The Fish
for 6 April 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Suck Staff

Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff
Editor in Chief


Terry Colon
Terry Colon
Art Director


[the fixin' pixie... ]
Emily Hobson
Production Manager
and Drink Taster


Heather Havrilesky
Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor


[Ian Connelly]
Ian Connelly
Marketing Manager


[Copy Edit]
Copy Edit

Suck Alumni
Suck Alumni Text

Carl Steadman
Carl Steadman


Ana Marie Cox
Ana Marie Cox
Executive Editor


Sean (Duuuuude) Welch
Sean Welch


Owen Thomas
Owen Thomas
Copy Editor


T. Jay Fowler

Production Manager

& Ass Kicker


[yes, it's a plunger. i'll l
eave the rest up to your imagination ... ]
Erin Coull
Production Manager


Matt Beer
Matt Beer
Development Manager


Subject: Upstart: Suck surrenders

So now Suck advocates
surrender? Some "Unix
hackers" (among whom you
appear to number yourself) do
actually have active
intellectual lives completely
unrelated to tech. We happen
to be among the very few who
see Microsoft dominance as a
BAD THING, and it is not
simply a natural function of
technical pointyheadedness;
there are real and important
problems with handing over
the keys to your mind to any
information megapolis,
whether it be Disney or

I never take the defaults. Not
on the nightly news or on the
Net. You, I suppose, will be
Going to Disneyland! Have

Robert Ingram

Sorry that you apparently
missed the point of the
entire piece. To make it a
bit more clearly: WE ARE THE
MINORITY. A small and
increasingly tiny one.

Have fun in Fantasyland,


Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: MS versus the world


While one could argue the
relative merits of Netscape
Communicator vs. MS IE until
one was blue in the face, one
would sooner or later realize
that one was arguing against
oneself, so I'll let the
"better product" comment

However, you seem to miss the
key of Microsoft success.
Microsoft does well because
we live in a country in which
someone can make hats that
say "I'd rather be pushing a
Ford than driving a Chevy,"
and then sell those hats.
This implies, of course, that
we are a people of fierce
brand loyalty, and we are
willingly blind to those who
directly sell us brand
loyalty rather than product.
Remember, the person making
the "Ford than Chevy" hats is
also making "Chevy than Ford"

Microsoft doesn't merely
dominate the software market,
it has convinced a
disturbingly large portion of
its market that either a)
there are no other choices,
b) the other choices are not
for serious users, c) only
freaks would want something
other than Microsoft, or d)
Microsoft products lead to
the greatest productivity. It
has appealed to the common
user's senses of dominance,
importance, compliance, and
pragmatics and thus won the

Therefore, the inevitable
conclusion is not that users
will stay with Start because
of laziness or convenience.
While that may be as true as
it is with OS (why would
anyone ever consider
installing an OS when the
computer comes with one), the
Microsoft success story
revolves around the fact that
the user ignores his or her
ignorance and proudly
declares, "I'd rather be
crashing with Internet
Explorer than browsing with

Joshua Gross, who would rather
be praising Apple than
criticizing Microsoft

> While one could argue the
relative merits of Netscape
Communicator vs. MS IE
until one was blue in the
face, one would sooner or
later realize that one was
arguing against oneself, so
I'll let the "better product"
comment drop.

Fair enough. For the record
though, it was based on 1)
the preponderance of reviews
that have favored IE 4.0 over
Netscape's product; but more
meaningfully 2) personal
opinion based on a great deal
of direct experience, and 3)
the very clear arc that has
had Microsoft starting with a
laughable 1.0 contender in
August 1995, to an improved,
but still laughable 2.0 (up
against Netscape's precedent
shattering 2.0
implementation), to a very
close-call runner up with
3.0, to an arguably (I'll
admit, not inarguably)
superior 4.0.

Given this competitive
trajectory and
Microsoft's's many unfair
resource and distributive
advantages, I believe it is
reasonable to declare
Microsoft as the feature and
functionality winner - if not
today, then probably next
year; if not by then, without
question by 2003, unless a
big old honkin' white knight
with some serious kick-ass
magic and some Marianus-deep
pockets comes along to save
fair Netscape in the

> ... The Microsoft success story
revolves around the fact
that the user ignores his
or her ignorance and proudly
declares, "I'd rather be
crashing with Internet
Explorer than browsing with

I've actually encountered
little to none of the blind
Microsoft loyalty that you
describe on the Internet
side. On the contrary, I know
many, many people whose
commitment to using Netscape
instead of IE borders on
ideological. I therefore
understand and respect your
point, but do differ with it.
Until about a year ago,
everyone that I knew who used
IE used it because it came
preloaded and wrenching it
out of their systems to
install Netscape was too
complex or time-consuming a

Lately, people of course
still fall into this
category, but an increasing
number are defecting because
they believe IE is a superior
product. I know of no one who
believes Netscape is
superior, yet uses Microsoft
because of a perverse passion
for the company. Netscape
would face a difficult - and
unfair - uphill battle if
they only had to fight
complacency. With both
complacency and product
advantages working against
them, over time their
prospects are very, very dim.


Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: Amen

Mr. O'Wunne -

I would consider myself a bit
of a newbie. I've been on the
Net for about 1.5 years but
know enough about computers
and the Internet to know what
I don't know. Microsoft, a
massive beast when I first
entered the computer age, has
seen its complete dominance
over the Web industry during
this time. I may just be one
of those 16 know-it-all
"rebel" dorks who pretends to
have a vendetta against
Microsoft and that damn
antichrist Willy, but I feel
pretty safe in the assumption
that at this rate I'm
planning at staring at the
evolution of the start button
until the day I pass away.

Now, for most people this
would be no problem, because
they won't know what they are
missing, and this is the
greatest sin of all.
Microsoft's best friend is
ignorance as you clearly
stated. By eliminating
competition, the company will
most likely slow down the
industry so it can keep up
with itself. As Microsoft
prepares to shut the door on
its competitors, we are
seeing the end of a wonderful

The way the Internet
and computers in general have
shaped our knowledge is
unbelievable. To make a buck,
that knowledge is needed and
must be controlled, but it is
a shame that the distribution
of knowledge could be
monopolized. In closing, it
is my belief that we need a
new giant in the computer
industry. I believe that the
key to becoming a
Microsoft-like giant is in
controlling the OS. I, for
one, dare one of those more
ambitious programmers out
there to step up to the plate
and take a swing! Who knows,
maybe you'll break a Window
or two!!!

Well, Since this is only the
55th such anger-driven
anti-Microsoft letter you've
gotten, I hope you enjoy.

Brendan Hayes

<<<<How's that for irony>>>> (Hypocrite)

Thanks for your missive. Your
points and sentiments are
very well taken. Looking from
the vantage of 1998, it's
hard to say whether another
giant will arise to challenge
Microsoft on its own turf, or
if (in many ways a more
desirable outcome) an array of
disruptive newcomers will
change the rules and break
the china in a way that will
unseat the ruler without
replacing it. There was hint
that the latter outcome might
transpire back in '95 and
'96, but then Microsoft
reinvented itself in an
Internet mode with blinding
speed to retain its crown.

The resounding lesson here
was that unlike other
companies that rose to
dominate their industries
(General Motors, Zenith, IBM,
Kodak, Xerox - the list is
endless), Microsoft does NOT
have itself, nor smugness,
laziness, or complacency as
its own worst enemies -
something that even those who
bear antipathy toward the
Redmond giant have to
respect, if only


Fish With Letter Icon


Geriatric Terry

Why is Terry Colon
pictured with a walker
in the Suck Staff
column? At the risk of
sounding tactless, is he
really old? My undying
devotion to Terry Colon still

pissgirl ji

Those illustrations were drawn
almost two years ago, but we
like them so much we've kept
them all this time. You can
only imagine how old Terry
must be now!

Just joshin'. Terry's not old
at all, he's just not a
youngster like the rest of us
were back then. It was a
toss-up between Terry using a
walker (his idea) or the rest
of us shaking baby rattles
and sucking on pacifiers.
Teething rings and play pens
seem far more appropriate in
retrospect, particularly
considering how often, in the
early days of Suck, hair got
pulled and lollipops got
stolen and favorite teddy
bears got thrown across the
room. Poor Terry, rolling his
eyes and quietly taking his
Geritol among all the
screaming and crying and
shouts of "No Fair!" and
stinky pants.

Stinky Fish

Fish With Letter Icon

Today's Fish section (20
March) features letters about
the 9 March column - 11 days
ago. Isn't that an almost
print-publication delay


Why such a delay? Are you
waiting for witty and verbose
mail to come in before
publishing? If so, why? We
are Suck readers, after all.

Finally, enough with the
Kornheiser already! Please!

Kara Catherwood

All right, you. Simmer down. You
think we've got a staff of 50
over here, huh? Is that what
you think, little missy?

