NICK DENTON: e-mail from the valley

NICK DENTON: e-mail from the valley - I'm a little jaded. I've spent most of the past five years on the internet, first as a hobby, then as something to write about, then as a business. And sometimes it feels that everything that could be invented has bee

by NICK DENTON, a founder of Europe's start-up community FirstTuesday, is CEO of Moreover.com (nick@moreover.com)

I'm a little jaded. I've spent most of the past five years on the internet, first as a hobby, then as something to write about, then as a business. And sometimes it feels that everything that could be invented has been invented. This is particularly true now, with the Nasdaq bouncing around its lows for the year, and Silicon Valley's usual confidence, always correlated with the high-tech stock index, similarly depressed. There is nothing new to rave about.

The gizmo companies of 1999 - online bookmarks, how cool! - are waning. Maybe the internet is less mind-altering and world-changing than we thought. And then, boredly surfing the web on a Saturday afternoon in a limbo between work and leisure, I came across DivX, which shook me out of my torpor. This is what the new-economy pundits meant when they talked about technological discontinuity.

I had read about this new video format called DivX. After a bit of online detective work, I found a site from which one could download the DivX codec, a piece of software that decodes a file; in this case, a piece of code that decodes and expands a movie. After upgrading to the latest version of Windows Media Player, and finding a site that carried film trailers, I was ready to go.

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