"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 19 February 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CXIX


[whats with this el nino anyhow?]

The ubiquitous Nike swoosh made

a brief appearance on the chests

of sportscasters at Nagano, but

it was only a matter of time

before a few uppity reporters in

the news division made a stink

and forced CBS to pull the

offending logos off the

airwaves. To some, this move

could be viewed as the Tiffany

network buttressing the

ever-weakening wall between

editorial content and

advertising. Nike, on the other

hand, probably sees it as

censorship. Which is why we read

with interest last week that

Solid Oak - sender of mailbombs

and creator of porn-filter

CyberSitter - will start selling

a tool to help users filter out

those pesky Internet banner ads.

Thinning the plot even further,

Inktomi, which supplies the

technology behind HotBot and

Microsoft's upcoming Yukon

search engine, announced a

partnership with N2H2 to filter

out sites "that don't fit into

an educational environment,"

enabling a nation of actimates

to search on "toys" without the

risk of finding a graphic

description of that gigantic

rubber finger in mommy and

daddy's closet.


[ive seen the sun finally today and i dont quite know what to think]

Solid Oak's move from

porn-blocking to ad-blocking

shouldn't come as a surprise;

after all, in the world of

online porn, the (free) content

is usually nothing more than

advertising for more (paid)

content, and the actual

"advertising" usually ends up

being the most exciting content.

Not-so-tastefully animated

banner ads, popup directory

consoles, "guest tours," and the

entire YNOT network create a

Web-wide circle jerk that puts

even DoubleClick to shame. Two

years ago, Solid Oak most likely

would have been branded folk

heroes and been perfectly

positioned for an acquisition.

But today, blocking ads sounds

as exciting as, well, blocking

porn. Sure, Inktomi may

successfully bust its way into

the latter camp (though we hope

it declines to pursue

CyberSitter's crusade to rid the

Web of such well-known

corruptors of youth as the ACLU

and NOW), and Solid Oak's

ad-blocking may explode where

Privnet's fizzled. But why

pussyfoot? Block it all, we say,

and let God sort it out.


[i miss the rain- ill go to the Tonga room for happy hour and see it rain inside over the top of a scorpian bowl]

In further Web tech news,

on-demand C-SPAN reruns will now

be available to 50,000 cable

subscribers in Marquette,

Michigan. It's a notable

technical achievement, but like

so many breakthroughs that fall

under that description, it's

ultimately only as compelling as

the content it lets one access:

Somehow, we doubt that last

year's filibusters will be

cutting into Sports Center's

screentime in more than a

handful of living rooms and

taverns. Indeed, while Worldwide

Broadcasting's Video Search

Engine has great potential as an

entertainment application - it

would make it really easy, say,

to retrieve the "spongeworthy"

episode of Seinfeld - it's far

more efficient to access and

absorb old news via transcripts

than full-fledged video. But if

Worldwide Broadcasting is

determined to offer an archive

of news and public affairs

programming, we suggest they

consider the relative popularity

of MSNBC's Time & Again vs. Fox's

World's Funniest shows. In other

words: index bloopers,

disasters, and car crashes.

courtesy of the Sucksters