Articles in this archive are generated
from the email edition of the TBTF newsletter. Articles start out identical
in content to the email edition, with some minor formatting adjustments.
Over time I edit articles in the archive to correct typos or other inaccuracies,
add information not available at the time of publication, incorporate comments or
insights from readers, etc. Thus at any point in time the Web archive is the most
accurate representation of the truth, but it diverges from the serial truth as
published over time in the email newsletter.
In other words, this archive is living, not static. Just wanted you to know.
Emendations (excluding typos)
for 2000-07-20 -- The Morris worm attacked the Net in 1988, not 1998.
I knew that. Thanks to TJ Duvally.
TBTF for 2000-07-20 --
Germany's proposal to tax Net access at work lasted but a day,
according to Prof. Dr. Maximilian Herberger, Director of the Institute
for Computing in the Law in Saarbrücken. And he should know.
for 1999-11-21 -- Zero is an even number. There is no "take zero as
even" -- I'd better take it the way mathematics defines it. So says
Lenny Foner <foner at media dot mit dot edu>, and he's right.
for 1999-11-21 -- The emitter in a vacuum tube is the cathode, not
the anode. Doh! I knew that. Thanks to Nicholas Bodley, self-described
old vacuum-tube man.
for 1999-10-05 -- The (likely) bogus story about an Israeli device
using a quantum computer appeared in the newspaper The Times, not the
Sunday Times. The confusion arose because the two papers share URL
name space. Thanks to Lee
Maguire for the correction.
for 1999-05-08 -- A reader pointed out that the Immedia
electronic ink sign in a local JCPenney store draws less than 1 watt,
not 100 watts as I had written.
1997-03-21 -- It may seem 2-1/2 years late to be making this
correction, but such are the ways of the Web. A pointer to TBTF for
1997-03-21 was sent to a mailing list of ex-employees of the pioneering
AI company Symbolics. Within minutes two of them had written to me
questioning my labeling dec.com as the "first computer company domain."
OK, Symbolics beat my old alma mater by six months, pacé.
1999-08-30 -- In the article "Aibo rampant on a field azure," TBTF's
own boutique guerrilla points out -- with alacrity -- that the store
running ads featuring Aibo is Bergdorf Goodman, not Bonwit
Teller as I had written.
She notes, "Bonwit, alas, has been out of business for at least five
years." I'll bet fewer readers notice this gaffe than caught me
mixing up Three Dog Night with Creedence Clearwater Revival, one year
1999-08-23 -- In the article "Debunking a new 'chemtrails' urban legend,"
several readers pointed out that the URL given for the
Jay Reynolds article was broken: the site hosting that copy has its
forward and reverse DNS entries out of sync. I have repointed the
copy of the article.
Joshua McGee pointed out a BOTEC error in "Race you to the edge of the
solar system" -- 0.03% of lightspeed gets you across the US in about
a minute, not 10 seconds as I originally wrote.
1999-08-16 -- Gerald Himmelein <ghi at ct dot heise dot de>,
who works for c't, another publication in the Heise family,
pointed out that Telepolis is better described as an online
magazine, and that it originates in Germany, not in Austria as I had
1999-07-08 -- In article "Anything ICANN do," noted that
Switzerland is not in fact a member of the EU; thanks to Hendrik
Rood <Hendrik.Rood@stratix.nl>. In "Hazards of the young and
mobile," admitted being taken in by a well-executed hoax, as pointed
out by more than a dozen readers. In "SETI at home," qualified the
authoritativeness of the platform performance numbers. Thanks to Pete
Flugstad <pete_flugstad at icon-labs dot com> and TBTF Irregular
Greg Roelofs <newt at pobox dot com>.
1999-06-14 -- Steven Parrish <sparrish at aholdusa dot com>
wrote to correct the misstatement that the Moller Skycar's nacelles
"They use vanes to direct the airflow. The nacelles are shaped to
contribute to lift, as is every other part of the airframe. They
would stall if they were swiveled up to a high angle of attack."
