Tuesday, November 1, 2011

On Steve Jobs

I'm not an Apple fan but I do have a lot of respect for their products and Steve Jobs

I'll just say a few things about him I think should get more attention
After the original Apple, his first great business success was Pixar, that was what made him a billionaire.
The Mac was a great design but not a great business success.
The most important reason for which I think is that he didn't market to business, he showed his contempt for business buyers with the commercial of businessmen marching off a cliff.

His first great  business success at Apple was the iPod, and then the huge, huge , huge success of the iPhone.
All his successes had in common that they were striking visually--that must go to his core abilities. They had good visual user interfaces but even more they were things people wanted because of their looks. Even when they sacrificed some usability- you can't control an iPod by feel, for example.
One element of their visual appeal was that they had a higher screen resolution (dots per inch) than the competition. It makes them look very sharp, better in some way than the rest, though often there is no more actual information shown the user because the display is smaller. He created small but refined objects which people desired.
They were all also consumer products, not primarily for business (though the iPhone is a very useful business tool).

His idea of making a computer 'for the rest of us' has turned out to be more like 'for the best of us'- those with more money and less tech savvy, which is too bad. With the Macintosh, he couldn't compete on price because he didn't have the economies of scale of his rivals. 
But the iPhone-it was a great device, and the carriers saw that , and Jobs used that to force them to give him more control over it than any other phone mfg had- the control, and a cut of the revenues, of applications that can be installed on it. He used that to make a tremendous amount of money, probably more than 50% profit margins, making Apple the most valuable publicly traded company. 
He could have used it to break the carrier's subscription model, selling unlocked iPhones that worked with any carrier , making the carriers support them without making people pay hidden costs for 'free' phones. He could have supported all carriers,  and sold as many phones as possible at lower prices. But he didn't.
Fortunately the advances in his products have been largely made available by rivals at lower prices.

[Added May 2013-
Actually he went partway in breaking the carriers' model. The iPhone had a full fledged browser that would go to any site on the Internet, and the App store is fairly open as well. The carriers' attitude toward apps was 'make us an offer and we'll let you know if its good enough.' He didn't try to take a cut of everything people buy on their iPhones. 
This made the iPhone a huge success where earlier smartphones, with their lame carrier-approved apps had limited success.  ] 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Where are the Americans? The Japanese are too proud to ask, but we need help and we need it now.'

'Where is the sense of urgency? We need somebody to take charge. We’ve had an earthquake followed by fire, then a tsunami, then radiation, and now snow. It’s everything.

'There is nothing left. The world needs to step in. Where are the Americans? The Japanese are too proud to ask, but we need help and we need it now.'
In one of the shelters for the evacuated, Motoko was worried for her daughter Yukiko, a teacher missing with her class of children.

She told the Standard there is still no official list of those who have been evacuated: 'For all I know my daughter thinks I’m dead and I have no way of knowing if she is alive because mobile phones here don’t work here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Until a few million years ago, the global climate was warmer than at present, especially at higher latitudes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Boreal Kingdom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Until a few million years ago, the global climate was warmer than at present, especially at higher latitudes, and many temperate-climate species were distributed across North America and Eurasia via Alaska and Siberia. The sharply cooler climate of the past few million years [the ice ages] eliminated a temperate-zone connection between North America and Eurasia, but common Laurasian origins and a long history of temperate-climate land bridges account for the botanical similarities between the temperate floras on the two continents.
So a global warming would be a return to the usual global temperature?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

There are no known societies that are unambiguously matriarchal

Matriarchy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

"There are no known societies that are unambiguously matriarchal,[1][2][3][4][5][6] although there are attested matrilinear, matrilocal, and avunculocal societies, especially among indigenous peoples of Asia and Africa,[7] ...

