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Slashback: Cutbacks, Oz, Furniture 51

How to get a cheap, slick box that can run NetBSD; more on what went down under there, down under thanks to modern Rennaisance man Marc Merlin; and a note from the world of corporate English. Read on, soldier.

But are there any good submarine games for it? Tairan writes: "In an effort to sell off 2 million Dreamcasts before jumping out of the hardware business, Sega has lowered the prices of Dreamcasts to $99.00. If you don't already have one, better get down to your local gaming store now!"

Frankly, I'd really rather have an Aeron chair The tri-voweled reader nettdata writes: "Remember this old article that talked about a dot-commer including a Lego desk in his contract? Well, I think I've found the guy! Sun's Dot Com Builder page is doing a feature article on Blue Nile, and the picture in the article shows their CTO sitting at a Lego Desk.

Look here[1][, then look here[2] and tell me they aren't the same!"

Mr. Harshbarger's work continues to amaze, astound and befuddle. Where are all the Lincoln Log sculptures, and desks made of bright yellow Tonka truck metal?

Tell me again how sheep's bladders may be used to prevent earthquakes ... Geoffrey S. Zub of Vistaource passed on that company's Official Word on the Applix spinoff, which he says "can be attributed to Allison Antalek, Marketing Communications." It reads thus:

"In December 2000 the Company entered into discussions with several possible buyers and expects to consummate a divestiture or otherwise discontinue the business in the first quarter of 2001.

If you have consistently followed VistaSource through 2000, you will recall two key announcements:

  • April 24th press release launching VistaSource as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Applix.
  • October 19th press release announcing the engagement of FAC/Equities to explore strategic alternatives for VistaSource, including its possible divestiture.
VistaSource has been on a path to divest from Applix throughout the year 2000. In December, this culminated in discussions with possible buyers. The term 'discontinued operations' is a common legal and finance term used in these situations and should not raise concern about VistaSource's long term viability. Our Anyware offering is a leading technology from which we offer customizable, web-enabled, server centric, real-time solutions, and we will continue to focus our business to grow in this market segment. The exercises over the past twelve months have further focused our business on our key differentiators as we look to grow to prominence in 2001. We look forward to your continued support and to your business in the future.

Best Regards,
Allison Antalek
Marketing Communications
VistaSource, Inc."

Pop quiz, no cheating: Would you be likely to buy a new car from a company that had just "discontinued operations"?

Please don't throw another penguin on the barbie, 'K, mate? Last but not least, the indefatiguable Marc Merlin posted word of his newest wrap-up / conference report, with pictures, of the recent 2001. Marc braved jetlag, the dangers of flying, and proximity to dangerous creatures like kangaroos and awful jellyfish to bring you these pictures and words, but he's dedicated. (Check out his license plate for proof.) As his report puts it, "If you noticed the absence of Showfloor pictures, it's simply because there was no Showfloor. This was a hacker's conference, not a tradeshow, and I'd say that it was just as well." Some great pix in here! Thanks, Marc.

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Slashback: Cutbacks

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  • You are correct. Sega's downfall was advertising. The ones after it first came out were effective (NFL2000, Crazy Taxi). The most recent ones were downright WEIRD (Jet Grind Radio, frickin awesome game btw). Not that I have a problem with different commericals, I'm just not going to be going out and buying several million units.
  • I think nintendo and MS will come out on Top in the near future. From what I have read, the X-Box is really demanding as far as quality, they won't let games be published if they are using the xbox's potential for something special. Nintendo is freakin nintendo, they have put out some of the best games ever made like marios,zeldas, and the best game of all time - Super Metroid. The gamecube's graphics are astouding as I am sure the X-box's will be too.
  • Brave man! He's putting his car at risk from being keyed by a million Borg drones, or even being driven into hard by a *BSD advocate.
  • Nah, Mexico and Canada produced their own Dreamcasts and Sega bought them and kept them.
  • The sentence:

    The term 'discontinued operations' is a common legal and finance term used in these situations and should not raise concern about VistaSource's long term viability.

    is a common marketing term called putting a good spin on bad news. Sheesh, I know this is what marketers do, but sometimes I'm still amazed at the crap these people can spew with a straight face.

  • I bought my wifes enagaement ring through them. It came in a beautiful little polished wood box, they had exactly the specifications I wanted, the independend gemologist agreed that it was exactly what I had asked for, and he appraised it as being worth 1.5 times what I paid for it.

    Of course that's all great for me. If blue nile is giving away diamonds and losing money then that's obviously a poor way to do business, but if they're profitable enough to stick around until I need to buy aniversary shtuf, I would definitely buy from them again.