1999-01-26 -- Corrected the misimpression that so-called
opportunistic encryption is supported in the first release of
FreeS/WAN. The project leader sent a note saying that some configuration
is required on each end to set up a VPN with FreeS/WAN v1.0. Support
for opportunistic encryption, which would require no pair-by-pair
configuration, is planned for the summer of 1999.
1999-01-26 -- Refined the definition of a Markman hearing based on
a note from mike schmelzer <schmelzer at bigfoot dot com>.
for 1999-01-26 -- Corrected misstatement that the util-linux backdoor
sends users' passwords; in fact it is wired to send only username and hostname.
Also fixed two switched links. Thanks to John Porter for the corrections.
for 1999-01-26 -- Corrected the spelling (and, by implication, the
sex) of the French economy and finance minister, Domenique Strauss-Kahn.
Thanks to Marcus Kollar for the erratum.
TBTF for 1999-01-04 --
Noted that Rod Amis seems to be behind the appearance of Robin Miller's
article in both Andover Network and Generation 21.
TBTF for 1998-12-15 --
Per Anton Sherwood <antons at jps dot net>, emended the definition
of the Jargon Scout term STFW to Search the
flinking Web, not Surf the fine Website as originally published.
Also noted the claim by Julian Harris <jharris at clear dot co dot nz>
to have originated the alternate form STFN.
Removed a phrase which some readers found offensive to those of the Catholic
faith. I apologize to all those offended, no disrespect was intended.
TBTF for 1998-11-11 --
Clarified that the Gordon Gekko reference in relation to a posting by Robert
Hettinga was taken from the posting itself, and was not implied in Phil Agre's
TBTF for 1998-10-27 --
Refined the description of Ken Olum's work on warping space using negative
energies, and added a link to a preprint of his article. Thanks to Dr. Olum
for helping me set get the story straight.
TBTF for 1998-10-27 --
How embarassing! I got the name of my informant wrong in the title article.
Carol Yutkowitz, not Yutkins, may forgive me someday.
TBTF for 1997-04-21 --
added details on Microsoft's status vis-á-vis export approval for 1024-bit
TBTF for 1997-04-21
reported observations that two astronomers explained with the hypotheses that
the universe overall is birefringent (has a preferred direction). Added a
note on a paper published in September 1997 that points out an error in this
TBTF for 1998-08-31
Added clarifications, further details, and links about the behavior of the
Windows 3.1 beta instrumented with the encrypted "AARD" code.
TBTF for 1998-07-20
Bell Labs encryption researcher Daniel Bleichenbacher's affiliation
was mistakenly given as Bellcore.
TBTF for 1998-07-20 made
an assertion about a government spokesman's reaction to the EFF's DES cracking
supercomputer. A reader inquired the source and I couldn't produce it, so have
removed the assertion.
TBTF for 1998-02-16 mistakenly
identified Gregory Alan Bolcer <gbolcer at gambetta dot ics dot uci dot edu>
as a Cal Tech grad student. Bolcer is at UC Irvine.
TBTF for 1998-01-12:
Three readers wrote within 15 minutes of Slate's publication of MIT economist Paul Krugman's
article The Legend of Arthur;
A tale of gullibility at The New Yorker. Brian Arthur was not the first economist to
ponder the meaning of increasing returns, nor was he the first in print with the idea, not
by 10 years. See Krugman's chronology .
TBTF for 1997-12-24:
Thanks to Kris Shapar <shapar at moon at jic at com>, who
wrote to correct my
misidentification of the Software Publishers Association in connection with
the Mother Jones article; the correct organization is the Business
TBTF for 1997-11-24:
Added readers' comments refuting the assertion that the profiled Star Trek site
on MSN is unusable except from MSIE running on Windows. Been watching too many
Oliver Stone movies.
TBTF for 1997-11-17:
Corrected two errors in the Bugthumping article. Gregory Alan Bolcer
<gbolcer at gambetta dot ics dot uci dot edu> points out that the
Cyrix problem shows up in multiuser configurations, not multiprocessor
as originally stated, adding, "Cyrix states that they will never make a
multiprocessor system. I've been looking for one for years."
