From: Jeff Bone (email@example.com)
Date: Sat Aug 19 2000 - 16:54:19 PDT
Adam Rifkin wrote:
> Sounds like a nice place to visit, but I'm not sure why people are so
> insistent on living there right now... Jeff or Lorin, set me straight,
> what's so nice about Austin?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. She's a complete hellhole. Absolutely a hellhole.
You'd never want to live here. They've cancelled the weekly watermelon
seed-spittin contest down at the Saloon. The sheriff's on the take; fear rules
the streets whenever the Bush Brothers are in town. There's so damn many
ferriners (that's anybody from anywhere but Austin) in town these days that it's
almost impossible to find a place to hitch yer horse. The price of a room at the
Inn has climbed way way out of the realm of the affordable, but to nearly $2 a
night. The "daily" train from Ft. Worth that brings the mail actually only runs
some of the time, about twicet a week. All them whoors down at the Other Saloon
done came down with some kinda bug, makes it hurt when you pee if you sleep -w-
'em, and Doc Sheppard cain't figger out what to do to fixet.
Take my advice, pardners; you don't wanna move here.
Now, seriously: rather than answer the question directly, let me give y'all some
personal history. I moved to Austin to go to school in '85. It was fantastic,
funky, laid-back little (extended) city of about 400k at that point. Nestled on
the edge of the rolling "Hill Country" of Texas (flat and deciduous woods to the
east, rough rolling hills and srubby oak woods to the west) and crisscrossed with
creeks, rivers, and lakes, it's just a fantastic setting: the most interesting,
varied, green, wet, and beautiful part of Texas by far. Austin's a liberal
stronghold in a very conservative state, so much so that it's sometimes called
(for that and other reasons) Planet Austin. Basically, every old hippy from Texas
or surrounding states moved to Austing and tried to keep the 60s alive as that
whole thing kinda wound down. So you get a really funky, diverse, generally
laid-back culture coupled with the best things about Texas. I was reluctant to
leave it when my career lead me out to CA to work for Sun in 1989.
Impressions of the Bay Area, circa 1989-1992: suburban hellhole. Totally
homogeneous. Pre-packaged. Synthetic. Isomorphic. Pretensious. Weirdly
provencial. Surprisingly racist, under a veneer of hypercorrectness. Inflated
sense of its own importance. Land of Strip Malls. Overengineered. Gang-raped by
franchises. Crowded. Single-themed. The opposite of laid back. Dry. Car
fetishistic. Not user friendly. Hyperexpensive. Basically totally
uninteresting. Utter alpha male turbo business geek culture, and *nothing at all
but that.* Soul killing. (A few exceptions: Niles, Niles Canyon, Hondo, US 84,
Skyline. The City, of course, very very cool. If I'd lived in the City I'd have
stayed longer.) After spending 3 years gushing praise about Austin to the deaf
ears of the NoCals, I moved back to Austin in 1992, goals: start company. Buy
house. Relax and enjoy life. (Didn't realize that #1 and #3 were somewhat at
I get back just as the boom is starting, here. Started company. Got divorced,
didn't buy house, accomplished "enjoy" without "relax." Then we go into
hypergrowth. We're overrun by Californians. Traffic becomes a nightmare. House
prices soar as the transplantees translate their equity / house price
discontinuities into houses. Old-time residents get pushed out into the new burbs
while the newbies eat away the core. Austin's long-time growth control policy
gives way to new policy of "Smart Growth," i.e. encouraged hypergrowth.
Developers nibble away at everything cool. A stripmall renaissance. Sprawl takes
off in an exponential fashion in the burbs, leading to huge expanses of totally
homogeneous 3/3.5 McMansions. In town, the cost of a modest funky remodeled 40s
cottage -w- updates goes from $100k in 1992 to *well* over $500k this year.
Basically, you can't buy anything even halfway decent within 10 miles of the
capital without something like that kind of change; within a few miles of the
capitol, even tarpaper shack knockdowns are going for $450k and up. Lots are
north of $1M in the "better" (meaning those that were funkyhiptrendyaffordable a
decade a go) neighborhoods. (Of course, I didn't buy anything until this year. :-/
) The dynamic of the town changes. Club scene dies as city decides freaky
alternakids encamping on 6th aren't as interesting as 20something and 30something
geekyups and "joes," i.e. the totally bland and mainstream part of college
culture. A brief attempt by the industrial music culture to transplant from
Chi-town to Austin and turn latter into "Hell Central" in 1993/1994 falls apart
when gung-ho cop types bust Al Jourgenson's "Rancho Hell" compound, confiscate
some heroin, and basically run him and his out of the state. Population of
extended city surges past 1M and keeps on going, picking up steam. 2 year waiting
list for even unpopular contractors for residential construction projects.
