Personal thoughts…

Tech, Hockey, and random thoughts…

Google/Beta

So Gmail is finally out of Beta, as is Google Docs, Google Calendar, and Google Talk. Amazing. I wasn’t aware Google was capable of labeling anything as officially being launched and not merely a never ending perpetual beta.
Gmail has been in “beta” for a little over half a decade now.
Stupid, and silly.

I guess businesses ignoring Google Docs due to the perpetual beta status finally got Google to wake up and  remove the meaningless beta tag.
Naturally in classic Google fashion it’s quietly swept under the rug.

Getting Google to do anything without years of research into the tiniest minutie is an incredible accomplishment. Now all we need is for Google’s spending to be devoted more to their products then the billions of swimming pools and other such apparent necessities that their employees must have access to.
Nice company to work for I’m sure, but that whole “Do Good” mantra of their died long ago. For all the hype and love, their an awful lot like a mini Microsoft in actions and behavior.
Or at least old Microsoft. I don’t have much issue with current Microsoft, or rather I do but not about their behavior on any sort of a legal basis.
But Google’s more questionable actions are kinda well out of the way of anything related to the shocking news that…. they actually have something that’s not beta.

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July 8, 2009 Posted by | Tech Industry | Leave a comment

Chrome no longer in beta

Hell has frozen over, Google has actually released something that isn’t in a perpetual beta. Officially releasing anything that isn’t in beta for it’s entire lifespan is a massive step forward for Google.

Download Chrome here

It’s not about to replace Opera for me, but it is noticeably better then it was.. fixed up the few huge issues it had previously. Playing around with it, it’s looking like a browser that I could use on an everyday basis now if I chose to.
Now yet certain if I prefer it over IE7, and it’s clearly inferior to Firefox and Opera IMHO.
Still, a capable browser. Well done Google.

Now if only they could figure out how to actually make 2 cents off any of their products besides the core search business.

December 11, 2008 Posted by | Tech Industry | Leave a comment

The Truth about Ridiculous Valuations

If Facebook is “worth” 15Billion (which it’s NOT), then MySpace would be worth 65Billion…. which it clearly isn’t.

In the NY Post’s business section one of their articles today makes a very important point: this Facebook valuation is insane, and .com bubble-ish. They quote an analyst who applied the $357 Microsoft awarded for each registered user to MySpace, and came up with a $65b valuation. Three words: Not. Freaking. Likely.

“At $65 billion,” the article states, “MySpace would be responsible for all but $3 billion of News Corp.’s entire market capitalization – which clearly isn’t the case – and would be larger than CBS and Viacom combined.”

It’s crazy, I know, but sometimes the sheer number of users isn’t the most important thing. Irresponsible valuations, like this one, lead to solid companies with solid products, but without a surfeit of eyeballs, being ignored or, relatively speaking, undervalued.

Which is good for no one.

$240 million for a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook makes no financial sense at all. To be fair to Facebook, for a 3.5yr old company to have a revenue stream of 150M is stellar.

Now I wish I could say I believed that 10yrs from now Facebook would be at the top of the social networking scene-I’m not however, such a belief is an entirely different topic however.

October 26, 2007 Posted by | Tech Industry | Leave a comment

Google kills paid Google Videos….. and steals your videos

 Google sent an email to users of Google’s Download to Rent/Own Service, at the bottom was this small note-

After August 15, 2007, you will no longer be able to view your purchased or rented videos.

That right there is the big hole is DRM, you can own content and legally have purchased it. But the second the seller decides they no longer want yopu to have it… it’s gone. You purchased it?  Too bad, you may “own” it but their fully within their rights to take it away any time they want. No refunds, nothing. It’s gone.

Digital Rights Management is an euphemism for copy-protection services that (mostly) treat consumers like criminals, and deprive them of their fair use of acquired content.
Assume your customers are criminals, and assume they intend to steal your content and assume they intend to give it to everyone they know. That’s the DRM they’ve worked so hard ensure.

Congratulations everyone, your a criminal. You’ve been annointed and will be treated as a criminal. Doesn’t matter what you ever have or ever will do.

Even content that you “purchase” (i.e. not rented content) isn’t actually owned by you and it can be taken away. That’s ludicrous, but that’s what the governments have all been so ardently supportive of the music/movie/tv industires in shoving down our throats.

