for 21 May 1996. Updated every TUESDAY.

BIG IDEA The Yahoo IPO meets Laugh-in
... on the Web!
25 WORDS <= Manufactured audience cues as
value-add to the Web... interactive is
redefined as a shared audience
experience, not group participation.
HARD SELL Intro netiquette manuals stress
the value of emoticons for punctuating
humor - an inelegant solution to an
increasingly non-textual medium. While
the Wall Street Journal devotes pages
to the findings of researchers studying
the language of laughter, a savvy tech
outfit could laugh its way to the bank
with a simple plug-in based on
television's classic, reliable
"laugh-track" technology. And it's not
just laughter that's contagious - think
of gasps, shrieks and wrenched tears.
Screw THX! With the RA plug-in, the
audience, once again, is listening.
RA technology would be made available
to Web authors as an set of extensions
to HTML - adding dynamic content to
otherwise static Web pages would be as
simple as "<laff>To get to the other
side.</laff>" On the client side, the
plug-in would monitor relative page and
mouse positioning to accurately deliver
the canned laughs. The beta could feature
a robust set of reactions, with actual
integrated feedback shipping by 3.0 at the
latest. Bottom line: Would you rather have
the audience listening to you or at you?
OVERHEAD The challenge for the RealAudience
engineering team lies in matching the
reading speed of the user with the laugh
track - the beta may require a calibration
process to account for individual reading
rates. Since timing is everything - a
delayed ship date might delay the
company's IPO - fallback would be to
license speech synthesis technology and
market it as the "high-end" RA package.
Shippable product in 2-3 months.

courtesy of
The Duke of URL