No sign of the IT world slackening off for the holidays yet as the The Wall Street Journal reports on the race to build digital TV-based 'portals' in the living room, The Economist reports on Ball Semiconductor - a Texas company who may have a solution to the problem of spiralling costs at chip fabrication plants, and AOL say Netscape is still a cool place to work where you can play roller hockey at lunchtime. Did I miss something? If you spot an interesting item about the Net or computing send it to me, Eugene Lacey, at ZDNet. I have an exclusive ZDNet pen for every item published.
The race to build digital TV-based "portals" -- Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal reports on a lack of progress at Microsoft's WebTV. "Mr. Mundie predicted WebTV would have one million subscribers by the end of 1998. Going into the Christmas season, the company has only half that many"...With companies such as Yahoo! Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. commanding hefty stock market valuations because of their leading positions as "portals" on the Web, the reace is on to establish similar portals in living rooms." Wall Street Journal, 4-5 December, 1998.
Apple register trademarks for "Macmate" and "Webmate" -- Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph reports on what might be the names of two new products from Apple. "Late last month Apple applied to trademark the names Macmate and Webmate. Mac watchers suspect the names are being reserved to help the company launch a cheap portable computer that follows on from its earlier laptop, the e-Mate.". The Daily Telegraph, connected, December 3, 1998.
How Y2K could trigger world recession even if the computers are OK - Business Week
An ariticle in the latest edition of Business Week spells out how the Y2K bug could trigger a world recession even if all the computers behave on 1/1/200. "The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia predicts that Y2K spending could boost 1999's gross domestic product by 0.1%, or $8 billion. But in 2000, it says, GDP could shrink 0.3% because of Y2K problems. Says Fed Governor Edward W. Kelley Jr., the central bank's Y2K-watcher: 'The bad news is that with all this spending on Year 2000, there is no corresponding increase in firms' output, and this lowers company productivity, boosts costs, and reduces its profits.'" Buiness Week, December 7, 1998.
Web rocks radio stations -- Media Week
Delegates at the Radio and Web conference were presented with figures showing significant growth for Web based radio. "In a speech at the conference, Ginger Media chief executive officer David Campbell pointed out it's no longer a question of whether the net would affect radio, it's a question of how. "Stations need to recognise the value of developing and owning online brands to pick up future benefits," he warned, "and now is the time to do it.". Media Week, December 4, 1998.
Spherical chips may help cut chip manufacturing costs -- The Economist
The Economist reports from Allen, Texas, where a company called Ball Semiconductor is working on the world's first spherical chip. It is hoped spherical chips will help cut spiralling costs at fabrication plants. "The failure rate is low compared to the two-thirds of wafers that turn out to be unusable, and elimination of the lengthy process of growing the crystal from which wafers are cut could reduce manufacturing time from months to days." The Economist, December 5-11, 1998.
AOL move to to stop staff exodus at Netscape -- Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph reports on moves by AOL boss, Steve Case, to stop the headhunters from picking off staff who fear Netscape may no longer be a cool place to work. "Mr Case told employees that Netscape will 'still be a cool company' where dogs can sit at their owners desks and roller hockey is the norm at lunchtime." The Daily Telegraph, December 3, 1998.