29 December 2007
Good Bye, Good Phone

They don't make phones like they used to
. Ever since Ma Bell was dematerialized, phone makers jumped the market and now we have all so many wonderful and cheap choices. But cheap is the operative word. Today, you' would be hard pressed even to find a new phone of comparable quality to this classic 1949 model, let alone afford one if you did. These babies were build like tanks --indestructible WWII tech. And for good reason, they were leased, not sold. So they had to last to be economically viable.

Perhaps we could (re)learn a valuable economic lesson from this classic phone -- Ownership isn't everything. Our "mine mine mine", "cheaper cheaper cheaper", "choice choice choice" mentality has led to an erosion of quality, market confusion such that it's hard to even know what you are getting any more, and subsequently the products we buy cost us more, not less, in the long run.

I for one miss real phones.
25 October 2007
Will Education Save the World?
There's a new charity in town, Manumission Corporation. They claim they can wipe out illiteracy, poverty and modern-day slavery, by building micro-communities and schools, and providing free accredited educations. They are also having an auction to help them get started. What do you think? Can it be done? Is education truly the key?
05 January 2007
PS3: Have Disc Won't Travel
I have a recipe for Sony's languishing PS3 that could put them on top in console wars again. Of course I don't know if anyone at Sony knows what the hell they are doing anymore. So they probably can't catch a clue even when it's about to smack 'em in the face. Nonetheless...

First, of all let briefly me define the problem: The PS3 is way to bloody expensive! Now, I could go on with all the driveling details, but in the end, that's the bottom line. Nuff said...

Now the solution, as good solutions tend to be, is forward looking:

Sony should release a low-end discless PS3.

That's right, no Blu-ray drive, not even a DVD drive! Seem crazy? Not at all. Disc drives are loosing steam as main stream media. Flash drives and Internet delivery are taking over. Sony could embrace this trend early and thus dominate it. Granted a single-layer Blu-ray disc can hold 25GB, but many games do not require that much content. 2 and 4 GB flash drives are on the verge of being very cheap, and well designed games can be augmented with online extras --additional textures, soundtracks, bonus levels, etc. (An added bonus is that flash-stored games would load very fast!)

No doubt Sony might be put off by the notion of a discless model b/c it wouldn't push Blu-ray into every house. But then they miss the point. Besides, once people get their foot in the door w/ a PS3, then they have a huge incentive buy an Blu-ray add-on drive in the future. To make it even more attractive, the drive need not be an external box, rather it could be designed to easily install directly into the PS3 unit. How cool is that?!

This discless console would also give Sony a much better distinction between low-end and high-end models. The current distinction via hard drive size has no manufacture cost advantage and only serves to further discourage consumers --20GB verges on a joke.

With such a unit, Sony could drop the the price by 200-300 USD. That would beat XBOX 360 and even be in striking range of the Wii. And if that isn't enough to convince Sony, let me put it another way. I won't be buying a $600 PS3. But I would buy a $349 discless PS3 in a heart beat.
02 November 2006
White Post

The Post that gives as you give.

The most famous post of all, the royal White Post.
01 November 2006
12 September 2006

Unfortunately Apple's new iTV, to be release some time in early 2007, is a feature or two shy of the perfect Internet Age Computer. Some front side USB ports, a flash reader and an eSATA port on the back would have sent this Apple to the Moon! Which is exactly what I asked for in my last post Apple's falling from the Pie.

Now, let's be honest. The component video and audio ports have a nice symmetrical look, but they are SO OVER. Why waste 70% of the back panel on legacy ports like this? Is HDMI the future or not? Stop waffling. (And don't give me the cable cost dance. Cables will be cheap enough soon enough.) Even if legacy support were an absolute must, a 4-conductor minijack (a growing standard on camcorders) can easily deliver stereo sound and composite video. Heck, go 3.1x further, bundle an inexpensive component adapter and delivered 5.1 surround sound along with actual component video on three 4-conductor mini-jack ports. For a company that supposed to think so "outside the box", they sure seem rather conservative in this area.

But I digress. What I'm really looking for here is a small inexpensive computer without all the mechanical storage dressings. Apple's iTV is so close it almost hurts to think that once again we have no cigar. Yet I remain hopeful. They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and thankfully Apple doesn't have much further to fall in this regard. So with any luck, they'll see the opportunity Real Soon Now and give us the "iTerminal".
26 August 2006
Eulogy on Disc
[Digg This!] I'm browsing my local CompUSA and I get this vibe. It's just one of those things. You can tell a change is in the air. It came from the first aisle with all those CD and DVD burners. The smell was faint but it was clear: Optical Media is dying. That might seem a hyperbolic prognosis at this point, and I'll be the first to admit we'll be using the shiny stuff for some time to come. But as with audio tapes --nay, even faster this time, a seachange is upon us.

I wonder. Did anyone notice when flash memory overtook CD capacity? And now it has overtaken the DVD as well. Of course the price ratio is still off. You can pick up a 512MB flash for about $20 on sale. A CD-RW disc will only cost you $0.50. The ratio doesn't seem very favorable for flash, that is, until you consider flash memory's many advantages. Flash memory is faster, more convenient, more portable, more reliable, less energy consuming, vastly more reusable and quiet. All that adds up to a vastly superior product, well worth the extra $19.50. But it gets even better...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The capacity growth of flash memory continues to accelerate. Word has it that 32GB media will be available by the end of this year. Flash has bounded over DVD capacities in a matter of months, not years! And if that rate continues, for any substantial length of time, flash will also surpass the capacities of the new HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs COMBINED in less than 18 more (or should I say, "Moore") months. These new hi-def discs will barely have a footing in the market before new media is ready to replace them. One can only conclude that a very sad sirens song awaits HD-DVD and Blu-Ray.

In fact, I predict, by 2009 most movies will be online, HD content will be readily had via on-demand cable and flash media will be the ONLY transfer medium of choice. How can you doubt it?

It was 1969 when Klass Compaan, a Dutch physicist, dreamed up the idea for the Compact Disc. And it was then that many of us got our first glimpse of the shiny media. The CD was used as a prop on the original Star Trek series as a storage medium that recorded the contents of entire worlds on their surface. According to the show, if you placed one of these discs on the vertical reader, a portal opened up to a whole new realm of exploration. The CD and it's offspring went on to do just that. Through games and movies of unprecedented quality, we have been transported to worlds never before dreamt. Those little discs lived up to their promise and have served us very well. They will be remembered fondly. But as with all things, their time to say farewell has come.

October 2003 / August 2005 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / June 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / November 2006 / January 2007 / October 2007 / December 2007 /

My Thinking Place

On Economics "You don't want your job. The proper function of a job is to seek it's own irrelevancy."

On Religion "They're all the same."

On Art "Art for Fuck's sake."

On the dot "A small idea."

I Want My $2
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Location: United States

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