Internet Story: 22 June 2000
New York A lot has happened in the 6 months that my ramblings on the latest Internet happenings has been absent. One of the reasons for the quiet on these pages is my temporary relocation to New York to work in the heart of the Net world. It's somewhat different to the lifestyle in Pendle :-)
The buzz in Silicon Alley is high, if a little pained these days. There are some startups with amazingly daft business plans (well, they call them that!) that have huge amounts of vulture capital invested in them, which locate themselves in the seediest of derelict properties in the Flatiron District! I visited one of these a few weeks ago (they'll remain nameless): a would-be US competitor to Boo.com (remember them?), but without the ugly steroids. They were also without a realistic business plan too, but hey, this is the age of the Net and money is for burning, isn't it?
Kickin' & Screamin' Out here you can get a real sense of the old bastions of greed in the US economy struggling to come to terms with the new world. Examples are rife. The MPAA (completely clueless Flash only web site) and RIAA are waging war on everyone who they see as threatening, be that innocent Norwegian teenagers (US acting as global policeman again!), or users of a new music distribution systems, such as Napster and MP3.com. The motion picture industry and the especially the music recording industry are going to have to get used to it - their days may be numbered, who's going to need these middle-men as customers become more and more savvy and understand just how little value they can add in the future. Either that, or they better start working out just what value they can bring to the party! But don't go thinking that the crazies all live in the USA.
<yawn>Of course the New York courts have been filled with some lesser battle who's participants I forget.</yawn>
But just to make sure we don't get the wrong idea about these new, idealistic, warm, fuzzy and friendly new Net companies, Paulina Borsook is out to set us straight in her new book, "Cyberselfishness". "A critique of the narcissism, ignorance and anti-communitarianism of the digital elite and their culture." - i.e. they're all a bunch of selfish money grabbers who scorn all those "outside" and contribute nothing that doesn't involve the use of a computer (or something else that will further their spread). Well that's one opinion, partially true in my opinion, but far too generalized to be very meaningful. You might also want to check out The Revolution, by R.U.Sirius, for something that's bound to stir up all those hawks in the USA, especially as it's packaged to look like "The Thoughts of Chairman Mao" :-) Check out R.U.Sirius's web site too.
Phoning Home For all those people finding themselves abroad and running up huge phone bills back home try this new service from PC2Call.com. This is a service that allows you to talk with anyone on the UK phone system via your PC (and the Internet) for free. It's similar to the US DialPad.com service that we talked about last year. I'm not sure how long it will remain free, but try it while you can. They also offer very cheap calls to other countries too.
Note (23June2000): I can thoroughly recommend this service for pure quality. I used it last night from my laptop in New York on a dial-up connection (52K) to a regular phone in Pendle and it was crystal clear. Much better that the US DialPad.com service.
That's it for now, maybe more frequent updates will ensue if time permits.
Andrew Stringer, © Pendle.Net Ltd, 2000
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