Infrastructure designed for 300k, tops, strains. Water use in summers becomes
problematic, Austin --- the wettest city in central Texas --- starts having to
implement water rationing just about every summer.
Net result today: we are essentially a complete clone of the Bay Area in 1992.
It's depressing. The "don't move here" part was sincere; on the one hand, Austin
doesn't need any more refugees moving here for quality-of-life; they've pretty
much already killed it. OTOH, refugees from CA probably wouldn't know any better
and think it's all the bee's knees as they proceed to lay waste to what's left of
the Old Austin Thang.
I'm outta here as soon as I can find a little central Texas town with affordable
DSL and easy access to an airport. Preferably, one that's out of the likely path
of the sprawl juggernaut. Mark my words: within 20 or so, the entire 35 corridor
from Austin to San Antonio will be one contiguous metroplex. And that's sad,
because they're going to eat a whole bunch of really cool stuff between here and
> Austin, We Have a Problem
> Over the last decade, the high-tech economy has rolled through the
> laid-back capital of Texas. Now even the new-money crowd thinks it's time
> to restore a bit of the old peace and quiet, if it's not too late. By HELEN
> THORPE Photographs by JENNIFER D. SMALL
> Earlier this summer, I went for a swim at Barton Springs, a freshwater pool
> that lies at the geographical and spiritual center of Austin. Under an oak
> tree, I found Stuart Stevens of the Bush campaign, typing on a Dell laptop.
> He was writing the script for the video that would be shown at the
> Republican National Convention. All around him, half-naked kids with ornate
> tattoos lolled on the grass, working on nothing except their tans.
> Austin has always been a city of distinct worlds -- a college town, a state
> capital and a live-music center all in one. But lately the number of worlds
> that Austin contains has been multiplying, and now, everywhere you look,
> there is the spectacle of worldviews clashing.
> Over the last century, the population of Austin has doubled every 20 years,
> and in the metropolitan area there are now more than one million residents.
> Thirty-five thousand people, the equivalent of a fair-sized town, moved
> here last year alone. And in the last five years, Austin has produced or
> acquired 17,000 new millionaires. Now an upper class of tech barons lord it
> over a middle class of state government and university workers; a national
> Republican campaign machine whirs above a local Democratic power structure;
> yuppies infiltrate the habitat of punk rockers. It's as if every Austin
> stereotype has spawned its opposite: easy-going Slackers live beside
> hard-driving Techies, and old-school liberals drink at the same bars as
> new-school conservatives.
> The magnitude of this transformation was not wholly apparent to me until I
> spoke with John Thornton in mid-April. Thornton is a general partner at
> Austin Ventures, the most powerful venture capital firm in town. That puts
> him at the epicenter of the New Economy. "The rate of change in activity in
> venture capital has been larger in Austin than probably anywhere else in
> the country," Thornton told me. "In 1996, venture capitalists spent $67
> million in Austin. In 1999, we told people that we thought, Gee golly, $700
> million would be spent. The actual number ended up being about $1.1 billion."
> The impact of all this new money on Austin is debated endlessly over
> breakfast tacos and barbecue dinners. Is the laid-back hipster's paradise
> doomed to become another mess of a big city? People talk a lot about it,
> but few end up doing anything. An exception, Thornton told me, is a guy
> named Ross Garber, one of the city's freshly minted tech millionaires.
> After Thornton introduced us via e-mail, Garber and I arranged to meet at a
> Starbucks in his neighborhood southwest of downtown. Garber's mild-mannered
> looks disguise an intense personality. He began his career in the tech
> corridor along Route 128 in Boston, he told me, and moved with his wife to
> Austin in 1994. Their reasons for coming, I learned, were remarkably
> similar to those of most Austin newcomers. Jobs, yes, but also that
> amorphous allure known as "quality of life." With its bars, bands and
> barbecue joints, its lakes, parks, low crime and temperate winters, Austin
> is a lifestyle mecca that attracts all kinds.
> Garber and I took a driving tour of Austin when we met for the second time.
