Internet Buzz with Richard Wiggins
|EXTRA!!!||October 11, 1998||Internet Buzz home page|
nternet Buzz offers commentary about Internet news Â the most significant changes in policy, content, and technology. Our Internet Buzz reporter swarms all over the Net to find out what the "buzz" is Â and he's not afraid to deliver a sting or two those who deserve it.
by Richard Wiggins
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|East Lansing, Michigan
This week AltaVista quietly launched a major transformation of its service, integrating the AskJeeves knowledge base alongside the traditional spider. In this exclusive report, learn what's happening behind-the-scenes at AltaVista -- and what the deal means for Compaq, AskJeeves, and 30 million users per day.
We all face the daily aggravation of spam -- unwanted junk email. A new book tells us how individuals, ISPs, and governments, can cope with the onslaught. We interview the author.
The release of the Starr report will go down in history as the day the old media fully embraced competition from the Internet. But the old media fails when it pretends to be the Internet -- and the Internet fails when it tries to be a broadcast medium. Read why.
AskJeeves offers users the simplest interface of any Internet search tool: just type in your question. Now Jeeves is learning to be a customer support rep as well as how to help navigate the intranet jungle. In an interview, AskJeeves' first president explains how Jeeves technology will help people capture and organize specific kinds of knowledge.
Netscape's just-released Navigator 4.5 offers "Smart Browsing." An important piece of that new functionality comes from Alexa, the "surf engine" that tells you about Web sites as you visit them. Alexa founder Brewster Kahle reveals why the Netscape tie-in is important, how Alexa plugs into Internet Explorer, why portals are the wrong answer, and much more.
Dr. Hal Varian and colleagues are conducting an experiment at Berkeley to find out if people are willing to pay for the bandwidth they consume as they download huge files and plug into streaming video.
Dr. Vint Cerf, known for his key role in developing the Internet Protocol (IP), describes interplanetary Internets, contemplates how our laptops might have Internet access as portable as cell phones are today, explains why the speed of light isn't fast enough for virtual reality, and considers whether Web functionality belongs in Microsoft Windows.
A single communications satellite spins out of control, and radio and TV networks scramble to find alternative program feeds. Read how the Internet saved the day for Michigan Public Radio.
The Windows 98 launch has become a soap opera, with players including the Justice Department, a dozen state attorneys general, Netscape/Sun/Oracle, the media, and of course Bill Gates. We sort out the issues in a set of open letters to each of the performers.
Chrysler merges with Daimler, Ameritech merges with SBC. In the Internet world, alliances can be as important as mergers. The alliance between Real Names and AltaVista gives Real Names 20 million pairs of eyes per day, and it gives AltaVista much-needed functionality. Read more about it.
You may not have heard of a search engine called Inktomi, but there's a good chance you've already used it, or you will soon. Inktomi's co-founder reveals how this behind-the-scenes player, already serving HotBot, will benefit from a highly favorable partnership with Microsoft.
With so many announcements of the Next Internet or the newest bandwidth frontier, it's easy to grow blase. But the April 14 White House announcement of the new Abilene network really is major news. Imagine one high-speed campus network for every major university in the United States. Learn more about this watershed announcement.
It's popular these days to hate Microsoft in general and Bill Gates in particular. But there are very good reasons why the Justice Department should not thwart Microsoft's plans to integrate Web functionality into the Windows 98 operating system. Read why.
XML is on everyone's lips these days. What does XML mean to you as a Webmaster? How will you convert from HTML to XML? And is it really possible that XML will unlock proprietary formats such as Word, Excel, and Powerpoint? We asked Peter Flynn, an expert on SGML and co-author of the XML FAQ, for his insights.
Hillary Clinton proclaims history in the making as she announces a new virtual library in a White House ceremony. But an examination of the site reveals that it offers far less content than the humblest public library has on its shelves. What is a virtual library? How can this new site become one?Watch Out for the Microsoft Cartoon Censor
Microsoft offers free sample animated characters so that developers can test their Agent animation technology. But before you incorporate one of their characters into your Web site, read the Microsoft license terms carefully.
A new site uses Shockwave Flash to implement awesome interactive animations for a splash screen and basic Web menus. Is this where Web design is headed? Or is it animation overkill?
We asked Tim O'Reilly, founder of the publishing house that bears his name, for his opinions on the astonishing news that Netscape is releasing one of the family jewels -- the source code for Netscape Navigator.
U.S. companies claim they can't hire enough information technology (IT) professionals. Consulting firms predict a 30% shortage of IT workers for the next several years. Is the Web partly to blame? Are you looking forward to earning a $120,000 salary as a webmaster? Read this column before you plan your early retirement.
Have you tried to buy a plane ticket, rent a car, or reserve a hotel room over the Web? Do you have a horror story? The online travel sites need to adapt better to customer needs in order to overcome resistance to online sales.
The real world of Web surfers includes people with visual and hearing impairments as well as people using slow modems or PDAs with small screens. Does your site reach all your customers as it should? 971229
Since the Web's birth, which, practically speaking, dates to March 1993, a wealth of free services and useful e-commerce sites have sprung up. Do we realize how far we've come in such a short time? Can we expect all these wonderful sites to last?
Judge Zobel's decision to use the Internet to disseminate the revised verdict in the Woodward child killing case nearly received as much attention as the verdict itself. And his Internet announcement scheme flopped miserably.What Is Your Internet Half-Life? A community college's entire Internet access goes down for three days. They don't seem too worried about it. How would you or your company cope if you lost Internet access for three days?
Circuit City invents a variant of DVD that requires consumers to pay every time the view a movie? But wait a minute! I bought this movie! You want me to pay for it again and again?
Professors use it for large lectures. Business people use it for important meetings. But is Powerpoint the best tool for live lectures? Or is it the Web browser?
A new service called Northern Light offers high-quality periodicals in full text, an efficient search engine, and an innovative way to refine searches. These folks may help the Internet deliver the "world's largest library."
Apple and Microsoft:
Why all the fuss?
When Was the Internet
Please Swipe My
The Death of the
Push, and the Parable of the Late Frost
This is the upteenth issue of "Internet Buzz." We'll have a new article every two weeks, and we'll keep archives of past articles right here. Let us know what you'd like to hear about in a future column...or, if you don't agree with a point of view expressed here, speak up! Warning... we reserve the right to quote you!
Created: June 20, 1997
Revised: October 11, 1998