In 19th century Western scholarship, the hypothesis of matriarchy representing an early stage of human development—now mostly lost in prehistory, with the exception of some 'primitive' societies—enjoyed popularity. The hypothesis survived into the 20th century and was notably advanced in the context of feminism and especially second wave feminism, but this hypothesis of matriarchy as having been an early stage of human development is mostly discredited today, most experts saying that it never existed.[10]"

Friday, February 18, 2011

Buick Regal -- change the name

It looks good, the reviews are good, but Regal is not the name for a competitor to BMW, Audi and Acura. Century or Wildcat would have been a lot better. "Regal" has been ruined by junky products in many markets and makes me think of tacky faux gold and red velvet. And its meaning (royal) is not appropriate either--this is their smallest car! The king doesn't drive around in a small car. This is the car for a hot young prince or count.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Some great quotes on Nokia-Microsoft

Communities Dominate Brands: First Analysis of Nokia-Microsoft Alliance - Wow this is good for Microsoft:   (blog by Tomi T Ahonen, former Nokia executive)

How well did Microsoft's partnership with HTC go? HTC is the company that manufactured more than half of all smartphones on the Windows Mobile OS with more than a dozen other handset makers doing far less than half. HTC was so disgusted by Microsoft by the end, that they announced loudly they were switching to Android the moment that became available - to the point, HTC said they would not even use the next (which turned out to be last) version of Windows Mobile. Thats Microsoft partership for you.

Motorola, another early Windows Mobile client, was so fed up with Microsoft's games, they said no Phone 7 smartphones ever! Moto said they only do Android.

 "If you thought that Nokia's 'execution' was a problem before - just watch it do delays like a pro this year - like someone... who should I think of, someone who really knows how to deliver software on time? hmmm.. MICROSOFT!

"Nokia was always known as a poorly paying employer who treated its staff exceptionally well. So they relied on employee loyalty. This stabs them in the back so hard, Nokia cannot be trusted to stay loyal even to its own products and promises. To go and buy in Microsoft. As Nokia staff exodus starts with the best minds

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Communities Dominate Brands: Why Nokia OS Strategy is Right for Nokia, and shift to Android or Phone 7 would be madness (now)

Communities Dominate Brands: Why Nokia OS Strategy is Right for Nokia, and shift to Android or Phone 7 would be madness (now):
(blog by Tomi T Ahonen, former Nokia executive)
Written just before the Feb 11 announcement. Explaining why Nokia would be crazy to do what they actually did. Ironic but a lot of good reasoning)

"Symbian is not as good as Android or iOS. I am not claiming that. But the gap between them is closing. And here is the critical part that you have to remember, Symbian in Nokia's strategy is not the weapon to fight Android (or iPhone). It is the weapon to fight for the low end phones, migrating Nokia featurephones and cheap dumbphones to low-cost smartphones! That is the clearly stated strategy for many years now. Clearly stated strategy. Nokia is not positioning Symbian against top phones, for that it has MeeGo.

But is Symbian viable for the low cost market? Remember, Nokia has to migrate its customers using non-smartphones to smartphones. Their average price was 43 Euros (about 65 dollars)! How many people bought such a phone with a Nokia brand in 2010? Try 360 million! Yes, one million non-smartphone basic phones were sold every single day of last year, with a Nokia badge. That is more than all smartphones sold by all smartphone makers including Apple and RIM and HTC and Samsung and LG and Motorola and ZTE and LG and Huawei and Sharp and Kyocera and Fujitsu and Lenovo and Acer and Dell and Palm and Alcatel and Panasonic and ...

...and all smartphones made by Nokia itself!

..combined. That is how huge Nokia is. And there is Nokia's challenge. No, their mission is not to try to do a phone better than the iPhone. The real mission for Nokia is to take all those 360 million satisfied Nokia customers, who only paid on average 65 dollars for their Nokia phones - and migrate them to smartphones during this decade.


"Imagine if, when the Apple Macintosh OS was battling Microsoft's early Windows OS, and when Windows was bigger, suddenly Microsoft would have announced, they quit? The market leader doesn't quit! Those who fall behind, are the ones who quit


"Keyproblem No.1: NOKIA bosses in their majority are still hardware-people. But Nokia needs a software strategy - and this was never understood or executed by Ansi Vanjoki and all the other 'big finns'. (Changing the OS deos not help here at all)

The problems can only be solved if Nokia understands the dynamics of software. And this means moving faster!

