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* Posts by danny_0x98

114 posts • joined 25 Mar 2009

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Steve Ballmer: Thanks to me, Microsoft screwed up a decade in phones

danny_0x98

Re: IS MICROSOFT AN INNOVATOR?

Well, because of file formats and binary compatibility, it's difficult to see how the pc market would have been anything other than one of os consolidation. Microsoft certainly did what it could to fend off all threats, using it's accidental success and leverage.

As to the internet, Microsoft missed it, which is good, because by the time they noticed it, it got too big for them to find the place to set up a tollbooth. HttpRequestObject was an innovation that changed the internet for the better, and that is a big feather in their cap.

It felt to me as though the driving force for change was hardware. It's why we upgraded software, cycled out machines every 2 to 3 years.

But, I don't want to take any thing away. Microsoft was in business to make money and so in some places it made rain and in some places it rode waves. As we all do.

From my point of view, where it went sour was Microsoft's response to the Internet, java, and Linux. Rather than having confidence in the quality of their products, they decided to focus all their guns on those threats and, if the customer experience was degraded, so what? Like the customers would go and get Macs or something? Well, not many did, to be sure. But a lot of the power users did, and that got the smart folks inside and outside of Apple thinking of how to abstract away Windows from getting interesting things done.

That's history. Doesn't really matter, here and now are still the same. If you like Windows, the great news is they're still at it.

Here's the thing about Ballmer. I know he's a smart guy, but he doesn't have a journalist's bone in his body. What do I mean? He can't see or express what's going on, if there's a dissonance between a trend and his loyalties.

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danny_0x98

Did You Notice

He predicts the Microsoft brand — even as he initiated the transition to follow along with first the Zune and then the tablets and phones — will differ from the Apple brand in that there's the adjective "affordable."

Okay, first, someone can afford Apple's stuff.

But secondarily, Microsoft doesn't really get "affordable." If they did, they wouldn't have so many of the computers in the world clinging to XP. Microsoft chose to support its real customers, the OEMs, by making a new computer the most economical way to get a new operating system.

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Satya Nadella shakes up Microsoft, appoints 'Scroogled' man Mark Penn as strategy chief

danny_0x98

Re: Start as you mean to go on

True, but to be fair, he did get Mrs. Clinton elected president in 2008 with his shrewd insights into the US voter.

Hang on. Sorry, I seem to be in a time stream that doesn't exist.

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MAC TO THE FUTURE: 30 years of hindsight and smart-arsery

danny_0x98

Every Plane A Fighter Jet

Okay. 1984. Who was making personal computers for sale. 2014. Who remains? There is a story in the Apple story and if a particular version could use more acknowledgment of luck, well, that's a fair point in any historical naarative.

From my personal perspective, in February 1984, my younger brother drove up to an Apple reseller in Solvang, California to get the only one available in three counties. He had access to a clean room and he upgraded it to 256k RAM. For the next few months he also had a business doing the same for the engineers at the place he worked.

As to businesses and general consumers, interest in the Mac was muted at best, and one can easily work out the reasons.

But among people who were into computers — it was my major in college the decade before, but I was a radio announcer those days — it was front page news. Within 24 months, I had bought my brother's Mac (and he became a 25 year faithful DOS/Windows person) and I had transitioned into work doing advertisement for a savings and loan. Desktop publishing meant my Mac and I foretold BYOD in the 80s when I brought all the typesetting of ads, annual reports, brochures, and internal forms in-house, using my personal Mac. Used it at home to develop MIDI parts for the record my rock band made.

So, put me down as among those who think something of note did happen 30 years back. The quality of the telling — as with all things — is the responsibility of the author. Though I left the Mac fold in 1996, I returned in 2001 when OS X delivered Unix without window manager fussery.

And, Bondi Blue under-powered iMacs? Under-powered for the internet-excited general consumer of 1998? No. And a shape and color that said "no fiddly cables" and "I'm fun for the life outside of work?" Yes. Besides, Rin-Tin-Tin has been billed as the dog that saved Hollywood. Clearly the animal's thespian range was beside the point. The iMac turned around Apple's cratering fortunes and as far as I can recall every other computer maker in similar straits went under with barely a trace.

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Get lost, fanbois: Nokia pulls HERE Maps from Apple's App Store

danny_0x98

Re: Gone away on a Safari ?

Maps is on Macs that have been Mavericksed.

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Ubuntu desktop is so 2013... All hail 2014 Ubuntu mobile

danny_0x98

Re: "Does this mean Linux gets a real chance on mobile?"

Openness gets you something among those who are followers of license politics.

It was an os that could take on iOS and also mop the floor with Blackberry and the antediluvian Windows phone os. At first it was at minimal to no cost and then it cost a little bit (with the check paid to Microsoft). So, manufacturers used it. Google had a revenue stream that increased with usage and did not depend on license fees, so it can subsidize the carriers and ease their ability to say yes when the manufacturers pitched the Android phones to them.

It also had to work reasonably well and Google had to show that it was going to work on its sub-optimal parts. Hardware getting faster so the cost of the vm and memory management effectively disappppearing for the user also helped.

There were other mobile oses that were arguably more open and they went nowhere. I think Meego would be a good example.

So, no, openness was not the only reason. I'd argue it wasn't even the most significant reason.

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Los Angeles' weather is just like MORDOR, says Brit climate prof

danny_0x98

Greetings from Los Angeles! Clear and cold (for us) this morning.

If so, the Mordor Tourist Bureau should really sue all those filmmakers for making the skies ever dire. That and there being only two ways in—three counting giant eagles or Nazgûl—certainly discouraged the casual holiday visit.

Or, the good researcher has overlooked the micro-climate implications of a volcano in the middle of the region as well as a tower housing the ultimate ever-watching evil being. We do have the Wells Fargo Tower and Wells Fargo is a bank. Okay, scratch the last point.

And... we are adjacent to the ocean. Perhaps he meant inland a bit, as in Van Nuys or Acton (adjacent to Vasquez Rocks where they would film exteriors of exotic planets).

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'Don't hate on me for my job!' Googlers caught up in SF rent protest ruckus

danny_0x98

Re: A couple of root issues

San Francisco is a world-class city. I would quibble about the "artificial" limit as it is a peninsula in a seismically active zone that has been a major commerce center and port for over 150 years.

