192 posts • joined Thursday 4th October 2007 10:30 GMT
What is cool?
I'm really puzzled by this perceived need to be "cool". Why would I want a technology service to be cool? I'd be happier if it worked well.
By cool, they seem to mean "popular with teenagers". This is a rolling tide that washes from one thing to the next like the Severn Bore. You can't capture it and pin it down and the more you try, the more it will evade you. As Richard Holway says over on TechMarketView, Yahoo trying to be cool, in that sense, is like Grandad dancing at a family party.
Real cool has nothing to do with age. Keith Richard is cool. Apple, Google, Yahoo, Tumblr, Facebook and Myspace aren't, weren't and never could be.
So here's a suggestion for Ms Mayer and her ilk. Try creating a service that does something people need, that is easy to use and works well, and aim it at a stable base of customers who will stay with you, and might even be prepared to pay something for it.
"a lot less intrusive", is what I thought I put.
I had a Desire S. The handset was well designed and well built, but the software .... Why were Facebook and Twitter system apps that couldn't be deleted without rooting the phone? Why did HTC Locations pop up every time I went anywhere near a map, trying to flog their premium navigation service I didn't want? And this also was a system app. Then every so often the "Use Secure Storage Credentials" setting would decide to uncheck itself, and then you can't switch the phone off without entering the password again.
Similarly, the car mount is well made, if expensive, but it launches Locations automatically and assumes all you want to do is navigate. Actually I mostly want music. But you can't replace it with an alternative car dock app, unless you root the phone.
After a year of fighting all the preinstalled rubbish, I replaced it with a Galaxy S3, which not perfect, but is a lot intrusive. Better marketing won't help HTC, they don't just need to win customers, they need to keep them.
Re: Automatic tills?
Judging by the assistants I see scurrying around the automated checkout area at our local Morrisons, helping people who've got stuck, using them isn't quite as straight forward as you suggest. I do realise, nonetheless, that this is the fault of the stupid customers.
Mine's the one with the items in the wrong bag.
Something that puzzles me
My first job in IT was technical support for a timesharing company selling a financial planning and modelling service (like SaaS, but back in 1978). The software was something like Basic in terms of ease of use, and about half the people I was supporting were what we now call "C-level", mostly finance directors, company secretaries, a few marketing and sales directors. And they were doing it themselves, my job was to help figure out the tricky bits.
Fast forward 5 years and we're trying to sell similar software to the data processing manager to run in-house. Suddenly, we're hearing that directors can't cope with computers and can't manage to use a keyboard, let alone write any kind of program. It wasn't till a lot later I thought, it might not have been the best use of their time, but with a bit of support most of them had no problem with it at all. So what changed?
Must be the worst. "We'll pick you up" actually refers to helping you back on your feet after you see the difference between the price you booked it at online and what you'll actually pay after all the insurance, surcharges and waivers you need so if the car gets scratched you don't have to buy them a new one.
Years ago I created a hype cycle of Gartner buzzwords. Phrases had to climb the Peak of Blank Incomprehension and descend to the Trough of Endless Repetition, before finally reaching the Plateau of Weary Acceptance.
Seems to go with an aggressive sales culture that the senior management see themselves as gifted character actors. I've witnessed similar horrors in companies I've worked for, a pastiche of the Thunderbirds puppet series being the worst I can recall.
Any kind of honest critique from staff would of course be seen as negative and distinctly career limiting, so next year they would very likely do something equally crass.
It's not even a real pig.
Re: I can hear the strains of the theme from...
Hitchhiker's Guide, I think.
Is it my imagination, or do large meteorites always land in Russia?
Most of the USB plugs I use have the USB logo on one side and some other logo on the other. The "some other" is often the vendor's logo, or in one case the "don't throw in the bin" logo. Whatever, they're bigger and more prominent than the USB moniker and I'm naturally drawn to that being the "top". Hence almost 100% failure rate till I worked out what was going on and trained myself to turn it over.
If someone could just tell me how to line up the prongs of a halogen GU10 bulb without spending 15 minutes trying to locate it by feel, my happiness would be complete.
While doing some background research on Fiorina just after HP fired her, I found a photo of her at an HP corporate party doing The Twist with Chubby Checker.
Anyone remember Lotus Improv? Too clever for its own good probably.
Don't start me on HTC
If you arrive with an HTC phone, the nice waitress who was about to show you to your table is elbowed out of the way by the head waiter trying to sell you HTC Locations Premium Navigation. The only way to get rid of him is to punch him unconscious. Your meal was plated up 2 years ago and is cold. The sauce you didn't want can only be removed if you smash the plate.
Re: Deeply unpleasant
This isn't entirely fair. You can set up your account to open a case automatically against anyone who doesn't pay within a specified number of days. If there is no response within a couple of days, the buyer is automatically flagged as non-paying and fees are refunded. On a Buy It Now sale you can also specify immediate payment with Paypal, which solves the problem at source.
