My, How Phone Booth’s Have Changed

I used to read the paper there. Now I read the phone. I still say I have to go read the sports page to be nice about dropping a deuce.

Don’t forget that if by chance you use the talking to another person feature on your phone, that you can be heard making bodily noises, or at least the echo that everyone recognizes.

The Government vs. Big Tech In 2020 (Regular Users Are the Losers)

I’m interrupting humor and sarcasm to note a trend. If you read my about, I notice trends and patterns as facts begin to fall into place over time.

As always, the human race seems to come down to power (and other forms like sex and money). Not everyone wants it, but those addicted to it can’t get enough.

In 2020, Big Tech financed a lot of the election, probably on both sides but they seem to favor one side over the other. I’m not going to get into being political but both sides of the spectrum don’t serve us as well as they should. It seems that they serve themselves in terms of granting more power and control. On the other side of power is……

BIG TECH HAS BIG MONEY AND BIG INFLUENCE.

At some point, they tell you to follow the money. No one has more money (ergo influence) than Big Tech right now. I’ll give you that the government has more, they get it from taxpayers and the tech companies. They don’t have to earn it so it is less valuable and more widely wasted.

It’s not just about money though because money buys power and influence. Tech will likely sit their people in positions in the new cabinet, as currently elected but is not the big issue. It is trivial compared to the war.

The war is who controls the message.

GOVERNMENT IS GETTING GENERIC AND TECH RUNS RINGS AROUND THEM

After watching the tech hearings over the last couple of years, Congress is filled with mostly idiots when it comes to tech. They asked Facebook and Google simpleton questions I’d be embarrassed to ask my grandparents. Of course, the CEO’s ran circles around the questioners and frankly made them look like the emperor with no clothes . They didn’t even have to lie (although it looks like they bent the truth pretty heavily) because the questions were so elementary.

The result is that Tech (mostly the FAANGS) control the message that congress had a stranglehold on and the fight is on for said power. On the big tech side is the money and on the government side is regulation.

AMERICANS ARE WAKING UP TO THIS POWER STRUGGLE (AS IS THE REST OF THE WORLD)

I’m not the only one noticing this. This study (linked below) surveyed Americans, but users around the world are the same:

A majority of Americans across the political spectrum believe tech companies have too much power and do more harm than good, and most people have deep concerns about how companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google use their personal data, accordingto a new poll released today by Gallup and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The wide-ranging report, “Techlash? America’s Growing Concern with Major Technology Companies,” provides findings on how Americans view the roles internet and technology companies play in their lives and in society. Major findings include the following:

  • Americans believe internet and tech companies have a negative impact on American life: People think the companies do more to divide society (60%) than to unite it (11%); misinform the public about the news (47%) rather than make people more informed (19%); and create more problems than they solve (47%), rather than solve more problems than they create (15%).
  • Misinformation, hate speech and data privacy are top concerns: Americans are overwhelmingly concerned about misinformation on the internet (74%), the privacy of their personal data (68%), and they are very concerned about hate speech and other abusive or threatening language online (56%).
  • A bipartisan majority believes internet and tech companies have too much power: While 77% of Americans hold this opinion, Americans are equally divided on whether the government should intervene to break up these companies. Republicans tend to be more critical of internet and tech companies than Democrats and independents.
  • Americans say leaders are not paying enough attention: Fifty-nine percent say elected officials and political candidates are paying too little attention to technology issues, including 67% of young adults (aged 18-34) and 71% of Democrats, versus 43% of Republicans and 57% of independents.
  • People don’t trust tech companies to police content on their platforms, but they trust the government even less: A majority of Americans don’t trust internet and tech companies much (44%) or at all (40%) to make the right decisions about what content is allowed on online platforms. But 55% of people still prefer that the companies make those decisions, rather than the government (44%). 

We can’t count on the tech companies to do anything other than to seek power:

Self-regulation has failed. One of Silicon Valley’s most valuable assets until now has been the cultural permission to try new things. The public has put up with arrogant rhetoric and a lax attitude toward the law in exchange for innovative ideas that meaningfully improved upon the status quo. But it was a Faustian bargain, with untrammeled innovation raising the specter of uncontrolled growth. When we learn about Airbnb endangering neighbors, Twitter failing to stop rampant harassment, or YouTube radicalizing its viewers with an algorithm that recommends extremist content, we see the destructive harm technology companies can do and their unwillingness to rein in their greed. The narrative has shifted from a question of whether there will be regulation at all to the fight over who should make the rules—and how tough those rules should be.

WHAT ARE THE OUTCOMES?

Usually no one wins or the Government uses it’s tentacles to overwhelm companies with regulations. Tech has the power of the message and as much money. Further, with their hands in the pockets of the politicians and the ineptness of Congress, it let’s me think that Tech will have the early upper hand. Congress can pass laws, but tech is usually steps ahead and there is no telling what has been embedded in the future technology. It takes 5 years or so to bring a new product to market. The 2025 tech is already being tested in labs somewhere.

Sure, they might have to pay fines, but they are rounding errors at the rate tech is making money.