Google can pay people nicely and are down the road.

I don't think the buses are making the rents go up. The latter was pre-destined.

Now many of us think there's a bubble in the Bay Area and it's based on VC funding. If we're right, rents go down. Problem solved. If not, I've heard whispers that Oakland—across the Bay—will be Developers' Paradise.

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SLAPPING an iPhone out of a corporate drone's hand: You're not the only one who longs to do it

danny_0x98

Fine

If you want to spend money to have me carry a second phone rather than deal with mine and reimburse me some of the costs. Why not? It's your budget. In fact, a hypothetical thank you to the IT Managers who will be deferring staff and personal salary increases because the money has to go to stamping out the iPhone.

Oh. And Android phones, I presume.

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REVEALED: How YOU PAY extra for iPHONES - even if you DON'T HAVE ONE

danny_0x98

Re: Easy to not pay!

Let's see Verizon sells its $20 billion allotment from Apple. Cost to Verizon: $20 billion.

Verizon sells $10 billion of the $20 billion allotment from Apple. Cost to Verizon $20 billion.

It's on the revenue side where the difference occurs. So, yeah, maybe Verizon bumps the monthly charge to cover the shortfall, though I haven't really seen prices change, except for the early term fees and the gradual phase-out of unlimited data (though there was a limit which led to throttling when exceeded.)

(And let me whisper, other phones do not sell out and there's a restocking charge for returns, so it isn't exactly only an Apple-carrier's problem of missed revenues. Shoot, with the restocking charge, it truly does make a difference whether a carrier sells or doesn't sell one of those other phones.)

As to the contract terms: Apple makes a convincing case and the carriers in the US who were left out via the exclusivity agreement with AT&T and Apple's unconcern with odd networks wanted to start selling the iPhone as soon as possible. One company even said in its Annual Report that they were at a disadvantage because they could not carry the iPhone.

Look at it from this point of view. If someone loves Android or Windows Phone (and there's no reason why not to), there are quite a few manufacturers who will offer those phones. There is only one iOS phone, so drop the iPhone and say good-bye to those fans. And before you say "Well, those folks are hipster fashionista no-tech money-wasters." I'll remind you that the money is just as green as that of the super-capable, wise people who choose [your mobile os device].

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Microsoft: You've got it all WRONG. It's Apple's iPad playing catch-up with our Surface

danny_0x98

When Ever to Say What Ever

Does any one who cares about Office on a slab or tablet not know it's there on the Surface?

I would dislike to propagate wrong rumors, but I heard that Surface RT Office is not licensed for work use, which seems both unenforceable and a willful removal from the productivity app category. Either I'm wrong or Mr. Shaw doesn't let fine print get in the way of a pitch. Both could be true.

Apple still licenses Office compatibility and puts that in Pages, right? So maybe the way to view this is Apple gave Microsoft a chance to stop leaving money on the table through withholding Office from iOS and Microsoft kept saying it's coming, but later. Well fine, Pages won't kill Office, no way, no how, but Office becomes the product that no iPad owner needs because Apple will give away Office compatibility for free to its iOS customers.

We'll see how it works out, but were I Microsoft's executives, I'd reserve my brags until after the positive results are posted. Though, recent times being a guide, if they are posted. (Side note, the company posted good numbers for last quarter: maybe Apple does not have to lose for Microsoft to win.)

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It's the '90s all over again: Apple repeats mistakes as low-cost tablets pile up

danny_0x98

Re: Now

You beg quite a few questions.

That Apple would have done better by pricing to increase share. In the PC market these days it does very well in terms of profit with only 5% share.

Apple never was the leader in share. Businesses mostly bought IBM and later IBM compatible pcs. The significant reason for your next choice of computer and os is two-fold: what applications you have and, if Windows-based applications, what's Microsoft current version of Windows. Apple could not have ever had an iPod or even iPhone level win in the 80s and 90s pc market. All computers were expensive until the late 90s.

And look at the PC market, every couple of years the price of the good-enough pc drops a hundred dollars. And Windows remains the same price. What you see is a better deal for consumers and Microsoft and a worse deal for the OEMs. Take a look today, as the total volume of pcs sold declines, the quality manufacturers are posting sales growth. This contradicts the essential position that those who succeed in the quality sector of the market are doomed to erosion from below. It doesn't invalidate the position, the contradiction suggests that something more complex is at play.

Did you notice in the figures cited that Windows had better share than Apple? Yet Apple is the one run over by the Android juggernaut. Seems as though the hypothesis would suggest that Windows couldn't possibly gain.

Today file formats are fairly interchangeable and a native app frequently is a portal to networked information, the os is an implementation detail. The fundamental problem for Apple, say 1996, was that it was not in the running. Today, it's that it is easier to switch platforms. The more comparable player of the 80s to Apple today is not Apple 1984 but IBM 1987; after a 25 year run, it sold its pc business to Lenovo. Do the above models suggest that dooooom is Apple selling the iPhone business to someone else in 2032?

Here's my take. The internet/world-wide-web made the pc a consumer electronics item. It was priced too high at the outset of that era, but by the time broad-band became widespread, costs had come down. Apple was not prepared for this. Microsoft got on board with ethernet rather than its proprietary LAN solution (vines). Apple was not prepared for this. Microsoft got its act together with Windows and added value to the DOS users of the world who upgraded. Apple wasn't prepared for this. Microsoft got its act together with regards to NT. Apple was not prepared for that. Intel had fierce competition with AMD and processor speeds got a lot better real fast. Apple was on Motorola's architecture and its processor was good enough for most of Motorola's customers. MacOS required the users to have too much knowledge about memory sharing for applications. The os that was for the rest of us became the os for those who do math and have an aesthetic.* Their internal projects to bring MacOS into the 90s failed and probably over the sticky problem of making it modern and compatible with customer's applications.** Apple was beset on many sides.

Licensing the os, in retrospect, looks like a classic case of someone tragically believing their press releases.

Apple came back, but not buying share. They embraced the processor as the heart of a consumer electronics device and fully-voiced said "We're the brand for your quality time." Most of the competitors, today, even though it's absolutely clear what Apple did, still say "You need us for work."

(* That might be me, and I bailed from Mac in 1996. Started leaving Windows in 1999 and after a not unpleasant journey through Linux and FreeBSD on home-built machines came back to Mac in 2001 with OS X 10.1.)

