Monday, July 28, 2008

Jason Calacanis: Your only hope is that Google will kill you last

I don't think Google has been a search-only company since Gmail.

But I also don't think there can ever be another Microsoft. They filled a temporary vacuum left by IBMs battle with the Justice Department. The PC landscape was unexplored and Microsoft (as much as I'd like to see their worm-eaten remains blasted into the sun) was wise enough to play the part of Tonya Harding in the world of PC software.

There is no loyalty on the Internet though, and switching from one web-based tool to another is trivial. Microsoft has only its own dysfunctional bully-boy culture to blame for not being a player. Nobody wants to do business with an asshole, but some do, just to stay in business. The bad experience is remembered for a long long time. As Google grows into more areas of business it will be harder for them to convince people that they are not evil. They have a long way to go to catch up with Microsoft (and even Apple) though. They also have a long way to go before they compete with Wikipedia. I expect Knol will for a long time offer more authoritative coverage of a few subject areas, but will not (at least for a long long time) have the breadth of coverage Wikipedia does.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

This Time, It's Different

"Global Pressures Have Converged to Forge a New Oil Reality"

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Notice From The Bureau of Public Anomaly Screenings

"According to our findings, which are accurate in 99.5% of all cases -- thus legally qualifying as proof beyond reasonable doubt -- we have come to the following conclusions:

- Your 56 Amazon book reviews and ratings: The choice of books reviewed, as well as the reviews given, lead our system to believe you have an above average interest in anti-governmental subjects. The associated review timestamps show high nighttime activity, which is often an indicator of minority behavior."

More examples at link.

DRM still sucks: Yahoo Music going dark, taking keys with it

"No, you were one of the digital pioneers, and in this brave new frontier world, a few people are just going to get malaria. Fact of life. And someone will step in a bear trap, and then it's time for the bite rag, the alcohol, and the saw. Just the price of progress. And yes, some poor group will get trapped in snowfall when crossing the pass, and cannibalism may or may not be involved by the time they stumble barefoot from the mountains next spring. No one can prevent such tragedies.

Well, except for everyone who saw this coming. "

I liked this bit better than the paragraph Slashdot quotes. But then I'm an "I told ya so." kinda guy. And Yahoo is a bait and switch, or bait and kill, sort of company. Which is why I'll never shed a tear over their slow and painful demise.

Microsoft to Spend $2.5 Billion a Year To Keep Pace in Race With Google -

"'The amount of economic value we have the opportunity to create by pursuing this world in which everything goes digital is at least 40, 50, 60 percent more than our economic value today,' Ballmer said at a meeting with analysts."

HUH? What does something on your desktop vs in "the cloud" have to do with going digital?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

From the Desk of David Pogue - Apple’s MobileMess -

But the real problem is how Apple is responding. For a company that's so brilliant at marketing, it seems to have absolutely no clue about crisis management.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Lawnmower Men -

"Meanwhile, the EPA's career staff is unsupervised. In December, they went ahead and made their so-called 'endangerment finding' on carbon, deputizing themselves as the rulers of the global-warming bureaucracy. The adults in the White House were aghast when they saw the draft. EPA lifers retaliated by leaking the disputes of the standard interagency review process to Democrats like Henry Waxman and sympathetic reporters. Thus the stations-of-the-cross media narrative about 'political interference,' as if the EPA's careerists don't have their own agenda. So the Administration performed triage by making everything transparent.

At least getting the EPA on the record will help clarify the costs of carbon restrictions. Democrats complaining about 'censorship' at the EPA are welcome to defend fiats about lawnmowers and flatulent cows."

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Untouchables - HUMAN EVENTS

"Yet, the reaction of our cultural elites is the more interesting and instructive.

For it suggests that Obama is an untouchable to be protected. As an African-American, he is not to be treated the same as other politicians. Remnick and Hertzberg obviously felt intense moral pressure to remove any suspicion that they had satirized the Obamas. No problem, however, if they were mocking the American right."

Meanwhile, if there are any adults on the left, they are not the ones living in San Fransisco where they may name a sewage treatment plant after Bush as an expression of their, um, bile.

MSN's Q2 Ad Revenue Horrendous, Woe Is Yahoo (YHOO)

"How bad were MSN's numbers? Organic year-over-year ad revenue growth decelerated from 26% in Q1 to 8% in Q2, which is also known as hitting a wall. Surely Microsoft's discombobulation has something to do with it, but we'd be shocked if there weren't some market weakness in there as well."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Nintendo: Wii Outsells Xbox 360 In U.S. | Game | Life from

"It's worth noting that at Microsoft's press conference Monday, Xbox exec Don Mattrick told the crowd that the Xbox 360 was the top-selling piece of game hardware in the U.S. -- knowing full well that this would likely cease to be true in three days' time."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

5 Days of Technical Problems? MobileMe Really is “Exchange for the Rest of Us” | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD

"Another snag we have run into is our use of the word “push” in describing everything under the MobileMe umbrella. While all email, contact or calendar changes on the iPhone and the web apps are immediately synced to and from the MobileMe “cloud,” changes made on a PC or Mac take up to 15 minutes to sync with the cloud and your other devices."

Almost no one outside Silicon Valley and apparently few people in the Valley have bothered to look up what “Push” means. (And I’m not going to save them the trouble.)

It absolutely has nothing to do with “syncing”.

But who are most of the public facing Apple names? Marketing people. And who are the majority of Apple users? People who easily succumb to slick marketing. So accurate use of tech terms is definitely considered optional by all involved.

Disclaimer: I own several Apple products.

Google Online Security Blog: Are you using the latest web browser?