So I’m predicting this. It will be a standoff and both sides will struggle for power. In the meantime, users will suffer from regulation or invasion of privacy from both parties.

Congress will get more money out of the tech companies in the form of lobbying or the people they place in high positions. The relationship becomes incestuous.

Again, we are the losers.

Update: It’s already started with Amazon getting their hooks in first:

Amazon, the trillion-dollar tech company, has hired lobbyist Jeff Ricchetti, whose brother will be the top White House counselor to Joe Biden.

Jeff Ricchetti’s firm, which he founded in 2001 with his brother Steve Ricchetti, the incoming Biden adviser, registered as a lobbyist for Amazon on Nov. 13.

Great Sayings – Judging a Person By Who They Are, Henry Ward Beecher

“A man’s ledger does not tell what he is, or what he is worth. Count what is in man, not what is on him, if you would know what he is worth — whether rich or poor.” –Henry Ward Beecher

Steve Jobs died with 9 billion dollars. It does him no good now.  He built a dynamic company that employees thousands and touches millions.  He also refused to acknowledge his daughter when she was growing up.  Which is more important?

Many of us want to show off what we have or what we look like on the outside.  Look no further than the cesspools that are Facebook and Instagram.  No matter how good the lives look there, what do they look like on the inside?  Actually, most people reveal how terrible they really are on Twitter, but that is not a dress up platform like the others.

What is in you?

Great Sayings – Self Survival By Governments, Innovation and Those In Charge, but are not True Leaders

Hat tip to Moonbattery

For politics, we need balance.  History shows that too much dominance by any side makes for lack of clear vision as leaders.  Their goal becomes being re-elected instead of serving the office they were elected to.  There are plenty of examples.

In Companies, being the solution to a problem is one business model, until the problem goes away then so do profits.

The better model is innovation.  Not that I find it that innovative, but look no further than the iPhone as an example.  Conversely, we are still stuck with Windows however and I find no real innovation there.  I left that platform as quickly as I could

Then of course there is Facebook, Twitter, Google and host of other platforms that haven’t really offered a solution other than sucking the time out of your day and providing a place to move along anarchy.

Look at the motives of the person trying to offer a solution.  Are they selling you a bill of goods, re-election or innovation?

Social Media, Ruining Your Life Part 2

I recently posted how Social Media is probably making your life worse, especially those who have to look anything up to know everything.  Even more, those whose lives and feelings are governed by their online image and how many likes they got vs. others are losing out on life to a device.

The other issue is having your face buried in your phone while walking.  You are clueless to the world around you.  See the video above.

UPDATE: Getting Cosmetic Surgery for Snapchat Dysmorphia

This is by far the most narcissistic thing I’ve read.  People (tide pod eaters) are getting surgery to look like the filters they use on their Snapchat because they don’t look good enough in life because it is wreaking havoc on their self-esteem.  The report in the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery claims that these filters can sometimes trigger body dysmorphic disorder, a mental illness that can lead to compulsive tendencies and unnecessary beauty procedures, among other negative outcomes.

A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that people who were regular users of social media were twice as likely to feel lonely than those that were light users.

Another study released found that social media, especially Instagram, deepened feelings of anxiety and inadequacy for 15 to 24 year olds.

Go play outside and leave your phone in your pocket.  Also, don’t live your life on social media and you won’t be so self-obsessed.

UPDATE: A study came out stating that good social media don’t out weigh the bad:

(Reuters Health) – For young adults, the adverse effect of negative social media experiences on mental health outweigh any potential benefits of positive experiences, a study of university students suggests.

Each 10 percent increase in a student’s negative experiences on social media was associated with a 20 percent increase in the odds of depressive symptoms, researchers found.

But positive experiences on social media were only weakly linked to lower depressive symptoms. Each 10 percent increase in positive social media interaction was associated with only a four percent drop in depressive symptoms – a difference so small that it might have been due to chance.

“This is not inconsistent with the way we see things in the offline world . . . The negative things we encounter in the world count more than positive ones,” said study leader Brian A. Primack, director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.

“If you have four different classes in college, the fourth class that you did poorly in probably took up all your mental energy,” he told Reuters Health by phone.

Primack said he believes social media lends itself to negativity bias because it is saturated with positive experiences that leave people jaded.

YOU ARE BEING WATCHED

I talked with friends at the gym who are or were in law enforcement  In cop terms they are always made by others because they are constantly looking around.  They are aware of their environment, potential danger, potentially dangerous people and escape routes.  As you can see in the video of fails, these people are vulnerable to all of the above.

Guess how else you are vulnerable with your head buried in a screen?  It doesn’t take a genius to know that Facebook, Google, Amazon and every other site is not only tracking your clicks, but are tracking where you go and what you do.

We used to have instructions, a map and intuition to get where we were going and for the most part, we got there.  millennial’s can’t get to the 7-11 without Google Maps now.  It’s also funny how they can know everything, but have knowledge of very little.  Take away their phone and not only would they not run into things, they’d have to actually learn about how things really work and how to navigate (I’m not discriminating here, I know directionally challenged relatives my age who fall into this category).  Looking up something on your phone doesn’t make you smart.