(** The interim period of Classic and OS X was a fair compromise, but hardly pleasant for those who needed to do things wanting to use Cocoa apps side-by-side with applications that were MacOS 9.2 bound.)

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danny_0x98

Re: @ Wibble - iPads are expensive?

An excellent point, if playing Angry Birds is the sole task assigned to the device.

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Microsoft - do you really think you can take on Google with Nokia?

danny_0x98

Re: Business is nuts...

I think you miss the subtleties. Microsoft needs profit and profit growth from mobile to replace profits declining as pc sales flatten.

If Microsoft does well with its phones, are other phone makers going to jump on the Microsoft Phone platform or are they and Google going to continue to press ahead with Android, which, other than the Microsoft ip tax allows Android makers to start with a lower bill of goods.

Microsoft will be converting its license fees from Nokia into an internal transfer, i.e., a net wash, and their play is to make Windows Phone the clear, undeniable standout in interface so as to justify a higher profit margin on their phones. Otherwise, it's a spec and price war, and Android has the head start.

Why am I not putting Apple into this mix? Because Microsoft sells operating systems and any one who could choose a Windows variant has no access to an Apple os, but can license an Android (or Linux) os.

Did you notice that Nokia is keeping some of its business? After the deal clears, Microsoft will be a customer of Nokia-prime, but Nokia-prime, other than desktops and maybe servers, will not be a customer of Microsoft.

Meanwhile, Nokia had been having difficulties selling phones profitably. Microsoft now owns those difficulties. Redmond knows better than Finland on how to turn it around?

I was joking that the headline could have been written "Nokia Ditches Dying Business, Fires and Outplaces CEO."

Number 2? Samsung, Microsoft (formerly Nokia), Apple, all the other Android makers, all the other Windows Phone makers, if any. I don't see that. Do you think that Nokia was holding back and didn't really want to sell smartphones powered by Windows? That would seem insane to me. If so, Microsoft overpaid for a business and is retaining the wrong people if it's a company that was held back by its sandbagging.

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Sage 50 activation blackout: Shops sent back to paper age

danny_0x98

If I'm a Californian who agrees, am I a hipster?

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Fanbois taught to use Apple's new killer app: Microsoft Windows

danny_0x98

What I Use

While the reporter took took the angle of "BEHOLD Mac dudes and dudettes, it's Windows! Proof of alien life in distant worlds!" I gather the point is that Parallels' maker has done a deal to gain in-store promotion.

It's a good product; I use the above mentioned competitor.

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Microsoft warns of post-April zero day hack bonanza on Windows XP

danny_0x98

If you don't buy a new house from us, we'll publicize all the ways to break into the old one.

Does that sound like extortion to any one else?

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Win XP alive and kicking despite 2014 kill switch (Don't ask about Win 8)

danny_0x98

That Was the Plan: The World Did Not Cooperate

Vista was ill-timed, it should have been 12-24 months later, but they thought they had to do something and its delay occurred because of mis-steps and internal concerns being amplified into revenue threats.

Vista started out as Longhorn, which would have a filesystem with relational database overlay so as to help users find their stuff (and related stuff) quickly. Also, Apple had implemented its graphical interface in Display Postscript, meaning the screen and the printers were fed the same data, PDF saving of any printable element was a side effect that customers liked. Microsoft, and I don't think it was copying, it was just the obvious way to go, does something similar (using a pdf knock-off called xps) and gives it a brand name.

ILuvYou breaks in 2003, and Microsoft has an effective year-long security introspection. Longhorn's team focuses on security and XP SP2. 2004, otherwise the expected year for Longhorn, passes without its release.

In 2005 or so, Google has made a huge business out of search services and it is most definitely not using relational techniques to produce quick results from searches of that dynamic database called the internet. Adios the relational file database system. Hello, background indexing, metadata, and utilizing mutli-cores and parallel processing.

As Apple discovered when it went Quartz/Aqua, the nice graphics extracts a large cost in speed. Apple let the processors improve and did some optimizations (farewell pinstripes?). and had nearly annual os updates. (Performance improvements, that's why we paid paid for our service packs, they added value!) Microsoft will put the optimizations in service packs and the follow-up to Longhorn.

2005, Microsoft discovers that the NT code base is such a hair-ball that something has to be done. A hero is born as one of the engineers leads a team that makes the os more modular and which means that there will be a successor to XP, something the unreconstructed codebase was not going to enable. Wall Street, meanwhile, is saying that Microsoft is clearly having problems with shipping a key product. It's right and wrong. Microsoft was having problems, there was a tiny bit of erosion of share to Apple, every speaker at a tech conference saw more Apple logos glowing back, and web developers invested in LAMP decided that the best platforms for development were Linux or OS X, so farewell cutting-edge users. Wall Street was wrong in that Microsoft still put money in the bank if the pc sold was running XP.

At the end of 2005, Bill Gates said Vista would ship at the end of 2006, unless it wasn't ready, because Microsoft was committed to getting it right. I suspect that meant it was coming at the end of 2006 no matter what.

Turns out, the "what" was driver support from third parties. Many folks excited by Vista's release quickly restore XP as their computer, even the ones with the Microsoft approved "Vista Capable" sticker, didn't have the graphics horsepower to work. Some found that key peripherals wouldn't work and could not work until the vendor provided a driver. Enterprise waits a year for the first service pack and generally decides that Vista is not for them. (They use their license fees to continue to run XP, Microsoft's net loss for the choice, 0.)

In 2007, OEMs started to put out Netbooks, small, light, single-core Intel processor powered, and inexpensive computers that took off like gangbusters. Mostly ran Linux because it brought retail costs down. Linux had 70% of the share in that sector. That was a big problem in Redmond—Wall Street are not the only ones with misguided perspectives—and so Microsoft needed to spend some money to get that share number turned around.

But, Vista was too big and needed too much processor power, so XP's life was extended because it could run on Netbooks.

Microsoft also lost revenues because the Netbook XP license was discounted in order to help the OEMs choose Windows without having zero profit. There was a Win7 Starter Version (remember the brouhaha pre-release because it would only allow three applications to be opened at a single time?) which was discounted, but could not be used by an OEM except the device truly was small and low-powered.

