Net Star Takes Wrist Rest: Justin Hall,...

Net Star Takes Wrist Rest: Justin Hall, a pioneering Internet storyteller whose popular Web page ( offered an engaging mix of Web reviews and personal reflections, is taking a sabbatical from cyberspace. It’s not disillusionment with the Web that’s brought on Hall’s leave, but that scourge of prolific computer writers everywhere: tenosynovitis, an inflammatory condition that can evolve into the debilitating wrist injury known as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Hall found that after working all day for money--either on staff at the Web start-up Electric Minds, or doing freelance writing--his cramped hands and sore wrists made it impossible for him to produce the creative work that made him something of a Web celeb.

Rather than lamenting his physical problems, though, Hall--always renowned for his honest personal anecdotes--says they’ve offered an opportunity.

“I threw the I Ching and asked it, ‘What lesson am I supposed to learn from my hands?’ ” he says. “The I Ching said, ‘Modesty.’ I think that’s absolutely right. I think I’m supposed to learn to lead a bit of a quieter existence.”


Hall is also leaving his job at Electric Minds, a company dedicated to building online communities that was launched last year by another Web celeb, author Howard Rheingold. Hall’s Web page remains up for now, but updates are infrequent, and he’s not sure if or when he’ll return to it as a vocation.

In leaving, he may again by ahead of a trend: “I’m moving away from the Web,” says Hall, “because I did the Web too much.”