Dan Stromberg <strombrgat hydra dot ics dot uci dot edu> and
and Robert S. Thau <rst at ai dot mit dot edu> corrected my
distortion of the Linux numbering scheme. Thau says: "The first linux
patch was incorporated into bleeding-edge development releases 2.1.63
and .64 -- the 2.1.x series being a set of kernels which introduce new
features and internal organization... not yet regarded as sufficiently
stable for ordinary use. A complete release incorporating these changes
in the 2.0.x 'stable' line of development (bug fixes only...) was finally
made sometime yesterday, though patches had been circulating earlier.
This release, however, is numbered 2.0.32, not 2.0.64. There has not
yet been, and will hopefully never be, a 2.0.64 release."
TBTF for 1997-10-20:
Added clarifications from Larry Allen and Pekka Pihlajasaari regarding the wording
of Microsoft's Java license wording: Bottom line: there is nothing remarkable
about this wording -- it is quite similar to Netscape's.
TBTF for 1997-09-22:
It turns out that the account of Java fervor
at a Paris Microsoft developers' conference is exaggerated. At the request of a
reader, the IDG international news service spoke to developers who attended the
conference and came away with this summary of the affair: "A few people booed (the Sun
author being one of them) and a few people left." Thanks to
Mark Gibbs <mgibbs at gibbs dot com> for the correction.
TBTF for 1997-09-22:
A reader points out that the Revelation utility downloads 1.23 MB, not 15 KB as
stated in the email edition.
TBTF for 1997-09-08:
UMAX is a Taiwanese MacOS clone company, not Korean. Thanks to Eric
Bossieux <eric at gol dot com> for the correction.
TBTF for 1997-09-01:
Added dates for the Unix utilities diff,
rdist, and patch. Thanks to John Robert LoVerso
<john at loverso dot southborough dot ma dot us>
for the historical details.
TBTF for 1996-12-14:
Updated the URL for Flyte Trax,
the first service to present real-time location and arrival data for US airliners in
TBTF for 1997-08-04:
Stored and linked a local copy of the .gif
file illustrating the (possible) effect
of Ping Flood attacks on MAE East. The original posting linked the live, rolling
5-day average graph;
eventually this problem will be cleared up and
the live graph won't display the telltale drops to zero.
TBTF for 1997-06-16:
Corrected the URL for That's Useful, this is Cool.
Added a news.com link
featuring an interview with the discoverer of the IIS-killer bug. Corrected a reference
in which Senate bill S.909 was mislabeled "S.990."
TBTF for 1997-06-16:
Corrected the date of the spam segment of the FTC hearing: it was 6/12, not
6/13. Thanks to Keith Lynch <firstname.lastname@example.org>, whose notes from the session
TBTF for 1997-05-08:
Made it clear that the story of Linus Torvalds going to work for Sun was in
fact an April Fools prank, and is untrue. I wuz snookered; a nice job by
Liem Bahneman <email@example.com>. Thanks to Greg Roelofs
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, who was the first of uncountably many
of you to point out the egg on my face.
TBTF for 1997-04-21:
Added late-breaking news of European Union involvement in the domain-name
question and of NSF's abrupt exit from the scene. Added to the archive an
account by Niall O'Reilly
of a 1997-04-09 meeting between EU and TLD naming representatives.
Also corrected two inaccuracies in the original
IAHC article; thanks to
Dave Crocker <email@example.com> for pointing them out.
TBTF for 1997-04-04:
Enhanced and corrected some information on the table of Microsoft
TBTF for 1997-04-04:
softened the wording of the summary of Microsoft exploit #8. Added an
illustrative comment by G. J. Poronsky <firstname.lastname@example.org> on the
Heaven's Gate press coverage.
TBTF for 1996-04-07 and
TBTF for 1996-10-09:
Noted that the hardcover edition of Charles Platt's book Anarchy Online
has gone out-of-print and that he has removed the excerpts from his Web page.
HarperCollins plans to bring out the book in paperback sometime in 1997.
