"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 9 October 1997. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CIII


[what is carob?]

While it might be true that

individuals should be judged by

the quality of their friends,

corporations are best evaluated

by the quality of their enemies,

and one would be hard pressed to

find a more valuable enemy than

erstwhile presidential candidate

and general-purpose advocate

Ralph Nader. Public Citizen's

salvos against

Claritin-manufacturer Schering and

Sunbeam have met with steady

stock price increases, and even

the luckless Corvair is

experiencing something of a

renaissance as the ultimate bad

boy vehicle. In this light, the

Green-eyed monster's

announcement that he would be

going after Microsoft - starting

with an all-star DC conference

in November - isn't so much a

threat to Bill's dominance as a

confirmation of it. It's

possible that this is exactly

what Nader had in mind, as his

description of the situation

("There's too much fear and

intimidation in the business

community.") and the proposed

solution ("When one person

speaks out, maybe two will. When

two, maybe four.") make the

event sound less like a

conference than a 12-step

program. The conference's

admission price of a grand a

seat seems to confirm our

suspicion that Nader shows the

savvy of someone who plans to

milk this particular

net.neurosis for a long time.


[how does it differ from chocolate?]

Of course, Nader isn't the only

one who's figured out how to

turn virulent partisanship into

something more profitable than

yet another cheap joke - but

leave it to beloved Suck

co-founder Joey Anuff to

accomplish both. His casual

dismissal of the Mac's Internet

capabilities were met with a

call to arms, followed by the

kind of Camaro-versus-Mustang

"debate" we were tired of before

we read it. It's possible that

the con artist formerly known as

the Duke of URL had no idea what

kind of sado-Mac-ism would

commence when he deemed Apple's

Net navigation unfit at any

speed, but the satisfying sound

of pageviews being (slowly)

registered via macinsider.com

couldn't have come as a complete

surprise. Certainly neither the

stunt nor the way it was

received were as surprising as

the characterization of our pal

Joey as "a big name journalist,"

a description which left us

wondering whether MacInsider was

speaking with more wit than

weight when it noted that

"hyperbole should be left for

fiction writers." Cuz, hey, come

on - Joey a journalist?


[besides the obvious difference in taste that is]

As everyone knows, the only real

difference between a journalist

and a fiction writer is how much

they get paid. And taking into

account the million-dollar-plus

advance rumored to have been

snagged by Netizen scribe John

Heilemann, perhaps fact-checking

will become a higher priority

around the office. As Po Bronson

can attest, the publishing world

is seeking Silicon Valley's

answer to Tom Wolfe, only

preferably better looking and

not as prone to self-parody.

Bronson and his roman à chip,

The First Twenty Million Is the

Hardest, were about half-right.

(John Brockman and Digerati, on

the other hand, were all wrong.)

Does Heilemann have the right

stuff? He brings to the table

the rigor of The New Yorker and

gee-whizzical curiosity of

Wired - not a bad combination,

actually. There's little doubt

that he's capable of producing a

book that's both entertaining

and insightful. Unlike Wolfe,

though, who only had to make

daring, sexy test pilots

interesting, Heilemann faces a

significant hurdle to

best-sellerdom: He's restricted

to writing about the computer

industry and those in it (aka

"The Valley of the Dulls"). So

it's not whether he can write a

good book, it's whether anyone

will care.


[stay away from trail mix i guess]

As mainstream coverage of the

computer industry has amply

proven, computers are only

interesting to the public at

large as they apply to sex, the

invasion of privacy, or both.

Which makes the study conducted

by Digital Detective Services

all the more newsworthy. The

survey found that "one in four

corporate computers investigated

contained pornographic files,

including some cases of child

porn." It's information like

this that business needs in

order to keep its priorities

straight. (One last time: If you

want to get laid, go work for

Mitsubishi.) The study was

supposedly "based on 150

investigations over an 11-month

period" but it only raises more

troubling questions: How can we

tell which computers have the

porn? Is it going to take a lot

of conspicuous messing around?

Do we have to show up extra

early or stay late to get a

chance to find out? And this is

only the tip of the iceberg: Is

there any way to tell if someone

has been jerking off in the

bathroom? What kind of a person

would do that, and do I want to

get to know them better? Will

sniffing their chair when

they're at the snack machine

help? Is that how Digital

Detective Services found out? If

so, does Digital Detective

Services know the last time I

had sex? If so, did they like

it? Only thing clear in all of

this: One in four is not enough.

courtesy of the Sucksters

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