Brad Stone

Mp3.Com Gets Ripped

Four out of five is a great average for a ballplayer; for a dot-com, it's potentially devastating. Last month Napster's compadre in goosing the recording industry,, settled its copyright lawsuit with four of the five major record labels.

Everything Old Looks New Again

There's a war being waged for San Francisco's soul these days, and its old, free-wheeling spirit seems to be losing out. Artists are leaving town, chased away by high rents, while dot-commies are moving in, demolishing lofts and building expensive, fiber-optic-ready cubicle parks in their place.

A Silicon Republic

Federico Fernandez awakens every morning at 6 to get to his dream job on time. He climbs into his battered '88 Toyota and drives past the bread and machinery factories that surround the land he shares with the rest of his extended family in San Jose, Costa Rica.

A Star Rises In The East

The balance of power in the wireless world may be shifting east. At last week's Unwired Universe confab in San Francisco, speakers chatted up new phones from Japanese and Korean firms like Sanyo,Hitachi, NEC and Samsung--not current faves Nokia, Motorola and Ericsson.

Reality Bites The Web

It was inevitable. Reality TV has exploded on the Net, as enterprising Webmasters jump on the voyeuristic bandwagon. One of the most inventive sites is Cold Turkey, launching this week at

What? No More Beanie Babies?

Did somebody say, "What'sup with those cryptic McDonald's TV commercials" showing employees dancing to 'N Sync for no obvious reason? Now it can be told: starting Aug. 11 the fast-food chain will offer (for $4.99 with purchase) an electronic music system called HitClips.

Diving Into Bill's Trash

If the White House were involved, we'd be calling it Mogulgate. Over the past year, Washington, D.C., lobbying firms supporting Microsoft in its antitrust battle against the Justice Department repeatedly found themselves the victims of what looked for all the world like industrial espionage.

Hitting The Right Notes

They're a dying breed--the churlish, chain-smoking music-store clerks who size up your musical tastes as you walk through the door and recommend some obscure new garage band from Arkadelphia that you end up loving.

The View From The Valley

It's a popular misconception that the techheads of Silicon Valley speak with one unified voice. But on the topic du jour last week that notion was about as credible as the one that says you'll be able to synchronize your Palm pilot with your PC on the first try.

A Portal For Pinstripes

It seems you need to be a maniacal athlete to work at eCompanies, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based Internet "incubator" --a start-up that specializes in the assembly-line-style production of other start-ups.

Boot Camp For Start-Ups

The first IPO boot camp, held one year ago, featured zero jumping jacks and little pain. CEOs and CFOs of local Internet start-ups flocked to a ritzy conference facility on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, Calif., to learn the ins and outs of riding the nosebleed Nasdaq to a successful, millionaire-minting public offering.

Bitten By Love

It may be the oldest three-word ploy in the English language: "I love you." Yet when the message headlined a rampaging e-mail virus last week, dubbed the "Love Bug," hundreds of thousands of Internet users who should know better fell fast and hard.

Wireless Web Grab

The annual conference of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association used to be a drab, button-down affair. Regulators and phone execs wearing bad ties would lecture attendees on issues like radio-spectrum auctions and the benefits of analog versus digital networks.

Cyber-Santa's Sleigh Ride

If the e-commerce numbers that emerged last week are any guide, Internet execs should be quaffing the bubbly well into the new year. Online holiday sales tripled from 1998, and overall customer satisfaction nudged up slightly. "Consumers came out in record numbers, and so did merchants," says Chuck Davis, CEO of Web rating guide, which crunched the data.

A Silicon Valley Ambassador

In Silicon Valley these days, there are so many start-up launch parties, venture-capital forums and general, industry celebrations that--with a reasonable amount of planning--you can avoid ever having to pay for a meal.

Computers Get Chic

Late next century, when scholars are scripting the definitive history of the PC, these last few years of high-octane growth may actually be depicted as the Dark Ages.

A High-Technology Crash

It was, of course, an arrogant thing to say. But this was the bold, booming world of Seattle high tech, and Patrick Naughton was very rich, very powerful--and only 34 years old. "The decisions I make change the world--and I've never made a wrong decision in my life," a colleague recalls Naughton recently boasting at a meeting.He wasn't all wrong.

Hand-To-Hand Combat

One of the problems with corporate existence in high tech is that things move too fast. A company can be applauded one day and jeered at the next. So it was last week for 3Com--the behemoth at the center of the handheld computing business.

It's A Real Handful

If there really is a "cult of the Palm Pilot," then Hal Schechner confesses to being a drooling disciple. The 24-year-old software engineer at an ad agency in New York's Long Island bought the very first Pilot when it was introduced in 1996.

Stop And Go Start-Ups

Kris Hagerman's idea for an Internet start-up was good enough to procure $15 million from the top venture-capital investors in Silicon Valley. But hiring an office manager was a different story.

The War Of The Wires

Like most Americans, Alan Johnson didn't know a thing about the nasty brawl between America Online Inc. and AT&T over who will dominate the Internet. But earlier this month, the 37-year-old registered nurse from San Francisco was waylaid by an AOL representative in the parking lot of a food mart near his hospital and asked to sign a petition to prevent AT&T from "monopolizing" the Internet.

Amazon's Pet Projects

Three months ago, the old Hercules Rubber plant in San Francisco's warehouse district was a cluttered, decaying mess. The mannequins and sewing machines of a children's garment company littered the floor, while 30-year-old paint peeled off the mammoth walls.

Get A Life!

Just a few years ago, Krishan Kalra worked as fast and as furiously as any other Silicon Valley CEO. The founder of a biotech company called BioGenex Laboratories, the 55-year-old native of India pushed himself, his 150 employees and his family to the breaking point.

Look Who's Talking Now

IT WAS YOUR TYPICAL AIR TRAVEL nightmare. Glen Harvell, an Andersen Consulting manager, arrived at the Minneapolis airport to find his flight to D.C. had been delayed by mechanical problems.

Nothing To Sneeze At

VISITING THE LOCAL PHARMACY CAN be an embarrassing experience these days. Who wants to walk up to a cash register with a bottle of Rogaine, a pack of condoms and an assortment of wrinkle creams, particularly when Mildred from down the block might be lurking in aisle two?

How About Ipos For The Masses?

INVESTMENT BANKER BILL HAMBRECHT'S old and new offices are two miles--and several worlds--apart. His former digs were in San Francisco's financial district, at Hambrecht & Quist, the investment bank known for taking companies like Apple and Genentech public.

Thrilla In Manila

FORTY PAGES INTO ALEX GARLAND'S new novel, The Tesseract (273 pages. Riverhead. $24.95), a Filipino crop worker dares to touch the leg of a mafia don on horseback.

Disney Says Let's 'Go'

ONE OF THE REVEALING THINGS about the first television ads for the new Internet site Go Network is what they don't say. There's no mention of parent company Infoseek or its partner, the Walt Disney Co.

Fending Off Social Insecurity

SOCIAL SECURITY is Often called the third rail of American politics--if officeholders touch it, they die. So it's not surprising that President Clinton last week rushed to assure the nation's 48 million pensioners that their checks won't be affected by the Year 2000 computer glitch. ""The Millennium Bug,'' he said, ""will not delay the payment of Social Security checks by a single day.''But the truth is more complicated.