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Prepared for August 23, 2000 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All

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Between the Lines

Quick now, name one mass medium of the 20th century that

was made obsolete by another?

Live drama, destroyed by motion pictures? Not at all, unless you count

burlesque shows as live drama. Letter writing, supplanted by the

telephone? Reduced maybe, but still going strong enough to fuel a huge

greeting card industry.

Telephones, replaced by picture phones? Not for a second. Radio,

overcome by television? No. Magazines, rendered unprofitable by

television or now the Internet? Not exactly: While many magazines

fell, even more came into being. Television, destroyed by the

Internet? Not yet, and maybe not for a long time. Newspapers, taken

over by community websites? Not yet, and maybe not for a long time.

What about good old-fashioned bills, the sort that always seem to

reach our mailbox quickly even though though other mail (like checks)

always seem to take forever? Will they someday be replaced totally by

electronic bills? The Princeton-based and rapidly expanding Paytrust,

which just announced a merger with its chief competitor (see page 62),

will tell you that billions of bills will soon be posted and paid on

the Internet. Somehow we think that at least some paper bills will

keep greeting us in person at our front door.

We can name only two vanished media — and you might argue that this

is a stretch:

Silent movies and black and white television. Talkies and color TV may

not be totally new media, but once they came along the silent movies

and black and white shows never returned.

All of which reinforces our thoughts about another medium, which will

show its staying power next Thursday, August 31: the business trade

show. The Princeton Chamber of Commerce is the lead sponsor of the

all-day event at the Doral Forrestal. And this newspaper (still coming

to you from one of the most highly competitive and saturated media

markets in the nation) is sponsoring the technology portion of the

show — with 13 exhibitors and a keynote speaker at 4 p.m.: Dale

Pfost, CEO of Orchid Biocomputer, speaking on the human genome

revolution and what it means for us personally and for us in business.

It’s all free (everything except the Chamber lunch — there’s no such

thing) and you are invited.

So in the virtual world of the 21st century, the old-fashioned trade

show, which dates back to the Renaissance fairs, is still going strong

with plenty of sound and color and human contact. We shouldn’t be

surprised. On the past two Thursdays we hosted receptions for the

contributors to our annual Summer Fiction issue. Four score people

arrived at Barnes & Noble to honor the poets; an equal number turned

out at Micawber Books to salute the short story writers. There was

plenty of sound and color at both.

And we predict more of the same next Thursday at the Doral Forrestal.

You might even see some rate piece of new technology that might

someday totally eclipse something now on the scene — will the voice

over IT technology described by Princeton Computer Support on page 22

of this issue someday render company phone systems obsolete? Check

them out at the trade fair. We hope to see you there. Wear something

colorful, talk to us, and by all means shake our hand.


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