Imagine if these were DVDs: one day, a man from Virgin Megastore shows up at your door and says, “We’re taking away all your videos. Sorry!
That’s DRM in a nutshell.

August 13, 2007 Posted by | Tech Industry, The World Today | Leave a comment

Microsoft can’t afford to wait for Sony

WindowsNow by Robert McLaws has posited the opinion that Microsoft should wait for Sony to cut prices before following- to quote

 Everyone knows that Sony is going to have to eat more money on the PS3 and sell it for less before it gains traction.

But at the same time, there is a stigma around cutting prices on any product, let alone consoles. It usually angers the early adopters, and devalues the existing consoles on the market. But the PS3 will have to cut the price to survive; it has no choice but to face these consequences. But the consoles that follow suit to stay competitive don’t usually suffer the same stigma.

So it’s no wonder that the Xbox 360 hasn’t seen a price cut yet. Why cut the price first and be the “bad guy” to early adopters, when they can wait until after the overpriced PS3 corrects course, and then use the reasoning “we had to stay competitive” as justification? If I were in charge, that’s what I would do.”

My point of view-

It looks to me like Microsoft needs a price cut themselves, while not quite in the desperate situation Sony is the XBox360 definitely isn’t looking like a marketleader. The sales are pretty steady the last few months, whereas the PS3’s sales have been slowly dropping on a weekly basis since launch. But holding steady isn’t good enough… it’s not going to get them the installed base they’ve been touting and their still seeing sales that are slightly less that what the Wii’s been getting for awhile now.
Without a price drop I can’t see the situation improving, especially since the Wii is selling like crazy with almost no 3rd party developer support… and less then stellar reviews for most of the software available. What happens when 3rd parties adopt the Wii in mass as they surely will if it continues to sell at it’s current pace… which shows not the faintest signs of slowing.

Beating Sony isn’t good enough if it still eaves them a clear cut second fiddle far behind the leader. If I’m Microsoft I cut prices ahead of Sony, make Sony look like the follower that’s desperately cutting prices to maintain what little semblance of competition they currently offer.
Further push the perception that Sony is a follower and Microsoft a marketleader that defines the path that market follows.
I’m taking the initiative now.
Looking like the “bad guy” to early adopters isn’t exactly what I’d perceive as a huge penalty. The early adopters know price will drop over time, and they knew they were paying a premium to get the latest and greatest at launch. They can do precious little to strike back at Microsoft… stop buying 360 games? That’s cutting off your nose to spite your face.
The hard core gamers that are the early adopters are well aware a price cut would ultimately become a reality, and they knew they’d pay the price premium to play the XBox360 games ahead of those that waited.

Microsoft needs to take the initiative and take control of the situation now. Sitting back and gollowing Sony yields them nothing. The status quo isn’t good enough if all it gains them is watching the Xbox360 yield to the Will and become games second choice.

They had that with the XBox trailing the PS2. Microsoft has bet tons of money with little in the way of profits in return on the console market. Beating Sony won’t see them getting the profits they want. Becoming the market leader will do that.
Sony isn’t much of a threat right now, the PS3’s quite possibly too far behind already to win this generation. Microsoft isn’t.
Nintendo is the company eating up the profits, and it’s Nintendo they need to beat if they want to make the XBox360 a profitable venture and recoup all the expenses put into it and it’s predecessor.

Casually sitting back and following Sony’s lead only allows Nintendo greater momentum. Nintendo’s spent a long time being irrelevant as far as the major competition is concerned. I don’t think Microsoft is so foolish to ignore the present market realities however and forget Nintendo.

June 21, 2007 Posted by | Console Examination, Tech Industry | Leave a comment

AMD will keep making Intel chipsets

In an interview with DigiTimes, Jochen Polster ( AMD’s Worldwide Infrastructure Partnerships sales and marketing VP) stated “AMD will not abandon or limit any opportunity to cooperate with others and the company will still continue developing chipsets for Intel platforms. Our goal is not to amass a huge market share, but to obtain a reasonable share.” in rely to a query as to whether AMD would continue manufacturing chipsets for Intel as ATi did before AMD acquired them.

