Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Monday Morning Quarterback 4: The 'Bat-Shit' Insane Edition

I like this piece on Gigaom.com by Kevin Kelleher, mostly because he uses the phrase “bat-shit insanity” to describe the $6 billion Microsoft is paying to acquire aQuantive (which I wrote about here) and compares the software giant to an aging movie star in this tasty way:

sat fever

So aQuantive as an investment is kind of like John Travolta’s career: It really all depends on when you catch him. Are you getting the epoch-defining ‘Saturday Night Fever’ or its unpalatable sequel ‘Staying Alive’? ‘Pulp Fiction’ or ‘Michael’?

Just Microsoft’s luck, Travolta is about to headline the new ‘Hairspray’ in drag.”

Was it just me, or did a vision of Steve Ballmer in drag just pop into your head?

And while I gave a taste of my visit to celebrity news and gossip site, TMZ.com (with a fuller report to come tomorrow), I also would point you to a superb site in the same genre of celebrity-trashing called The Superficial, which is anything but that.

Though the topics are as deep as Britney without makeup, Jessica Simpson getting dumped and just about every starlet bikini shot in existence (along with all the many clothing malfunctions of this particular subspecies of humanity), the great pictures mixed with a sarcastic and funny writing style make this a daily destination for me. Like this on Pamela Anderson getting booed at Cannes:

Pamela Anderson got booed at the Cannes Film Festival today when she showed up late for a photo session and only stuck around for a few minutes. Which is lame, better there’s so many better things to be booing. Like war. Or terrorism. Or your kid’s piano recital.”

This is a nice piece in the New York Times about what happens when a volunteer effort–in this case Mozilla’s success with the Firefox browser–is a big hit. Money quote:

So far, no one has figured out how to balance keeping an open-source or collaborative project fully financed while remaining independent and noncommercial. Wikipedia, for example, holds occasional fund-raisers, while its leaders debate if it should take steps toward some sort of sponsorship or advertising.”

And the Washington Post has a solid story today about the Democrats’ domination over the Republicans when it comes to using the Internet. One GOP operative, in charge of President Bush’s Internet strategy in the 2004 campaign, notes, “We’re losing the Web right now.”

While I suspect that might be the least of the Republican worries, the unique visitors and the money raised tell the tale better about the inability of Republicans to close the information gap now or perhaps ever.

Or get used to its tools, as the article notes, like instant video that can highlight some not-so-pretty things like the “macaca” moment from former Sen. George Allen, which was the beginning of the end of his recent campaign.

But to me, the lagging Republican Party with regards to the Web (except to introduce legislation to hinder it) has been true ever since Al Gore was integral to the legislation that spurred the creation of the commercial Internet. He may not have invented it, but it most certainly would never have been where it is today without him.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work