> As we nosed under an elevated highway, we came face to face with a
> modern-looking fortress of red brick and glass. "That's Vignette," he said,
> tapping on the window. He helped start Vignette four and a half years ago;
> today it is the largest e-business software firm in the world. "Vignette
> has created about $3 billion worth of employee wealth," he noted with
> pride. Garber himself is 33, and his net worth is somewhere upward of $200
> million. On Garber's side of town, brand-new mansions have spread as
> rapidly as cedar trees across the rolling limestone hills. The recent
> history of Austin is written on those hills. For a generation, the
> definition of a political fight was a developer wrestling with
> environmentalists over how fast the city should grow. Those fights seem
> almost quaint compared with what's on the horizon.
> Because of all the new people, Austin now suffers from world-class traffic
> jams, polluted air, a serious lack of affordable housing and a school
> system in disarray. Eager to become part of the solution, Garber recently
> formed a coalition of tech leaders to hustle a light-rail project through
> the city's cumbersome political process. "We're like Dorothy, you know?"
> Garber told me. "We've left Kansas, we're walking down the Yellow Brick
> Road and we're going to end up somewhere. I'll tell you where it's not
> going to be -- Kansas. 'Cause we ain't going back. We're either going to
> the Emerald City, or we're going to the witch's castle to fly around on
> green brooms." The Oz rhetoric may be overblown, but Garber's perspective
> on Austin -- that its extreme rate of growth threatens to wipe out the very
> qualities that attracted people in the first place -- may be the one notion
> that finds support across the city's disparate worlds.
> Of all the pretty state capitals, of all the funky university towns, only
> Austin also plays the role of Nashville's little sister. Music, not high
> tech or politics, put this town on the map. Barbara MacDonald, better known
> as Barbara K, is a central figure in local music circles, and I caught up
> with her one night in May at a club called the Speakeasy. She had a black
> guitar slung at hip level, and was jamming on a song from her solo debut.
> Barbara K used to be in a band called Timbuk3, which had a hit called "The
> Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades."
> That was in 1986, four years before the movie "Slacker" came out, and
> Austin was in the grip of a profound economic malaise. Rent "Slacker"
> today, and it's like flipping through a scrapbook of how much has been
> eradicated in one busy, busy decade. Gone are the vacant lots, the Quack's
> coffee shop near campus, the bookstore staffed by J.F.K. conspiracy nuts.
> Gone is Les Amis restaurant, where one character snapped: "To hell with the
> kind of work you have to do to earn a living!" Today the local paper
> publishes breathless stories about $500 bottles of wine.
> On the surface, it would seem as if the boom has been kind to people like
> Barbara K. She lives in a large, rambling house, bought with money from
> recording deals. The place is now worth almost three times what she paid
> for it. Most days, she considers herself lucky, but not when she gets her
> new property tax statement. "Oh, man, I got slammed so hard," she told me.
> Next year, she will owe $800 per month in property taxes alone. And though
> Austin still brags that it is "the Live Music Capital of the World," for
> most musicians, acquiring property in town has become impossible. Bukka
> Allen, who plays accordion on Barbara K's latest CD, recently bought a
> house in Buda, 13 miles south of Austin. He's part of a silent diaspora,
> one of countless musicians who have been forced out by the boom.
> Meanwhile, the maker of "Slacker," Richard Linklater, has appropriated
> technology for his own ends. He is working on an animated feature called
> "Waking Life." When I visited him at Detour Filmproduction, every room was
> filled with artists sitting in front of Macintosh computers, transforming
> film footage into animated action. "It's very human," said Linklater of the
> results. "It's a great marriage of film and computer. I think Austin is the
> kind of place where that cross-pollination can happen." On the other hand,
> Linklater doesn't think he could start out here today. "I came to Austin 16
> years ago. My rent was $133 a month, all bills paid, and I could live on
> $3,500 a year. So I spent all my time watching movies, editing, shooting.
> Film students are like, How do you do it? I don't know. If you have to work
> all day just to pay your rent, I don't know. If I was just starting out
> now? Might go to San Antonio."