    NON-DISCLAIMER: I do NOT work for blue nile or anyone associated with them.

    If you want to see the ring and how I presented it (i.e., if you want to sniff at the nuclear bomb of cute I threw at this girl to make sure she'd marry me) click the link below and look for the engagement story.

  • s/are/aren't/
  • Same stat, different sources. The error is the mis-use of "North America" to mean USA. What it should say is; US sales of the DC were somewhere between 3.9 and 4.5 million units (depending on who you ask), far short of the March '01 goal of 7.5 million.
  • by unicorn ( 8060 ) on Tuesday January 30, 2001 @05:31PM (#468374)
    I asked Eric, and he confirmed that it was Blue Nile that he built it for.

    And I do find it terribly ironic, that Sun implies that the CTO built it himself, given that Eric worked for Sun for several years out here in CA.
  • As I posted on the site's cute little comment board, who's one "source" am I to believe? Wired's or this Mac site?

    I know I can delve all I want into biases here, but I honestly don't think Wired has anything against Apple. Hell, they were the ones who published the "pray" cover story for Apple a few years ago, prompting people to help it return.

  • 26 is the magic number for the +1 bonus, not for moderation...
  • Man -- I thought it was tough keeping up with the Stock Market...Now I have to keep track of what game systems to buy minutes before they go belly up. (* yes I was one of those poor kids that got the Atari 2600 AFTER it hit the clearance racks and swap meets....My parents finally decided it was affordable...)
  • Sega Dumps Flagship Dreamcast Game Machine c_5.html
  • Here is a link you can safely click on. Trust me!

  • and desks made of bright yellow Tonka truck metal?
    Good luck. Most of Tonka's products [] these days are made out of plastic. And they talk [].

  • A PS1 - I prefer the games.
  • Cartel.
  • HAHA, Man did we have the same parents? Actually, it wasn't all that bad, I was able to get my games at Kaybee toy store for a buck a peice. Jim
  • If it makes you feel any better, I bought an Atari Jaguar(on clearence), the video game equivalent of wearing a "kick me" sign on one's back.
  • Hey look! Pace Micro purchased the right to modify the Dreamcast hardware and sell it as thier own.

    EE Times Story []


  • by lizrd ( 69275 ) <{su.pmub} {ta} {mada}> on Wednesday January 31, 2001 @06:55AM (#468386) Homepage
    This whole thing strikes me as kind of silly. To get the facts right, Wired News [] and Wired Magazine [] are not the same thing. Wired news is now a Lycos property, while Wired Magazine is owned by Condé Nast Publications. Several years ago Wired News was run by the same people as Wired Magazine, but it was since sold off and there is no business interaction between the two besides sharing the domain name.

    The MacNN article [] only seems to contest the statement from Wired News that Mr. Jobs used profanity in every sentance. Obviously this isn't true, we all know this. It's called hyberbole, the stretching of the truth to emphasize your point. Hyberbole is a fairly common device that writers use to make their writing more vivid and we should all know when it is happening and how to interpret it. When Wired News says in an editorial piece "Every sentence he uttered -- every single one -- contained an expletive" we should be able to interpret that as "Mr. Jobs used profanity in quantities that many would consider excessive." The fact that Mr. Jobs may have uttered a sentance during the session which did not contain an expletive is neither news nor grounds for discrediting Mr. Kahney's article on Wired News.

  • If you have an ethernet connection why do you need a hard drive? There's supposedly a broadband solution available in Japan (AKA an ethernet card) and I belive a Dreamcast keyboard is available so you can use the lame Wince web browser. Just NFS your linux box's mp3 share and wack away!
  • Actually, taken apart, they will fit just fine in a monitor box...not that I would know...hehehe... -pixie-
  • by sulli ( 195030 ) on Tuesday January 30, 2001 @03:29PM (#468389) Journal
    I just knew that Blue Nile would also be on [] when I saw that Sun ad...
  • anyone know any places online to take advantage of this new low price? I just checked a few sites and all of them still have it at $150.
  • WOW - The gaming business is taking on a whole new look. With Sega moving towards developing for other platforms, it is going to be interesting to see whether or not the Hardware manufacture's (MS/Nintendo/Sony) next generation console do all that well. You are going to be able to get the SAME games on all the platforms. Most of the major publishers in Japan and America seem to be supporting all the new consoles.