Netbooks were a short-lived phenomenon. Something people bought because Microsoft and its OEMs didn't figure out light-weight, portable computing the way Apple did with the iPhone, to some degree, and the iPad, most definitely.

So missing search, codebase sprawl, next-gen graphics now requiring better hardware, advanced security that changed the rules for drivers, mollifying Wall Street, moving faster than their platform affiliates, missing netbooks, and caring about netbooks (and I have no doubts that there were dissenters to upper management who focused elsewhere and missed opportunities or didn't apply the stitch in time), these are the goofs that led to Zombie XP.

Oh, and Vista, Win7, and Win8 did not provide utilities for seamless migration of applications from XP. When it was clear to me, an Apple-using idiot, that Microsoft's first task was to GET FOLKS OFF OF XP, they didn't spend the engineering resources to make it easy.

Ah well, big company, big problems. Besides, my large-caps nonetheless, Microsoft's real problems aren't Win8 or XP, it's that people are holding on to old pcs, because the hardware advancement has a smaller delta YOY than 10 years back, the negative growth in new computer sales, though this may be temporary, and where there is sales growth, someone else's operating system is on the device. Easy migration is one more mitigation, but really, if the computer turns on and the applications works, that's as much as many folks care about. Besides, Microsoft still makes money, so XP migration revenues at this time would be the frosting roses on top of a nicely frosted cake. Once support stops, the cost for having XP users goes to 0.

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danny_0x98

Re: just a thought....

I like a and c. Over the years, I've come to believe the os version does not sell the computer. The os only matters to the degree that the user's applications may continue to run.

Here's a loose proof. Microsoft has telegraphed its release of the next Windows versions 12-24 months in advance. If there was a wait-for-it phenomenon, Microsoft's ears would be scorched by the language the OEMs—Microsoft's true customesr— would use on the phones and in memos every month that release didn't follow pre-announcement. Also, Vista, Win7, and Win8, according to some circles, were likely to boost pc sales growth, but I don't think the effect, if any, could be shown to be significant.

Still, in June/July 2012, we had Win8 on the way, less employment (I write from the USA), and summer was still summer. Did we see a diminishment of the fall-off in XP and a flattening of Win7? I don't recall as we did, though to be honest, while these usage stats do arrive monthly, the reporting on them is a tad scattered as writers cherry-pick moments in order to the use the snapshot, rather than the trend, in order to make some case that Microsoft has [the mojo | the curse] with regards to a new or old os.

The key points, and these have been clear for a few months, Win8 is not growing as fast as it should (and most of the causation goes to the pc market) and XP is not declining as fast as it should—from Microsoft's perspective, of course. If one is using XP securely, well, why care that Microsoft thinks it really, really important that one gives it a couple of hundred dollars for a new os and half a day towards reinstalling applications, tracking down license keys, sorting through activations, etc., all done with some risk that key applications from minor or aggressive vendors do not run on the new shiny, now with Start button restored (!!!!! - LIstening!), as soon as it's released, any day now, no really.

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Surface RT: A plan worthy of the South Park Underpants Gnomes

danny_0x98

Re: Not only Surface RT

The minima and maxima of Windows demand is well established. Interfaces may be changed. The thought was, I guess, that oodles of people get Win8 via work or because their current pcs needs replacement, love it, and switch to a Win8 mobile device. It would seem to be a 48 month plan to me.

The RT write down is, at this time, a discount to clear inventory and get the devices into the hands of people so that developers see an opportunity for porting. I don't think we've seen any hint that there will not be an RT 2 this fall. And frankly, looking at the financials, Microsoft can afford the over-estimation of demand for the first-generation. Will they have a smaller run for version 2 and take a reduction in margin? There has to be a hardware upgrade, otherwise the price will have to match the discounted price of version 1.

Still, the big picture may not be as wacky as Mr. Clarke posits. As to the reorganization, one has to figure that it had a 24 month gestation, at least, and has its roots in a critique of the company 2007-2011.

It could also be a temporary thing to find Ballmer's successor, but to do so in a context where execution in a team structure is the sole criteria, as divisional revenues are sublimated.

All that said, a case may be made that Microsoft doesn't understand the iPad's success. It isn't a PC-replacer, it is the thing that people buy instead of a PC because a PC is too much trouble for what they want to do with it. The os is a red-herring. So marketing an ARM device that runs Windows misses the point, if people wanted Windows on a tablet, they would not have bought an iPad.

The Surface Pro, though, is the expensive Windows pc in tablet form, and as such is unlikely to appeal to iPad customers and ends up looking like an expensive, but more portable, alternative to a Windows laptop. It hurts Microsoft's partners more than Apple. More importantly, it means Microsoft and its partners are grappling over getting the profits from a diminishing customer base, those who are buying PCs.

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Google 'disappoints' US congressman over Glass privacy controls

danny_0x98

Re: Translation: "Your checks haven't cleared yet...."

Barton is Mr. Anti-Science and Mr. Pro-Oil.

Excuse me, The Honorable Mr. Pro-Oil.

Yes, the message is being sent, not enough Googlebucks delivered to enough Republicans.

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More than half of Windows 8 users just treat it like Windows 7

danny_0x98

Re: I agreee it IS Win7

WWDC is around the corner, but as yet, there are no touch-enabled Macs. That said, gestures have been added for those who use a trackpad, and I chose a trackpad rather than a mouse the last time I bought a Mac in 2011.

As far as Apple's strategy at unifying (though not absolute unification), if one is merely an observer then one may possibly be confused by tech punditry hysteria, conflation, and dire speculations. I don't think OS X and iOS will be exactly the same. Still, 65-70 million is the total number of Mac buyers for all history. They sell in excess of that number of iOS devices every three months. Leveraging mobile user interface elements, where it makes sense, seems smart because the Mac will seem more familiar than a Windows system. Now, pcs are going to skew to power users as tablets continue to grow, so there are limits as to how optimized for single task a desktop os should be.

Microsoft, though has inverted the strategy. They are trying to prep desktop users for the Microsoft mobile interface, to make the Microsoft mobile look and feel be the familiar one. Maybe that's me being just an observer relying on the tech press. If the strategy is fairly stated, It seems to me that an obvious flaw with the plan is that Windows users have been buying iOS and Android devices in large numbers, so the different look and feel is not a problem.

