Wednesday, April 22, 1998

Cybersuds & Steve Johnson "Interface Culture"

NYNMA's working hard at revamping the infamous Cybersuds, and they're doing a good job. Wednesday evening, April 22, they offered a chance to meet Steve Johnson and purchase his book "Interface Culture" at a discount in the Irving Plaza club. Demos of games by ASC Games' and Crossover Technologies also provided a point of reference for people to schmooze on while boozin'.

(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)

Electronic Hollywood small soiree

Just Northeast of this event was a small soiree at Electronic Hollywood's offices. Co-Founder's Jamie Levy, Jordan Serlin, and Scott Alexander had cause to celebrate as Web TV's Steve Perlman joined them in forming a production company. Munching on a delicious spread of smoked salmon on pumpernickel, I met David Wyly, president of Pareto Financial Services, Inc. ( His company helps people raise capital and "makes sure the investment is a win-win situation." Nearby were David Blumenstein ( and Lara Stein (, huddled around a computer. Lara looked quite spring-y in an all ivory suit and sandals and her little pup Jasper ran circles around her. Also at the small reception were Matt Toner (, Dan Sweeney (, Oliver Harris (, who were all excited about the prospect of EH's new prospects. I spied my friends Bonnie Halper (, Lori Schwab (, and Howard Greenstein ( and Cherry Arnold (who's now at Barnes & Noble) and Scott Heiferman (I-traffic) came out for the celebration as well. Jordan Serlin and I exchanged stories of summers in Lake George, he as a water-skiing instructor and me as an actress in summer stock. We played with the WebTV and got a tip from Sarah Lefton to sign up for the Yes! After all this hard work and networking, its time to get out and exercise a bit!

(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)

Monday, April 20, 1998

Douglas Adams' Starship Titanic @ Sony Wonder Tech Labs

Monday, April 20, I set sail once again, this time on the "Starship Titanic." Once again, champagne was waiting at the entrance. This trip was orchestrated by Simon & Schuster Interactive, who published the "Starship Titanic" CD-Rom game, and was held at the Sony Wonder Tech Labs. The game is by Douglas Adams of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" with Terry Jones of Monty Python offering much hilarity as the voice of the parrot. I spoke with Mr. Adam's briefly, between "speak-throughs" of the product, and he said the parrot was one of his most favorite parts. Another is the encounter with the Maitre D' at the bottom of the restaurant who is "gluttonously obsequious, but if you counter him at all, he'll fight you!" The game takes at least 60 hours to play, is completely non-violent, and is basically about trying to navigate this vast ship (which is in space) via interaction and actually speaking with robots who will sometimes give you clues. It is gorgeously rendered, and we had a chance to explore the ship after the demo. Gina Bevinetto (Woman's Day) thought it was "a pretty cool game" but found it difficult to navigate without a manual. I navigated down to the reception where they served blue martinis and sat in the tres luxe "Rock 'n Roll Thoroughbred Ralph Lauren Room" complete with big leopard and Indian-print pillows, big leather armchairs, oriental rugs, classic desk lamps, and (of course) a HUGE TV monitor. There I spoke with Ed Baig (Business Week) and Frank Vizard (Popular Science).

(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)

Silicon Alley Cyber Bowl

From the Sony Tech Labs, I swung by the Silicon Alley Cyber Bowl, hosted by Cybergrrl. Hearty bowlers and novices alike from Interport, NetGuide, T3 Media, and MacDonald Communciations all donned those funny shoes and enjoyed a fine evening of simple non new media pleasures. Everyone had a great time and this is one of those simple ways to have fun (and even network a little).

(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)

Thursday, April 16, 1998

Exodus' data center Open House

There was a mass exodus on Thursday, April 16 to get on the World Yacht "The Empress" on Pier 41. Clients, investors and business partners of Exodus ( were invited for a special cruise and tour of Exodus' data center in Jersey City. I bumped into Andrew Raisej and Ted Werth of the Digital Club Network and Michael Dorf of the Knitting Factory before I even boarded. Nearby was Ryan Nelson, Jonathan Hirschman, and Jeff Auerbach of splashy Starmedia ( We all walked the plank and were promptly served a glass of champagne. I held off for a bit as I gathered my sea legs. Richard Jones of was another guest and client of Exodus'. Donna Loughlin (Dir. of PR, Exodus) was good enough to fill me in on this company, which is steered by the very capable Ellen Hancock (formerly of IBM). Exodus provides internet connectivity, facilities for businesses that need to outsource their servers, and managed services. As I wandered upstairs, to the "Lido Deck," I was recognized by Ray Ochlan (major acct. consultant, Exodus). We had a friend in common, Bill Collins, who is now out in Seattle making big deals left and right with (apparently) another "Bill" out there.  The boat took off and I rushed to the bow to see who would first attempt their impression of the famous "Titanic" scene with Leo and Kate face forward, arms wrapped around each other. I guess I got there too late, according to Jamie Levy (Electronic Hollywood) and Chris Starace (of the newly named Sitebridge--you may remember them as Social Science--and heard it hear first!). Jamie had wrapped her limber self around the railings and reenacted the scene. Larry Chase (, David Isenberg (, and Matt Lederman were also present, bearing the cold, windy, foggy night. After trying to dock the boat three times, we were herded off via van to the impressive, spacious data center. I would write more about it, but was stopped by an employee who warned me this was proprietary information. It didn't matter to him that I crossed out my notes and apologized because it didn't mean I wouldn't remember the information. Hmmm, so why are you taking hundreds of people here to see your facility? While the data center was nice, some people bailed and went home via the Path train, others took advantage of the bartender with a mixer and had Pina Coladas and danced in the rain!