    However, if I was going to bet on one, I would choose the Gamecube. Nintendo proved they can reach a mass audience by ditributing their own game content. Sony may have Square....but beyond that their does not seem to be many Playstation/2exclusive titles anymore. For all the marketing Hype MS's Xbox content will be made up of PC Ports.

    So who do you think will win the next console race? Who will win?

  • This is no surprise to me. I remember when the genesis was the hot thing out. Then they came out with the cd-like drive for it claiming that "Oh My God this is the greatest thing since - get it and you'll be happy" Then what happened? They dropped it and came out with another product saying "Forget the genesis - this is way better - we won't drop it - promise'" While I have a dreamcast and love it, it boters me that sega drops things so easily. What is gonna happen to the online functioality? Will sega continue to support those communities? What about games like Phantasy Star Online- whose whole concept is for online play... though a dreamcast for 99 bucks is a pretty good deal... Which would you rather - that or a PS1?
  • dreadlocked Rastafarian animal.

    Chronic the Hemphog []'s brother, perhaps?

  • by Migrant Programmer ( 19727 ) on Tuesday January 30, 2001 @04:06PM (#468394) Journal
    From the Dreamcast article:

    One analyst said the company sold 4.5 million game units in the United States since its introduction -- well off the company's goal of 7.5 million systems sold by March 2001. Another analyst said North American sales were even more anemic, amounting to a mere 3.9 million units.

    Appears they had to buy back 600,000 units from Canada and Mexico. That *is* pretty bad.

  • > before finally defeating the gang leader, a straight, white male

    So I guess that homosexuals would be another non-slandered group? :-)

    Seriously, do you ever watch anime? How are orientals depicted in that genre, and do you protest that?
  • Funny bit --
    Extensively quoted in the Dreamcast article about Sega getting out of the hardware business because of a failed home video game console and moving exclusively into the software business is none other than Trip Hawkins, (co?)founder of Electronic Arts [] and 3DO [] (both of which had rather similar logos ;-) ... who is the all-time-undisputed-king of "Overhyped Console Maker drops its Console and goes Software Only"! :-) (Any /. readers old enough to remember how CRAZY the early Wired [] magazine from the early '90s hyped this thing up know what I'm talking about... ;)
  • I was actually just a hotel in Philadelphia where each room had one of those Aeron chairs. From personal experience, they are amazingly comfortable. I'd buy one myself if it weren't for the $750+ price tag.

    In fact, I was tempted to try to dissassemble the one in my room and smuggle it out in my garment bag...too bad I forgot that metric allen wrench. Be sure to bring one along if you visit the Wyndham Franklin hotel up in Philly.

    47.5% Slashdot Pure(52.5% Corrupt)
  • Thank god Sega has finally made up their mind and decided to stick with their strongest skill: making kickass games. I've been a long time fan of Sega. I bought a Sega CD for my Genesis, and a prerelease Saturn for $400! I was a bit disappointed with the systems and their lack of power, but the games were always the best -- Sonic, Daytona, Sega Rally, etc.

    It's definitely time to focus on the kickass games and let someone else churn out the hardware.

    I can't wait to see Sega's racers and Sonic on the PS2... I might actually buy one :)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Is that web site just more proof that the Internet is evil, or have people always been this narcissistic?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    NEW YORK: Eight Amici or "friend of the court" briefs were filed today in support of the Electronic Frontier Foundation's appeal of an injunction against 2600 Magazine, which banned the media site from publishing and linking to information under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) last August.

    Warning the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals of the danger to free expression posed by the DMCA, diverse groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, Association for Computing Machinery, American Library Association and others asked the appellate court to overturn a lower court's ruling. Last year, a district court in New York barred 2600 Magazine from publishing or linking to DeCSS, the computer code that was at the heart of a controversy the magazine was covering. Other groups filing briefs with the appellate court include journalists, law professors, educators, cryptographers, computer programmers and academics -- all warning the appellate court of the impingement upon First Amendment freedoms that result from the lower court's dangerous interpretation of the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions and broad elimination of fair use rights.

    Stanford Law professor Lawrence Lessig, who co-sponsored an amicus brief with NYU's Yochai Benkler, explained the harm to freedom of expression posed by the lower court's broad granting of rights to the movie studios under the DMCA. "The First Amendment limits the scope of copyright. It should also limit the scope of code that protects copyright. That is the core issue in this case," Lessig said.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Issues Raised: Dangerous First Amendment implications in district court's ban on linking and publishing information on information about DVD copy restrictions. The lower court's interpretation of the DMCA broadly eliminates the public's fair use rights through its banning of fair use tools.