Posted by: Wolfram Herzog | February 09, 2011 at 02:54 PM

"Efficiency has been a big problem with Symbian development and still is. For some reason this very basic issue hasn't been solved over the years. Basic things like slow starting debugger on emulator or device, documentation which lists only function prototypes without full explanation, installing SDK, tracing, untracable exceptions if one mistake is made with resources, resource compiler that doesn't tell you what you did wrong, USB connnectivity that works or doesn't work, strange panics just to mention few.

When things are done right then Symbian runs fine, but when they are done wrong it will result in endless debugging nightmare.

Fix the basics and make programming for your platform fun and everything else will fall into place.

Posted by: Kalle | February 09, 2011 at 02:32 PM

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

choice comments on Nokia/Microsoft

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop rallies troops in brutally honest 'burning platform' memo? (update: it's real!) -- Engadget:
comment by FinnHuckster 02/11/2011 01:38 AM in reply to Lowell Denzel Orlando Richmond

"Knowing the hold HP, MS & RIM have on business and how Apple has taken 3 years to get themselves supported in many IT shops (only because of popularity among workers not because IT management wanted to) what do you think the chances of the typical IT shop adding both 1000 flavors of Android support and MeeGo support?

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Egypt- time for Israel to settle with the Palestinians

Egypt has a population of 80 million. It is much bigger than the rest of Israel's neighbors (and the Palestinians) put together.

Egypt, Israel, And A Strategic Reconsideration: "The future of Gaza or the precise borders of a Palestinian state are trivial compared to preserving the treaty with Egypt. If it is found that a particular political strategy undermines the strategic requirement, then that political strategy must be sacrificed.

In other words, the worst-case scenario for Israel would be a return to the pre-1978 relationship with Egypt without a settlement with the Palestinians. That would open the door for a potential two-front war with an intifada in the middle. To avoid that, the ideological pressure on Egypt must be eased, and that means a settlement with the Palestinians on less-than-optimal terms. The alternative is to stay the current course and let Israel take its chances. The question is where the greater safety lies. Israel has assumed that it lies with confrontation with the Palestinians. That’s true only if Egypt stays neutral. If the pressure on the Palestinians destabilizes Egypt, it is not the most prudent course.

(originally from Egypt, Israel and a Strategic Reconsideration | STRATFOR )

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Assange Nobel Peace prize nomination

Wouldn't it be ironic if last year's Nobel Peace Prize winner had this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner arrested?
Maybe they should have waited till they knew last year's winner better.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Robert Downey, Jr. - getting arrested didn't make him a liberal

(referring to the old saying, "a liberal is a conservative whose been arrested". )

Robert Downey, Jr. - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Downey has indicated that his time in prison changed his political point of view somewhat, saying: “I have a really interesting political point of view, and it’s not always something I say too loud at dinner tables here, but you can’t go from a $2,000-a-night suite at La Mirage to a penitentiary and really understand it and come out a liberal. You can’t. I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone else, but it was very, very, very educational for me and has informed my proclivities and politics ever since.”[100] In a 2007 interview with W magazine Downey showed the journalist a photograph of himself and his wife with then President George W. Bush.[99]

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Actresses Who Nix Nude Scenes - Associated Content from Yahoo! - associatedcontent.com

Actresses Who Nix Nude Scenes - Associated Content from Yahoo! - associatedcontent.com: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Good for them.

Most interesting reason- Kate Beckinsale - Her mom was an actress and did a nude scene- and she got a lot of "hassle" about it (presumably from schoolmates). 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

left leaning tech companies

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Google makes some missteps as it finds its way in corridors of power: "In the 2004 election cycle, Google employees gave 99 percent of their $251,679 in contributions to Democrats. Sun Microsystems was next among the top 20 companies, with 76 percent going to Democrats, followed by IBM at 71 percent and Yahoo! at 63 percent, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The tech-industry average is 54 percent to Democrats and 46 percent to Republicans.

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