YOU ARE GIVING THE PERV’S A FREE TICKET

I’m not in law enforcement, but I put my phone away and watch others, especially those watching girls.  It’s almost a sport.   It used to be if a guy was looking in the wrong part of a girl, they got busted immediately.  It was like watching a tennis match seeing the heads turn when a cute girl walked by.  They had to use mirrored sunglasses and just glance when they could and not let their wives/girlfriends catch them.   Now, instead of having to glance behind sunglasses, the perv’s just look down or up (or up and down) anyone they want and modesty just goes out the window.  It’s truly tasteless, but if you had your head out of the phone, you wouldn’t be getting eyeballed so lasciviously.

GET A LIFE

It’s amazing to watch people now escape to their phone in what used to be a social situation.  So stop running into things and get a life.

FACEBOOK IS DESIGNED TO EXPLOIT HUMAN VULNERABILITIES

Recently, former Facebook president Sean Parker pointed out how Facebook is hurting people.

When Facebook was getting going, I had these people who would come up to me and they would say, ‘I’m not on social media.’ And I would say, ‘OK. You know, you will be. And then they would say, ‘No, no, no. I value my real-life interactions. I value the moment. I value presence. I value intimacy.’ And I would say, … ‘We’ll get you eventually.’

Parker discussed the possible psychological effects of social media and Facebook in particular, especially for children who are now growing up in a digitally connected age:

I don’t know if I really understood the consequences of what I was saying, because [of] the unintended consequences of a network when it grows to a billion or 2 billion people and … it literally changes your relationship with society, with each other … It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.

The former Facebook President discussed the company’s initial aim, which was mainly centered around drawing in and building their audience:

The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, … was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?’ And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. And that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you … more likes and comments.

Parker described Facebook’s appeal as a “social-validation feedback loop” which exploits human psychology to keep users coming back to the app:

It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology. The inventors, creators — it’s me, it’s Mark [Zuckerberg], it’s Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it’s all of these people — understood this consciously. And we did it anyway.

Parker also briefly discussed how his vast wealth is likely to allow him to live longer than the average person due to advances in medical science

What You Had To Know In 1910 To Pass The 8th Grade Test

For my fellow High IQ readers, see how you would do on this test.  It’s not are you as smart as a 5th grader.  No, it’s much tougher.  No wonder that our public school system is turning out under educated students.  It appears that not only did our ancestors have to walk to school in the snow, they had to actually learn more than google on a smart phone.

Perhaps if they could pass this test, they wouldn’t have as much time to spend on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Press on.

Why the Apple Watch Is Not The Product That Will Save Apple

Apple has prided itself on cutting edge products.  Their mantra is to create great products that we didn’t know we needed.  It worked for the iPod, IPhone and iPad.  Now there are rumors about the iWatch.  Guess what, they are going to miss the boat on this as they have overlooked what we do and do not need.

Who are the biggest consumers of new technology?

First it is the early adopters, they’ll buy anything.  That is a small percentage of the population though, maybe 15% at the most and that is being generous. 

They will likely be the bulk of the iWatch consumers.  Here are the others:

Dilberts who need to have the most gadgets.

dilbert stuff

Some workout people who for while will think this is cool.  This groups purchasing power will wear off as you can tell by the proliferation of watch style monitoring devices being purchased, but then discarded.  It is not the killer app.

Who won’t by buying them?

Almost everyone else and the biggest problem is the group that has the largest digital footprint:

The generation of 18- to 34-year-olds, known as Millennials, are an increasingly influential group that impacts many aspects of the American lifestyle, including fashion, technology and entertainment, according to the upcoming 2013 Digital Marketer Report from Experian Marketing Services. The report looks at key segments of the consumer landscape, including millennials, who provide a major opportunity for marketers to reach consumers via mobile. Millennials spend 14 percent more time engaged with their mobile devices in an average week than their generational peers.

Guess what?  They don’t wear watches for the most part, they keep time on their phone.  They want a phone with a bigger screen, better input capabilities and easy access to social media.  An iWatch doesn’t fit this model.  This will continue for the rest of their lives (likely) and with the younger generation.

They also have to pick which device they are going to buy as student debt is at an all time high.  If you need an iPhone to work the watch, no money left for beer or video games.

Digital Currency

What is the biggest attraction for Facebook and most social media?  It is the sharing of pictures.  Why did Instagram get bought for 1 Billion dollars?  Why is snapchat gaining ground and Twitter adding video to their photo capabilities?  With the grandparents getting onto Facebook, the youngsters are using other apps like Instagram to share their lives with their friends.  While you can see a picture, it is small.

So why are they doing it?  Because they need the buzz or the next great thing.  Will they do it anyway?  Of course, Samsung already has one announced and Apple copies and tries to make it better

I’m not saying watches are dead, who doesn’t want a Rolex for example, it’s just that the impact of an Apple Watch isn’t going to be the $100 jump in the stock price that earlier products were.

After Being Dissapointed by Lenovo One To Many Times, What PC Did I Buy Instead?