This isn't the first time the desktop has changed and we cannot be surprised when we hear yells, since it happens every time. Even in Mac land. Times are changing, and there are now ways to go with "leave it," when offered the cliched choice of arrogant customer disservice. We'll see what happens.

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Android device? Ooohhhh, you mean a Samsung phone

danny_0x98

Re: Two years baby

That assumes there's a point to differentiating. With such dominance of the platform, why spend the money to develop its own os: to go from 94 to 95%?

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The IT Crowd returns to Channel 4 for a final episode

danny_0x98

Re: Chris O'Dowd...is now a bona fide Hollywood star?

Greetings from geographic and professional adjacency to Hollywood adjacent.

He is the face of a series that is about to premiere on HBO, so, if he isn't a star, exactly, he's getting work.

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PC floggers scavenge for crumbs as Apple hoovers up profits

danny_0x98

Let's Go With Idiots

One wonders if the author thinks through his premise. I mean, those PC companies read smart analysts like Dediu too.

Is this the conversation the author induces? (At Spacely PCs) "Jetsonnnn!" "Yes Mr. Sprocket?" "Why are we selling buckets of pcs and Apple is making more money?!?" "Apple sells to idiots who pay more." Sprocket pauses, sighs, and says, "Very well, it's an integrity thing. Shouldn't you get back to pushing buttons and figuring out discounts on SKUs that aren't moving?"

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Microsoft Xbox exec quits after ENRAGING the INTERWEBS

danny_0x98

Re: Christ on a bike...

Yep.

Kids, here's a tip for discussing a product that has implemented a business model at cost of some customers. When the lost or under served customers are mentioned, acknowledge the inconvenience and say we'll be thinking them in future iterations. You aren't, and their ability to be customers depends on technology advances or infra-structure improvements, i.e., things beyond your control. If satisfaction is not in the cards, empathy is a good alternative.

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Microsoft gives away Windows 8 to Mac devs

danny_0x98

Re: A Mac at a price I'd pay

Unfortunately, the sunflower iMac's screen is too small these days, but I still have mine because I love its design.

If I got serious about actively using it, I'd put Linux or a BSD on it, though I notice that enthusiasm for supporting those operating systems on a G4 is waning.

You did get a great deal. Though I dare say that any computer from those times could have been resurrected as you did in the same way. That iMac, though, was the one that didn't look boring.

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danny_0x98

Re: Why are you so sure that they are scheming?

Maybe simpler than that: Parallels said okay and gave a discount.

It was very recently also part of an annual discounted bundle of Mac software.

Oh, and if this was targeted at web developers, then a vm is definitely preferable. One would want to look at the page on IE, make adjustments in the editor, reload the page in IE, rinse and repeat. Who would want the cycle to include two reboots?

So. Was the package attractive because of Windows 8 or Parallels?

A couple of other thoughts. Your dudgeon over suggestions that Microsoft would throw new customer opportunities to a non-competitor — which I find plausible, but who cares which virtual product Microsoft chooses — is buttoned up with the suggestion that, perhaps, that is what Singhal's "crew" used. So the IE development team works on OS X and checks on virtualized Windows boxes? Seems expensive, but Microsoft is not a start-up.

Also, why would start-ups using OS X be monitoring Mr. Singhal's blog? No conspiracies, merely curiosities.

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Apple share-price-off-a-cliff: Told you that would happen

danny_0x98

Re: The point of Shares

Apple does pay a dividend.

iShinies and dragon hoard? I apologize for wasting every one's time. For a moment there I was taking you seriously.

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danny_0x98

Re: pathetically dependent?

Though Microsoft regroups things every now and then, they have business groups which frequently show losses. Apple may derive more of its profits from the best-sellers, but none of its product lines are losing money.

Before we leave leave Microsoft, we note a few things, other than a quarter when they wrote off their silly acquisition, they consistently put cash into the bank; a few good products — for awhile — can pay for products which are aimed at developing a market; and their stock does okay: no crazy jumps up or falls down.

Apple's P/E ratio, I'm assured, suggests its price is a bargain today, but I am not an investor. Here's the way I look at it. The stock had an amazing ramp up in 2012 and one perception was that taxes would go up in 2013 because the US elected the same people to office late in the year. So people took their profits in the fourth quarter. When there are more sellers than buyers, the price goes down.

Besides, the notion that stock acquisition is fueled by a wise assessment of the long-term potential formed by careful analysis of a company's products, competitors, and markets is quaint. Nowadays, stocks sell because one algorithm for a pool of funds predicts that price growth will not hit a target at the sell price while another algorithm for another pool predicts the opposite for the same buy price.

2
0

Brocade: California taxman took off with our profits

danny_0x98

I'm merely a small-business-level non-tax-code-reading California bookkeeper, so perhaps I do not have enough external knowledge to understand the above accounting glimpse. It sure didn't make sense to me.

Pre-paid taxes are an asset. Deferred taxes would be a liability. A non-cash charge? I gather that means that this shows up in accrual accounting only.

Normally they would expect...? No, they should know the gross and pre-tax profit numbers. Is the imprecision theirs or the author's?

0
0

Oracle wants another go at Google over Android Java copyrights

danny_0x98

Re: Lul wat?

I'd call it darn fine lawyering, getting the client to spring for briefing a wackily poor analogy to the next higher court.

I had some sympathy for the point of view that Google, in exploiting java's good will in the developer world, should have compensated Sun for its many years of building the community by giving away sdks, documentation, frameworks and tool.

Any way, Oracle decided to try and claim apis as copyrightable, but this would be such a large ip grab. I think, without being alarmist, that no one could implement a protocol except they license it from the originator, even if the implementation is entirely different, were Oracle's argument prevail.

Or maybe I miss the brilliant truth that boolean Object.equals(Object o) is merely a unlicensed character in a little drama I call My Program: Does It Work?

1
0

Introducing the Open Source Rookie of the Year... Whoa, it's Microsoft

danny_0x98

Re: Obvious troll is obvious.

Well, I stand by my assertion. Consider it self-rationalization as I use open-source projects in my work. I do not donate money and I do not fix bugs. Lack of money and talent. So when I look at contributors such as RedHat or IBM I appreciate what they do, and not hold them against a standard of what I think they should do or a standard I can't personally meet. They adapt things to suit their business purposes and do so as per the license. Apple is in the category of IBM, Google, or RedHat, though with fewer incidents of altruistic project management. Apple clearly has chosen code, when it may, that has licensing terms they prefer. Don't you? I sure do, especially when the licensing terms are "give us money."