"The researchers' paper, entitled 'Understanding the Web Browser Threat', shows that as of June 2008, only 59.1% percent of Internet users worldwide use the latest major version of their preferred web browser. Firefox users are the most attentive: 92.2% of them surfed with Firefox 2, the latest major version before the recently released 3.0. Only 52.5% of Microsoft Internet Explorer users have updated to version 7, which is the most secure according to multiple publicly-cited Microsoft experts (among them Sandi Hardmeier). The study revealed that 637 million Internet users worldwide who use web browsers are either not running the latest version of their preferred browser or have not installed the latest patches. These users are vulnerable to exploitation due to their web browser's 'built-in' vulnerabilities and the lack of more recent security mechanisms such as improved phishing protection."

Google LatLong: Our city in 3D

"We get better 3D performance from the cloud and we don’t pay for it. Some GIS users in the DC government, have made excellent use of the data, but with the city’s current technology, the 3D data had to be used locally on high-end desktops. Frankly, the District did not have the technical capabilities for distributing nearly 100,000 3D building across the enterprise. With the data now hosted on Google Earth 4.3, we expect DC Government users to turn to Google Earth just like the public. And using the same tools as our citizens is another powerful way to connect with them and ensure the quality of their experience."

WWL - AM870 • FM105.3 | News • Talk • Sports - Five Dems sign up to challenge Jefferson on first qualifying day

"Five Dems sign up to challenge Jefferson on first qualifying day"

Can you say "The fix is in?"

Like so many places much of LA consists of one-party towns.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

IT Admin Locks up San Francisco's Network

"The situation doesn't reflect well on San Francisco's IT staff, said Andrew Storms, director of security operations with security vendor nCircle. 'His managers should have known better,' he said via instant message. 'Some safety nets and best practices were probably overlooked if one person could have caused this much damage.'"

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

“Vista” Means Always Having to Say You’re Sorry | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily

Great headline.

Justice Breyer Is Among Victims in Data Breach Caused by File Sharing

"Sometime late last year, an employee of a McLean investment firm decided to trade some music, or maybe a movie, with like-minded users of the online file-sharing network LimeWire while using a company computer. In doing so, he inadvertently opened the private files of his firm, Wagner Resource Group, to the public."

Linden Avatars Boldly Go Where None Has Before -

"Linden Lab, creator of animated world Second Life, which people explore using simulated figures, is announcing Tuesday that some of those avatars have successfully been transferred -- or 'teleported,' in the jargon of virtual-world fans -- to a separate world operated by International Business Machines Corp."

Sunday, July 06, 2008

I, Cringely . The Pulpit . Independence Day | PBS

"Here's why I bring this up. It is clear to me that government (ANY government, not just the U.S. federal government) and Wall Street have no idea whatsoever how to handle the current crisis. They are just trying to look busy while protecting their own interests and allowing those affected to muddle our way through this mess to some kind of solution. It's not that they don't want to be helpful (if the cost of being helpful is low enough) but that they simply don't know HOW to be helpful. They can't be educated and they can't be changed. Certainly they wouldn't consider any course that would curtail government authority or commercial opportunity."

Very well put, and applies to almost everything government does, or might do.

Now, when are people going to start voting that way?

Friday, July 04, 2008

A Man of Seasonal Principles - Charles Krauthammer -

"In last week's column, I thought I had thoroughly chronicled Obama's brazen reversals of position and abandonment of principles -- on public financing of campaigns, on NAFTA, on telecom immunity for post-Sept. 11 wiretaps, on unconditional talks with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- as he moved to the center for the general election campaign. I misjudged him. He was just getting started."

Social Networks: 9 ways foreigners are having more fun with Facebook

I blog about Valleywag googling for Facebook.

More Passport Files Breached, File of Beyonce Knowles Among Those Accessed - CBS News

"The Inspector General’s report indicated the agency’s oversight of passport files had “many control weaknesses including a general lack of policies, procedures, guidance, and training'. The agency was also criticized for having no standardized response or disciplinary process for employees who breach personal files."

Uh. How can I add to that?

Oh, yeah... planning for new projects and documentation of past projects could use a lot of work too. But in those things that seems to be just how things are done at the fed level (with some exceptions in the military... planes, helicopters and munitions don't tend to work too well, or at all without planning and documentation).

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

ABC News: Ignored Psych Patient Dies on Hospital Floor

"Alan Aviles, the president of the Health and Hospital Corp., had already announced that six hospital employees, including staff members who oversee patient care and security, face disciplinary action for their lack of response. Two of the employees were fired, while four unionized staff members must go through termination proceedings."

One has to ask (don't we?) who is being served by these public and quasi-public institutions the patients (in this case, fliers, students, utility company customers, etc. in other cases) or the unions?

A Former Marine Discusses IT in Iraq

"While I don't think IT created micro-management, I think it made micro-management a lot easier. It's a tempting thing to do. But the more accessible the chain of command is, the stronger you have to be to not micromanage.

The dangers of micro-management are well-known. If someone is deciding for you every last detail of how you should get your job done, you stop thinking for yourself. Given the type of battlefield the military is dealing with these days, they're in need of a lot of individual initiative. There are so many small units off on their own."

Interesting how this might be true of businesses as well. Communications is so good these days that almost no one has to make a decision on their own and await the outcome. You can always, easily and quickly, invite others to "buy in" to your decision and become part of a face-saving consensus. Of course, someone with a thorough understanding o that process can significantly influence the outcome of the process without appearing to be particularly involved. We used to just call it "playing politics", but the game is a lot more subtle than it used to be.