Pushme/Pullyou: How do you get your Internet dose?

One dealer told me that when customers come in to audition a home theater speaker system, they don't even ask to hear music. I was shocked. I still remember music.
-- Paul DiComo, marcom manager for Polk Audio, quoted in today's NY Times.

With several new product announcements this week, a number of people are assuming that for the web and the Internet to succeed (translated: make money fast), they both have to move from being a "pull" to a "push" -type of media. This is marketing-speak for saying that instead of you, the customer/consumer/end-user typing away and finding stuff on your own, the stuff finds you.

This is utter nonsense for several reasons: delivery mechanisms, reading habits, and payment of services. It all brings to mind Dr. Doolittle's Pushme/Pullyou two-headed llama (or whatever this thing was supposed to look like). You can't have such an animal that wants to move both ways: somebody has to set the overall direction. And these pushy products aren't going to do it.

So where does this leave us? Until we have better delivery of Internet services (low-cost, continuous connections come to mind as a gating factor), a way for people to take their web browsers into the john, and have more confidence in what they are paying for, we'll still be firmly entrenched in the pull-side.

On to other matters. Maybe I am just getting too old for this kind of work. The Jackie O. auctions this past week have reminded me of my age -- JFK and I share the same birthdate. Back when he was president, I sent him a short card. Unfortunately, his secretary signed a nice letter back to me so I have no hope of getting rich from this correspondence.

Anyway, my c|net web server article has been getting lots of hate mail from Macolytes. I tested four NT web servers and one NetWare server and wanted to also include a Mac platform as well but didn't have time. However, c|net did include a sidebar (written by another freelancer) about the Mac and Unix web servers, although we didn't test them. As a consequence, I've been getting these flames that should have been directed at this other freelancer. And it's all the more ironic since I use a Mac all the time, and have for many years.

Given that both of our bylines are on a single screen apiece (out of about a total of 40 or so screens for the entire article), it is easy to see why I'm getting them. This raises all sorts of new issues on how to claim credit for authors on web-zines: do you insist that your byline appear on every screen in a certain place?

Awards, promotions, and sitekeeping dep't

No awards this week, sorry about that. I welcome your own nominations, however. There are four award categories: two that granted for doing good things and two for bad things.

My latest article for Infoworld is on Finding a new set of pipes, a comparison of 100 VG and 100 Base X networks. I just wrote the introduction and didn't do the tests, before you send me any mail.

And there is a copy of a comparative review of Farallon's Netopia vs. Ascend's Pipeline 50 that I just completed. I've been running both ISDN routers here for several months, and was asked by Farallon to write this comparison for them. Just so you know, it does come out favorably for Netopia.

If you'll be at the San Jose Internet World show, so will I on Weds. afternoon. See you there.

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David Strom
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