Fees may seem high, but on the other hand they're providing you with a global ecommerce platform and payment system and where else can you get that? Maybe on Amazon, but as a casual seller, I've found eBay is generally easier.
For some strange reason I read the title as "Satnav blunder sends Belgian ARMY 1450KM into Croatia". Now that would be news.
Warez it gonna end?
I'm wondering how long companies are going to be able to keep this up. If a large part of the customer base works out they can a quicker response by complaining in public, it'll take more and more resources maintain the response. And the quality of the response needs to be better, so you can't just switch over the current call centre staff, or not without a lot of retraining.
Homage to Robert Maxwell?
In the headline? A media mogul who really did know how to fling himself overboard.
Nobody expects the Gartner and IDC figures to be a surprise. It means we can go beyond saying "it's bad" and quantify how bad it actually is, and maybe find some segments that aren't quite so bad as the rest.
@Allison Park: If you take HP and Oracle Unix out of the equation, then, yes worldwide Unix growth looks substantially better. What conclusion you chose to draw from excluding 40% of the segment is another matter.
Re: Anyone ever heard of due diligence
Whitman also admitted that all the current board members bar one were in place at the time of the deal, including her, and "we feel badly about it". That's not in the article, but it is in the earnings call transcript.
Audio cassette formats
All this talk of Betamax and V2000 reminds me in the late 1960s I had a Grundig audio cassette recorder that used a different format from the compact cassettes that became popular. The cassettes were quite a bit bigger and were very hard to source, even at the time. It would be a stupendous piece of clutter if I still had it, but sadly it fell victim to a clear out circa 1995, along with the few cassettes I managed to accumulate and their priceless recordings of Top Gear.
Re: Name and shame or the research is pointless
More press release research I guess. From a quick read of the article it seems to be an attention grabbling "Your phone can take secret pictures of you", followed by the less exciting, "and actually mostly for legitimate reasons".
Dungeon Master ....
... on an Atari ST. Scariest thing I'd seen at the time. Somehow I've never found PC games as absorbing as the Atari ones, despite, or maybe because of, all the technical advances.
Just to be different ....
..... we are storing an Atari 520 STFM complete with cables, software, worn out joysticks and other accessories, because ** my wife ** won't part with it for sentimental reasons.
I recently admitted I could have no possible use for a Franklin Rex, and nor could anyone else, so that went to the tip. However, while clearing out some stuff left behind by nest-fleaing son, I found a Casio SF-4000 Digital Diary, which with some new batteries can, I'm sure, be brought back to life.
I put some ram on ebay and someone bought it, but didn't pay. Relisted, next buyer obviously a dealer, also didn't pay. Finally sold it by requiring immediate payment.
Round like a circle in a spiral
In the 19th and early 20th century physical and political battles were fought in W Europe to win some basic rights for manual workers. Some of those battles having been won, manufacturers move the work to China, where those battles haven't been fought yet, with the added bonus that the abuse is outsourced, so they can pretend they don't know about it. Then they lobby our governments to reduce "regulation", so it can all start again here.
I really don't understand PC designers. For example, having innovated the USB port, a compact and universal connection, why make laptops with only 2 or 3 of them, and sell external USB hubs that don't support a whole load of peripherals you might want to connect to them. If space is a problem, why not use the mini or micro USBs used on phones? Maybe there's a reason, but it seems daft to me.
So you really think Dave is sitting there with his shiny new iPad, Tweeting away in real time and reading the responses? Really?
Yes, but what they actually do is offload the job of deciding what people need to a French business process outsourcing company, with a mandate to reduce the cost, not to make sure the process is fair. As a result, 30% of decisions get overturned by a court, and that's just the ones that have the support around them to challenge the decision.
Re: Who pays the ferryman??
The CEO says what he/she wants. In theory, the board should hold the CEO to account and ensure the remuneration package is reasonable. In practice, the board consists of people who get paid a lot to turn up for a meeting once a quarter, plus they are likely to have their heads in the trough at other companies. No one wants to derail the gravy train. In Hurd's case, he was chairman of the board at HP and wouldn't be encouraging them to reduce his benefits.
The other group that could do something are the shareholders, but they are mostly large banks and insurance companies, who have CEOs that are also happy to be overpaid. So it's all aboard the gravy train and magnums of Bolinger all round.
When a group of small shareholders try to do something like this, they get nowhere.
Why is someone clearly wrong?
They don't actually say they've sold 2 million, as in the customer has their phone and Apple has the money. It's 2 million pre-orders, which means people lying in bed at night dreaming of the happiness that will be theirs eventually.