I’ve had PC’s since before the IBM PC in 1981.  I’ve built hundreds of computers over different phases of the PC life cycle (for myself, others and at computer stores I worked at for years).  I’ve personally owned many ThinkPads since they were introduced…likely between 40-50 including my multiple work PC’s. The same is true with Microsoft. I’ve worked with DOS and Windows, Windows for Workgroups, (built and wired my first network in 1994), NT, 95, 2000, XP and you name it.  I first put up webpages since 1993 and every version of DOS or Windows made starting with 1.0 for both.   I’ve finally had it with the declination of the quality, service, especially customer service and workmanship of IBM/Lenovo and Microsoft products.

I began to desire a different machine when the smartest guys at IBM (IBM Fellow’s) and the smartest (and of course some of my favorite) IT analysts starting using Mac’s.  It told me times were a changin’.

WHEN THEY WERE GOOD

It used to be that when you went to a frequent flyer lounge at an airport, it would be a ThinkPad convention because they were so tough, now everyone is switching to an iPad which I now also love and  have.

Further, when I retired, I bought what I thought would be the ThinkPad which would last me for at least 5 years (pictured below).  It was the worst PC experience to date, see the beginning below.

In reverse order, after 1.5 years, one of the USB ports failed, the screen is falling apart (for the second time…the first in only months), the battery died in the first 6 months (they fixed that under warranty after 1 month of calls and forcing a manager intervention because customer service blamed me) other hardware and software problems which eventually got fixed over hours of calls (the final fix was always simple and could have been easily accomplished from the start).

I called the Lenovo help desk and not only did they refuse to fix most of my problems (all within the warranty period), but they were with the exception of one person, unhelpful to me and not proficient in English 95+% of the time (some were rude, but tech support is a thankless job).  Note: I like the people from other countries and think that they are hard working so I have no problems with the people, rather the policies they are forced to adhere to put them into positions they shouldn’t be forced into.  I’m clearly calling out the company, not the people here. It’s just in this case we couldn’t understand each other and they mostly were not trained or who couldn’t fix problems and just couldn’t help fix issues Lenovo created.

Here’s what my screen looks like now with use that is less than normal due to my retirement status:

pc pic

SHIPPING DISASTER

This was compounded by the fact that they originally shipped me a computer which was in for repair as I found it had someone else’s  password on it.  Tech support recognized the serial number as someone else’s machine and I had to ship back a PC so that they could ship me what I ordered which  was supposed to be new.  They at first required me to pay for the return shipping for the machine which they wrongly shipped me in the first place.  It took them 5 weeks to get me this wrong machine once I ordered it in the first place, so needless to say, this added to a dissatisfied experience.  Let me summarize it: The 1st machine I received was in for repair which they shipped to me as my new machine.  They finally agreed to pay for the shipping back to them after weeks, but I was in dis-belief by now as I had to get upper management approval 3 levels above my call to tech support to get shipping approved and the machine I ordered sent to me.  This was a 6 week timeframe that I put up with to get a ThinkPad that looks like the one above.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE COMPANY PURCHASED FROM IBM?

So, what happened when Lenovo bought the PC Division from IBM?  Quality and customer service have apparently suffered, at least for me.   It is fair to note that Lenovo is the PC leader even though PC’s are a dying breed and are now a commodity item, but that the lead is mostly due to HP executive incompetence and Dell lack of innovation.

WORKING FOR IBM PC DIVISION, MORE THINKPAD BACKGROUND AND EXPERIENCE THAN MOST HAVE

I worked with ThinkPads at companies before IBM.  I then did communications for the IBM-PC (PSG) division back in the early 2000’s.  IBM-PCs were a rock solid product that introduced many technologies from the floppy disk, HDD on PC’s, open system motherboard, the start of an incredibly successful industry, creation of millions of jobs, Bluetooth and WiFi to the industry.  It was well accepted by industry leaders as the standard to compare against and I was proud of representing the machines.  By then, we had slipped to about 4th place, but IBM had other priorities by then.  Analysts always recognized that the IBM ThinkPad was the industry leader, albeit most of the time the expensive option.  I never had a problem educating them that it was the industry leader to be compared against.  I also learned from IDC, Gartner, Forrester and others that Dell and HP were sub-standard compared to the ThinkPad.

THE IBM TO LENOVO EMPLOYEE TRANSITION

The co-workers who went to Lenovo were mixed.  The developers were good, with the chief designer being one of if not the best, but he obviously had nothing to do with my 410S.  The Press communications team however was a joke.   Much of the management that I had worked with were handcuffed by the new ownership.   However, with the non-inventor taking over control, changes in leadership including many Dell executives,  it has appeared to make it less than the leader of rugged laptops, a position it once enjoyed.

MY LATEST PURCHASE

Since my ThinkPad failed and the screen basically fell off (I am retired and don’t travel anymore so it didn’t have the wear and tear to justify its condition), the keyboard keeps sticking, ports not working and the other problems I’ve described have forced me to buy a new PC.

Side note: I worked with Microsoft since 1981 in one form or another, as a partner, but mostly as a competitor as Microsoft was very belligerent and went out of their way to be anti-IBM  (see my joint announcement wrap up).  I’ve worked with their products since DOS 1.0 which I still have installed on an original PC at home.  They loved Lenovo when the purchase was made and the difference was an overnight sea change in their attitude of helpfulness and pricing.

