TECH 09

TECH #9
7/3/97

One of the fun things about writing this column each week is exploring ways new
technology affects our community. Exploring the latest buzz word, “push” has left me less
than pumped.

While on line, each time you click on a link, your computer asks another computer for a
certain page of information. By comparison that interchange is called a pull. With push
technology, the other computer doesn’t wait for you to request a page. Instead, when the
content you’ve requested is ready, the other computer delivers it (a push) automatically to
you. There’s a catch.

Before the other computer can send all the cool things interesting to you it has to know
what you like. There are several companies making this technology available. Best known
is Microsoft with it’s Personal News Page, and the personalized version of Yahoo known
appropriately enough as My Yahoo. These services are available through web sites you
can view with any browser. Other services have special software you must download.

So I’m thinking “cool, now I can have just Hampton Roads related technology news
delivered to my PC!” No such luck. After downloading several programs with names like
BackWeb, Marimba, and PointCast, I discovered that you only get what they want to
send. You pick and choose from a menu of topics like entertainment, family, technology
and so on. After registering these preferences the software will then deliver related
information off the web from it’s finite pool of content providers.

That makes push technology convenient, but a bit generic in it’s delivery. For me Push has
been less than impelling.