Lacey's Paper Round

If all of the talk of money being invested in online commerce strikes you as a little sensible, take comfort in the knowledge that plenty of dosh is still being thrown at crazy ideas in the world of IT.

Paul Allen - co-founder of Microsoft - has just given Oxford University three hundred grand to launch an online post graduate degree course, an American company has raised $52 million to make spherical processors, and a Netscape founder is building a £12 million pound yacht that he intends to sail around the world entirely by remote control using the Internet. All this - plus live sex on the Net has made it quite a week for the IT writers in the national press.

Oxford pioneer online degrees with grant from Paul Allen - Financial Times

The FT reported on the award of a grant of £300,000 to Oxford University from Paul Allen's Virtual Education Foundation. Paul Allen is a co-founder of Microsoft and a billionaire. Doctor Geoffrey Thomas director of the university's department for continuing education told the FT the money will "help ensure that Oxford's position as a leading university is reinforced via the global medium of the Internet".

Financial Times, July 20, 1998.

Pile 'em high, sell em cheap - Business Week

Continental supermarkets are lifting the whole market for PC sales in Europe by piling them high and selling them cheap according to a report in Business Week. Dataquest analyst Philip Williams says first quarter European PC sales were up 26% over 1997 and "supermarkets are making the difference".

Business Week, July 20, 1998.

All roads lead to Turkmenistan in Internat names debacle - Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal reports on the debacle of administering copyright and names on the Internet that recently saw "thousands of firms rushed to register Internet names in Turkmenistan, just in case a governing body one day decided to make the country's Internet designation - ".tm" - mean "trademark" and afford some protection until new rules are ironed out. Observing that if a new self regulation initiative fails a "heavier handed solution from governments" may follow.

Wall Street Journal, July 22, 1998

Shopping agents over-hyped in e-commerce plans - Financial Times

The idea of Net-agents that take the virtual slog out of Internet shopping by finding the bargains for you has been over-hyped, according to a report in the FT. Charles Petrie, a researcher into Net-agents at Stanford University in the U.S., told the FT: "Today I would not invest money in applying agent technology to e-commerce"..."However I might do for other applications."

Financial Times, July 22, 1998.

Sex hoax Web site got more traffic than World Cup - Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph's IT supplement ‘Connected' reported on the aftermath of last week's Internet sex hoax, when two American eighteen year olds said they would lose their virginity live on the Web. "According to the couple's lawyer, Mark Vega, the huge interest caused the Internet site to crash under a greater weight of traffic than received by the Nasa Pathfinder or Fifa World Cup sites. At one point on Thursday more than 1.8 million people were said to be waiting."

The Daily Telegraph, connected, July 23, 1998.

"The end of the chip?" - New Scientist

A new type of spherical processor may replace the traditional silicon chip according to a report in The New Scientist. Ball Semiconductor Inc. "is close to making computer processors in the from of silicon spheres". BSI says "it should be able to build a production line for $100 million - a tenth of the cost of a conventional chip plant".

New Scientist, July 25, 1998.

Netscape tycoon sets sail in £12m remote control yacht - Sunday Times

As ZDNet's, Ken Young complains that the IT business lacks a truly flamboyant billionaire, up pops Jim Clark, super rich founder of Netscape who plans to sail his £12m yacht around the world entirely by remote control. "The superyacht can be 'sailed' by computer from anywhere in the world, using the Internet"...."This will be the most technologically advanced boat ever built" Clark told the Sunday Times. July 26, 1998.