Running a cellphone network is a brutally capital-intensive business with thin profit margins, and subject to heavy regulation. Any economist will tell you that all three of these factors favor size – capital concentration confers a stronger advantage, thin margins can only yield a decent profit at high volume, and larger organizations can better afford… Continue reading The Smartphone Wars: Alarums and Mergers
My house is located less than a hundred feet from the Main Line, the principal passenger-rail artery out of Philadelphia to the west – Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and ultimately Chicago and points west. Two dozen times a day passenger trains come bucketing by, but they’re barely a murmur through the dense secondary-growth woods between my back… Continue reading Night sounds, trains and timepieces
Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple yesterday, handing the reins to designated successor Tim Cook. It could hardly happen at a more difficult juncture – for though Apple’s cash reserves and quarterly profits are eye-popping, the company faces serious challenges in the near future. Its strategic position rests on premises that are now in… Continue reading The Smartphone Wars: Exit Steve Jobs
From the gaming front, I report one nice surprise and a couple of disappointments. My interest in that old standby Puerto Rico was rekindled by the World Boardgaming Championships tournament a few weeks ago, in which I made quarter-finals only to wash out in a game with a mere 4-point spread. Friday night at our… Continue reading Vanished Planet, Innovation, and the luck-swamping problem
It is with some bemusement that I report that Google+ – not yet out of beta – has already changed my life. Bear with me because I’m going to talk about diet for a bit, but where I’m actually going is to a discussion of how our means of acquiring information is changing. So, I… Continue reading How Google+ just changed my life
Protocol transitions are hard. Yeah, I know the experienced software developers reading that are thinking “Well, duh!“. Shut up already, I’m venting here. I’ve just spent the better part of two years – actually, if you include design time and false starts it could be closer to five years – designing a new application protocol… Continue reading GPSD 3.0 finally ships. It’s been a long epic.
The business press is abuzz today with the news that HP is pulling the plug on its WebOS smartphone and tablet lines. This won’t be any huge surprise to people who’ve been following the discussions on Armed & Dangerous; WebOS has looked terminal to us for a long time. Still…WebOS didn’t suck, technically speaking. It… Continue reading The Smartphone Wars: WebOS, we hardly knew ye
I have just seen something lovely and hope-inducing. It’s a video of a performance of Ravel’s Bolero by the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra – manifesting as a flash mob at a train station. Go see it now; I’ll wait. What is truly wonderful about this is not the music itself. Oh, the Bolero is pleasant enough,… Continue reading A flash at the heart of the West
This morning came the news that Google has agreed to buy Motorola Mobile for $12 billion. I was half-asleep when A&D regular Jay Maynard phoned me with a heads-up, but not surprised for a second; as I told him, I’ve been expecting this for weeks. We’ll see a lot of silly talk about Google getting… Continue reading The Smartphone Wars: Google Buys Motorola
This is not actually going to be a post about the G+ nym wars. Rather, it’s about something curious that I discovered while thinking about them. I would like G+ to support persistent pseudonyms, so G+ users could say “+ESR” and have it point to my G+ profile. But here’s what’s interesting; I don’t actually… Continue reading The importance of being “ESR” – a sidelight on the G+ nym wars
Recently there’s been some back and forth on feminist blogs about the term “privilege”, beginning with “Shut Up, Rich Boy”: The Problem With “Privilege.” and continuing with several responses defending the use of the term. Here’s what the feminist term of art “privilege” means to me.
There’s been a lot of talk in the trade press over the last month by people who believe – or want to believe, or want us to think they believe – that Android’s momentum is slowing, and in particular that the multicarrier release of the Apple iPhone was a game-changer that will eventually pull Apple… Continue reading The Smartphone Wars: 48% and rising
There I was, within earshot of the smoker’s bench outside the front entrance of the hotel hosting the World Boardgaming Championships, when I overheard the word “Android” from the three college students sitting on and around it, who I mentally tagged the Guy, the Gamer-Girl, and the Hottie. I moved a bit closer, to polite… Continue reading Android development pulls hot chicks. Who knew?