(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)

Wednesday, April 15, 1998

CanApple's TranslAtlantic link conference

Unless you've had your head under a rock you are probably aware of all the activity that's been going on by our Northern neighbors, the Canadians. A few weeks ago there was CanApple's ( TranslAtlantic link conference, where @NY's Tom Watson was present. The Canadian Consulate has been a generous host of WWWAC meetings in their "country" (space) on 6th Avenue in midtown, and this week was "Highlight Quebec." This mini-conference sponsored by the Government of Quebec and go-Digital Internet Consulting Group, set in the famed Digital Sandbox at 55 Broad Street, brought many Canadian businesses into Silicon Alley for exposure and networking opportunities. Held on April 15-16, the conference got significant recognition from many big associations in Canada.

Richard Pinto (Managing Director, Appia Group) shared some of the ideas behind the conference with me. It's a natural fit for both Alley's (Canada being Silicon Alley North) to work together. With tax incentives and grants, and three new new-media centers in Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec City, Canada is a great place for companies to try out a foreign market. And yet, Canada isn't so foreign to us. The same is true for these companies. Martin Carrier and Sabine Hamelin of UbiSoft, expressed the company's approach to attending the summit. UbiSoft is based in Paris and does production in five countries. They already have an office in San Francisco, now they want to explore the possibilities New York has to offer for the East Coast. A developer of instructional software on painting, music, tech-familiarity, math, and games, they want to increase their U.S. sales from 15% to 40%.

Another firm hoping to break into the U.S. market is Ressources Kitaskino XXI. Owned by trappers in the Itimec region, Simon Brascoupe (Pres., International Indigenous Network on Environment and Trade -- was their representative and demoed their Waskak Edu. CD-rom for me, which they hope will be sold to schools in the U.S. Currently written in Itimec, a native Canadian "tribe," and French, this CD is being translated into English. Using this culture's analogy of 6 seasons, you can click on any number of options and see pictures, video and audio clips, and texts from elders on this culture. This CD is a complete encyclopedia of one of this nation's indigenous people, preserving cultural heritage, in an engaging and technologically current format. As the issue of technology and education progresses full steam ahead, materials like this become even more relevant.

Other companies on hand were Softimage and Discreet Logic. Softimage did some graphics for "Titanic" and the special effects of the dinosaurs in "Jurassic Park." Dicreet Logic gushed out creations of water effects for "Titanic." You could run away from those dinosaurs while watching a video of "Jurassic" on Xystos treadmill. The "treadmill of the future," this piece of equipment features a touch-screen that displays realistic paths and backgrounds for you while running. And when you get bored of that, you can answer e-mail, type messages, watch your favorite soap opera, or video conference. I can just see it now, "we'd love to start the meeting, but Bob is running all over the place!"

After the initial day's events, I tagged along with Matthew Toner and Anthony Raposo of C@nApple (with the Canadian Consulate), Eugenio Zuniga and Sylvain Perron of K*OS (pronounced Chaos), Sherry Reisner, and Stephane Choquette for a nice casual meal at the Wall Street Bar and Restaurant. Stephane elaborated on how his experiences as a waiter in Paris gave him the correct approach to customer service with his company. Like waiting, dealing with clients should be a collaborative, uplifting experience for them, not one of begrudgingly doing them a favor. Sounds simple enough, but is hard to find in real world scenarios more often than not.

(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)

Tuesday, April 14, 1998

K2 Bash

K2 had a banner bash bidding bye-bye to their well-loved co-worker (cohort) Frank Gibbons on Tuesday, April 14 at Dukes. Billed as "Head Negotiating Dude, King of the Unshorn Media, Folk and All-Around Nice Guy" the gang at K2 pulled out all the stops for the large new media mass that made an appearance there. Totally unbeknownst of these goings-on, Bonnie Halper, David Blumenstein, and a whole other gaggle of new media geese flew into Dukes for some good ol' Southern food and brewskies. Fortunately the bash did not became a brou-haha.

