Particle Debris (wk. ending 12/10) Follow the Money

| Particle Debris

Suppose you had nearly unlimited funds. What would your Mac setup look like? Here’s a photo of Prince Khaled bin Alwaweed’s Mac desktop. He’s a member of the Saudi Royal Family and very clearly a Mac fan. One can only look and sigh.

Google has a lot of money and some interesting ideas. However, Google has failed to acquire two key companies that it sought: Yelp and Groupon. Paul Smalera, Senior Editor with Fortune analyzes what’s gone wrong with Google in these negotiations. And by the way, here’s a guided tour by Dan Frommer of the Groupon HQ. One fascinating photo is #29 (of 50). The caption tells it all — in a fabulous contrast between the old and new tech.

A constantly monitor the state of cord cutting, Apple TV, Netflix, etc. Even though cord cutters, in the articles I’ve seen, constitute about one percent of households or less, it’s interesting to see how the good old-fashioned rabbit ears is making a comeback in some circles. After all, TV stations have spent millions upgrading their terrestrial antennas to HD. Why not utilize those mageawatts? And get uncompressed 1080p.

Speaking of Netflix, they’re on a roll right now in several ways. Recently they signed a deal with ABC-Disney to carry prime time shows, and their subscriber growth has been amazing. No doubt the strategy of making Netflix available on just about every device but your kitchen toaster is working. Here’s one of those great charts from SAI showing why HBO should be sweating bullets.

Kindle has a new TV ad: “What if you Switch?” It asks a good question, better than one might suspect. As we move into the era of magazines, books and newspapers on our mobile devices, we need to think about preserving our investment in these documents. Someday when the iPad is in a dusty drawer along with a Palm Pilot and some SCSI cables, will we still be able to read all the content we bought before? It’s probably worth an investigative article; it’s a favorite subject of mine. (And librarians.)

More beautiful graphs! Here’s a map of the world and a bar chart showing he popularity of each mobile OS by geographic region. I wonder if there’s any business intelligence hidden behind those charts, or perhaps it’s just a snapshot in time of the ever evolving market.

Is Google on the right track with Chrome OS? Recall Marc Andreessen tried to go down that road of the browser + Internet as the new OS in the 90s and failed — except the part where he scared the hell out of Microsoft and they launched IE to crush Netscape. Which they did. Now Google wants to do it again. My take is that Google is out of touch with Americans. Here’s some analysis and also an out-of-the-box review of the Goggle Chromebook by Larry Dignan. My bet is on Apple having a better understanding of the needs of its customers.

At the quarterly earnings reports by Apple, Peter Oppenheimer and Tim Cook make interesting statements about Apple and its products. Some are factual financial information for investors and some are cheerleads. Here’s a great article by Philip Elmer-DeWitt that looks into translating what Tim Cook said recently. And it has a Dilbert cartoon as well. What’s not to like? Read about Cook-speak at: “The iPad as capitalist tool.


I use my iPhone as a second memory. I take photos of things I don’t want to forget, like placards on business vans and books at Borders bookstore that I might want to buy. (There’s even an Amazon app that will read the bar code on the book and order it from them instead.) I’m constantly looking stuff up at, say, a restaurant. But there are bigger social issues associated with having the Internet in your hand, namely the future of human memory and faculties. What will you do when you can no longer stand up and say anything of interest to an audience, whether you’re a scientist, public speaker or a politician? Read more here: “I Has Seen the Future — And We Is Dumb,” by David Koretz. Prepared to be alarmed.

Woman with emory problem

Have you wondered why, sadly, the new MacBook Airs have Core 2 Duos instead of i3s? It’s all related to a lawsuit between AMD and Intel, and Apple has been caught in the middle. But a resolution has arrived, and Intel has upped its game with integrated graphics, something called Sandy Bridge. For a tutorial on all this, read “Apple to tap Intel’s graphics for future MacBooks.


An Apple engineer, in his spare time, if there is such a thing, recreated the Antikythera Mechanism — an ancient analog computer that was lost for 2,000 years — using … wait for it … Legos. Our own Bryan Chaffin tells the story.

Finally, if you want a glimpse into how Apple’s competitors are doing and how a competing CEO thinks and presents, this story by Dan Dilger is both sad and affirming at the same time. We know how Steve Jobs thinks, and we know how he performs. Now, go read this astounding account of a presentation by RIM’s co-CEO Mike Lazaridis. Read how the Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher sliced and diced his strategy. Amazing…

That’s it until next week.

