Apple goes Windows

This had to happen:

Turning a decades-long rivalry on its head, Apple Computer introduced software today that it says will easily allow users to install Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system on Apple’s newest computers.

The software, Boot Camp, is available as a free download on Apple’s Web site and will be part of the next version of Apple’s operating system, Leopard. It works on Apple’s three lines of computer that run on Intel chips — the Mac mini, the iMac and the MacBook Pro.

I told you so (and so did John Dvorak).

So what’s happening here? Easy, Apple has realized they’re now an MP3 company and not a computer company. So it makes no sense to spend as much as they do on OS development for their computers when they have low-cost alternatives. One way they could go is to Linux, but it’s got so many warts it’s not worth the bother, so the default choice is Windows. Now what happens if Apple packages all their software for Windows, but it just works better on their hardware than anybody else’s? They sell a bunch of hardware, and they sell a bunch of software, so everybody’s happy, including Microsoft and Intel.

What’s the hang-up? It’s interesting to note that Media Center won’t run on the Apple hardware. That should be a gigantic clue to what comes next.

Voice over IP over 3G++

Can Cisco manage the Vikings? I doubt it:

LONDON (Reuters)—Cisco Systems Inc. is considering buying the world’s top mobile handset maker Nokia in a bid to gain its wireless infrastructure technology, the Business newspaper reported on Sunday.

The paper, which did not reveal the source of its information, said U.S.-based Cisco had traditionally concentrated on acquisitions of niche technology players, but its Chief Executive John Chambers is believed to be interested in merging with a wireless infrastructure company.

“Nokia has been identified as the most likely target,” the paper said.

Cisco’s acquisitions have generally declined sharply in productivity as they’re forced to conform to Cisco’s management model, so this would pretty well signal the end of both companies. That would be a plus to the networking industry, so go for it, router dudes. Voice over IP over 3G++?

Sure, why not.

Google throws a hissy fit

Everybody in the world has to deal with Google-stalkers, except Google’s CEO, of course:, a technology news Web site, said last week that Google had told it that the company would not answer any questions from CNET’s reporters until July 2006. The move came after CNET published an article last month that discussed how the Google search engine can uncover personal information and that raised questions about what information Google collects about its users.

The article, by Elinor Mills, a CNET staff writer, gave several examples of information about Google’s chief executive, Eric E. Schmidt, that could be gleaned from the search engine. These included that his shares in the company were worth $1.5 billion, that he lived in Atherton, Calif., that he was the host of a $10,000-a-plate fund-raiser for Al Gore’s presidential campaign and that he was a pilot.

After the article appeared, David Krane, Google’s director of public relations, called CNET editors to complain, said Jai Singh, the editor in chief of “They were unhappy about the fact we used Schmidt’s private information in our story,” Mr. Singh said. “Our view is what we published was all public information, and we actually used their own product to find it.”

Google was supposed to be committed to not being evil, but this act of childish malice belies that claim.

Gee, I wonder if they’re going to demote my site again for saying this. Oh well.

Clockwork quota system

About every six months, some genius determines the blogosphere isn’t as diverse as it should be and proposes some sort of quota system. The current offender is some dude named Steven Levy who writes for Newsweek. Jeff Jarvis and about half the known blogosphere take him to task.

There are a couple of interesting variations on the meme this time around: Levy doesn’t complain about a dearth of gay bloggers, presumably because Andrew Sullivan and the Denton empire make that charge a non-starter, nor does he mention non-American bloggers for similar reasons.

Halley Suitt jumps aboard, acting surprised, but she’s been pushing this female-bloggers-rule thing for a while, so it’s pretty disingenuous, and Chris Nolan does some explaining.

As I’ve said before, racial and gender quotas are a non-issue in the blogosphere because we generally don’t care about such trivial attributes as race and gender. If you’re smart, insightful, witty, or industrious you’ll be read. You may even be read if you’re none of these things but you can get people excited by appealing to their fears, their libidinous impulses, or their aspirations. But we’re not going to read you just because you have some invisible biological characteristics that aren’t germane to the quality of your thought.

To those who’d rather see more diverse sources of a certain one-dimensional point of view (diversity in Newsweek terms means liberals of all colors and sexes), the blogosphere isn’t for you. If you care about smart and interesting points of view, come on down.

Levy, thanks for playing the Oliver Willis game, now go home.

FCC ruling expected

Excellent business journalist Dana Blankenhorn says a ruling is expected from the FCC real soon now that will clarify MBOA’s legal status. The main issues is that MBOA uses frequency hopping to reduce emissions in each frequency band by lower duty cycle. The FCC has a hard time measuring frequency hoppers because they have clunky equipment, so they request FH be turned off for emission measurement purposes. This is trouble for MBOA because they only do FH in the first place to please the FCC. So it goes ’round and ’round.