We've got like two people
doing this whole damn site,
and that's including Alan

Anyway, just for that ...

Fish With Letter Icon

Hit & Run

Subject: Giving You The Finger

Much better. Real monsters,
efficiently slain. But
shouldn't you have given a
credit to The Finger
somewhere in there?

This is actually a real
question, looking for an
answer. What is Net etiquette
when you borrow another
site's graphic but, in turn,
provide a URL for the site?
In this case you seem to
have, at least to some
extent, used it as a resource
for your own "reporting" as
well. Is a credit needed? Or
is the embedded URL credit
enough? Just curious.

Alan S. Kornheiser

Most sites are more than happy
to get a link in exchange for
a borrowed graphic. Most
sites can't handle the
traffic that ensues after we
feature said link. Most sites
write us glowing thanks when
we crash their servers in
such a way. We're that

In fact, let's take a moment
of silence and think about
just how special we are right

Suck say: I'm the king of the

Fish With Letter Icon

Well guys -

I'm a web admin at Boston
Museum of Science and I was
checking our logs and noticed
we had lots of references
that came from your page.
That was very cool. Then I
went and looked at the
referring page and was
appalled at the tabloid-like
misinformation you were
passing off as fact.

The movie Everest is NOT about
the tragedy that happened to
take place on the mountain at
the same time the movie was
shot. This movie was not made
because of the tragedy. It was
years in planning (including
the design and manufacture of
a special lightweight omni
camera). I've seen the movie.
It was VERY well done. The
movie does not show any death
or dead bodies. It does spend
time dealing with the tragedy
as any documentary should. If
you were filming a
documentary on Everest and
some of your friends and
fellow climbers died, I don't
suppose you would edit it out of
your film and act as if
nothing happened.

The two mannequins in the
lobby are a part of our
exhibit on Everest and are
there as an example of the
type of clothing and gear one
would need to climb Everest.
Not to "[stand] in,
presumably, for the eight
climbers who perished."

You went to enough trouble to
go to our site and steal our
graphic. You should have gone
to enough trouble to read the
text and realize this is not
a sensational movie about an
expedition ending in death.
It's about going to the
highest point on the planet
with the best climbers in the
world to film the view with
the largest format camera

Lance Lockwood
MOS WebTeam

Mr. Lockwood,

Thanks for writing.

I'm very sorry you were
offended by our comments on
corporations' willingness to
sponsor almost anything. But
forgive me for thinking you
almost willful in your
misunderstanding of the
intended target of our

Has Nike, for example,
actually used news footage of
Heaven's Gate-niks to sell
shoes? Of course not - but
Suck arguably gained crucial
rhetorical leverage by
writing that, "Unlike Christ,
[the Heaven's Gate cultists]
failed as myth. Like Christ,
as a marketing campaign, they
may yet succeed."

Did Phil Knight actually lay
off 7 percent of his domestic
workforce last week to
heighten interest in The Big
as I suggested? A film
in which he makes a total ass
of himself by defending his
use of child labor in
Indonesia? Of course not -
but the irony of the layoffs
occurring smack in the middle
of Michael Moore's
promotional blitz for the
movie was simply too much to
pass unremarked.

Similarly, can one honestly
assume Malden Mills invested
US$7 million in a documentary
about climbing Everest
because they hoped eight
people would die on other
climbing teams during
filming? Of course not - but
isn't it just a weensy bit
ghoulish that, despite the
deaths, Malden remains a
"title sponsor" and is thus
allowed "to refer to the film
in any international
advertising it does" (Women's
Wear Daily,
12 March 1998, p.

Regarding the mannequins: I
think it's simply
disingenuous to say that they
"are there as an example of
the type of clothing and gear
one would need to climb
Everest." Malden Mills
certainly didn't pay 7
million bucks to have just
any brand of clothing and
gear on display.


Fish With Letter Icon

The eight people who died
actually weren't with the
IMAX expedition. That doesn't
make climbing Everest any
more sensible. These
adventurers could save a lot
of money by having their
friends shut them in a meat
locker for a few days.

Alexander M. Yale

Mmmeat locker. That sounds
great. Except, can they
decrease the oxygen in the
air, too? Without the lack of
oxygen it wouldn't be nearly
as fun.

Seriously, though, we highly
recommend Into Thin Air for
those who know very little
about Everest. It's a great
book, it's incredibly sad,
and it's much more sensible
than trying it at home.

Suck say: If you can't be
sensitive, at least be

Fish With Letter Icon


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