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Markoff is a special kind of infonaut. He has an academic's curiosity and doggedness, but his wonderful practical streak, much to our good fortune, means he's writing in The New York Times rather than in some dry academic journal. The important thing about Markoff is that he doesn't just get the scoop. He gets the scoop behind the scoop. He tells us about something we didn't know was happening, then goes down another layer to what it means in the larger context.

THE ORACLE (Paul Saffo)

John Markoff

The Scribe

"A small anarchic community of wireheads and hackers made the mistake of giving fire to the masses. Nobody is going to give it back. It is paradise lost. This wonderful community is not a community anymore. It's a society. It is a city on the Net, and in the back alleys of this electronic city, people are getting rolled. It is no different than being in New York. Let me be a couch potato if this is what Internet activity is about."

John Markoff (alias "Scoop") is the technology correspondent of The New York Times. He's in a class by himself. No one writes about technology the way he does. David Bunnell, no slouch as a computer industry journalist, says, "I know people who say the only reason they read The New York Times is to read Markoff. A technology writer who sells newspapers - that is remarkable."

JOHN MARKOFF covers the computer industry and technology for The New York Times. He is the coauthor of The High Cost of High Tech (with Lennie Siegel, 1985); Cyberpunk: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier (with Katie Hafner, 1991); and Takedown: The Pursuit and Capture of America's Most Wanted Computer Outlaw (with Tsutomu Shimomura, 1995).

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