VRML 97 trip report:
At the request of the author, Greg Roelofs, changed the URL for the
Sony flag demo and and noted that the upcoming Heat browser has been
TBTF for 1997-03-21:
Yet again updated the Microsoft bugs story.
They have generated a fix for bugs #4, #5, and #6 and are testing it. #7 is not
TBTF for 1997-03-21:
Again updated the Microsoft bugs story --
news of a complete point release of MSIE, 3.02. The company had posted a
letter of apology
from a senior vice president. They appear to be taking the problems seriously, but
some of the wording in the letter leaves me uncertain whether Microsoft truly
gets it on the subject of security.
TBTF for 1997-03-21:
Updated the Microsoft bugs story --
a fourth new exploit page
has been posted (that's #7 overall), and Microsoft has
they are working on #4. (Also rearranged the references.)
TBTF for 1997-03-01:
Corrected a link: reference  mistakenly pointed to the
instead of the HTTP 1.1 spec;
thanks to Harold Driscoll <email@example.com> for catching this.
In the same issue Greg Roelofs <firstname.lastname@example.org> notes that you need
to visit the Beachcomber page using a
angles aren't measured in degrees (in the Omniview
TBTF for 1997-02-11:
Added a link to the Chaos Computer Club's notes on their
demo (thanks to Ulf Möller <email@example.com>).
Added a link to the
Economist article and a comment by Dan Kohn <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
TBTF for 1997-01-29:
Added cultural details of the two "mock-Ebonic phrases" alluded to
(thanks to Rich Holland <email@example.com>).
TBTF for 1997-01-29:
Added a clarification (thanks to Karl Hakkarainen <firstname.lastname@example.org>)
that Finland is not a Scandanavian country. (The Finns are part of the
Finno-Ugric stock, along with Hungary and Estonia, among other tribes.)
TBTF for 1997-01-21:
added comments from three readers about ADSL service and the uncounted Linux
segment of the workstation market. Added a
user story about domain-name
registration to the TBTF Archive.
TBTF for 1996-03-10:
added links to two URLs at which a referenced
by Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger is archived.
TBTF for 1997-01-11:
added a link to a .gif image
of a letter Viacom sent a user who was allegedly infringing the company's
trademark for Star Trek materials.
TBTF for 1996-10-20:
added a link to a
article comparing three studies on the size of the market for Internet
commerce to the year 2000.
Added a note from the original author of "How Mil Specs Live
Forever" to TBTF for 1996-10-31
-- Bill Innanen <email@example.com> -- and linked the copy in
Innanen's Web site. Thanks to Eldad Ganin <firstname.lastname@example.org>, who did the
sleuth work I gave up on.
Added a note received from Dan Veaner <ASPDan@aol.com>
to TBTF for 1996-07-14.
Corrected misrepresentation of Demon Internet's position;
see TBTF for 1996-10-20. Thanks to
Irene Graham <email@example.com>.
Updated the URL for the Bernstein case decision in
TBTF for 1996-04-21.
Added a correction to the article "NTT moves into e-cash"
in TBTF for 1996-09-23 -- thanks to
Bodo Moeller <Bodo_Moeller@public.uni-hamburg.de>
Added notes to TBTF
for 1996-10-09 from experienced list manager Chuq von Rospach
Corrected wording in TBTF
for 1996-10-09 to indicate that the 1-800 number listed in the "Crypto anarchy"
followup is for book orders only.
Re: newspapers' rejecting classified advertising that points
readers to the Web -- added a link to recent developments
in TBTF for 11-26-95.
Took to heart an improvement from Arun Mehta
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, who kindly corrected the German phrase in the title
of TBTF for 1996-08-08.
Added a note from Garrett Hildebrand <email@example.com>, with
three suggestions for the Jargon Scout, to TBTF
for 1996-02-27. Linked to Matt Blaze's
article instead of to a copy on the TBTF archive.
Added a note from Carl Oppedahl <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
attorney for one of the defendent companies in the Freeny patent case,
identifying a URL for the
of the June 21 hearing. Added a correction from Marshall Clow
<email@example.com> to TBTF
Added a page of comments from
TBTF readers, reviewers, and republishers.
