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Be on the wave or under it™

The News – 09/19/05

In this Issue:

Recommended Reading

I realize this is the only newsletter you’ll ever need, but if you want more in-depth detail, check out:

Stan Hustad’s
The Coaching Connection

Management Signature's
The Express Read

Success has many fathers; failure has many analysts

Yes, that’s right. I said it. You can Google it to be sure. It’s one of my better bon mots, if I do say so.

The cool thing is, it’s undoubtedly true. Take a look at the uncharacteristically fierce journalistic bashing the Bush government is undergoing in the wake of their truly historic bungling of Katrina. Our president actually admitted a mistake, the first one of his five year administration. But let’s not go there.

We could take a look at why failure is not longer an option, and the effect of that mandate, combined with the intense scrutiny of public companies and the resulting obsession with quarterly results, on risk takers and innovation. (For a great example, see the recent stock drop of BestBuy, who only increased earnings 48 percent compared to last year and missed earnings per share forecasts by a penny.)

But let’s instead take a look at some of the predictions and hot technologies that flamed out over the last five years.

Let’s first examine predictions by the high bux analysts. Then, in a future issue, we’ll take a look at my goofs.


In 2000, I ran an item that said: “IDC predicts that the current $115 Billion eSolutions Business Will Skyrocket to $430 Billion by 2004.” A search of Forrester’s site today yields zero hits for the term eSolutions. Hmmmmm. Institutional amnesia? A Google search (did I tell you how much I love Google?) turns up 1.7 million pages containing the term eSolutions, and 31,500 also contain the word billions. Unfortunately, finding the current value of the eSolutions market is not the type of thing that Web searches are good at uncovering. And a search of major industry analyst sites turn up very little on eSolutions. Let’s just say that the term eSolutions has fallen out of favor, so who knows how much the market is worth?

Conclusion: Prediction probably worthless.

Comedy is Easy. Predicting the Future is Hard

Also in 2000, I included an item under the title Rosy Technology Predictions May Be Pessimistic about a George Washington University study that pulled together a number of predictions from noted futurists. It included a statement from Wired Magazine co-founder Kevin Kelly: “The Web is underhyped.” You know, I think he was right.

Also included were the following predictions, which pegged when each advance would achieve critical mass:



Entertainment On-Demand




PC Convergence


Distance Learning


Advanced Data Storage


Standard Digital Protocol


PCS Gains Markets


Groupware Systems


Computer Sensory Recognition


Modular Software


Parallel Processing Computing


Information Superhighway


Personal Digital Assistants


Intelligent Agents


Ubiquitous Computing Environment


Broadband Networks


Electronic Banking/Cash


Expert Systems


Note that some of the trends don’t have a predicted date. A curious example is “PCS Gains Markets,” referring to the expansion of digital cell phone technology, which, of course, is ubiquitous today.

Here’s George Washington U’s current thinking.

Conclusion: Prediction mixed.

Sweating the Small Stuff

One of the complaints that chip fabricators have about all this nanotechnology business is that they are already working on the nanoscale. The current Northwood Pentium 4 uses 0.13-micron (120 nanometer) transistors, for example.

Well, back in 2000, I printed an item in which Intel predicted “By 2005 we’ll see the first 30 nanometer transistors (0.03 microns). A hundred thousand of them stacked on top of each other will be the thickness of a sheet of paper. This will enable 10GHz processors that can process 20 million calculations in the time a bullet flies 1 foot.”

Hmmm. Not quite, Intel. But your competition is getting pretty close. AMD’s Opteron 275 is not only a 64-bit chip (compared with the P4’s 32-bits) but uses miniscule 0.09-micron transistors, three times larger than the predicted size.

Conclusion: Prediction busted.

ASP, Where is Thy Sting?

In an article entitled, ASPs Defying Predictions of Demise? I passed along the information that two Application Service Provider (ASP) portals gave slightly different censuses of the ASP universe: 1,870 companies vs. 1,763. Of course, both portals predicted a bright future for selling software as a service. Let’s compare these old numbers with the current numbers listed at ASPStreet and ASPNews:













Hmmm. The ASP market is either pretty healthy or slowly declining. You decide.

Conclusion: Prediction mixed.

Flash vs. Content

OK, this one isn’t strictly a prediction, but it’s worth revisiting. In a previous SNS, I railed about the apparent triumph of flash (little ‘f’ and big ‘F’) over content on a growing number of sites. Many sites still have Flash intros (which basically says to search engines, “Go away!” However, we’ve seen Flash be more integrated into a Website as a banner header or other page element.

Two good examples I’m intimately familiar with are the Evalubase Research site and one of The WiMAX Guys clients’ site, Uncovering Profits. The Evalubase site (done by yours truly; be kind, I’m a graphics idiot) uses three different Flash objects to add a little pizzazz. Uncovering Profits has an all-Flash main page (we got involved a little too late to prevent this), but uses a Flash navbar throughout the rest of the site.

But the most interesting thing about this particular blast from the past is the site I used as an example of the most egregious use of Flash I had seen, the Website of a company called Balthaser. If the site had been based on HTML, you could see how their site used to look courtesy of the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. Instead, you get a blank page.

Anyway, the company now has a pretty cool interactive design application built in Flash. It’s still not optimal, it’s all black and all in Flash, but it does get the job done. Try signing up for their free account and see how it works. The screen is still way too dark, and I missed the “Next” button during the signup phase, but, whaddaya gonna do? What do you suppose the piercing density of the Balthaser staff is?

