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1998 Technology Diary

  December 1998  

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Sunday, December 6  

Though their case was once billed as a battle over browsers, antitrust officials now must make the case that the universal programming language known as Java was at least as much a threat to Microsoft's hegemony over the market for PC operating systems as Netscape Communications' Navigator browser was. Full story here.

There is almost no limit to what you can change in the Mac OS, and it's all done without an archaic command-line interface like DOS. From ResEdit and AppleScript many great shareware products have been created, and many users have tweaked their Macs to incredible new dimensions, all through a standard Macintosh graphical interface. More here.

After four years in the lab, the next generation of the protocol that runs the entire Internet is open to the public. Now comes the hard part. The Internet Society has released a new version of Internet Protocol, the low-level blueprint that the entire Net is built on. But it may be some time before cyberspace gets bigger and faster as a result. Details here.

Thought for the day: "People who never do any more than they get paid for never get paid for any more than they do." - Albert Hubbard



Saturday, December 5  

Predicting the future is a dicey proposition at best, a humbling experience when disastrous. If you have spent much time hanging around 1998 on the Web, you know I made a few predictions for Internet companies this year back in the last week of 1997. Well, it's time to check the scorecard. By my account, I finished with 3 up and 3 down. A .500 batting average would be world record in major league baseball, does it garner respect in the chancy predictions game? Now's the time to review my original thoughts, then compare that with what really happened. Be sure to share your thoughts about my conclusions, and feel free to offer your own opinions.

As 1998 winds near a close, so does work on this year-long project. I will continue updating the site through the end of December, except for a week vacation at Christmas, but you probably wonder what comes next. I'll report the final traffic statistics mentioned in the promotion section, so you can determine the success of those efforts. I'll keep you up to date on the latest developements in the DOJ vs. Microsoft trial and other breaking news, but most of all, you will see a whole new look to this site beginning on January 1, 1999. If you would like to take a sneak peek at the beta preview, go here.

In a move long anticipated and warmly welcomed by Web developers, Netscape Communications is expected to unveil on Monday a developer preview of the next-generation layout engine for Communicator 5.0. First announced in April, the engine promises to speed up and slim down Navigator, Communicator's Web browsing component. Full story here.

Microsoft is considering putting chairman Bill Gates on the witness stand to restore his credibility with the judge in the landmark antitrust trial against the world's biggest software maker. More info here. In other news, Gates and his wife Melinda have announced they are expecting their 2nd child in June.

Thought for the day: "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved." - Helen Keller



Thursday, December 3  

"I'm not predicting the demise of the PC, but the PC is a pretty crude device, hard to use, and so 'general purpose' that very few of us use more than 5 percent of its capability," says Hewlett-Packard chief executive Lewis Platt. Find out why here.

The National Governors' Association (NGA) and other state and local government groups nominated 10 people for the Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce to study Internet taxes. The Internet tax-freeze law, passed by Congress in October, called for the formation of a 19-member commission of government and industry representatives to study how or if taxes should be applied to Internet commerce. See the nominees here.

Just months after jettisoning its Newton Message Group, Apple is ready to re-enter the consumer handheld PC market. This time the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer maker is developing a palmtop device, code-named "P1." Unlike Newton, which used a proprietary operating system, the P1 will run on a trimmed version of the Mac OS. Full story.

Thought for the day: "It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation." - Herman Melville



Wednesday, December 2  

It's the closely guarded and controlled Windows API, not Windows itself, that is the jewel in Microsoft's crown. Antitrust trials and internal memos leaked to the Web give the first glimpse of how Redmond maintains a hammerlock on APIs, and paint Java and Linux as the giant's most serious threats yet. Take a stroll through this c|net Special Report to see the history, and the future.

Microsoft lawyer Tom Burt succeeds in getting Sun executive James Gosling to back away from the "write-once-run-anywhere" promise associated with Java. Daily update here.

One of the greatest myths about the computer industry is it is not as harmful to the environment as the belching, oozing industries of the past. Indeed, the chips that power sleek new PCs are clean. Extremely clean. But it takes large amounts of water and toxic chemicals to get them that way. Full story here.

Thought for the day: "The tendency of an event to occur varies inversely with one's preparation for it." - David Searles



Monday, November 30  

Under tedious questioning from Microsoft attorney Michael Lacovara, government witness Frederick Warren-Boulton acknowledged that Microsoft's OEM pre-installation kit, or OPK, allows vendors to install Netscape's icon on a start-up menu found on Windows 98. Lacovara also attacked Warren-Boulton over his testimony that restrictions Microsoft places on Internet content providers sites unfairly exclude Netscape. Full day's details here.

Imatec said today that it had failed to strike a deal with Apple Computer to settle Imatec's $1.1 billion patent infringement lawsuit against the company, adding it remained confident it would prevail based on pre-trial testimony. In a statement today, New York-based Imatec said Apple would be guilty of "willful infringement" if after knowing of the Imatec patents it failed to investigate the patents and form a good faith belief they were invalid or not infringed. Full story here.

It may only be an encouraging word to a potential soon-to-be-employee, but AOL chief Steve Case has sent word to Mozilla.org that AOL will continue to support its open source browser efforts. More info here.

Thought for the day: "By perseverance the snail reached the ark." - Charles Haddon Spurgeon


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