The MBOA system is better than the Freescale DS-UWB because it can be tailored to operate in different regulatory domains where various services have to be avoided by the UWB transmitter – it divides spectrum up into chunks that can be enabled or disabled. DS-UWB is all-or-nothing, a simper design but illegal outside the US.

If the FCC requires MBOA to turn off FH and flunks them on account of it, we can look forward to a world where there is one UWB standard for the US and another for the rest of the world.

That would not be cool, of course.

Sony’s smooth move

Most of the ink on Sony’s selection of a new CEO has stressed the guy’s ethnicity, which is reasonable considering Sony’s a typically racist Japanese company, but there’s a lot more to the story:

With the appointment of Howard Stringer as chairman and chief executive, Sony has not only turned to a foreigner but to a strong proponent of the “content” side of the company, a move that could mark a profound shift in its strategy.

Profound indeed. Sony and brethren gadget companies are finding their traditional, slow-moving, hidebound business practices don’t enable them to dominate the gadget business as they once did. Advances in semiconductor process make assembly efficiency relatively unimportant, and the superior creativity of Americans and the killer work ethic of Koreans threaten to leave them behind. Sony Corp. realized this a decade ago and made a big move on the content side, leaving gadgets to atrophy.

Stringer did some amazing things with the music and movie businesses from a management point of view, so much so that their earnings dominate the company’s bottom line.

So Sony is going to be increasingly a content company, and increasingly a true multi-national rather than a Samurai shop.

What happens to the Japaneses companies that haven’t made this shift, and stand to have their clocks cleaned by everybody from Dell to the Koreans is an interesting exercise of imagination. I suspect some of them will concentrate on the Japanese domestic market for consumer whitegoods such as washers, fridges, and the like and leave electronics altogether.

UPDATE: A Japanese friends tells me they’re saying Stringer’s schedule is written in Japanese. Some folks are not too happy about this.

Echo chamber strikes back

The quickest way to get a reaction from the blogosphere is to attack it, as we can see from the list of blogs commenting on a recent piece by John Schwartz of the NY Times ridiculing the echo chamber effect.

Thing is, Schwartz is mainly right. Crazy rumors and conspiracy theories do run through the blogosphere like wildfire, and the blogosphere doesn’t employ its fact-check-your-ass function against itself with the same relish that it does against the MSM, so it’s a good thing for us to read blogs that we don’t agree with all the better to correct their errors.

There was an odd comparison of blogs to “new media” in the Schwartz piece that I found bewildering, but it was probably a typo or an editing error. (UPDATE:A source at the Times confirms this was an editing error, introduced at the copy desk.)

In any event, having a blog doesn’t mean that every criticism of the blogs is an attack on you, any more than voting Republican means you have to be a Creationist.

Echo chamber of the annointed

Mike Sanders makes an interesting observation on the Echo Chamber question:

It seems to me that an Echo Chamber is a group that ignores other opinions to their own detriment. I keep on thinking that David’s defense of the EC is rooted in an idea from Arnold Kling’s Downfall of the Annointed post in which he pointed out that some feel that trying to change people’s minds is a waste of time. Instead they just rally their supporters and wait for those who disagree to see the light

The essay he links is right on as well. Weinberger’s sticking to his guns on this issue, despite the fact that nobody agrees with him.

How ironic.

Song stealing suits commence

The RIAA has finally started suing major music thieves, starting with a few hundred people who’d each “shared” over a thousand tunes. One file thief’s reaction was typical:

Another defendant, Lisa Schamis of New York, said her Internet provider warned her two months ago that record industry lawyers had asked for her name and address, but she said she had no idea she might be sued. She acknowledged downloading ?lots? of music over file-sharing networks.

?This is ridiculous,? said Schamis, 26. ?People like me who did this, I didn?t understand it was illegal.?

?I can understand why the music industry is upset about this, but the fact that we had access to this as the public, I don?t think gives them the right to sue us. It?s wrong on their part,? said Schamis, who added she is unemployed and would be unable to pay any large fine or settlement.

OK, perhaps she was genuinely in the dark and didn’t know that what she was doing was wrong. Perhaps those of us who know better can help those who don’t understand this behavior by calling it by its name. So from now on, instead of calling it “file sharing” let’s call it “song stealing” the better to educate the masses. It’s the responsible thing to do.

Here’s a statement from songwriter Hugh Prestwood on song stealing:
Continue reading “Song stealing suits commence”