THE WELCH COMPANY
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S U M M A R Y
DIARY: February 22, 1997 01:36 PM Saturday;
Received information on market potential for Communication Metrics.
2...NC v. PC Breaking Wintel Dominance with Internet
3...Bill Gates noted wordprocessing, spreadsheets and Web Browsers are the
4...Larry Ellison with Oracle spoke following Gates
5...Killer App Improve Wordprocessing Spreadsheets for Better Productivity
6...Computers Need New Compelling Application, Something More Useful
.......Operating System for People and Organizations is a new kind of
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Killer App Improves Wordprocessing Spreadsheets, Larry Ellison
Intelligence People Want Technology to Improve Decisions, Landauer
Killer App Needed Improve Wordprocessing Spreadsheets Meetings Paris
2505 - ..
2506 - Summary/Objective
250701 - Follow up ref SDS 46 7377.
250703 - Received more information today on dynamics of the PC market, which
250704 - supplements prior discussions with Morris, and previous reviews of
250705 - Internet, Web, and Java technology to overcome the dominance of
250706 - Microsoft and Intel. This subject was reviewed last June at ref SDS
250707 - 34 line 164 and in March from a Forbes ASAP article by George Gilder,
250708 - ref SDS 23 line 106.
250710 - ..
250711 - There seems to be a contradition between attaining ease-of-use for
250712 - computers comparable to televisions and telephones, and providing
250713 - useful computing power to people. There seems to be a concensus that
250714 - wordprocessing and spreadsheets are the two primary applications for
250715 - computers, and no other generic use has been identified.
250717 - [On 970227 discussion with Morris. ref SDS 54 0001
250721 - ..
2510 - Progress
251101 - NC v. PC Breaking Wintel Dominance with Internet
251103 - This afternoon there was a TV program on channel 13 in San Francisco,
251104 - which is KTEH or something like that in San Jose, about a recent event
251105 - in France, I think it was the "IDC" or possibly "ITC" for Information
251106 - Technology Conference." Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, and Larry
251107 - Ellison, chairman of Oracle, offered opposing views on the merits of
251108 - the PC and what is now called a "Network Computer," also, "NC," the
251109 - latter replacing "Teleputer" that was in vogue last year, reviewed on
251110 - 960304. ref SDS 23 6008).
251111 - ..
251112 - One aim is to overcome the dominance by Microsoft and Intel in
251113 - the PC market, called generally "Wintel" for "Windows and Intel
251114 - systems, by offering a low cost, less powerful, computer that uses the
251115 - Internet.
251117 - [On 970603 meeting with Dave Vannier at Intel addressed issue of
251118 - low cost PCs. ref SDS 55 0001
251120 - ..
251121 - This effort is led by Oracle, Netscape, Sun Microsystems and others to
251122 - provide a system of centralized servers accessed by the Internet for
251123 - data storage and Web technology, notably Java for an operating system
251124 - to select applications (called applets), a directory structure for
251125 - organization, and HTML links to navigate the system.
251128 - ..
251129 - Bill Gates noted wordprocessing, spreadsheets and Web Browsers are the
251130 - top selling software products. He said integrating applications
251131 - improves usefulness, and this takes more power and better operating
251132 - systems, rather than scaled down systems, as promoted by advocates of
251133 - the NC model. Gates argued that business customers want computers to
251134 - be more productive and easier to use, more than they want lower
251135 - prices. Gates advised that Microsoft is working on making computers
251136 - easier to use by developing speech recognition and real-time visual
251137 - contact (commonly called video conferencing), and pointed out this
251138 - capability requires more computer power, and a robust operating system
251139 - for the foreseeable future, not less, as proposed by advocates for the
251140 - Network Computer.
251142 - [On 000706 Morris reported that Microsoft CEO, Steve Balmer,
251143 - attributes success of Office applications to developing reliable
251144 - integration. ref SDS 57 3740
251146 - ..
251147 - An earlier speaker (possibly the president of Compaq) cautioned about
251148 - the risks of a "network computer" solution for storing sensitive
251149 - information on off-site equipment controlled by others, such as
251150 - financial, tax, budgets, proposals, business plans.
251152 - ..
251153 - No one presented (in the part of the event that was telecast) the
251154 - issue of reliability of off-site storage, delayed access and reduced
251155 - performance due to wide-scale usage, nor did anyone cite the impact of
251156 - technical problems (continual bumbling), that would bring everybody's
251157 - activity to a halt, as currently occur on the Internet, reviewed on
251158 - 960304. ref SDS 23 9007
251161 - ..
251162 - Larry Ellison with Oracle spoke following Gates
251164 - Ellison reported that he uses Microsoft Word and feels it is a good
251165 - program. He worried about the lack of ideas for applying computer
251166 - power beyond wordprocessing and spreadsheets, cited by Gates, above.
251167 - ref SDS 0 6956 Ellison chided wasteful investment of talent, time and
251168 - treasure to create an endless variety of ways for identifying
251169 - misspelled words, using underline formats and colors in documents.