> People moving here today come for different reasons. In June, I drove out
> to a fancy subdivision named Rob Roy, up in the hills. It was a bone-dry,
> brilliant day. In almost every vast and perfectly manicured front yard,
> brown-skinned men clipped and trimmed and dug. The houses were ridiculously
> large, like caricatures of houses. Parked in the driveways were Porsches,
> Jaguars, Mercedeses and all manner of S.U.V.'s. Within minutes, a green
> Audi was tailing me. Security. The driver snapped photographs with a little
> digital camera. I don't know what he saw; what I saw was the balance of
> things shifting.
> nlike the rest of Texas, Austin has always been a place where what mattered
> most -- music, film, education, public policy -- was supposedly motivated
> by concerns that were not entirely commercial. Now Austin has developed an
> indigenous business scene. First came Dell, later Tivoli, Trilogy and
> Vignette. These days Austin has a 1.9 percent unemployment rate and has
> been named the best city in the country for doing business by Fortune and
> Day-to-day living, however, has become harder for a lot of people. The
> public schools, for example, used to be considered pretty solid; now the
> Austin Independent School District struggles to keep up with the profound
> population shifts. For every new computer programmer who arrives in town, a
> gardener, a housecleaner and a couple of construction laborers follow. In
> recent years, the greatest job growth has been not in the software industry
> but in the restaurant sector: busboys, dishwashers, short-order cooks,
> waitresses. These service workers are generally poor -- their incomes have
> not kept pace with the rising cost of living -- and the school system
> struggles to find a place for their children. One thousand new kids
> converge on schools in the southern part of the district every year.
> One bright spot is Travis High School, which, by all rights, should be a
> catastrophe. Travis is a hodgepodge of yellow brick buildings that stand
> alongside I-35, on the edge of East Austin, which is the poor side of town.
> The student body is 90 percent minority, 80 percent low-income. So many
> students get pregnant that there is a waiting list for their infants to get
> into the nursery that Principal Nelda Howton set up. I met with Howton in
> May. She has a blond bob and was wearing a lemon-colored linen dress, but
> she's a lot tougher than she looks. Her job includes figuring out whether
> her students have a place to sleep, food to eat, responsible parents to
> watch over them. "We had a kid who had been receiving assistance for
> diabetes," she told me. "Turns 18 and it's cut off. Well, the kid kept not
> coming to school, and we find out it's nothing except he can't get out of
> bed because he's in a comatose state. Then we had to get him back on insulin."
> Four years ago, Howton was working as a principal of a middle school in
> Temple, about 60 miles away, when she heard that Austin was looking for a
> high school principal -- a step up, she thought. "I didn't know that I was
> coming to this school," she sighed. "I cried when I saw it. There was
> graffiti everywhere; we had two kids shot outside; lots of gangs, lots of
> gangs." Howton took the job anyway; after studying what 21st-century high
> schools were supposed to look like, she realized that she couldn't possibly
> afford to create such a place on her budget and set up a foundation to
> accept donations of money and equipment. Howton is good at marketing. She
> says what she thinks, uses plain English and tells stories that deliver an
> emotional wallop. So when she set up meetings with executives at companies
> in town, they responded generously -- particularly hardware companies like
> AMD and 3M.
> Howton looked at what was happening in Austin and decided to start classes
> in C++ and Java computer languages, and set up a multimedia lab where
> students build Web sites. (They were doing one for the L.B.J. ranch when I
> visited.) She filled classrooms with orange and aqua i-Macs, got every kid
> an e-mail address and wired up the shabby brick building with fiber-optic
> lines. She marched me down the hallway to show me the black Novell servers
> stacked in an old janitor's closet. It's a blinking, glowing declaration of
> progress where you'd least expect to find it. Since the servers were
> installed, there have been no gang problems at Travis. "A lot of it was
> consistent discipline, but the other thing was getting the kids to believe
> they can do something," Howton said. In the multimedia lab, Howton
> introduced me to Sylvia, who moved to Austin from Nicaragua at age 4. Her
> mother cleans houses for a living. This year, Sylvia won first prize in the
> South by South West contest for student-designed Web sites. Another student
> finished school and got a job making $65,000 a year at a local software firm.
> Howton's work is inspirational, but it hardly seems like a replicable model
> -- based as it is on the extraordinary force of her personality. And
> money's getting tighter. This year, for the first time, Austin has been
> declared a "property rich" district, which means it has to give away $26
> million in revenues to poorer districts in the state, and to forgo $22
> million in financing that it formerly received. The law is intended to take
> money away from affluent students and give to students of need, but that's
> not the effect it's having in Austin.