How much market success there will be I’m dubious, even in the event that AMD’s makes a terrific chipset for Intel’s processors you can be certain Intel will be putting all of their weight on manufacturers not to touch said chipset.
This isn’t the late 90’s wherein Intel’s weight is such that even powerful companies like Asus have to secretly manufatcture motherboards and disavow all support and publically deny they made them as was the case in the early days of the early K7, nor as hostile an environment. No one is terrified of losing Intel’s business and their mighty discounts anymore. Intel can no longer afford to do such things as easily as before, and AMD is now a legitimate alternative in the market for companies to go to.
With many alternative options out there for Intel chipsets however it’ll be easy to accede to Intel’s wishes. Even typically ATi friendly companies like DFI dropped their ATi based Intel motherboards almost immediately after their acquisition by Intel, and naturally Intel dropped all mention of the exiestance of such products from their site.

It doesn’t appear Intel has much options to revoke ATi’s bus license so in the short term such chipsets should remain in existance, but once Intel’s long awaited CSI appears you can be certain Intel won’t be selling a license to utilize the bus to ATi at any cost.

March 3, 2007 Posted by | AMD, Intel, Tech Industry | Leave a comment

DST changes worse then Y2k

had people panicing about a mythical collapse of the worlds entire technological structure, tons of Y2k testing software of store shelves. DST…. system admins, and coders talk about it and that’s it. The average person probably isn’t aware it’s remotely an issue.

Ironic, as the reality is the DST changed are a far greater concern for most. With Y2k everyone knew long long in advance about the issues, and were prepared. The workarounds were easy, and the media hype ensured it got more then sufficient attention. Every business had it as a major focus, even if it needn’t have been a concern for them simply due to the public paranoia over it. DST changes on the other hand came with little forewarning,, and reuired a sharp and largely unprecedented alterations that would effect a great number of softwar.
Come March 12 Admins have a huge headache on their hands and software developers have been awfully busy.

March 1, 2007 Posted by | Tech Industry | Leave a comment

Lets sue everyone that says product “X” is bad!

We’ve seen people use bogus DMCA claims to shut up comments they don’t like, or are alternative to something their promoting. Now, it turns out that if you demonstrate security vulnerabilities in a product, you have to deal with the threat of patent lawsuits as well. IOActive, built a hand-held device capable of reading and cloning the sercurity ID cards used for access in almost any big company. They demo’d the device at the RSA Conference and were going to give a presentation at Black Hat in DC. HID Global, manufacturer of said cards sent them a letter claiming that the cloning device infringes on HID patents. IOActive pulled out of the presentation. Jennifer Granick, over at Wired News, does a good job highlighting the ridiculous consequences of an action like this: “Imagine if, in the 1970s, the tobacco companies had patented devices to measure the health effects of smoking, then threatened lawsuits against anyone who researched their products. The use of patent law to prevent vulnerability discovery and discussion is bitter irony, because a fundamental purpose of patent law is disclosure.” Yet another example of the patent system doing exactly the reverse of what it’s supposed to do.

March 1, 2007 Posted by | Tech Industry | Leave a comment

How dare you decide what to put on your own website?!

Apparently some people view serach engines as some kind of body that must grant certain fundamental rights to people. Lawsuits when their search rankings aren’t high enough to suit them is silly.

My god!, someone searched the word “tech” in google and my blog isn’t in the top 10 listings.
Clearly I should sue Google! *sarcasm*

Unfortunately that isn’t nearly as stupid as the latest instance. Someone bought gripe ads on Google, Yahoo and MSN, only to have them rejected. He then sued all three companies arguing that the search engines should be required to post his ads. The judge in the case appears to have made quick work of it, dismissing almost all of the claims and pointing out in no uncertain terms that many were specious and frivolous.
I’m sure this person had some vague semblance of logic in coming to the conclusion that MSN/Google/Yahoo are not allowed to have any choice in what appears on their own website, and that his preference is paramount. I just cannot begin to fathom what exactly the logic therein is, perhaps I’m merely dense.
This about this for a moment… would it make any sense at all if someone came along and said I had to have pornography on myy website because they want to view it here? Clearly not. It’s my website, I should be the one deciding the content (Within the boundries of the allowable content at WordPress which owns their server space outright). If someone dislikes the content they can go elsewhere to look for something more to their preference (in this example-pornographic material)
If I were to buy an add at Google that said “Google sucks, and is the worst search engine known to human kind” should Google be obligated to put it on their wesbite? Of course not, the mere that is absolutely ludicrous.

