Cameo in ToTN 2.01 (?!)

Rohit Khare (
Mon, 07 Apr 1997 11:34:18 -0700

Hi gang --

So, all of FoRK has now been implicated in taped confessional... last
night, Bob Cringely caught up with me and verbally wrastled me to the
mat in a segment for his upcoming sequel, Triumph of the Nerds 2.01. One
of the highlights for me was exploring how the killer apps of the Web
are narcissism, exhibitionism, and voyeurism. FoRK is one of the best
examples I know of this phenomenon.

Now, most of you know some parts of how Adam and I have been tangled in
Bobbo's web since last summer, including our legendary RTW junkets,
green books #1 and #2. I never understood why he would want to flatter
me so:

> Dear Rohit,
> Triumph of the Nerds 2.01 starts production in a few days. This will be
> 3 hours all about the Internet. I can't imagine doing the show without
> interviewing you. Are you available? We'll be shooting in Boston
> around April 28-30th and could get together with you then. If not then,
> we can do the interview some other time/place (Bangalore, even -- we'll
> be shooting there). We'd also like to interview your boss Tim (can you
> help with that?).
> All the best,
> [true superhero secret identity witheld :-]

I mean, come on, I'm already going to go to wall to get him Tim; I think
it's really important for TBL to be in this documentary, and I think it
will be a lot of fun for both of them. Stephen Segaller, the
producer/impresario behind this scheme, is exactly the sort of witty
British gent Tim loves to spar with. And Tim of course, has a lot more
entertaining things to say and a lot more hand motion to go with it :-)

Even though it dawned on me part way through that they may actually have
a legitimate reason to talk to me (to understand the latest generation
of geeks, the post-Apple generation), it was still surreal enough to
throw me for a pretty severe loop.

First, we're in the middle of rolling out the Web Accessibilty
Initiative at W3C: Sunday launch, Monday press conference. All-nighters
galore; I'm wired out of my gourd on chocolate covered espresso beans.
Next, I'm stuck in extremely non geek duds. I'm sitting here expounding
on how true art requires selfless dedication to technology alone in
shiny shoes, brand new pants, and a $70 silk tie. Sickening. (Hi Rajit
-- I used you as an example of a true geek! :) Finally, I'm still stuck
between identities: I wasted most of the first half botching answers by
self-censorship since I still wear my W3C hat -- even if this *will* air
a year from now, I need to keep clean about vendor-neutrality until I
leave, even on my personal time, since it's hardcoded by now.

I tried (and failed, I feel) to explain the Web, and kept monologuing
for far too long without letting Bob guide me back to explanations which
make sense to the lay public. I spent too many of my cycles going: this
is too weird, what the hell is *really* going on here? [After all, I had
agreed to do this only an hour beforehand, I didn't know what to make of
the original offer]. Web history, too, came out tentative, since I know
the folks who are far more authoritative (Dan Connolly (an amazing
engineer personality if you have the time, Bob), Dave Raggett, Tim BL),
etc. I guess the only fraction that came clear was hamming it up about
how I got into computers, and how no NeXT programmer in their right mind
would invent the kitchen-sink browser.

Here's the punchline: Stephen explained that when shooting video, they
expect an edit ratio of 20 or 30 to 1. Which means that... yes... you
got it, 97% of what's filmed is clueless, 50% was idiotic
self-censoring, and a mere 3% of clue is left behind for these poor
folks to sift out. [For non-FoRKers, the 97% rule is the First
Commandment: 97% of anything is clueless -- think of it as Sturgeon's
law, squared -- and this rule is recursive. See Adam Rifkin's
explanation in his FAQ at ]

ObBits for this memo: the FINAL FCC ruling on the Apple "NII Band" RF
allocation (remember, ~3 GHz, 100 yds range) has some new twists: there
are now two more, higher, power levels available for subbands of that
region. So a device in this category could conceivably transmit at .1
Watt locally, .5 Watt, and 1 Watt for parts of the bandwidth. Munchkins
communicating across scales, indeed... may even be a use now for that
Berkeley Wireless Overlay Network (WON) stuff.

Rohit "Dances with Kliegs" Khare