He goes on, later in the article to say, 'Logged onto the World Wide Web, I hunt for the date of the Battle of Trafalgar. Hundreds of files show up, and it takes 15 minutes to unravel them--one's a biography written by an eighth grader, the second is a computer game that doesn't work and the third is an image of a London monument. None answers my question, and my search is periodically interrupted by messages like, "Too many connections, try again later."'
My GoogleSearch for "date of the battle of waterloo" yields 894,000 hits in 0.29 seconds. The first three include June 18, 1815 in the titles. This is obviously too hard, too hit or miss.
Furthermore, he poo-poos the future of E-business.
"We're promised instant catalog shopping--just point and click for great deals. We'll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obselete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month? Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet--which there isn't--the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople."
Well, I mentioned yesterday that I was going to spend the day using up leftover Christmas Gift Cards? One of them was for Target. We looked on line first, but we wanted to go to the store and see some of this stuff in person before plunking down our cash. They didn't have any of the things we wanted on the shelves. After going out for lunch, we came home and placed our order online, which qualified us for free shipping and a 15% discount. And we sent money over the Internet. And that essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople? I don't know how many of you have visited a Big-Box store in Brooklyn, but I can assure you that nobody visits those stores here for the quality of their salespeople.
In fairness, Stoll seems to have been right and visionary on a lot of things. He just got this part of things completely wrong. He now sells Klein Bottles online. (If you don't know what those are, just Google it.)