March 1, 2007 Posted by | Tech Industry | 1 Comment

Hell has frozen over

While it may not be nearly as exciting as when the Berlin Wall fell, it is a pretty historic day for AMD. Dell has finally crumbled under the pressure and will adopt AMD processors for its high end 4 socket servers. As you all know, Dell has been historically an all Intel shop, and really only in its first years of existence did it ever use AMD chips as a second source. Since that time Intel has offered Dell outstanding deals to stay all Intel, as well as basically handle all of the processor inventory needs of Dell. This was obviously a very good deal for Dell, as they got matching marketing dollars, first pick of new processors, and outstanding support from Intel. It hasn't always been easy for the two of them, and times have been strained before. The last time there was any significant break between the two was when AMD had first introduced their 1 GHz Athlon processor, and for the next six months supplied 90% of the 1 GHz+ market. Dell was in negotiations to create a product line based on the original Athlon, since it was beating the Coppermine based Pentium !!!'s at the time. They even went so far as to enter into negotiations with MSI to provide the motherboard that would be used. Intel gave Dell a lot of concessions at that time, and they promised that the low quantities of 1 GHz P3's would eventually end. They also promised Dell that they would get first pick of the Pentium 4's that would be showing up in the Fall of that year. So, Dell dropped the idea of an AMD based line, and kept chugging along with Intel only solutions.

Now that we are in 2006, Dell has started to see their server shares erode due to increased competition from guys like HP and Sun. Both of those manufacturers feature a wide selection of AMD server parts, and the four socket variants are selling very well in that space. There are several reasons why the Opterons are really popular there, and mainly it revolves around price, lower power requirements, non-uniform memory architecture (NUMA), native 64 bit support, and the glueless MP that HyperTransport enables. While Intel and AMD are about on even footing in many ways when considering 2 socket architectures (AMD uses HT, while Intel features a dual FSB, so neither really have a bandwidth advantage when it comes to communication between processors and the memory subsystem), the situation is drastically changed when dealing with 4 socket and 8 socket products. Scalability on the Intel side takes a pretty dramatic hit once we go beyond 2S/4P products. Things get pretty bad for Intel once 4S/8P gets thrown into the ring. A lot of the bandwidth between processors and main memory is taken up by the cache coherency protocols, while AMD does not suffer as much due to their more comprehensive MOESI protocol, as well as the three HT links that each processor features.

Dell, throughout the years, has claimed availability as a negative for adopting AMD products, and they were very right in saying so. Until this Spring, AMD only had one Fab producing CPU's, and at the beginning of this year they were selling nearly every good die that came off the line. They simply didn't have the production capacity to fulfill orders from a company the size of Dell. Now that Fab 36 is ramping up, AMD now has a lot more manufacturing flexibility. While Dell will not officially release a AMD product until late this year, they will start stocking up on processors and enable the line to become functional so Dell can have a full blown release. This should mean some nice extra income for the next two quarters until Dell officially unveils the line and starts selling product.

It is interesting that Dell jumped in now, and I think another enabling factor is that Dell is pretty much all DDR-2 now. While current Opterons are all DDR-1, this July we are supposed to see the introduction of the Socket F Opterons. These will be 1207 pin Revision F chips, and it seems very likely that the extra pins could mean expanded HyperTransport links between the processors (16/16 links moving up to 32/32 links). This will give the Opterons a lot more bandwidth to communicate with each other (if in fact true). These chips will also support DDR-2 for server configurations, which will be a definite plus for Dell. AMD is not shirking away from Woodcrest this Summer, and I think that the answers that AMD will provide to this new architecture will be interesting to say the least. Dell is a big win for AMD and their server level aspirations. While Dell will not likely release lower level products anytime soon, AMD could win Dell over as a customer by continuing to support the company well, and produce quality processors that can address multiple markets.

May 20, 2006 Posted by | AMD, Tech Industry | Leave a comment