    Brief Author: Ann Beeson of ACLU

    Available from 6_ny_aclu_pressrel.html [] (ACLU press release; includes link to PDF file of brief).

    Amicus Brief Sponsors: Journalists and publishers -- Online News Association, Reporters' Committee for Freedom of the Press, Newspaper Association of America, Student Press Law Center, Wired, Pew Center on the States, Silha Center for Media Ethics and Law, College of Communications - CSU, Fullerton

    Issues Raised: The chilling effect the district court's ban on linking to DeCSS has had on the press' ability to report truthful information of important public concern. Holding media liable for readers' possible future illegal acts, as the lower has done, does great damage to freedom of press and expression.

    Brief Authors: David Greene of First Amendment Project and Jane Kirtley

    Available from 6_ny_journpub_amicus.html []

    Amicus Brief Sponsor: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

    Issues Raised: The lower court's elimination of traditional reverse engineering rights under the DMCA imperils science, innovation, and free expression.

    Brief Authors: ACM President Andrew Grosso with Eddan Katz

    Available from 6_ny_acm_amicus.html []

    Amicus Brief Sponsors and Authors: Noted law professors Lawrence Lessig of Stanford and Yochai Benkler of NYU

  • ..the 2 or 3-company monopoly... monopoly n., Exclusive control by one group of the means of producing or selling a commodity or service.

    You can't have a 3 company monopoly. Neither Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft will have a commanding control over the industry.

    Personally, I think the GameCube will be more successful then the Nintendo 64 was, the PS2 will not reach the same heighs as the orginial but still be successful, and the Xbox will either to extremly well, or extremly poorly.

    But that's just my view :)

  • ..the 2 or 3-company monopoly... monopoly n., Exclusive control by one group of the means of producing or selling a commodity or service.
    However, saying that they are an oligopoly would be appropriate.
  • Now, a lego chair sucks, but the that other chair looks sweet!
  • At an IBM lab down here in New Zealand, there was a guy who had 'LINUX' as his plate and a Red Hat sticker in his window.
  • Hey, Marc! Can you say "obsession []"? I knew you could!

    Honestly, brother... I love Linux too (I administer Linux boxen), but isn't that perhaps a tad too much lovin'?

  • Why would you cut back prices if you can still make a buck selling it at at least $150? I'm sure Sega can ramp up the price to $150 and have them sell enough to relieve the expense of making them. My friend told me about his PS1 + 20 games for $99 deal... He thought it was a great deal. It seems as though poor Sega will fall prey to the 2 or 3-company monopoly in the console sector. What do you think about Sega's decision?

  • > Would you be likely to buy a new car from a company that had just "discontinued operations"?

    I dunno. It depends on what kind of deal I could get. If I could pick up a top-of-the-line Ferrarri for $10 if they were to ever go out of business (desperate to liquidate their assets), sure. If it doesn't have a use/gets trashed/stolen/etc., I'm not out much money. If I like it, I got a great deal.
  • and an underwater office...


  • then more power to you.

  • "Slashbots and Slashdotters, I believe that we've finally located the Lego Desk!"
  • by Sheeple Police ( 247465 ) on Tuesday January 30, 2001 @03:06PM (#468413)
    In an effort to sell off 2 million Dreamcasts before jumping out of the hardware business

    Slashdot | Sega Announces Dreamcast Sucessor []

    This is starting to get to become like the MIR issue. Are they in the devel business, or are they out? In, or out? Please, please please, Oh All Powerful Editors, make up your mind.

    As for a good Dreamcast game, an upcoming one (according to IGN) [] is based on the hugely popular Blue Submarine 6 series, which is also one of my favorite. If you haven't seen the anime, go rent/buy/download it somewhere.
  • by imac.usr ( 58845 ) on Tuesday January 30, 2001 @03:14PM (#468414) Homepage
    I submitted this, but it didn't make the cut, and since I fell below the 26-karma level (for no apparent reason; I haven't moderated in a while, got modded up a few times, and still it falls....but I digress) I have no fear of posting it here.

    Remember the Wired article [] talking about how profane Steve Jobs was at a recent reseller meeting? We even talked [] about it just the other day. Well, MacNN has a different take [] on the subject after talking to some of the attendees.

    Er, if you care.

  • I found some of the other photos that were near the lego desk to be quite amusing... I mean, I've heard of flat girls [], but this just gives the concept a whole new meaning. And pale! [] Did the "naked and petrefied" guy get to her or something? :-)
  • I like the model of everyone's favorite penguin [].

    Laine Walker-Avina

Make it myself? But I'm a physical organic chemist!