for 16 December 1996. Updated every MONDAY.



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Of the Inconspicuous Consumer's
"What'll You Have?,"
David Goldwire

That fellow who wrote in about the
many virtues of Pabst is right
about Rolling Rock. Most upsetting
beer I ever had was down in the
third ultraelite subterranean
level of some pretentious
bar/restaurant in New York. The
bar didn't have a blender and
didn't seem to want to make mixed
drinks, so after something like a
15-minute wait to get the
bartender's attention, a $5 bottle
of room-temperature Rolling Rock
it was. If I'd had my wits about
me, and if I could catch a cab
worth a damn, I would have ditched
my acquaintances, who were
annoying me anyway, grabbed the
mostly-full looking can of Pabst
we passed on the way to the bar,
and headed back to the hotel. Come
to think of it, the Rolling Rock
wasn't the only thing that sucked
that night, so maybe I'm being
unfair. Either way, Pabst has its
place as a means of salvation.


Hmm. Sucking down a cold can of
Pabst in a hotel room or waiting
15 minutes for a warm Rolling Rock
in a pretentious bar filled with
annoying people... We'd have to go
with the latter - peace and quiet
and cold beer are nice, but making
fun of pretentious, annoying
people is much more aggressive,
interactive, challenging... And if
you don't rise to such challenges,
you'll never grow, David.


Of Strep Throat's "A Piece of the
," Josh Hall
<> writes:


Just wanted to compliment Strep for
a column that was right on the
money. Most of us are unable to
step away from the religion that
is our OS; especially those that
use any flavor of Unix, OS/2 or a
Macintosh. We fear Microsoft.
Plain and simple. Strep brings to
light the fact that if they truly
are offering a superior product,
then should we not accept it and
put aside our fear that it is in
fact an inferior product being
touted as the Supreme GODLIKE app?
As for myself, I'm going to sit
this one out on the sidelines and
pick up the pieces later.

On another note, I received my
piece of Suck the other day in the
mail. You people could have at
least laced it with crack so I
could have smoked it. It was
perhaps the most flagrant piece of
incestuous writing that I have
every laid eyes on. Sad thing is,
I enjoyed it. Good work.

This is one rainy game, my friend,
and even out on the sidelines,
expect to get a lot of mud sloshed
your way as the players wrestle
their way to global dumbness... I
mean, dominance.


Ingo Lotkebohle <>
puts things into perspective:

You article misses the software
engineers perspective. OLE (a.k.a.
ActiveX) is not the technology
that enables all of us to play on
a level field. As an executive of
Microsoft once said to Infoworld:
"We intend to make the pie real
big and then take a little slice
out of each transaction." OLE and
COM are much more than just a
distribution channel, as your
article seems to suggest. They are
way for objects to interoperate, a
sort of "object bus."

Object buses represent the next
great (r)evolution of software
design and whoever owns them
controls this revolution. Contrary
to what Microsoft wants to make us
believe, ActiveX is not an open
technology nor will it become one
in the foreseeable future. The
disaster of the ActiveX Group
(part of Open Group) proves this.
More proof can be found in that
OLE depends on the VC++ way to
link things and the fact that OLE
is Intel-optimized.

For a way the future should look to
make programmers really free of
constraints, be they Netscape or
Microsoft, look at IIOP, the
Internet Inter-ORB Protocol. It's
not an invention of Netscape, it's
CORBA for the Net. It runs on
Windows, Unix and Mac. It
interfaces to Java, C++, C,
Smalltalk and others. It did so
from the beginning (the Java
interface was there much earlier
than Microsoft's ActiveX-Java).
It's there, it works and its open.


VC++ sounds like the next great
(r)evolution in parting fools and
their money - maybe we can get our
pals at Kleiner Perkins to adopt
it as a standard.