Or companies don't follow the license and then, rightfully, some guardian of the license has a serious talk with them about getting right.

You, of course may apply your own systems of ethics to the issue.

1
0
danny_0x98

Re: Obvious troll is obvious.

You're a tad too harsh on Mr. Asay. I would say this, everyone does comparatively little when observers start excluding the things done.

Also, where licenses oblige entities to contribute back, Apple has adhered to the terms. After a dust up (and it was NeXT regarding Objective-C twenty years back) Apple contributed its changes to gcc. There is no such thing as comparatively little contributions. There's only compliance and non-compliance.

1
0

Samsung mocks Apple lawsuit in SuperBowl teaser ad

danny_0x98

Re: Am I the only person..

I didn't think of it because I'm here in Los Angeles, but that is exactly similar to what the NFL does regarding their game.

Which reminds me, the attorney supposedly doesn't know who might sue them when the owners of the trade mark, the only ones whose ip rights could be infringed, is well known. Could Samsung's real attorneys have told its real ad agency that suggesting the NFL is very thorough in enforcing its trade marks possibly defamatory? Or, is the (US) football league's name also a trade mark and out of bounds?

1
0
danny_0x98

Re: ah

Patents and trade marks are different under US law, and this is all about not running afoul of the NFL's ip-guardians.

I suppose it could be read as allegory regarding the patent dispute initiated by Apple, though one has to recall that Samsung has initiated some suits under patent laws. One could argue that was retaliation, but we'll never know. So, Samsung is essentially okay with patent law. Does the NFL zealously enforce trademarks? Indeed it does, so the ad is not hyperbole.

Here's the thing, Samsung could invoke the game and the teams if it paid the big, big bucks to the NFL. They are basically saying they won't, even though they spent a fair penny for good talent in an ad that will be hopelessly stale by the end of the month. (Unless they filmed alternates for other, similarly trademarked events, such as the Academy Awards.)

The three all are in proximity to what we presume are Samsung devices, but we don't see any one using them beyond having, holding and waving around. Frankly, because I think all three actors are great, we engage with the conversation, frustration, and Odenkirk's variety of cut-offs more than the props. The scenario is a bit false in that the attorneys do not discuss script issues with the actors. Since Odenkirk's attorney is the enforcer here, isn't it a mistake that he also has a Samsung device?

Regarding effectiveness as a branding exercise. "We're the guys whose attorneys insist we say stupid things so we don't get sued?" All righty then. There's some real differentiation.

0
0

Netbooks were a GOOD thing and we threw them under a bus

danny_0x98

One thing about the ancient MacBook, users could change batteries. But the version of OS X and, more critically Safari, are neglected and not what I think are secure.

Could go get a PowerPC version of Xubuntu, but RAM limitations may frustrate. Besides, how much time does a busy person want to spend resuscitating ancient kit?

Now, the problem wasn't that people didn't use netbooks, it was that the manufacturers couldn't make enough profit on them, and sales were usually at the expense of their higher margin products. They did not bring new customers to the marketplace. Microsoft considered Linux a threat in the sector and so XP's life as the OEM install was extended. Microsoft offered that XP with a discount pricing and subsidized the netbooks' marketing. That didn't work out so well because that meant the profitability problem transferred from the OEMs to Microsoft and it was all for naught as Linux, with the face of Android, became quite successful in mobile via phones, and Microsoft began to lose the crown as the platform one uses everywhere, and the crown as the choice OEMs make to profit. It also meant that as soon as Microsoft lost its motivation to carry the sector, the products disappeared.

0
0

Happy dealers, solid managers. So what's wrong at HP?

danny_0x98

My hypothesis is that HP is the example of what goes wrong when a Board manages by stock price.

6
0

iPhone hangs on in US, Japan, but EVERYONE ELSE bought an Android

danny_0x98

Where Do I Invest

This phonemaker, or is it model, called Android is doing gangbuster business. I imagine the maker of the os must be raking in beaucoup bucks from licensing.

Or did I misunderstand and someone was comparing three phone models against a crew of phone makers and their products bound only by a choice of operating system. I mean, one could do that, but, so what?

Though, if I read it right, three phone models combined beat all phones using Android, combined, in the US and Japan.

Well..

2
5

Microsoft notices Xbox gamers actually slack-jawed TV fans, adds 43 new apps

danny_0x98

Three Thoughts

"People buy our game console and use it more and more to watch tv/movies." Or, people use it less to play games, which should be a big red flag about the viability of the games industry, if not for Microsoft, then for the developers of console games.

If I gave into the temptation of invoking infallible Apple, I'd suggest that if it was a plethora of apps that cracked the tv question, we'd see the app-happy AppleTV by now. But I will say this, the AppleTV is a product with a clear purpose, to display the entertainment available on one's computer and Internet on one's television. The XBox is a games console first and a content viewer secondarily, which means someone like me, who doesn't care about games, stops listening.

It also occurs to me that as mature hardware, the current XBox should be profitable at its retail price. At rollout of new hardware, the manufacturers have taken losses on new consoles, intending to make that up on the purchase of games tied to the new platform. A few years after release, manufacturing costs fall. As a result, hardware refreshes are few. Now, if the XBox, or its successor, becomes the tv disruptor, what will that say about the price or its competitiveness as a games console, and how does being the conduit for someone else's revenue stream of subscriptions and advertising add to Microsoft's bottom line, let alone subsidize hardware refreshes?

The XBox TV may be more of a toaster-fridge than the Surface and the riddle as to how do computing companies transform entertainment delivery and grab significant value from Hollywood looks to me unsolved.

2
3

Use a Mac? For actual work? Evernote Business has arrived

danny_0x98

The Barely Exercised Title Option

Use a Mac? Yep.

For actual work? Neutral observers may disagree, but I'm going to say yes.

Evernote Business has arrived. That's nice, but I was already getting actual work done on my Mac. I mean, well done, sincere kudos to the team, and shipped, rah, rah, but somebody on the marketing, journalism, or titling teams hasn't really done his or her job in explaining to me what I get for the subscription. My work will become more actual? My Apple will be more Mac?

