Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Sorry for the lack of a diary last week - flu, don'tcha know. Which means I couldn't relay the happy story of one night in Dublin, where I ended up at 4am having one last little drinkypoos for the road (the plane left at 6, and I really didn't want to go to sleep for fear of missing it).

Sorry for the lack of a diary last week - flu, don'tcha know. Which means I couldn't relay the happy story of one night in Dublin, where I ended up at 4am having one last little drinkypoos for the road (the plane left at 6, and I really didn't want to go to sleep for fear of missing it). Across me in Sinners (that's the wine bar) sat a very happy man, who looked vaguely familiar. The familiar bit turned out to be that he used to be in a group called The Honey Thieves (who? Well, they once headlined Reading. Third on the bill was Nirvana). These days, he works in a repro house doing packaging and books and things like that.

Things like that this week, he said, were Microsoft-shaped. To be precise, stripping off the Java logo from manuals, boxes, publicity material and the like - for all of MS' products for Europe. Which is what - ten or so languages? A hundred-odd products? By no means all will have the Java logo, of course, but even the thought of Internet Explorer cheered him up considerably. "Microsoft has got thirty days to completely strip down and restock all its channels", he said, "and it's in no position to ask for favourable terms from its suppliers."

Excellent Chilean Merlot in Sinners, by the way. Thanks, Bill. Oh, and I got the plane.

Tuesday

After nervously checking the FTP servers every hour or so, the Mozilla source code is finally there! A short while later, a copy is firmly embedded in Online where the happy hackers pounce on it with compilers flying. It takes about half an hour to rebuild under Linux, and there we have it. Our very own Web browser kit of parts, for us to fiddle with as much as we like.

As anyone involved in writing commercially-sized chunks of code knows, making software this easy to move from system to system is excruciatingly difficult. Netscape is to be thoroughly congratulated, not only for the courage to make the code available but for actually managing to have it in a good enough condition to make the exercise plausible.

Has anyone out there ever seen genuine Microsoft source code? Email me if so and let me know if it's as bad as I suspect...

Wednesday

Everyone from IT Week hares off to the Grosvenor House Hotel for our first Editorial Summit. We sit around a large table, drink mineral water and thrash out who's doing what. Who's going to keep an eye on servers? AS/400 connectivity? 2Gb database technology? It's fascinating - the title's going to have a much larger scope than PC Magazine ever did, so I find myself finding out about all sorts of things that I never even suspected existed (and no, I don't mean copies of Network News).

Sadly, nobody wants middleware. Poor, bedraggled, grey middleware. It really hasn't got much to make the heart beat faster. Do you know what it is? Do you care? Does anyone? I guess we'll sort out who watches that market later... perhaps if everyone just tiptoes quietly away, it'll vanish.

Thursday

Not content with inventing the Internet (as the Times reported a couple of weeks ago: this is the same newspaper that's advised its readers to keep their CD-ROMs away from magnetic fields), Bill Gates is clearly working hard at restructuring the fundamentals of integer mathematics. The latest report is that NT 5 'will reduce total cost of ownership by 107%'. Now, 7% return on investment isn't that great, but it's a start... will Microsoft start bundling ten pound notes in the shrinkwrap?

It wasn't so long ago that a MS ActiveX guru told a meeting of developers that the next cut of the technology would reduce DLL size by 300%. When the multitude expressed some disbelief at this, he said: "Well, around that much, anyhow".

Friday

"No, it's British Telecom! No, wait, it's the Belgians... Germans? The Vatican?" The longest running rumour in the history of the Internet is finally squelched with the unconfirmed-but-yes-it's-true story of Demon Internet being bought by Scottish Telecom. Oh, I'll take the low byte and ye'll take the high byte... (enough of that, Goodwins).

At least it's fairly clear what's going on there. Unlike with Cix, which has been the recipient of a 'management buy-in', where the owners have got someone else to pay them money to let them carry on owning the business. Or something - my fiscal acumen isn't up to comprehending what actually happened

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