Which doesn't preclude Apple deliberately restricting supply, by knowingly launching before they have the volume in the shops that, based on previous launch figures, can't be that hard to predict.
Good article actually, not only provocative and funny, but also believable.
I held down Win Key and then pressed Q, nothing happened (in Win7). Then I did Alt + P and a popup Pocket window appeared that I'd never seen before. So thanks for that.
Re: Jesus Christ on toast.
>> "Most people hate trackpads, one of the first laptop add-ons purchased is a mouse."
>> Ah, anecdata plucked from thin air. I haven't used a mouse in over a year now and I sure as hell don't miss it.
>> People who "hate" trackpads don't actually hate them. They just hate change. Their loss. Especially if they're then going out and buying an accessory that offers them less control and more RSI.
Your response to "anecdata" is more of the same, based on your personal preference, and an unproven assertion about other people. Unless you got it from a survey of 120 Marie Claire readers, which I suppose is possible.
Do a search, for example "proctor & gamble advertising standards complaints". You'll find both P&G and Unilver have had compaints upheld by ASA for misleading and exaggerated claims for laundry products in the last 2 years.
What effect has this had on advertising for cleaning products? About as much as the damage caused to a bulldozer by flattening Arthur Dent.
And the BT Infinity ad during the Olympics claims to be bringing us all together. Except, of course, all the people who live in places where it isn't available (not that I'm bitter or anything).
The ASA is all wrong from the start
The ASA has turned into a mechanism for advertisers to score points off one another, and for the occasional busy body to be offended on some else's behalf. By the time judgement is passed, it's too late anyway, we've seen it.
What is needed is a banner across the top of the screen throughout the ads, saying "WARNING!! This is an advert and very likely isn't true". It could even change for various types of ad, for example for toothpaste and hair products "WARNING!! This may sound scientific, but it's really utter nonsense".
Then we could disband the ASA and use the money for something else.
But, is that deliberate innuendo on the part of the presenter, or is it just how you've interpreted it? (I've only watched that programme once and didn't pay that much attention, so I really wouldn't know).
Even if you think that kind of behaviour is a problem, its very difficult to regulate without making the whole system appear ridiculous. We had censorship on the BBC in the 1950s and people like Kenneth Horne and Spike Milligan ran rings round it, similarly some of Radio One's attempts to censor pop songs.
Re: Crystal ball?
@AndyC "2013 Q2 results? Have I just entered a temporal rift (yes I am a Trekker!) or is it el Reg?"
The wonders of the fiscal calendar. Dell's 4th quarter ends in Jan 2013, so this is their 2013 fiscal year. Whereas HP's 4th quarter ends Nov 2012, so it's still 2012 for them (in case you were equally confused tomorrow).
HTC: We (don't) listen to our customers.
I bought a Desire S at about the time the One came out, and as a combined phone, mp3 player and camera I think it's pretty good. But it's been spoilt by the preloaded, hardwired software, particularly HTC Locations, which tries to send you to a premium navigation service every chance it gets. I also don't want a Facebook app on my phone, but that can't be uninstalled either, without rooting. Emails to HTC get a reply starting "we listen to our customers" followed by "no, you can't delete all that rubbish we put on your phone."
" .... your call is important to us. All our agents are busy taking photos of the office. Please continue to hold .... your call is important to us. All our ....."
On Freeview the red button only provides an alternative way of switching between the 3 main channels, plus some text news options, so it's really very little use. If you want the full service, you have to subscribe to Sky or a cable provider. I can't see why the BBC would want to send its customers to one of its rivals, but I suppose we have to pay the license fee anyway, so they're not bothered.
So as far as I was concerned, they got a bronze at best.
Re: Take aim
Not too sure where you're going with that. This particular analyst has been recommending various permutations of HP breakup since at least 2004. Maybe one of his schemes was right, but who will ever know?
When Apotheker tentatively suggested HP should sell or spin off its PC business, he had a wealth of evidence, from "research notes" down the years, that it would be welcomed by analysts and shareholders. Instead HP's share price tanked, he lost his job and Whitman canned the idea. Raising it again so soon is disingenuous at best.
Milunovich also had it in for Sun, although, in that case, if McNealy had taken some notice of his infamous open letter, maybe things would have turned out better. (I'm really looking forward to an open letter to Larry Ellison - and his reply).
Re: They're dead
iPods, I think. And the digital camera.
What short memories you have!
Must be because it's on Channel Reg-Lite. Does no one remember Steven "The Loon" Milunovich, scourge of Carly Fiorina and Scott McNealy, nemesis of Ashlee Vance, named by Forbes.com in 2005 as the world's greatest hardware analyst? He left Merrill Lynch, came back and left again between 2005 and 2008. His form on HP is the stuff of legend, and now he's regenerated at UBS. Oh joy!
Check out http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/06/07/loon_hp_split/ for example.
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