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The return of the tweney report

by dylan tweney
published 6 september 2001

After months of radio silence, I'm happy to welcome you back to the tweney report -- my occasional newsletter on Internet technology.

My goal in the tweney report, as always, is to provide lucid analysis and explanation of technology, in an accessible, understandable way, while avoiding the excesses and distortions common to much Web writing.

The funny thing is, even though the dot-com bubble has burst, there's still too much hype in most technology coverage. This time, however, the hype is a negative sort.

A year or two ago, tech journalists were going ga-ga over the limitless possibilities and burgeoning wealth of the dot-com industry. The Internet was supposed to rewrite the rules of commerce, they said. It was winner-take-all. Those companies lucky or smart enough to have moved online first would be the ones to rule e-commerce forever.

Things have sure changed since then. Surveying the newspapers these days, you might think that the tech industry was teetering on the edge of an abyss, about to follow its commercial vanguard -- Webvan,, the Industry Standard -- into oblivion. The Nasdaq has been hammered, taking with it billions in paper wealth. The crash in tech stock prices is a damning indictment of what those companies stood for, whatever it was -- or so we are led to believe.

Neither extreme is fair to the facts. There's no question in my mind that technology is radically changing our everyday lives, our jobs, our economy, and the world. Email and the Web are such an integral part of my life that I can barely remember what it was like before I had either -- and that was just a few years ago. Cell phones are everywhere. AOL (AOL, for god's sake!) now owns Time Warner, and a whole lot besides.

But the fundamentals remain. The physical world hasn't gone away, and the laws of physics haven't been abolished. Somebody's got to assemble those computers on which the Internet runs. Products still have to be shipped from point A to point B. Companies still need to make profits if they want to stay in business.

In a world where technology is playing an increasingly significant role in daily life, there's still a need for clear-eyed analysis of technology: How it works, what it means, and what it's good for. That's why I'm re-establishing the tweney report.

For the past year, I've been writing a slew of articles for Business 2.0 (formerly eCompany Now) and other publications. Most have focused on how various technologies (from enterprise data storage to instant messaging) fit into corporate business strategies. I've also looked at emerging medical technology, Internet2, technologies for managing energy more responsibly, and how to build speedy Web pages. In other words, these articles have all attempted, in various ways, to understand and explain technology and its impact on the world.

From now on, as these articles appear, I'll send them out in the tweney report, occasionally as full text but more often as links back to the web site where they are being published. If I've got additional information that didn't make it into the published story, I'll add that to the newsletter -- as a tweney report exclusive. And, occasionally, I will continue to produce original articles for this newsletter, as time and circumstances allow.

The tweney report will appear once every week or two. As always, you or your friends can subscribe online, at (If you want to unsubscribe, just send an email to

Note: I've also revamped my web site, at The site now includes many links to science and technology articles of that I think are particularly interesting or important. I update this site frequently throughout the week, as I find new items of interest. Take a look and let me know what you think.


You know.. my time is spent in the area of education technology for K12 schools. The 'crash' of the dot coms has had a very positive impact on the use of technology in schools. About 2 years ago there were hundreds of companies offering free Internet services to schools in return for the right to profile student behavior, market to parents, etc. ... Now, I'm not saying that this strategy was bad... but, in the time that I've been doing business development for VIP Tone (a K12 systems integrator) half of my deals have gone south as the 'business' of giving it away has failed in the school environment.

So, I'm optimistic moving forward that real business models that are predicated on making money and providing valuable services to customers will begin to show up in our schools and we will finally begin to realize value and learning opportunity as quality begins to enter the psyche of the Internet user.
-- Bruce Wilcox, 2001-09-06

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