So the combination of Lenovo’s product being poor, their customer service being unhelpful led me to buying a MacBook Pro (but I got much more computing power and a brand new experience in helpfulness).

But, both Lenovo and Microsoft lost me as a customer and I can’t be alone.

Here is my new computer, a 13 inch Macbook Pro:

macbook pro

It sync’s with my phone and iPad seamlessly.  I don’t have weekly Microsoft security updates or blue screen of death experiences.  It is powerful, I can read Windows files and have converted them, multimedia is a snap, graphics are beautiful and most of all it works without gyrations to make drivers, port configurations and software incompatibilities work.  I have never before been an Apple fan except when I ran an advertising department for a few years and understood artists needs for them.

When managing a store at a computer chain, my store was recognized as the retailer that lead the nation in Apple sales so I do have experience with them.  My store also was a leading promoter of the first Macintosh during the famous 1984 ad time.  In other words, I know them well, but I’ve used Wintel computers most if not all of my life until now.

Further, I called their tech support and went to an Apple store and guess what, they were friendly and helpful, and it just works.  I paid less for the software than the PC version (I just built a multimedia PC for my TV viewing so I am fully aware of company configured, or self built PC’s vs. Mac machines hardware and software.

THE TREND OF PC’S

Mobile devices are killing standard laptops at a rate far faster than laptops replacing desktops, but there is still a need for machines that do more than a tablet until they increase in input efficiency, storage capacity and business application conversion (there are tons of legacy apps still out there as the average person still interacts with COBOL 13 times a day).  This hasn’t caused me any issues with my new laptop though, it just works.

The company that is easy to work with, keeps up with the trends and produces quality equipment will be the one who has market leadership.  I have voted with my money.

The PC is Toast, Or Maybe Just a Toaster

Gone are the glory days when the PC would rule over the vaunted Mainframe, putting power at desks without the overbearing DP department overcharging and under delivering past the due date.

What has evolved though is a commodity product that is at best a commodity like a toaster.  You can buy one anywhere to toast your productivity suite, cloud connection or corporate image.  Further, the once dominant Wintel model is being out-cooled by Apple, and outdated by tablet computing.

First, I was mildly shocked when I learned that Lenovo had a policy where you get an allowance and use what you want to, regardless of who made it.  Next comes the inevitable…..

While this isn’t really new news, in fact it’s been a theme for a while now.  But it was confirmed by the lackluster performance of HP, Dell and other manufacturers.   Even IBM, the company that really put the PC in the office of businesses is famous for dumping the low margin business to Lenovo who lucked out in marketshare due to the HP and Dell screw-ups.  This will be short lived as soon as Apple finishes mopping up in China and the real Lenovo cash cow gets malnourished.

All Things Digital confirms the facts via DRAM supply:

As a signpost on the road to the so-called Post-PC Era we’ve been hearing about for so many years, this one is pretty hard to argue with: As of this year, personal computers no longer consume the majority of the world’s memory chip supply.

And while it may not come as a terrible surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention to personal technology trends during the last few years, there’s nothing like a cold, hard number to make the point crystal clear.

Word of this tipping point came quietly in the form of a press release from the market research firm IHS (the same group formerly known as iSuppli). The moment came during the second quarter of 2012. For the first time in a generation, according to the firm’s reckoning, PCs did not consume the the majority of commodity memory chips, also known as DRAM (pronounced “DEE-ram”).

During that period, PCs accounted for the consumption of 49 percent of DRAM produced around the world, down from 50.2 percent in the first quarter of the year. The share of these chips going into PCs — both desktop and notebooks — has been hovering at or near 55 percent since early 2008, IHS says.

As shifts in market share statistics go, it at first seems insignificant until you consider the wider sweep of memory chips in the history of the modern technology industry. PCs have consumed the majority of memory chips since sometime in the 1980s. IHS couldn’t say when exactly when the first personal computers started showing up in appreciable numbers in homes and businesses.

And where are all those memory chips going? Tablets and smartphones for starters. IHS says that phones consumed more than 13 percent percent of memory chips manufactured, and it expects that figure to grow to nearly 20 percent by the end of this year. Tablets — including the iPad — consumed only 2.7 percent of the world’s memory chip supply. The remaining 35 percent, which IHS classifies as “other,” includes servers, professional workstations, and presumably specialized applications like supercomputers and embedded systems.

And given their rates of growth, IHS expects phones and tablets combined to consume about 27 percent of the world’s memory by 2013, while by that time PCs will consume less than 43 percent, making the decline, in the firm’s estimation, irreversible.

Even the much hyped Windows 8 launch doesn’t really do much.  WRAL goes on to say:

Dell executives also indicated that the company is unlikely to get a sales lift from the Oct. 26 release of Microsoft Corp.’s much-anticipated makeover of its Windows operating system. That’s because Dell focuses on selling PCs to companies, which typically take a long time before they decide to switch from one version of Windows to the next generation.

