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Trouble in Electric Ladyland

The best just got better

Meet The Weasels
The web site designers your mom warned you about

Free High Speed Access Arrives
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Wanna e-trade?
No thanks

Software we'd Like to See:
From the people who brought you Autonuke: software to warm your heart. Introducing Bidnessbot

Taking your Business online? Look before you link
The web site that launched a thousand (annoying) e-mails.

Do unto Microsoft
Our top ten alternative punishments for Microsoft...

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You're thinking something. Tell us what it is.




Software We'd Like To See
There's a game we like to play sometimes.

It's called let's have an idea.

With the way our lives at the Guide revolve around the Net it's inevitable that most of our time is spent thinking, talking about and using the Web. It follows that most of our ideas are about the Net.

Ideas for web start ups, for software, for new appliances, for all the geeky stuff you've come to know and love over the past years.

After enough late night jam sessions, it occurred to us that it might be a good idea to start writing them down.

And so the BrainFactory was born.

Previous Entry - Autonuke

Was it only a few years ago that E-Bay was surprising everybody with a little web site that allowed consumers to bid against each other for goods and services online?

Critics compared the idea with earthshakers like the hula hoop. A number confidently predicted that E-Bay would be out of business inside a year.

It didn't look like there was much money to be made providing people with a way to unload the stuff they'd otherwise leave lying around the basement or the garage, the stuff everybody has but has no idea what to do with.

At best, the online auction looked like a marginal innovation.

Of course, the opposite was true. Not only did E-Bay survive that first critical year, it thrived. It wasn't long before the site made money - still the most elusive accomplishment in cyberspace for those of us who aren't web site designers or corporate consultants.

It turned out that the online auction was a revolutionary idea.

And E-Bay was only the tip of the iceberg. Today there's an auction site for almost anything you could dream of, with more on the way.

The combination of the free market and technology that allows instant communication and interaction was simply too powerful for anybody to anticipate.

"Like the Eighties ate the Brown Acid," somebody once said, describing the Information Economy. Looking around us, we'd say that's a fairly accurate statement.

There's so much happening at one time it's impossible to keep up - people are trying to do just that and are succeeding in moving pretty damn fast but in the end it isn't fast enough.

Net auctions are the perfect example.

There are a thousand going on every day - morning, noon and night, leading to millions of dollars in cost-saving and revenue-generating opportunities for businesses large and small. This is where the problem lies. Even if a corporation hires a person (or more likely a team of people) to manage such opportunities it's unlikely they'll be able to track all of the possibilities.

Which is why we need Bidness Bot - The intelligent agent capable of tracking those opportunities and managing them based on our own priorities.

There are already several services on the web that perform very similar functions - but as far as we know all stop short of full automation - most pull up a list of items you might be interested in based on your search criteria and at best give you the urls of the sites where the corresponding items are located.

That leaves a lot of work to be done. And this is work that Bidness Bot can easily accomplish, given the right code and the right encouragement.

If a computer can play chess - a computer can do this. And it won't take IBM to build it. Talk about value. The thing will compare prices. E-mail potential prospects. Negotiate with bidders. Evaluate a given situation and determine the best course of action. Analyze options and predict probable outcomes.

You'll even be able to program BBot's artificial intelligence with a personality that suits your own management style. Make Bbot conservative - a judicious shopper and dealmaker, wary of possible complications and possible opportunities. Or make Bbot completely aggressive - a digital Attila the Hun ready to wreck havoc on the byways of the Information economy.

You haven't lived until you've tried to negotiate via email with a computer programmed to think, act and respond like Fieldmarshall Erwin Rommel.

The best part? Think about it.

If Bidness Bot can do all this, there's no end to the things it can do....... Typical middle management tasks could be easily automated, for example, with similar Bbots - eliminating the need for tens of thousand of nonproductive workers who spend most of their workday smiling at meetings, filling out paperwork and otherwise going by the book.

The MBA bot? Hmmmm....


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