251170 - Larry rhetorically asked if there is an emerging career path to become
251171 - head of a department for new fonts, new ways to underline, new outline
251172 - formats, correct spelling and incorporate pictures into documents.
251174 - Technologies for wordprocessing, spreadsheets and graphics, like
251175 - Powerpoint, help make everyone a publisher, but don't help anyone
251176 - think of what to write nor remember what actions to take as a
251177 - result of what is written, because documents are largely isolated
251178 - from decisions that drive daily work, as reported last month on
251179 - 970107. ref SDS 42 4953
251181 - [On 060412 outline software represents two (2) worlds of SDS
251182 - intelligence support for structure, order and pattern to create
251183 - good ideas with accurate understanding of causation, essential
251184 - for production; and wordprocessing for making ideas look good,
251185 - essential for sales. ref SDS 63 3H5G
251187 - ..
251188 - Earlier on 950710 Tom Landauer observed in his book "The Trouble
251189 - with Computers" that it is hard to design technology to do useful
251190 - tasks for helping people think, remember and communicate.
251191 - ref SDS 14 RP5R
251195 - ..
251196 - Killer App Improve Wordprocessing Spreadsheets for Better Productivity
251197 - Computers Need New Compelling Application, Something More Useful
251199 - Ellison supported Gate's call for integrated solutions, and further
251200 - maintained that there should be more useful things for computers to do
251201 - that improve productivity of people beyond information technology for
251202 - wordprocessing and spreadsheets, discussed by Gates, above,
251203 - ref SDS 0 6956, and cited by Ellison, ref SDS 0 3967, and thereby
251204 - echos calls for a powerful new "Killer Application" first reported on
251205 - 950927 during a meeting at Intel. ref SDS 17 3840
251207 - ..
251208 - SDS enables a dynamic Knowledge Space, reported on 960620, that
251209 - expands legal practice of granular identification, ref SDS 33 3516, to
251210 - enable command and control of the work using a "well ordered record,"
251211 - explained in NWO, ref OF 2 E75I, for uniform reference in briefs,
251212 - judgements and case law. Case management details for a lawsuit
251213 - present similarly to "construction details" that are managed using
251214 - well ordered plans and specifications for uniform reference.
251215 - ref SDS 33 CF67
251217 - [On 000718 SRI feels compelled to propose knowledge management,
251218 - despite having reported that not enough is known to create this
251219 - capability. ref SDS 58 4410
251221 - ..
251222 - [On 010622 writing makes people superhuman, is "killer app" of the
251223 - ages. ref SDS 59 N668
251225 - ..
251226 - [On 040505 Paris peace conference in 1919 heads of state began
251227 - holding meetings hoping to avoid keeping records, but found the top
251228 - people in the world could not remember enough to perform daily
251229 - work; eventually leadership yielded to an even stronger fear of
251230 - accountable for failing to get anything done, and so a record of
251231 - organizational memory was prepared and this change in management
251232 - practice yielded results that expedited progress. ref SDS 62 MQ49
251234 - ..
251235 - Larry further argued that the Information Age will not be fulfilled
251236 - until the 70% of American homes that do not presently have a computer,
251237 - get one. He said this goal requires a cheaper and easier-to-use tool.
251238 - He likened the goal to achieve wider use of computers to the current
251239 - period which he said is characterized as the "Age of TV" because 90%
251240 - of American homes have a television. In sum he seemed to feel the
251241 - market needs better uses for computers, and cheaper, easier-to-use
251242 - computers in order to reach the Information Age.
251244 - [On 970227 IT industry banking on fiberoptic and wireless
251245 - telecommunications for next savior. ref SDS 54 0001
251247 - ..
251248 - [On 021108 Bill Gates announces new project to improve productivity
251249 - of Microsoft programs by integrating commands. ref SDS 60 EFBE
251251 - ..
251252 - [On 040102 collaboration with Gary on improvements
251253 - integrating functions for better productivity. ref SDS 61 KV4M
251255 - ..
251256 - Information Age called for by Larry Ellison is similar to "Information
251257 - Revolution" discussed in the Van Kaspar article reviewed on 931008.
251258 - ref SDS 6 2526
251260 - ..
251261 - Larry called for a support structure to make computers easier to use
251262 - based on the public utility model. He noted that behind-the-scenes
251263 - infrastructure have historically made key utilities easy to apply,
251264 - beginning with construction by the Romans of an aquaduct system to
251265 - bring water within easy access of the population of Rome. He cited
251266 - the highway system and the electrical grid system, and noted the use
251267 - of expensive satallites that support the telephone system, and a vast
251268 - array of camera and broadcasting equipment that supports ease-of-use
251269 - for television.
251272 - ..
251273 - Operating System for People and Organizations is a new kind of
251274 - support infrastructure that SDS provides so that computers make
251275 - enterprise productive, discussed at Intel on 950927. ref SDS 17
251276 - 6295
251278 - ..