HP’s screw up came when they tried to become an IBM clone.  Dell had their own set of issues as reported by the AP:

Coming off a five-year stretch of miscalculations, HP is in such desperate need of a reboot that many investors have written off its chances of a comeback.

Consider this: Since Apple Inc. shifted the direction of computing with the release of the iPhone in June 2007, HP’s market value has plunged by 60 percent to $35 billion. During that time, HP has spent more than $40 billion on dozens of acquisitions that have largely turned out to be duds so far.

“Just think of all the value that they have destroyed,” ISI analyst Brian Marshall said. “It has been a case of just horrible management.”

Marshall traces the bungling to the reign of Carly Fiorina, who pushed through an acquisition of Compaq Computer a decade ago despite staunch resistance from many shareholders, including the heirs of HP’s co-founders. After HP ousted Fiorina in 2005, other questionable deals and investments were made by two subsequent CEOS, Mark Hurd and Leo Apotheker.

HP hired Meg Whitman 11 months ago in the latest effort to salvage what remains of one of the most hallowed names in Silicon Valley 73 years after its start in a Palo Alto, Calif., garage.

The latest reminder of HP’s ineptitude came last week when the company reported an $8.9 billion quarterly loss, the largest in the company’s history. Most of the loss stemmed from an accounting charge taken to acknowledge that HP paid far too much when it bought technology consultant Electronic Data Systems for $13 billion in 2008.

HP might have been unchallenged for the ignominious title as technology’s most troubled company if not for one its biggest rivals, Dell Inc.

Like HP, Dell missed the trends that have turned selling PCs into one of technology’s least profitable and slowest growing niches. As a result, Dell’s market value has also plummeted by 60 percent, to about $20 billion, since the iPhone’s release.

That means the combined market value of HP and Dell — the two largest PC makers in the U.S. — is less than the $63 billion in revenue Apple got from iPhones and various accessories during just the past nine months.

So now you can go to a consumer electronics store or go online and pick up a PC, a video game and a toaster, all about the same difficulty of decision.  The model is dying and a new paradigm is taking place somewhere between mobile devices and tablets with a combination likely just around the corner, but your Thinkpad is a gravestone in the near future.
It is now reported that Mobiles are the devices most turned to for online activity, banking and other internet activity.

“Cell users now treat their gadget as a body appendage,” Lee Rainie, the Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, told Mashable. “There is striking growth in the number of people who are taking advantage of the growing number of functions that these phones can perform and there isn’t much evidence yet that the pace of change is slowing down.”

The study, released yesterday by Pew Internet concludes that cellphone usage is increasing in basically every department, especially online activities. One in two people now check their email on their phone, up from 19% in 2007 and the number of Americans surfing the web on-the-go has doubled too, going from 25% in 2008 to 56% today.

People are also starting to be less reluctant to use their phones for sensitive activities that were almost considered taboo in a recent past, like online banking. Almost one in three Americans (29%) now use their phones to check their bank account, a considerable increase from just one year ago, when only 19% did. And one in three people are using their mobile device to look for health information as well. Just two years ago that figure was as low as 17%.

Phones are also becoming a substitute for other traditional devices like photo and video cameras. 82% of people who responded to the survey use their phones to snap pictures and 44% use it to record videos

RIM – RIP

Update: Morgan Stanley on 6/25/12 confirms my premise that RIM is Essentially Broken: 

Update: Yahoo shuns Blackberry from Fun Smartphones for all employees:

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In a bold move reportedly instigated by new CEO Marissa Mayer, aging web giant Yahoo plans to outfit every one of its US employees with a new iOS, Android, or Windows Phone 8 device. According to an internal memo published by Business Insider on Saturday, the company is offering workers a choice between Apple’s iPhone 5, the Samsung Galaxy S III, the HTC One X, the HTC Evo 4G LTE, and Nokia’s Lumia 920, with all bills taken care of. Yahoo is also discontinuing IT support for BlackBerry devices, seeking to move away from RIM’s enterprise-focused platform.

“We believe the only way RIM remains a viable entity is at a fraction of its current size, a transformation that erases much of its earnings power,” the analysts wrote. “The next 9 months likely see rapidly deteriorating fundamentals on the one hand offset by stories of potential strategic options on the other.”

Indeed, there was more unconfirmed deal speculation just this weekend, as The Sunday Times reported the BlackBerry maker was considering selling its handset-making unit or a stake in the company.

What I don’t get is why the Government just made it the standard handset.  Are they that out of touch?

Update: RIM at a new low, sort of proving the following is on track. Executives are now bailing. 

Now they are laying off people.  I’ll be quoting them along with Palm, OS/2, Token Ring and other technologies that used to be.

Original story starts here.

Rarely do I write about the technology that I replaced because I’m usually so excited about the replacement.  In this case I’ll make an exception.  I already wrote about my new phone, but as much as I wanted the new phone, getting rid of my blackberry was more important.  Rob Enderle reminded me of this in his tech trends blog.

