Date: Mon, 3 Mar 1997

Re: Push Media

Wired is either full of shit (the advent of push technology has completely contradicted what they’ve been saying all along and they’re trying to lie about that), or cynical and evil (they knew this is what would happen all along but were talking like revolutionaries at the beginning just to gain market share and credibility with net libertarians).

I can hardly wait for Wired to publish breathless editorials on these exciting phenomena when they happen:

- The death of small ISPs and eventual control of the net by a handful of national (multinational?) providers, quite likely existing mega-corporations like AT&T and Microsoft

- The final death or atrophying of Usenet, the net’s oldest forum for open,many-to-many discussion, finally making the net almost completely read-only and devoid of "public space"

- The increasing willingness of net-related businesses to sell users out by cooperating with the U.S. government in exchange for favors: using weak encryption, turning mail logs over to the FBI, supporting anti-privacy legislation, etc.

- Increasingly frequent crackdowns on porn, "illegal" information or "libel," dissident literature, etc., on the net

- The growth of sophisticated dossier-building by employers and governments, and the exchange of information between them

- The invasion of every inch of the net by advertisements

Will Wired support these developments? Will they claim they predicted them all along? Will they try to put their patented radical-techno-postcapitalist spin on them to make them seem somehow like cool third-wave phenomena?

Stay tuned.

Date: Mon, 3 Mar 1997

Push media


Apparently the news items published at are also delivered to "the comfort of your own home" via one of the "channels" of Pointcast, a program that downloads stuff to your computer when you are not using your internet connection, and displays it as a screen saver. You have to subscribe to this service like you would subscribe to a magazine. I do not use "Pointcast" myself, but that’s what I learned from various reports in the internet press.

That would make this cover story a bold attempt to "hard sell": "Wired" first creates a demand for "push media," then it is there to meet this demand with a product. If "Wired" manages to put that same "push media" into circulation as it did with other ideas, this "Wired News Channel" would certainly be one of the first businesses to profit from this new hype.

PS: If you want to see grown men or women cry, make them install the "Castanet"-Software. So much for state of the art of "push-media"...

Date: Sun, 09 Mar 1997
From: Lucia Mare

Pull Media

The new possibilities for determining the new communication media culture indicates a location for interaction. According to this approach, the specific characteristics of the reflections of consciousness simply disappear; they don’t reveal themselves as well intended media. Pay-per-view metaphysical value...

Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997
From: Jaanis Garancs

Push? so what?

Andreas Broeckmann wrote:
>I ask myself (and now you):
>Does this have consequences for How will it fare in a transforming network/media environment? I don’t buy the idea that everything is going to be push media - this is more WIRED hype - but I am taken aback by the fact that the Web is already turning into an old medium.

starting with the last - the web ‘average web’ i.e. form of 1996-1998 will be definitely be ‘outdated’ - (well, not some of the ‘eternal content’ stuff that we have put out there
;-) /

Date: Wed, 26 Mar 1997

Outsourcing the Intranet

"Push" may be the buzzword du jour in media circles, but in the real world some of us aren’t necessarily looking for fancier screen savers. We’re still looking for tools that can actually help us get some work done.

Netscape, with the announcement of Communicator, has bundled their Internet telephony, whiteboard and chat application into a mini-suite called Netscape Conference. Conference enables voice conferencing, text chat and whiteboard markup simultaneously, and also provides a peer-to-peer file transfer program. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s NetMeeting offers similar functionality — whiteboard, chat, Internet telephony — as well as OLE-based application sharing. If you and your partner-in-crime are both running the Win32 platform, you can hand over control of your OLE-aware application to the person on the other end. "Here, Fred. Let me drive that spreadsheet for a little while..."

These tools are a step in the right direction, since they enable long distance collaboration without requiring a host server. I can be at home with my 28.8 dialup connection and collaborate with my colleague across the bay without needing a sysadmin to give us the appropriate rights. But while it’s great that the tools are personal, the problem is that they only operate in real time. It’s nice to play with a "whiteboard" paint program over a dialup line, but what happens when one of us is a night owl, and needs control of that spreadsheet at three in the morning?