(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)

Wednesday, April 08, 1998

Warner Brother's "City of Angels"

It has been out for a week now, but I was one of a few lucky people who got to attend an advance screening of "City of Angels" at the Warner Brothers screening room on Wednesday, April 8. The usual suspects were in attendance with me: Emily Davidow (, Bonnie Halper (, David Blumenstein (, Michael Tchong (C|Net), Paul Kotonis, and Tery Spataro and Alec Pollack of Stir Associates. Stir designed and developed the website for this movie, which according to Don Buckly (Sen. VP of theatrical marketing & new media) is unusual, as Warner Bros. have a full production team in house. The site is beautiful, the movie has some fantastic cinematography, and Nicholas Cage isn't too bad looking either!

(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)

Wednesday, April 01, 1998

Silicon Alley film party "downstairs" crew

The city is all a buzz with mentions of El Nino and what it's doing to our weather. And by now, I'm sure you've all heard the buzz about Jonathan Sarno's upcoming film on Silicon Alley. He had a reading of the script last week, and there have been several parties for people interested in the film in conjunction with Buzz/NYC at Nells. Buzz/NYC had another bash at this famed club on Weds, April 1st. The club was filled with 20-something's in "Fashion Dont's" -- most likely from the mix of people leftover from the party earlier, for "Index," a fashion and music type zine. Young women in white tank tops and assorted parachute/combat type pants looked trashy, and other women in halter top dresses and all men in black zoot suits made this conservatively clad reporter feel stylishly archaic.

Downstairs was a whole different story -- DJ Stormin' Norman mixed a bad groove and here I found the new media folks.  Anton Self and partner Phillipe Araras of Telephant were stylishly casual. David Chachere, of the New York Indep. Film Monitor, spoke with me about the progress of Sarno's film. Jonathan Faber (L.I. Film) and Chris Allbritton (Cyberspace reporter, Assoc. Press) (both looking elegantly casual) and I had a meaty debate over the future of the web. Faber was positive about Community re-establishing itself as a main component after attending a seminar on this subject by Basex. Allbritton is putting his stock in e-mail and bulletin boards, where he thinks true community and usefulness can be had. And me? I me-tooed them both ('cause I believe in both means) as I spied the 6' tall drag queen with a 2' tall black, curly, long-haired, wig sashaying through the room.

Mr. Allbritton and I had a good discussion on the state of reporting on the web, and various accounts of funny interviews and favorite stories. We also discussed the WebLab's upcoming Silicon Alley Talent Show benefiting the Web Development Fund ( This coming Saturday, it is sure to be a hoot getting to see some of New York new media's most visible people show off their other talents. I for one will have the luxury of not performing and being able to enjoy the show! 

(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)

Dialing up the world from New Orleans

This entire past week has actually been an usually non-digital week for me. I headed south to New Orleans for a personal trip and savored coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde (, mounds of spicy crawfish and shrimp, and beautiful weather.

Of course, you're never more than a dial tone away from logging in to the rest of the world.  My hotel room had instructions in the Hotel Services book on how to use the data port. During a stroll through the French Quarter I spied an Internet cafe on the second floor of old Kaldi's coffeehouse and museum near the French Market. This wasn't just any ol' Internet cafe, though, this was "New Orleans First Cyber CafÈ." Realm of Delirium (, owned by Shane and Krissandra Kretzmann, offers many services in addition to coffee. People can come in and get e-mail, surf the web, create web pages, and play games. The atmosphere was a delicious combination of old New Orleans French Quarter and New Age Hippie-ness. Psychedelic banners hung on walls and knitted caps, mystical and voodoo books and objects were for sale. The computers, sitting on old wooden tables, were spray painted to give that crackled/alligator skin look. One man sat in the corner with his own laptop, which he worked from. Another man was using PhotoShop on another dedicated machine. Krissandra told me she just got ISDN lines and is waiting for them to be installed. (I guess some things never change!) The environment was very calming. The room was softly lit by sunlight streaming through windows, antique oriental rugs lie the floor, antique lights hung from the ceiling, and a fabulous red-velvet gold-paint-trimmed loveseat sat under big old windows. Trees and plants outside added to the exotic feeling. There were newsletters on an old coffee table and a flyer for the new monthly i-zine Surfgurl (

The trip to New Orleans was fabulous, and this little gem added a charming spark. My trip across the country as part of the Alley to Valley Rally ( made me aware of how the internet biz is alive and well in all sorts of nooks and crannies of our nation -- not just the digital coasts.

(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)