> Superintendent Pat Forgione arrived in town 11 months ago and can't believe
> his lot. When I met with him in June, he jumped up off a couch in his
> office and grabbed a binder of statistics to illustrate the differences
> between Austin and other "property rich" districts. "If you take the
> percent that are considered 'disadvantaged,' in the typical district, it's
> a quarter of their kids," Forgione said. "We're double that. Notice 'at
> risk.' That means truant, absent, bringing guns, don't have parents, those
> issues. The average is 24 percent -- we're 42 percent. The average
> property-rich district has one out of six students for whom English is not
> the first language. We're one out of four!" This is the paradox of the
> boom: people like Ross Garber build luxury homes on one side of town, while
> the other fills up with poor kids and suddenly there's $48 million less to
> spend on education.
> Austin's politics have been changing right along with the economy. Mayor
> Kirk Watson represents a fusion of old and new priorities and has earned a
> reputation as perhaps the most effective mayor in memory. Early in May,
> Watson wooed the New Economy crowd at a mixer to raise money for his
> re-election. Watson wore a white ruffled shirt, charcoal bow tie and gray
> tuxedo pants as he stood on the steps of a limestone mansion that belonged
> to Jeff Garvey, chief administrative partner of Austin Ventures. Venture
> capitalists and software C.E.O.'s lined up to shake Watson's hand, then
> write him a check. It has been a difficult constituency to seduce. Many
> hardware companies have a long tradition of civic engagement. But the
> software types are younger, more arrogant, less responsible. Their
> start-ups also have no tradition of corporate philanthropy, and few, if
> any, local clients.
> National politics has a certain luster to it, and many of Austin's tech
> lords have gotten swept up in George W. Bush's bid for the White House. Two
> local tech stars, the hardware king Michael Dell and the software guru
> Steve Papermaster, have formed a team of high-tech executives to advise the
> campaign; I spotted both of them at a recent gathering of the team at the
> Dell Jewish Community Center. Back in 1998, Papermaster gave a party for
> 500 at his mansion in Rob Roy to introduce Bush to the local tech crowd.
> Later, Papermaster squired Bush around Silicon Valley, helping make
> connections and raise money. "Directly and indirectly, it's certainly been
> in the millions -- many millions," said Papermaster of the sums he has
> delivered to the Bush campaign. Papermaster went to U.T. and used to hang
> out at the Armadillo World Headquarters. Doesn't he think it's weird that
> this liberal enclave should become the launching pad for a possible
> Republican presidency? "Austin has changed from being a purely liberal city
> into being more centered, though still with a liberal bent," asserted
> Papermaster. "It's a place that has aggressively embraced growth. And that
> reasonably approximates the governor's philosophy. It's not a clash. It's
> closer to a parallel, and perhaps even a convergence."
> Stuart Stevens agrees that the mellow gestalt of Austin has influenced the
> Bush camp. "Being in Austin creates a nonhierarchical campaign," he said.
> "There's a certain lack of self-importance. Nobody at the Bush campaign
> cares about wearing ties. Nobody worries about getting in the gossip
> columns, because there aren't any gossip columns."
> As for local affairs, the various tasks of making a city function, well,
> that just isn't as sexy, compared with national politics. Earlier this
> year, at a gathering of local software C.E.O.'s called the Austin 360
> Summit (which Papermaster helped start), Mayor Watson delivered an
> impassioned speech about the challenges facing the city. While the mayor
> was talking, a baby-faced C.E.O. raised his hand. "Why are you looking at
> us to help with these community issues?" asked the software C.E.O. "That's
> your job."
> ust when it seemed as if the tech barons deserved to be cast as villains,
> matters took an unexpected turn. Last year, after Vignette went public,
> Ross Garber sold a large amount of stock, turned down a bunch of job offers
> and spent nine months wondering what to do with his time. "I always thought
> if I won the lottery I would retire and go to the beach for the rest of my
> life," he said. "But you find out that it's really hard, because it's
> isolating, and you can't retire at 33. Retire is a word for when you're
> like 65 and you go to Miami to play mah-jongg."
> In March, Garber was sitting in traffic when his cell phone rang. It was
> Lee Walker, whom he knew from the 360 Summit. Walker is Old Austin (he has
> shoulder-length white hair and wears a suede hat) but possesses a New
> Austin resume (he was the first president of Dell). He's now the volunteer
> chairman of Capital Metro, the city's public transportation system.