Conclusion: I still hate the overuse of Flash.

Briefly Noted

  • Shameless Self-Promotion Dept.: The WiMAX Guys’ main business is new installs for people who want to set up wireless hotspots such as hotels, warehouses, apartment buildings, and office buildings or hotzones that cover cities. We also sell a knowledge-based Web portal called the MAX K-Base. Check out our main Website at

    My wife created a bit of a stir when her op-ed piece was published in the Minneapolis StarTribune newspaper after the election. Her article, “Two Nations, Handcuffed Together,” has been commented on or linked to by more than 85 Websites. She’s now created a Website to capitalize on her newfound pundit status. Check it out at
    Several issues ago I debuted SNS Begware, an opportunity for you, gentle reader, to express your appreciation by tipping your server via PayPal. See the sidebar for more info. Total in the kitty so far: $91.48. Thanks Dave!

  • The Raw File – SNS is dedicated to delivering the scoop on the latest and greatest. However, I collect lots of information that never makes it into the newsletter before it gets old. I’ve collected all this aging info into a page called The Raw File. This page is the raw information I gather for SNS articles. It’s not pretty, and some may be a little incoherent, but chances are there are still things in TRF that might be news to you. So therefore, use The Raw File at your own risk – it’s 45+ pages of the best stuff that didn’t make it into SNS.
    The Raw File

  • Microsoft Soundbite Security : Well, it looks like the behemoth has learned the talk. Can they walk it? Their latest soundbite: “With security, it's never who you know. It's who you don't know.”

  • FindForward Can Spot That Meme: One of the really ubiquitous buzzwords of the early Web was meme, defined as a unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another. Or more concisely, a thought virus. The rise of the idea of “soccer moms” is an example of the spread of a meme.

    Well, my favorite search engine, Google, is now so broad that you can chart the rise and fall of memes throughout the whole 20th century using a new search service called FindForward. In addition to being a regular search engine, the service allows you to specify which half of the 20th century to search for your term and gives back a graph depicting the popularity of the term by year. Cool idea, but, unfortunately, it’s not tremendously accurate, placing the first mention of the pet rock in 1951 instead of 1975.

    According to the site, the service, called Centuryshare, “tries to find natural peaks for ideas in particular years by searching the Web via Google. For every year, the number of the year is combined with the search query: to find out when Elvis Presley was at the height of his fame, the engine searches for Elvis Presley 1950, Elvis Presley 1951, Elvis Presley 1952, and so on, keeping track of the returned result count along the way.”

    Despite its flaws, FindForward is a harbinger of services to come, once all human knowledge has been digitized (see the Library of Alexandria and Library of Congress efforts) and put online.

  • Dear Mr. Interjections R. Slatternly . . . You probably get spam all the time from people with improbable names. To avoid anti-spam efforts, spammers auto generate spammer names, with often hilarious results. Here’s just a partial list of the funny ones I got recently. I mean, really, Hollis Hartley? LOL!

    On a serious note, find out how to report spam at

  • Forward to Everyone You Know: The next time you get one of those urgent-forward-this-email-to-everyone-you-know messages from someone, strike a blow for sanity and direct the forwarder to this little quiz.
    Dr. Joe
    Thanks to Alert SNS Reader Doug Laney for the pointer.

  • If You’ve Made it This Far: Well, there is a partial winner in our contest: Alert SNS Reader Ken Florian correctly identified the song containing the lyric “And I said yes sir brother sheriff, and that's your wife on the back of my horse.” The song is indeed Gangster of Love, a song made popular by Stevie “Guitar” Miller and first appearing on his album Sailor. Miller did not, however, write the song, which was penned by Johnny “Guitar” Watson, who had a minor hit with it in 1957. My favorite other cover recording of the song is by Johnny Winter, on an obscure disk called Black Cat Bone.  

    You may recall the contest was to email me the retort to the partial music lyric buried somewhere in the previous newsletter. The prize was one stick of totally obsolete PC memory. Sadly, I cannot award the memory to Mr. Florian, since he neglected to also answer the tiebreaker, “Who is
    Hoops McCann?” twice. Hint: By this I mean there are two different answers to the question.

    So, to claim the memory, Alert SNS Readers must first answer that tiebreaker and then also tell me where I can buy the LP featuring songs containing the lyrics “nauseous gasser” and “merry-go-round” for less than $69. It’s only going to get harder unless someone can emerge victorious.

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Can’t Get Enough of ME?

In the unlikely event that you want more of my opinions, I’ve started a Weblog. It’s the fashionable thing for pundits to do, and I’m doing it too. A Weblog is a datestamped collection of somewhat random thoughts and ideas assembled on a Web page. If you’d like to subject the world to your thoughts, as I do, you can create your own Weblog. You need to have a Web site that allows you FTP access, and the free software from This allows you to right click on a Web page and append your pithy thoughts to your Weblog.

I’ve dubbed my Weblog entries “Stratlets”, and they are available at Let me know what you think.

Also check out the TrendSpot for ranking of the latest emerging trends.

In Memoriam

Gerald M. Ellsworth

March 14, 1928 - July 5, 2003

In Memoriam

Jane C. Ellsworth

July 20, 1928 - July 20, 2003