At a Lotusphere show not too long ago, we did an announcement with RIM and Notes (it was an announcement of a product we were going to release at a later date).  Not only was I underwhelmed by the product, the hardware and software technology from RIM was as cool as mud huts compared to new construction.  On top of this, when I offered to help the RIM executives for gratis on very obvious marketing oversights, they had an attitude that belied the fact that they already had iPhone daggers fatally in their hearts and didn’t even know it. It now looks like it’s going to cost them their jobs.   I was treated as if I was dust (I’m being nice to them) by their executives.  Notes was almost impossible to use on a blackberry at first.  It was a D- at best.

Update: Now I know he should have listened to me instead of being so arrogant.  I could have helped them….and I’m not trying to be conceited, but I knew what was going on much more than the leader of RIM.

I knew then that not only was RIM in trouble as a company, I disliked the blackberry as a piece of technology almost more than any I’ve had in 30 years (I’ve had more than most in the last 30 years).  I saw the crackberry addiction it caused in some folks which I didn’t like.  I also saw that if you had a blackberry (before iPhone days), you just signed up for a 24/7 availability.

The first one I got for free, and promptly got rid of in a month as it was more trouble than it was worth.  The last one I’ll ever have is because my then company had me get one when I wanted a real phone/data device instead.

My problem is solved.  Too bad about RIM…their once leadership position is now only a memory with recent market share decline.

It looks like I’m not the only one who believes they are in trouble.  Their Board is not helping out either.

Sales figures show the same decline.  It was not even nice knowing you.

So throw the Blackberry on the technology rubbish pile along with the Palm, OS/2, Token Ring, Newton and a host of others.  There, now they are on the way to being a good product back when Britney Spears was hot.

Why I Bought an iPhone Vs. Any Google Device

It took me this long to finally buy an iPhone.  I waited until the right carrier had it (AT&T is a diversity nightmare), then my current provider didn’t have international covered because of CDMA.  So when that all came online, I then had to wait for an upgrade time so that I wouldn’t pay an arm/leg/firstborn.  It wasn’t a feature to feature comparison, 3G or 4G or any other techie issue that caused it.  It was because I know Google, have worked with Eric Schmidt  and believe they are evil about their intentions with our data, public or private.

Before any hate mail comes in that Apple does it too, I turn off location services when I leave the house and can confuse them enough that tracking me doesn’t me do them any good….not that anyone would/should care.  I’m a statistic to them and so be it.

Disclaimer:  I’ve had an iPod since 1994 (rotary wheel version) and have an iPad and iPod before I bought the phone, but I worked with/against Google and have met Eric Schmidt at a partner conference.  I don’t trust Google nor do I trust Schmidt as I heard what they are up to.  Basically the same thing as Pinky and the Brain are after, take over the world.

I and I believe they are sincere.  Apple developers are trying to build an ad base to compete against the world/Google, but I can turn them off…..Google follows me, my house, what I buy and everything else…..then are all too happy to share it with those I don’t want them knowing I exist.

In the quest for data analytics, companies have sold their soul.  Google and IBM are at the top of this data list, closely followed by Oracle, only closely in this case as they are hampered by a leader who holds them back from becoming a great (or modern) company.

OPEN SOURCE VS. PROPRIETARY.

Most analyst’s I talk to have Android so that they can practice what they preach, it’s an open world.  Well open source doesn’t work as well and smooth as IOS, so I don’t give a rat’s rump about this.  I just want it to work and for me not to have to fix or code one more device.  Most open systems require tinkering far too often.  So I’m calling BS on that argument.  I’m a consumer with too much going on to have a device that doesn’t work every time and easily.

SECURITY

It appears that Smartphones are now being attacked by malware and theft.  I know of 2 so far on IOS, but Android seems to be up 90%, so it looks like Apps on this OS are easier to break into.  This was not my initial decision point, but has skyrocketed to my list of concerns within a short period of time.

MY PREVIOUS SMARTPHONE

I had one of the newest Blackberry’s and in one word of advice for those who are considering buying it….don’t.  The interface is archaic compared to IOS and I got it because of a corporate policy that stuck me with a device that was hard to use.  I had to take it the phone store to set up the special things I wanted (I have about 7 email addresses and many special things related to what I do, and BTW I set them up myself on the iPhone) and have set up phones and computers for 31 years….before things were easy so I know how to reverse engineer without instructions

One thing I liked about Google was that 3 executives owned 8 corporate jets.  God Bless Capitalism.  I think IBM has a whole fleet of jets for the executives also so they “don’t” have to fly commercial.  Too inconvenient I guess.  It’s the same for most corporations.

Anyway I bought the iPhone.

BTW, I’ll never buy another Windows/Microsoft product again now that I work for myself.  They can only treat me this poorly (since Windows was released) for so long before I vote with my own money like I did here….

It looks like I’m not the only one.  ZDNet wrote this a few days after I wrote about my travails.

Is the PC Dead Or Is It Marketing Hype and Spin?

Update: Apple is more nails in the PC coffin with the new announcement of Post PC devices.