Added a comment from Ted Farrell
to TBTF for 1996-07-02. Added an explanation of the
ranking methodology used by a top-100 Web ranking service to
TBTF for 1996-03-24.
Added a pointer to a followup
from the one-time pad article in TBTF
Renamed the file listing 251 Usenet newsgroups banned by
Compuserve last December (see TBTF for 1995-12-31).
I'll be doing this periodically.
I wondered why traffic to the TBTF archive had suddenly tripled starting on
Saturday 1996-05-18. A little analysis revealed that all of the new "hits" on this
site were requesting the list of banned newsgroups. I explored with Alta Vista
and discovered a link to it from a page listing sexually explicit sites around
the Web. Since my intention in publishing the list was comprehensive journalism
and not titillation, I've replaced the original list with an empty file,
renamed the list, and
revised the links that point to it from within the archive.
Removed the reply by Fred Cohen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
to Richard Johnson's <Richard.Johnson@colorado.edu> comments on "zero
tolerance"; in its place is a statement that the two gentlemen are working out
a question of libel.
In TBTF for 1995-09-10,
added the more elegant demonstration of what servers know supplied by Carl
In TBTF for 1996-04-21, added further
detail about the WeatherNow site supplied by its author, James Julstrom
In TBTF for 1996-04-21,
added comment from Bill Cheswick <email@example.com>.
Added two paragraphs from Netscape's pages about the Daylight Savings Time
problem; also added a collection of notes on the
problem from comp.risks.
In TBTF for 1996-04-07,
added comments from Greg Aharonian <firstname.lastname@example.org> and
Carl Oppedahl <email@example.com>.
In TBTF for 1996-03-10,
added comments from Ryan Conley <firstname.lastname@example.org>
about a limitation in the Switchboard
service. In TBTF for 1996-03-24, corrected a
URL so as not to work at cross purposes to its author, John Robert LoVerso
<email@example.com> and added a comment about Java support from Bill
Added comments from John Robert LoVerso <firstname.lastname@example.org>
in TBTF for 1996-02-27.
Added comments from Scot Hacker <Scot_Hacker@zd.com>
about Netscape 2.0 font color and GIF animation
to TBTF for 1996-02-10. Added to the same issue
a link to a letter from Leon Blocker
<email@example.com>, self-described "publisher, right-wing idealogue,
neanderlithic knuckle dragger, racist, homophobe, and bigot."
from Mark Dionne <firstname.lastname@example.org> -- I don't know about
Netscape, but I heard directly from a Vermeer stockholder that the price was $130M.
Tweaked the totals of software
patents after Greg Ahronian published final 1995 numbers.
Added a series of links to simplify naming and referencing
TBTF issues in the archive. Hypermail generates file names such as 0045.html.
For each issue I have added a symbolic link tying in the publication date.
Thus, "1995-10-09.html" is an alternate way of addressing the file "0045.html."
This addition resulted in many minor edits to TBTF issues from 1995-09-24 to the
present. Do let me know if you see any loose ends such as nonfunctioning
links -- thanks.
In TBTF for 1995-11-29,
added a comment from Tim Marklein <email@example.com> in
favor of Oracle PowerBrowser.
In TBTF for 1995-08-08,
corrected attribution of the quote "The Net views censorship as damage
and routes around it." Was attributed to John Perry Barlow, should be
John Gilmore, according to Peter Capek <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
In TBTF for 1995-11-08,
added references to earlier Java articles in TBTF. Added a link to information
about Sun's project to develop a Web editing environment. Added
information about the UltraSparc VIS instruction set. Added a detail about
Ultrasparc's software MPEG-2 decompression. Corrected the implication that
Sun's demo illustrating HDTV was simultaneously doing MPEG-2 decompression.
In TBTF for 1995-11-03,
Added a comment from Randy Enger <email@example.com> regarding the
indigestion caused by adoption of the X Window System and of NFS. Added
a link to a Web version of James Gleick's cited New York Times
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Most recently updated 2000-09-29