMusic,

MindArt, MindBowling, and -

tada! - MindFlight. We want to be

like Clint Eastwood in Firefox:

sitting in the cockpit of a

crazysonic Russian fighter jet,

sweat collecting in little pools

in our helmet's sneezeguard

wheezing to ourselves, "Must...

think... in... Russian..." Well,

we're not so crazy about

learning Russian, but it sure

beats typing.



For the moment, however, typing

is sometimes the only thing that

reminds us we're not watching

TV. That, and the lack of moving

pictures, good quality sound,

and decent content. And, oh

yeah, a reliable, comprehensive

schedule. To their credit,

NetGuide has done their best to

alleviate the latter hurdle to

true glass-teathood on a T1. And

while their attempts to abridge

Suck content fail to be timely,

its bowdlerization of our own

decidedly blue prose has its

charms. But before the InterNIC

starts assigning VCR Plus+

numbers, we should probably keep

in mind that, so far, the only

true convergence of the web and

TV that has taken place is in

brand names. Obviously, that

hasn't kept would-be

talking-net.heads from

Panglossing euphoric about the

possibilities, or the

technoambivalent from predicting

the thickening of both heads and

middles. Such debates are as

predictable as evaporation, and

almost as fun to watch, but PC

World Annex's "Agree to Disagree"

column (why not just call it

"Brain Tetherball"?) tries to

liven up things by adding what

other online guided flame wars

lack: pictures. They don't add

anything to the debate, but

their stylized hokeyness implies

what we suspected all along: The

web isn't so much television as

Kabuki theater, and when it

comes to interactivity

(especially online debates), we

should all just say No.



The day after Web Review's South

Park relaunch party found a

sorry squad of SF police taking

polaroids of the graffiti-laden

sidewalk, with scofflaw-born ire

burning behind their badges.

When a naturally curious Suck

editor approached the

petty-crime scene, her attempts

to snitch went resoundingly

unappreciated. When asked if she

knew the names of the

responsible parties, she simply

pointed towards the paint job

itself, whose blunt message of

"www.webreview.com" was swollen

with meaning imperceptible to

the assembled lawmen. But even

if the D.A. was wired enough to

know who to prosecute, the

defense could hardly hope to

explain how painful this second

blow would be to the website,

whose name has entered into the

online vernacular as a euphemism

for a "dud." Liquor-seeking

attendees to the unlikely

event were given

"webreview.com"-stamped cloth

mittens in lieu of the standard

hand stamp, but in light of the

mag's history, boxing gloves

would seem more appropriate than

kid gloves. Considering that the

final assessment from the cop at

hand was to finger "the

Internet" as a possible culprit,

it would make sense for the new

Web Review not to sweat the heat

of the courtroom and focus

instead on avoiding becoming the

web's first two-time loser.



If you believe, as we do, that

there's something vaguely creepy

about people who dedicate web

pages to their pets - and we

think you know what we mean -

then perhaps Bob Dole's destiny

as the Walter Mondale of the

Republican party can be

explained. While the White House

tour offered by Socks the Cat is

bland and inoffensive, the

website that has been set up in

the name of Dole's dog,

www.firstdog.com, is spooky

anthropomorphism (and optimism)

taken a bit too far. Just as

Reagan calling Nancy "Mother"

left us feeling ill at ease,

Leader referring to Dole as

"dad" is downright

squirm-inducing. The site is

probably intended to warm up

Dole's frosty image, but the

overall effect is a "family"

pose that feels as staged and

artificial as the rest of the


courtesy of the Sucksters