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Lee Dronick

is this the same Khaled who is registered here? smile


I take photos of things I don?t want to forget, like placards on business vans and books at Borders bookstore that I might want to buy. (There?s even an Amazon app that will read the bar code on the book and order it from them instead.)

I’m a big fan of brick-and-mortar bookstores. I buy a lot on amazon, too; but if I see something at Borders I want, I buy it there, just to support the culteral institution. Yes, it costs more, but it’ll be a sad day when the bookstores are gone, and they can’t survive if we don’t give them our business.

I think it’s important to do the full calculation before determining what the best price is.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Kindle woman has an amazing set of chicklets. But the premise of the ad is unrealistic. Nobody would switch from an iPhone to an Android unless they were an insufferable geek, right? Martin, I’m talking to you… Heh.


I don’t think that one needs to be concerned that ebooks purchased from the iBooks Store will be lost, if one chooses to trade down to Android, because ebooks on the iBooks Store are in the open ePub format, so anyone can make a computing device to view them.  See at “Grow your library.”  However, while Kindle runs on a lot of different devices and platforms, I think that the format for its books is proprietary to Kindle, so, if you choose to leave Kindle, you will leave your ebooks behind. 

And the iBook App, unlike Kindle, also handles PDFs.  See at “All your PDFs. Right where you want them.”

Lee Dronick

it?ll be a sad day when the bookstores are gone, and they can?t survive if we don?t give them our business.

Seems like most of the independent booksellers are gone. As to the big chains I wonder if they can offer a bit more of a discount to bring the price closer to Amazon.

Lee Dronick

And the iBook App, unlike Kindle, also handles PDFs

I have been using the Notes feature of Mail and the iPhone quite a bit, but I have also been creating PDFs and bringing them into iTunes.


Another interesting point is that, given that Apple’s ebooks are in the open ePub format, Amazon’s ad, supra, is materially false giving rise to causes of action in Apple’s favor for unfair competition, false advertising, and commercial defamation, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple’s General Counsel, Bruce Sewell, Esq., or someone senior from his office didn’t soon call Amazon and tell it to cease and desist with its false advertising.


is this the same Khaled who is registered here?

I wish >.<


Interesting graphic about the distribution of the different mobile OSs worldwide.

As a general resident in Asia, and frequent visitor to Sub-Saharan Africa, I argue that the Symbian dominance in those regions is less about choice than about simple availability. The mobile markets in many low income countries are less about being ‘free’ than they are about being commodity sinks. Nokia, in particular, dumps a lot of cheap handsets that simply will not sell anywhere else.

Case in point. Where I work in Bangladesh, I was issued a standard mobile phone (paid for out of my grant no less). It was a blue Nokia thingy (don’t know the model number), that had the virtue of disassembling on light impact. This had an adverse effect on any calls I might be engaged with at the time. I complained. I was told that this was all that was available.

On one of my trips through the Middle East, my blue Nokia thingy was lost on a plane, a real tragedy. I reported it to both the airline (told them to take their time looking for it) and to the Bangladesh office.

The latter told me that, wonderful news, now I could get a really nice phone. In spite of myself, my expectations rose. A little. After a week, I was handed a box containing, wait for it - a black Nokia thingy. Only this one did not come undone on impact (based on personal research). Fortunately, I still have more trips through the Middle East ahead.

Point is, you simply cannot get anything else in many of these places, and it is not a question of choice. My colleagues throughout Southern Asia salivate over my iPhone, iPad and MBP. They simply have no means, practically speaking, to acquire them.


Wouldn’t trade my setup for the princes—I would never get an Apple display.  Besides Apple’s archaic pixel defect policy, they have ugly glossy surfaces, no position adjustments, limited inputs, white LED backlighting with limited gamut, and max 27” now.  With unlimited funds, I’d have two or three gorgeous HP LP3065 displays with (arguably) better-than-Apple styling, position adjustments, wide gamut, and beautiful 30” matte surfaces.

My wires are neater than his too…


Lazaridis being described as “RIMM’s version of Gil Amelio” is the funniest thing I’ve read in a while. Thanks for the link!

Other Lazaridis gems:

?Our competitors have taken a smartphone operating system and they?re trying to take it to a tablet computer?

While this may describe Android, AFAIK it doesnt apply to iOS: It’s been said that the iPad actually preceded to the iPhone in development.

[Playbook OS-based phones] ?as soon as I have dual core baseband CPUs.?

“Dual-core baseband CPU”? And I thought the baseband refers to a comm chip, wholly unrelated to the CPU. Sheesh. Things ain’t looking too bright at RIM.

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