InfoWorld Column on Netcom-Cisco Ampersand Collapse

Barry Shein bzs at
Tue Jul 9 18:06:21 UTC 1996

From: bob_metcalfe at (Bob Metcalfe)
>By the way, Mr. Huegen, the well-known fact that the Internet offers no
>service guarantees has not, as you've written, escaped me.  This well-known
>fact is one of those we are working to FIX.

Who is "we"? I ask since you sign this "...your fan and loyal opposition"

Has "we" explored the potential cost impact to the consumer of some
arbitrary level of service obligation? Or is the assumption that this
should all be accomplished, to any degree which one might fantasize
about while sitting at their keyboard, while maintaining the same

Just as a reality-check, in the US being able to communicate over the
phone system to someone in Europe for around $30/hour off-peak is
considered a very good price, to the Pacific rim about twice that,
call it $50/hour. Personal internet service to anywhere in the world
is considered somewhat expensive at $1/hour.

>Also, tell us, what was the "original purpose" of the Internet?  Not that
>it matters much.

To remain robust as a defense communications medium in the face of
nuclear attack. But that presumed of course that the defense
establishment was willing to spend billions of dollars of taxpayers'
money and build an infrastructure according to those specifications.
It's not some magical property of IP header packet formats. The
original purpose of Velcro was to hold space suits closed, but
purchasing a yard of Velcro at your local Woolworth's hardly gets you
a seat on the next space shuttle launch.

I say this with great regret, Mr Metcalfe, but the more I read from
you both on the net (such as here) and in your column the less I think
of you.

I hope you don't take that entirely wrong, but you're being
exceedingly silly and for some reason have chosen to cast your
formerly sterling reputation, as someone who understands things, to
the wind. Sad. It's certainly not a matter of "loyal opposition", that
would be an easy rationalization. We argue on the net constantly,
nothing unusual. It's that what you represent as criticisms and
observations strike me as, I dunno, the cheapest sort of shallow
demagoguery I guess. Why not just reduce your columns to "IT SHOULD
ALL BE HALF-PRICE AND TWICE AS GOOD!" and save yourself and your
readers a lot of time?

        -Barry Shein

Software Tool & Die    | bzs at          |
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