When it comes to collaboration technology, the three major software providers - Lotus, Netscape and Microsoft - are focused behind the firewall, where the money is. And I’m sure there are enough communication and collaboration problems behind those firewalls to keep them occupied for some time. But there is a large market of potential collaborators that need more than just whiteboards and text chat. There are folks out there that need threaded discussion groups and secure web spaces and document sharing, but don’t have access to their own server technologies to run a full-blown installation of Netscape Collabra or Lotus Notes.

Imagine this scenario: four or five geographically dispersed friends start a business together, Widgets, Inc., designing, building and selling widgets online. In their brainstorming phase, they send ten or fifteen lengthy email messages a day to each other, tossing around ideas. But after a few weeks, things start to get a little more complicated. Jill is working on market sizing. Bob is working on the financials. John is gathering competitive data. And Jane is writing the marketing strategy white paper. All of these documents are dependent upon one another, and the team is relying on email attachments to send revisions back and forth.

A few months in, they realize that their organizational memory is locked up in everyone’s Eudora folders, in those dozens of email messages they’ve stored away. What happens when they bring on employee number six, do they print out all the old email and say "here’s the company?" They realize that they need some threaded, archived discussion space, but they need it to be private and secure, since they’re wary of all those competitors John is scoping out. Essentially, they’d like to farm out their Intranet.

This is a perfect opportunity for a savvy ISP to break the choke-hold of flat-fee Internet access. This is not a collaboration product I’m proposing, but a collaboration service.

I would argue that as an ISP there’s money to be made in establishing subscription-based collaboration services, using standard tools. A perfect service would provide the following...
* Secure web space for "internal" web pages
* A private, secure news server for threaded discussions
* A document library application, which would enable participants to "check out" documents for revision. It should keep track of who has which document, and when it’s scheduled to be "checked in" for viewing by other members of the team.
* The usual ISP services — email, domain hosting, listservices, dialup connectivity, etc.

Finally, all of these services should be based on standard tools, so that when Widget, Inc. does buckle down, hire an IS manager and install their own T1 line, they can transfer their outsourced intranet onto their own equipment without a hitch. Or, if Widgets, Inc. doesn’t quite cut the mustard, the ISP should provide them a tape archive of all their materials, shut down their services, and be ready for when any one of them does the Silicon Valley shuffle and hooks up with a brand new team designing a better strain of widgets...

this text went through Michael Sippeys mailinglist RETRO-PUSH. you can subscribe to it and find more at

Date: Tue, 06 May 1997

Publishers on Push

I see push as not much more than a new means of funneling information to a recipient. As such, saying that I am opposed to "push" would be akin to saying that I am opposed to "radio," "television," "movies in theaters," or "3D interactive worlds." In my media critic hat my focus generally lies on the content of the media, rather than in the means by which it reaches the audience.

In particular, I am interested in the methodology by which the providers of push content will or do use to determine my preferences. If the content providers decide my preferences based on stereotyped generalities about my age, gender and income level, and then send me advertisements for sales at Marshall’s Clothing Outlet, discounts on brand-name cosmetics, and cooking equipment and recipe books, I will not only turn off their access to my computer, but I will throw a stink about their sexist and condescending assumptions in every venue I can. [...]

Date: Sun, 11 May 1997

A last word on Push

To take the most primitive form of push as an example, one I’m currently and sadly addicted to, the mailing list, we already have filters for a particular type of message we don’t want. At the other extreme end of the scale, television, we zap or mute. Seems that for every new method of push, some enterprising soul comes up with a way to put the power back into the consumer’s hands. Selectivity is a service far more valuable than just about any product currently being pushed. And so, it will win out.

Date: Mon, 5 May 1997
From: Steven Carlson

Connected: Push This

Nobody knows what the users think about push publishing, because nobody is using Pushing yet. On the internet, debates about Push remind me of teenage boys discussing sex in a locker room: Everybody’s talking, but nobody is doing it yet. Except there’s one important difference: Most teenage boys approve of sex. [...]