251279 - Larry suggests a similar support infrastructure is needed to make
251280 - computers more useful, and proposed this can be achieved by replacing
251281 - the "Personal Computer" model with a Network Computer that uses the
251282 - Internet for disk storage, backup and applications. Larry cited his
251283 - mother as an example of someone who can afford to buy even the best
251284 - $8,000 personal computer and the software available for using it, but
251285 - who prefers not to wade through all of the manuals needed to learn how
251286 - to use a personal computer effectively.
251288 - ..
251289 - It was striking that Larry and Bill agreed the only useful functions
251290 - computers perform for most people are wordprocessing and spreadsheets,
251291 - which aligns with a meeting at Intel on 950927. ref SDS 17 8226
251293 - ..
251294 - Bill made a single passing remark about powerful graphic creation
251295 - tools, but seemed to recognize that these are very specialized
251296 - applications. His remarks about speech recognition simply related to
251297 - expected advantages from speaking operating commands to the computer,
251298 - and dictating rather than keying in wordprocessing text. Larry
251299 - suggested ways to make computers cheaper and easier to use; but, he
251300 - provided no ideas nor any clues about what would make computers more
251301 - useful, and thereby resolve the frustration about lack of utility, as
251302 - implied by his opening attack on frivolous wordprocessing features.
251303 - Thus, the need for a "killer app" posed by the speakers was not
251304 - seriously taken up in their presentations. This presents a vaccuum,
251305 - an opportunity for those with bold vision and the courage to act.
251307 - ..
251308 - [On 000513 Andy Grove could not identify a "killer app" target
251309 - for the next wave of technology. ref SDS 56 5672
251311 - ..
251312 - So far, mainstream vendors and software engineers have not been able
251313 - to transcend the model of knowledge as character assembly resulting in
251314 - meaningful text, to a more robust concept of integrating time and
251315 - information, per analysis of Dave Vannier's letter last year,
251316 - ref SDS 30 0745 and ref SDS 30 7722, applied by the schedule/diary
251317 - design of SDS to form a "thinking" environment, per discussion with
251318 - Morris on 970116 about the potential for investing sunshine profits to
251319 - create a new market, ref SDS 46 4695. How many more people in the US
251320 - can benefit from tools that help them write letters and reports, and
251321 - assemble calculations faster and more accurately? This issue was
251322 - discussed with Dave Vannier at Intel in our meeting on 950927 at
251323 - ref SDS 17 4619
251325 - ..
251326 - Prominent industry leaders from the audience were interviewed after
251327 - the presentations by Bill and Larry. Most said that Larry offered a
251328 - more convincing notion of useful technology, and one person suggested
251329 - Microsoft will soon be marketing a NC, similar to its history of
251330 - having downplayed the value of Web browsers and a short while later
251331 - jumping to the head of the band to a growing parade of advocates for
251332 - the Internet.
251334 - ..
251335 - I wonder, however, if Larry's idea that the computer should be as easy
251336 - to use as a television does not overlook the distinction between the
251337 - purpose of using computers and the purpose of television? The latter
251338 - provides passive entertainment and hearing information about what
251339 - others believe is important, i.e., newsworthy, or even educational.
251340 - People feel, however, the computer should help them think better so
251341 - they can decide what entertainment to watch and what to do with new
251342 - information. Larry failed to mention one aspect of the television
251343 - infrastructure which makes it appealing: the highly skilled,
251344 - professional writing, directing and rehersing needed for entertainment
251345 - programs to be appealing. The hard work of creating, directing and
251346 - practicing to learn how to present a useful entertainment product is
251347 - withheld from the customer, because it is not needed to accomplish the
251348 - goal of entertainment. In business, however, the purpose of buying a
251349 - computer is not to shield people from being creative, but rather to
251350 - enhance creativity and productivity by improving the ability to learn,
251351 - to manage, i.e., direct, and to attain consistent high quality
251352 - workmanship. Therefore, a computer which is simply turned on and
251353 - watched, like a television, is not very useful for managing our
251354 - business nor improving our lives at home.
251356 - ..
251357 - The ease of use objective is already being met by applying
251358 - microprocessors in a wide range of products to perform tasks that are
251359 - helpful to people without them having to learn anything or do anything
251360 - except turn on the switch, e.g., automobiles, televisions, traffic
251361 - systems, cellular phones and so on. In general, however, the
251362 - fundamental thing people want the personal computer to do is to help
251363 - them "think" ref SDS 17 4839, and this is an interactive activity
251364 - which requires a measure of extended effort in order to push the
251365 - limits of current capability. Growing knowledge requires interactive
251366 - experience, which therefore is at war with ease of use, since the
251367 - latter is a function of the effort people are willing to make.
251369 - ..
251370 - This matter needs more consideration. There may be a conflict between
251371 - what is needed to move the world forward, and what is needed to make a
251372 - sale.