We appreciate your call to get on
the object bus, but what you don't
realize is that the market - not
this or that quasi-non-open
standard - is the biggest
constraint on programmers. Even
the slackest hacker will turn
flacker if a paycheck's coming his


Of Howard Go-Sell's "Angels in the
," Made in the Dark

Up here in Tor-on-to Can-a-da, we
are building a new subway line and
the names of the stations are
being offered to the highest

Rumour has it that the early
morning rush hour crowd will have
to decide if 'Microsoft Square' is
their stop.


If they get off, and choose to take
a dump at one of MSS's many public
privies, they will be greeted by
MSN 'Toilet Channel' being info'
pushed onto a monitor in each and
every stall. Navigation buttons
are just above the 'TP.'


Suck Square has a nice ring...


Of the Duke of URL's "MIDI
," Brian R. Fitzgerald
<> writes:

Enjoyed your MIDI Vanilli piece. It
was the first I'd heard of the
so-called programming changes at
MTV, but wouldn't you think that
the first programming change
they'd want to implement would be
to play some goddamn music for a


Music videos are old-school.
Singled Out is the wave o' the


Of Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk's "Reading
for Serious Tools
," EJ Barnes
<> writes:

How strikingly absurd are the
posturings of the nouveau riche.
"Old Money" doesn't need such
ostentatiously classy toys, and we
downwardly mobile scions of
middle-class suburbia know how to
live in the lap of Luddite luxury
for less....

Like you said, the Hemingways can
be found in the remainder bins.
But the point is not to read the
books; the point is to own them.
It's an investment that your
grandchildren, when they come to
close your estate, will probably
not appreciate.


But this is nothing new. In the
19th century, factory owners and
robber barons had thousands under
their command, slaving in
mechanized hell, to provide
selfsame robber barons with the
money to dwell in overdecorated
mansions cared for by squadrons of
domestics, to change their outfits
three or more times a day
according to the occasion, and to
ride in chauffeured four-in-hands
to the opera house - i.e. to live
in the antique splendor of the
dying aristocracy.

The upper-middle class will always
endeavor to prove that it is their
sensibility, and not wealth, luck,
family, connections, or even
intelligence or hard work, which
distinguishes them. They are still
trying to prove that they, like
the landed and pedigreed nobility
they replaced, are somehow sui
, a race apart from the
rabble, imagining as their floor
the glass ceiling that even the
most upwardly mobile commoner
cannot penetrate, even if he
finagles his daughter an
invitation to the cotillion....


Well, they are a race apart - who
else cares about how their lawns
look or whether or not their car
is blemish-free and shined to a
high gloss? Let's just leave them
alone and hope that they continue
to chase down inane yet pricey
items, so they'll continue to
leave the cheap stuff to us. The
real hell breaks loose when the
cash-heavy want to spill their
dollars at our favorite
restaurants and bowling alleys,
thus raising the prices,
diminishing the portion sizes, and
ruining the service...

Uhh... how did a discussion of
class inequalities end up in
complaints about restaurants?
Forget it - we're already too
hopelessly bourgeois to lead this


Somebody writes:

I'm an italian freelance journalist
which will be graduating next
march with a thesis on the
language of online journalism. I
am interviewing journalists,
experts, people who're dealing
with this new medium to understand
the changements online publishing
will bring to written english,
particularly to the english of the
press. My aim is to find out if
written english changed/is
changing/will change and in which
direction.... So I am kindly
asking your opinion, referring to
your own experience, about the
future of journalistic style of
your magazine and of online
publishing world in general. Any
other tips will be greatly
appreciated, and I ask you also
the permission to quote your
answers in my thesis. Thanks a lot
for your cooperation, it's of
vital importance for my research.


If our perspective is of vital
importance to your research, your
research isn't of vital importance
to anything.


David V. Brenner <>

I can't say I see the point of It's boring, it
looks bad and it's a rambling,
poorly formatted bucket of drivel.


Yum. Drivel. You're making us


Polly Esther

Terry Colon