Well I am back in the UK once again. First of all I want to say a BIG thank you to my hosts in America this last time, they were the Loy Family (The sea glass Kids, Nature Mom, Barry and Matt). Also as ever a big thank you to Anne for being my friend in New England whom I am glad that I stayed in touch with... how else would I have had the chance to see New England :)
I love going to the States though. It's such a mad big place, full of everything put together in no particular order at all! I always feel like I was born in the wrong country when I am over there, my mentality is so much more American than English, and hey, don't ask me to explain that. Those of you out there who have met me, will know what I mean.
You know sometimes people tell me I am a good writer (apart from my spelling). Sometimes they go as far to say that I should take up some form of journalism for a living (flattery will of course get you everywhere!). And sure, I'd love to write a regular column and get paid for it, I'd love to review films, Grand Prix races or even a week in the world of the web. But really if I were to be honest I'd have to say that over the past few years I have become very cynical of what I read in the press and on the web.
These days it seems to depend on what paper you read, or what TV channel you watch, as to what version of the news you'll get. It's probably always been this way, but I just seem to notice it more these days.
Take for example this whole MS trial thing. I wanted to get some news on the trial so I trailed through the 60 channels of cable TV available to me in New England. CNN were running a story that seemed quite level headed, a stark contrast to what MBC were spewing out. Their version of the same story was more like a Microsoft is innocent campaign. Then I discovered that MBC is actually called MSNBC, the MSN bit standing for Microsoft Network!
However this weeks 'Meanwhile' is not about who owns different news stations, it's more about the new media trial, US Department of Justice Vs Microsoft.
With only the real hound dogs gnawing at the remains of Bill Clinton's presidency
it seems that the press pack has found itself a new demon to destroy, one that
is arguably even more powerful than the 'most powerful man in the world'.
Bill Gates' company, Microsoft, produce the operating system on an estimated 80% of the worlds personal computers! Bill gates' name is now as familiar to everyone as Bill Clinton's. Ironic to think that Bill Gates has probably affected the lives of more people on the planet than Mr President!
Perhaps this is why the US DOJ has taken such a strong stance against Microsoft?
The DOJ have conjured up a caldron of nasty things to throw at Microsoft, and
Microsoft have themselves replied with a list of people just dying to tell tails.
The latest prize piece of evidence that Microsoft lawyers can be proud to have
found was on a Netscape newsgroup about the companies own internet software.
An email forwarded by Netscape Employee Darin May contained a scathing description
of the Netscape browser.
"faster than a dog with no legs. If the dog's up to its waist in treacle. And
dead." The email also criticized the company as offering "vaporware announcements
and outright lies" and promising an obsolete and bug-ridden software product.
The note was originally been distributed on Netscape's informal "bad attitude" and "really
bad attitude" forums,
where workers have griped about everything from cafeteria food to product marketing.
This 'evidence' was presented to Netscape Chief Executive Officer James Barksdale
in his cross-examination by Microsoft's legal team. The point they are trying
to disprove is that Microsoft used their dominant position in the operating system
market to push their own web browser Internet Explorer.
The trial isn't going well for Bill's boys either. As well you might imagine,
because lets be fair, if you were Bill Gates you would of course use your OS
to push and promote your other products wouldn't you.
I'm not a fan of Microsoft as a company. I dislike it's anti competitive ways, I don't like the fact that other companies who want to produce software have to conform to standards set by a conglomerate who after all is only concerned with making itself bigger, more powerful and more dominate.
Having said that though I have to say that I oppose this trend of releasing video taped depositions to the worlds media. These depositions are, or so I thought, supposed to be for the courts eyes only. Indeed the Microsoft trial had a mini trial before this one to decide whether or not this one could be televised. The conclusion was that this was not in the interest of anyone involved and therefore the trial is closed to the media. Closed it seems apart from one massively important deposition!
Releasing the video of smirking Bill's deposition serves no purpose other than to hold Bill Gates up to be ridiculed in the worlds press. Sure I'd be interested to see it, but like anyone, I can't really make a fair opinion based on just one bit of evidence. The DOJ would I'm sure say that my opinion isn't important in the case, but as true as that is, lets be honest here. If the world is allowed to see Bill Gates and Microsoft being portrayed as deceptive and even evil, then this has a very bad effect on the whole public image of Microsoft.
I know that some people out there will be stunned that I support Microsofts standpoint that this video should not be released. But I am not supporting Microsoft, more the whole issue of justice being allowed to take it's course without the clowns of the media circus trying to get in there and have their say.
For the end users like you and I, this trials outcome will probably have little effect on the way we work. Even if Microsoft loses, they will still be one of the most powerful companies on the face of the planet, and with that fact this would surely be little more than a set back? Who knows?
The future is as yet uncharted, that's why I like it so much.