Here to cover for Martin Veitch as he's lording it up at Comdex. Spend the morning grappling with kit and instantaneous deadlines at PC News Daily. Skip lunch to speak to Steve Billinger, in charge of content at the revamped MSN service. Promise to share a beer with him at the launch tomorrow night. Busy day. Write more news to go up tomorrow morning. Speak to a friend who just registered the domain name britpop.com. Tell her that Britpop was last year's thing, then consider registering newromantic.com.
Big day of launches. Off in the morning to see Richard Branson's Virgin Net in a freezing tent in Battersea. Branson is his usual self including the horrible jumper. The service itself is unimpressive and the company should have used more of its other brands to offer exclusive content. Sound like a tired old hack. Have some munchies and wine with Selby, Netscape's PR. Pick up a horrible yellow Virgin T-shirt that my wife later refuses to even use as a duster.
In the evening is the big MSN launch. Hundreds of the UK's media bods in a Hollywood-styled event. Shame the demos didn't work. Ask the MSN people later to explain why it's so slow. Meet up with UK MSN head Judy Gibbons who is one of the most personable and intelligent people I have met from Microsoft. Chat to people from Noho, Nethead and Charles Ashley of Netventures.
Head-down serious work at the Daily News offices. Arif and I churn out the stories ably assisted by Martin filing copy from Comdex. I like this online business and the daily news with its lack of production schedules and hassles. The odd hardware glitch is nothing compared to dealing with repro houses and printers. My next job after this is editing a snowboarding website for Noho Digital called Board X. Online journalism is where I think I'll be earning most of my money over the next few years.
Busy day writing copy. The Online Service junkets continue with the CompuServe launch at the limelight in the afternoon. Talk to new European head Jerry Roest for a while and catch up with UK MD Martin Turner. Escape after a while and go drink beer with Mike from PC Direct and Tanya from Webmedia. End up at 3 O'clock in the morning dancing in a Soho club to Andy Weatherall. Briefly see wife and children at home before heading back to Ziff for Friday's writing session.
The news keeps coming from Comdex and I spend the morning nursing a hangover and writing up the CompuServe story. Arif arrives with an equally bad hangover having spent the evening drinking CompuServe's money. Going on the company's latest financials, I hope he didn't break the bank. "Online Service ruined as Journalist drinks company dry", I can see the headline now. We drink strong coffee and commiserate with each other.
Thai Lunch with a friend at Wired and back to file this copy. Really enjoyed my first week at PCDN and look forward to coming in next week. Not looking forward to having to spend the weekend writing copy for other magazines. Still, at least I'll get to see my family - if they still remember me.