2
1

Android users: More of them than fanbois, but they don't use the web

danny_0x98

Given that iOS share is currently best in the iPad-like sector, it follows that the ratio in cell phones is worse than 15:75, so with cellular network usage being fairly close, the question about usage versus ownership hasn't been obviated.

But, I'm not sure, other than bragging rights, what this matters. Used to be that people were citing Android's rapid catch-up and surpassing of iOS share as a harbinger of Apple's mobile doom, but so far, it hasn't been going according to the 1990s script. I suspect it's because, and I think this is ironic, the network effect of desktop operating systems and application breaks down when communications and computation are highly networked.

A sober discussion of statistics and trends subverted by an unfortunate title, though I understand that El Reg is irreverent to a fault; perhaps super-imposing insulting terms upon Mr. Asay's writing is such a fault-line.

1
0

Microsoft said to be building Apple TV adversary

danny_0x98

Game Console Pursuit

Think about it. When Microsoft launched XBox, it also set up exclusive deals and bought some game design studios, because the key to the market was content and having hit titles. Microsoft paid big money to do so. Apple would have to be the fourth company chasing down and paying for brilliance in an industry where alliances go back decades. Sounds costlier. Was XBox initially profitable? Nope. Not even close. Now, these days, Apple has the money to buy into a market, and stay in for a five-ten year payback, but, with the arguable exception of television, shows zero interest in those sorts of marketing problems. AppleTV, I remind you, was always a profitable product and has sales growth.

What has Apple done? iPhones and iPads. And developers have written games, games, and more games, all without needing a capitalization or subsidy from Apple. Console games make for more exciting game play? No matter. The mobile devices are good enough for a few minutes of diversion. Apple is selling truckloads of truckloads of the devices, people play games, and developers have a platform and market.

Oh yes, Apple extends the iOS platform into AppleTV, and they have a game console and content and again without setting exclusivity deals or with buying designers. Incidentally, and I may be out of my depth here, the console game industry seems to be having the same sort of problems that Hollywood is. Title glut. Astronomical production costs. Difficulties in successfully bringing non-sequel titles.

Look at it from the hungry developer's street view. If you wanted to establish your bona fides as Ace Game Designer, do you start making a console game or an Android/iOS game? Seems to me, down the road, we can expect arguments along the lines of indie vs. major label, and that is the sign of a dynamic, exciting medium.

Back on topic, disservice? Nope. And in the corporate war rooms, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony kick themselves for continuing to have done it the hard way.

0
0

New Microsoft Windows chief 'shocked' by Sinofsky defenestration

danny_0x98

Re: She tweeted "still in a bit of shock but excited".

Tweet, nonetheless, she is making a public statement about a major company from a top tier.

What would she say if she did have advance knowledge? Finally? No, one is humble at moments like these.

I've been in positions of knowing of personnel changes in advance. At one job, I knew about the dismissal of my supervisor and the restructuring that would follow.One doesn't betray confidences and when the axe falls, it is the better of problematic choices to carry on the fiction of it being as much of a surprise as it is to everyone else.

Of course Ms Larson-Green received advance notice; they would not have given her the promotion without discussion. Today's expression of shock may be the deferred emotion from when she first knew, perhaps as recently as sometime last week, perhaps as long ago as 45 days.

I also wouldn't be surprised to learn that Mr. Sinofsky recommended his replacements.

1
1

Space shuttle to slip surly bonds of Earth one last time over California

danny_0x98

Re: So Cal

I'm wrong. It has flown north to Sacramento and San Francisco today.

Apologies.

0
0
danny_0x98

So Cal

Today's final leg will not be over the northern part of the state. The flight path is not being specified, but there is a mention of a flyover of Disneyland, which is due east of Los Angeles International and about 30 miles away. Edwards Air Force Base is northeast of Los Angeles and a direct flight would take about thirty minutes, so, it's got to be going somewhere because the LA flyover starts about 3-1/2 hours into the flight. Last night I checked what's to the west of Edwards — using iOS6 Maps, yeah, that's right — and found it's Vandenberg Air Force Base, launch site for many satellites. We tend to call that the Central Coast. My guess is the shuttle carrier heads back east over the Santa Ynez Valley drops south to Santa Barbara and then shadows the coast before turning east at Malibu.

Mine's the one I don't need: I'm going to walk to a spot in the Hollywood Hills with Santa Monica to Long Beach vistas and it's going to be 85 degrees F at mid-day.

0
0

Apple 'hasn't really run out of iPhone 5s AT ALL'

danny_0x98

Obvious Secrets

They clearly set aside an allotment for pre-orders. This time it was 2 million. The allotment sold out faster than last year's allotment. I would not necessarily ascribe that to increased demand: it could be that some folks are thinking "Lines, ugh, been there, done that."

Apple wants to have something for the liners-up to take home next weekend. The lines are visual and make the local news headline. Probably better marketing than the t-shirt with logo.

Besides, a happy customer in a store is a promising sales opportunity for accessories and services. The carriers understand this as well. If you sell out all inventory via the internet, you left money on the table.

Now, this US-ian visited a Sprint store yesterday to talk about getting an iPhone. They confirmed my suspicion that there are time-derived allocations. X for pre-orders, X1 for the first weekend, and X1 + X2 for the first fourteen days, etc. The folks there expect lines.

As the 2010 iPhone came out in June of 2010 (AT&T and Verizon), I expect almost all of those who got their iPhone 4 from June through September are chomping at the bit to upgrade, now that premature cancellation fees are off the table. Apple will set some records for volumes.

The Sprint folks, veterans of the 4s introduction, think initial demand won't be as crazy as they saw for the 4s. We'll see. They do have a point in that all their iPhone customers are at one year or less on their contracts.

Just in case the author or readers supportive of the author's thesis go into the phone manufacturing business, let me remind them that any customer who walks into a store looking for one type of phone and finds it out of stock, may decide to get a different manufacturers' model. ("Ooh, sorry, no iPhone 5's. We'll get more on Monday. You know, a lot of our customers have been really happy with this Galaxy S III.") The carrier prefers that the customer walks out with a phone and a contract that day, and, indeed, may be incentivizing its employees to move other stock since shortages for the big news items opens a door. Creating artificial scarcity for publicity is risky in the phone business.