  • 362 Apple stores
  • 315 million iOS devices sold through last year, including 62 million in the last quarter
  • 585,000 apps created
  • 25 billion app downloads
  • 1080p movies and TV shows for iCloud and the new Apple TV
  • 15.4 million iPads sold in the fourth quarter of 2011
  • 200,000+ iPad apps
  • 2048 by 1536 pixels displayed on the new iPad, with 264 pixels per inch
  • 44 percent greater color saturation than the old iPad
  • 5 megapixel sensor on the new iPad camera
  • A maximum of 73 mbps downlink with 4G LTE on new iPad
  • New iPad specs: 10 hours of battery life, nine hours with 4G; 9.4 millimeters thick, 1.4 pounds
  • Same pricing as last iPad: Wi-Fi models are $499 for 16 gigabytes, $599 for 32GB, $699 for 64GB; $629, $729 and $829, if you want 4G
  • Old iPad now starts at $399 and $529

The Real Meaning in Marketing Speak

In the mid 2000’s, Sam Palmisano of IBM declared the era of the PC is over.  This was somewhat of a marketing move since IBM had just sold the PC Division to Lenovo.  What he really meant was that IBM is getting out of consumer products.  IBM also sold other consumer divisions that were not the margin kings that Software and Services were.  Disclaimer, after working either for/with/against/partnering with IBM for 31 years, I can say that a lot of what they do is incredible spin on pretty good technology.  I had better knowledge of what was going on than what was told to the outside.

PC’s are Toasters Now

This is a bit of a history lesson.  There was a time that PC’s were special and had value.  They still can be found on almost every desk or backpack at an airport, but in reality they are now (and have been for a while) a consumer product.  There gets to a point in time in every product’s life cycle that economies of scale and parts availability drive this value (and therefore the price) down when you can’t differntiate.  It is compounded by newer technologies (tablet computers and mobile devices) to where you can get them at any consumer store that sells toasters, video games and TV’s.  Any improvement is just a little bit better (except Windows which usually is worse), not an era better which was the case when they were new.

PC’s have done this to themselves over the years.  Remember when all you could get was a bulky desktop?  Technology moved on to the luggable computer to the laptop. Now you can get a wafer thin Macbook Air (for a premium price), but the technology curve will drive cost down here when every manufacturer offers it.  Margins are razor thin and there is minimal hardware differentiation on the Wintel platform.

The Effect of iPad and Mobile Phones

Ultimately, the world is driving your communications and computing device to be in your hand.  The end game of input is not a keyboard, but voice.  This addresses the need for instantaneous that we have required as we’ve shifted from email to IM and texting, and from blogging to tweeting. I envision a vision screen that is projected by your small handheld that lets you see what a huge monitor is required for now in the near future.  For more on this, see Project Blade Runner as an example of what the future could look like.

PC’s are already under fire from Tablet computing and smartphones.  While at some point you still need a PC for complicated input/output such as the dreaded Powerpoint and the more mundane payroll/HR applications, they soon will be adapted to tablets as we easily morphed from immobile desktops to laptops.

Many analysts have shown that more phones and tablets are sold than PC’s.  More texts are sent than emails and we certainly have more tweets than blogs.

The Cloud

Powering a lot of this of course is the overhyped Cloud model.  While conceptually it has been around for a long time (we have called it client/server and other names), it is a software delivery model that will make the end device irrelevant.  Perhaps you could get your email on your toaster or refrigerator.  You could make phone calls by dialing in the air at some point.  The issue is that we are driving the connecting device smaller, cheaper and more powerful (and less relevant) so that we can get what we want, when we want it and wherever we want it.

Lenovo and HP

Companies are jumping out of this market as evidenced by IBM and HP willing to sell their PC businesses worth billions in revenue, mostly because of low single digit profit margin.  They realize that there isn’t much money to be made anymore, again putting them in the toaster category. Similar components by most, similar operating systems, market driving memory and storage costs and overhead to sell.  HP is now particularly vulnerable as companies negotiating long term contracts will throw HP out  as a viable vendor not knowing what their future will be either in terms of ownership or viability.  HP has completely lost their way starting with the purchase of Compaq years ago, then dumping their tablet, announcing the sale of their PC division and switching CEO’s like underwear.

The Apple Factor

Everyone eventually builds a better mousetrap.  The Mac has been around for a long time, but the entry way to the door to Apple changed with the iPad/iPhone.  A new processor, operating system visibility, technology paradigm, profit potential and the coolness factor make Apple a different model than the PC.  Prior to that, Mac’s were a niche player in the creative, advertising and education world.  This has changed partly because the OS is better, Windows is not a great platform and Mac’s are headed in the direction of iPads.

So Is the PC Dead?

Ultimately yes, but not this year or in the near future.  I’ve seen models of computers called bricks the size of your phone that you can drop in a kiosk and work anywhere.  You can even use them like an iPhone if needed, but until the voice input issue is resolved, keyboard input is an inhibitor.

No one thought we’d ever see the end of typewriters, faxing or even the 360, but technology advances at an increasing rate economically speaking.  What will be interesting is which social mores we’ll break like talking to ourselves (on a cellphone) in public (or worse in a bathroom or driving).

Is the iPad the next endgame?  Likely also not.  Companies are trying to out do themselves and we’ll wind up like the Jetson’s one day.