> Walker approached Garber with a small request. In November, the city was
> going to vote on whether to build a light-rail system. By law, Capital
> Metro could not campaign for the ballot initiative. And the idea faced
> stiff opposition from people like Gerald Daugherty, a conservative figure
> in Old Austin circles who had formed an antirail group called Reclaim Our
> Allocated Dollars, or ROADS.
> "I need a high-tech poster boy," Walker told Garber.
> In Texas, light rail is a deeply countercultural idea. Natives consider the
> pickup truck roughly equivalent to the American flag in symbolic value, and
> public transportation a Kremlinesque conspiracy to undermine their way of
> life. But Dallas, of all places, built a light-rail line that has proved
> surprisingly popular, and now Austin's leaders were convinced that they
> could, too.
> Garber had his doubts about working with Old Austin. "The pace thing is
> hard, it's very frustrating," Garber told me. "Most of the tech guys are
> working with huge Wall Street pressure. They're not going to come to a
> four-hour meeting once a week for nine months and finally decide who's
> going to get to make a decision." But he had more time now, and he'd been
> looking for a cause. Garber formed a team of techies to consider light
> rail. John Thornton joined it, and so did Steve Papermaster, among others.
> Light rail was imperative, the group determined; the city's air was
> becoming so dirty that it would soon violate federal health standards.
> Garber got all fired up. "I'm not a train hugger," he vowed. "But this
> place is exploding."
> Garber then embarked on something that might be called a 21st-century
> political campaign. Early in May, we drove past rainbow-colored bungalows
> smoldering in the heat in search of Garber's billboards. Downtown, Garber
> spotted one: MORE TRAFFIC AHEAD. PERIOD. The black letters leapt from a
> green metallic background, and a small oval depicted train tracks receding
> into the distance. We headed over to I-35, a main north-south artery. A
> yellow billboard announced: FREE PARKING AVAILABLE ON I-35. Then we drove
> west. Metallic blue, same train logo. TRAFFIC BITES. BITE BACK.
> Garber liked his handiwork. "Aren't the colors great?" he asked.
> The colors were great, the look was clean, the lines were snappy. But what
> really got my attention was this imported fondness for rail. By choosing
> mass transit as their cause, the techies were picking a fight with Austin's
> traditional business groups, the real estate developers, car dealers, and
> oilmen who have always loved highways. Garber himself went through culture
> shock. "Different language, different pace," he reported. "With Old Austin,
> the art is the process -- the listening, the communicating, the cajoling,
> the time it takes. In tech, you just don't work that way."
> It had been clear what would happen if the tech people had remained
> secluded in their parallel universe. This dusty Eden would turn into
> another Silicon Valley, then everybody who could afford to would move on to
> the next paradise. But what if Old and New Austin learned to work together
> instead? This was what was so promising about the rail project: maybe
> someday Austin could become the kind of place where the private sector gets
> involved and stays involved, instead of just sitting idly by while the
> public sector falls apart. A school like Travis might become the rule, not
> the exception.
> But as time passes, the balance of things keeps tilting the other way. In
> July, Nelda Howton gave up. The buzz around Austin was that she wasn't
> appreciated sufficiently. Howton said that wasn't true. "I couldn't get to
> work!" she told me. She lives in a town called Salado, and she used to be
> able to get to work in 45 minutes. But as Austin kept expanding, her
> commute did, too, until it swelled to two hours. "I was spending 20 hours a
> week on the road," she said. There was a lightness in her voice, as if some
> great frustration had eased. She was going to open a brand-new school in
> Killeen, about 60 miles from Austin, and now it would be somebody else's
> job to worry about whether the children of Austin's housekeepers and
> gardeners and short-order cooks had food, or beds, or access to modern
> marvels like the i-Mac.
> So it's Thursday, you want to start your weekend early but you have this
> nagging Project hanging over your head. You wished it would only take an
> hour or two but fear it may take the entire night. You sit down at your
> desk, stare blankly into the computer screen and wish things could be
> easier. Imagine that your desk didn't have to be strewn with dictionaries,
> thesauruses, or those encyclopedias you snuck out from library -- but you
> had more room to scatter that bag of Cheetos and your jug of Coke. Imagine
> if you knew you could visit one place or use one tool to get the
> information you need. And then imagine if every time you wanted an answer,
> everything was just a click away.
> -- http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/000817/ca_gurunet.html
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