Manufacturing and inventorying units in excess of initial demand is also costly and causes one to pay more as factory lines are ramped up, shut down, and restarted when the units have sold through. The more initial volume, the longer the lead time or the more costlier manufacturing as the factory owners charge a premium for overtime and extra shifts. The goal is not sheer numbers, it's to find the right number that maximize profits.

Plus, I don't really see as how lots of people being told "You'll have to wait two weeks for your iPhone." translates into demand from those who were otherwise uninterested in the product or market sector.

0
0

Zynga faces legal probe over senior management share sales

danny_0x98

Selling Part of a Company

You have three identities, the first, a person looking out to build their wealth through work and investments, second, one of many owners of your company, and three, an employee of your company's owners who hired you to manage their investment. If things are going south (let's assume it's due to the world and not your skill at management), it is your job as a manager to protect all the owners' investment and/or disclose to them that things are going bad, so they all have an equal opportunity to decide to bail out, hang on, or find bridging capitalization. If your company is publicly traded, there are laws regarding financial reporting so that any shareholder or potential investor may have the opportunity to look at the quality of an investment. If you, the manager, sees privileged information that will have a material effect on the stock price, then you are to issue a guidance so that investors have more salient information than the last quarterlies or the IPO prospectus.

If it's the whole sector is publicly tanking, then the public reporting of that is not privileged information, and selling stock based on that is not in and of itself insider trading. There is a grey zone, though. Let's say you are CEO of a bank and you just got a letter from a regulator saying you must mark to market bad assets. While all the banks of your type are getting those letters, and everyone will be getting a haircut, you can find out how bad the assets in your bank's portfolio are and make a guess if it's a trim or skinhead time. As ever, the best advice is one should consult one's attorney.

I can hear some asking what's the point of being a CEO if one has to constrain the ability to maximize wealth when it comes to stock ownership of the company he or she work for. Well, that's why you get the big bucks, right? Besides, look at the employee manual and check out the sections regarding punctuality, dress, moonlighting, confidentiality, and, if one is a code shop, the ownership over all the employee's ideas, including those formulated at home for something other than the project they are working on. One takes a job, gives up some liberty, and gets paid for doing things under others' direction to further their goals.

1
0

Lowery: The blue-collar musician at the eye of the copyright storm

danny_0x98

A lot is made regarding reference to libertarian ideas, but property, as in chattel and real estate, is a faulty analog regarding song authorship. My criticism of the the ways US laws have transformed in the wake of the mp3 revolution is that large copyright holders have transferred civil disputes into the criminal courts, meaning enforcement costs have been socialized, and they are trying to minimize costs of monitoring by transferring those to ISPs and their customers.

Lowery keeps circling around a fallacy, that recording contracts are a common way bands make money. If one thinks about the ordinary working musician, in the past big swing bands got the bookings, then the four piece rock combo. Now many would-be bands are displaced because insurance and rent costs have caused the bars to disappear, and the weddings went to djs years ago. Indeed, these latter people celebrated the iPod age because their library was more portable, but now the djs are seeing business diminish as people just bring their own iPod.

He has made a point, that the record companies could afford to carry a band like his on their roster. Having made original music in Santa Barbara, California at the same time as he was an indie darling, I saw people get deals, such as [Redacted], Toad the Wet Sprocket, Ugly Kid Joe, and Dishwalla. Three of them had hits. [Redacted] were signed at the behest of a major label's Legendary 60s Star who, based on past accomplishments, had a deal to record and develop talent as an A&R guy. [Redacted]'s album, produced by L6S, was put in the can and shelved. L6S had a deal which included some number of signings, and the costs of the advance and the recordings fulfilled the obligations of his contract and were the extent of the major label's willingness to spend money. I suppose there was some relief the label felt that [Redacted] weren't too talented or connected and could be sandbagged. Meanwhile [Redacted] was not going to get a release and had no practical way to pay off the advance and any other label would have to reimburse the advance and recording costs, even if they signed [Redacted] on new material. I suppose the reimbursement would include what the major label paid L6S to sign and produce [Redacted]. [Redacted], and they were good guys and musicians, never got the brass ring.

Lowery, and I hope I'm not mischaracterizing, says his band got enough attention to get further advances and release, but, never brought a profit to his labeks. If he were looking back without those Romantic Ideologue specs, he'd see a terrible inefficiency and expect that somewhere down the road the labels would rework the economics. I haven't gone there yet, but I suppose the obvious question to ask is have copyright law changes increased inefficiencies and reduced artist revenues via label consolidation. Well, I look at the situation and think that bands and musicians have to take more responsibility and risk in their careers. This, mind you, was a trend-line that started well before the Internet.

One other point I'd make: somebody above made a fundamentalist ideological statement, specifically that without enforced property rights, there are no markets. When I hire a plumber to fix the sink, what property right was involved? Services rely on contract enforcement (though my experience is that if it does go to litigation, the profit decreases more than the probability of collection increases.)

With that I circuitously return to an original point. Here in Hollywood, where I live, music is more a service done as work-for-hire. The aggregators of performances and composition hold the rights, but mostly in anticipation of other licensing fee sources. Some guilds have gotten the rights to residuals, but producers have gone to the ramparts to keep that form of compensation off the tables for DVDs and the web.

There was one place where the royalties were non-negotiable. One very successful songwriter acquaintance of mine says that Nashville labels used to ask pro songwriters for material, and that was how he made a very good living. These days, no pitch requests because the labels have songwriters on staff. They are saving costs, because outside writers get 50% for a license acquisition, but far less for a statutory mechanical reproduction fees, and that iTunes or Amazon purchase is not a recording but a license.

Truly, I am for paying the artist. The music labels are as well, but prefer that for every dollar they pass along, they collect ten. Well, who wouldn't want that? Still, don't see why a libertarian would invite more governmental intrusion into the Internet in order to effect that. I would have expected them to say that the market changed, time for old trees to fall down. Me, being one who thinks society has some ownership in its culture, has it easy. No to SOPA/ACTA and let's talk about reducing the terms for copyright.

16
0

UK.gov proposes massive copyright land snatch

danny_0x98

Let's see, rights holders building a new revenue stream and, probably, building better fences while transferring costs of monitoring and collection to third parties. But, a system designed, as a practical matter, to nullify the rights of the too-small, from where disruption originates. All this done via a subterranean process.

I think I smell the gentle hint of the designer fragrance Rupert.

1
0

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