Newsletter #4, 10/24/95

Our essay on how the v2 features of Netscape will bring about an end to the open Internet last week provoked some interesting email from you. We wanted to share these thoughts with the entire group.

Most of the comments we received disagreed with our thesis: either that the Web isn't the entire universe of the Internet (agreed), or that there is still lots of stuff that is open around.

Einar Stefferud (otherwise known as Stef), one of the Grand Old Men of the Internet feels that our collective brainpower will eventually win out over any proprietary features that Netscape adds, and that open systems will prevail. You can read his thoughts on this link.

Jeff Garbers, another industry luminary (he helped create Crosstalk and Open Mind and is now an independent consultant), says "To me, a thing is "open" if I can implement it without resorting to reverse engineering or having to worry about getting sued. I don't think it means that there has to be free source code available for it, or that it has to have gone through a laborious standards process.

"With this perspective, what Netscape's doing is still 'open'. If you're a browser writer, you can look at the new tags and support them if it's important to you and your customers.... Frankly, I'm glad that somebody appears to have the credibility mass necessary to move HTML forward rapidly. The last thing we need at this point is to have a committee agonizing for months (years?) over if there ought to be a CENTER tag and how it ought to work. For a while, at least, Netscape will pull the rest of the market along in its wake." Thanks, Jeff.

On another tangent, Mark Epply, the CEO of Traveling ("Laplink") Software, wants to add one important feature to browsers: the ability to be bandwidth-sensitive and alter their behaviour in such a way to optimize the downloading of large images and other non-textual objects. Any browser vendors want to rise to that challenge?

New stuff on our site

We've been busy putting up various links in our Places section, as well as two new awards and wanted to call your attention to the following:

Our Be.Here.Now award this week goes to Steve Jenkins' site. We've listed several Win95 sites already, but what we liked about Jenkins' site is his Explorer-style image maps. Looking just like your Win95 desktop, the folders represent different topic areas, and clicking on them bring up the links. Very neat idea. And, there is plenty of content there, especially specific instructions on how to get various IP and Internet features set up, all with integrated screen shots and text.

Under Wire and Protocols section, Charles Spurgeon's Ethernet Page, which has all sorts of useful information on both classic (10 megabit) and fast Ethernet: wiring diagrams, specifications, and even links to vendors' websites.

Indiana University has a neat search tool that allows you to find a particular Internet mailing list, using whatever keywords you specify. Given the hundreds of mailing lists around, that is a very handy thing to have. Can't remember that mailing list on ISDN? Connect to this site and type in ISDN at the query form, and you'll see all those lists that meet this criteria, along with instructions on how to subscribe to the list. Very nice.

Another link in the Internet section is to something recently written by our good friend Michael Dortch called "Top Ten Skills You'll Need for Getting on the Internet." Dortch has been an analyst, a journalist, and now a vendor shill and he has put together one of the most cogent collections covering the real basic, entry-level stuff for new computer users. We liked it so much that it is on our site here. Those of you that don't have web access, let us know and we'll send you a copy via email.

We've also added a new section to "Places" called "Humor" which includes three sites at present: the parody page by "KevinTX" which lists some of the anti-Microsoft sites (and while we KNOW it is a parody, Microsoft's lawyers are taking it seriously), a list of recent millionaires made possible by their companies intial public offerings, and the recently ready-for-Netscape- v2 "Hall of Shame" showing the good, the bad, and the bizarre of the web -- along with some impressive usage of the new v2 tags.

David Strom