Particle Debris (wk. ending 1/14) Coming Down, Out of the Clouds

Is Facebook just an attractive waste of time? It could very well be subject to the 80-20 rule: Twenty percent of the people are doing something interesting and the other eighty percent are just consumers. I’m not on Facebook because I don’t have the time, the service doesn’t provide value to me, and it’s a proven violator of people’s privacy. So I don’t bother.

Here’s a chart from Business Insider that lists the reasons why some people still haven’t joined Facebook. “…they think it’s a waste of time. And they think that increasingly, as they see their friends sucked into a vortex of looking at photos, playing FarmVille, and posting status updates.” In Colorado recently a mother allowed her 13 month old child drown in the bathtub while she played a game on Facebook. I think it’s better to go live life than sit around simulating it. 


I’ve been sitting on this one from a few weeks ago too long…. What does Apple really sell? One argument is that Apple sells emotional experiences. On the other hand, if you’re into free and don’t really have a sense of taste, then you may be inclined to go with Android. Of course, this could almost guarantee that Android will win out. Accordingly, Android’s business model dictates that it must be free and everywhere. All this and more is thoughtfully discussed in this insightful essay: “The Unbearable Inevitability of Being Android, 1995.”

At CES 2011 we learned that the TV-cable-satellite-entertainment industry is in a tizzy. They know that customers are predictable in some ways, but the trends are confusing and alarming to them. As a result, every doofus VP is working on a scheme to cover the bases. Just about every technology concoction one could dream up is being developed or on the drawing board. Eventually a few companies will get lucky without ever having to have a vision. Read more here: “A TV-Internet Marriage Awaits Blessings of All Parties.

Watching TV

Does Intel have the wrong business model for the future? Will the ARM technology kill off the traditional microprocessor? Intel is making a lot of money now, but that’s only because PCs, while damaged by tablet sales, are still popular. The ARM co-Founder, Dr. Hermann Hauser, has some interesting ideas about the future in “Who killed the Intel microprocessor?” Warning: this article is dense and thoughtful. Be prepared to read it twice, but it’ll be worth it.

One of the fundamental things we have in our society is the concept of identity. My neighbor doesn’t make my car payment, I do. When I buy an iTunes song, it’s billed to me, not someone else. And yet, on the Internet, there is a certain amount of identity fluidity and fraud. Is that e-mail really from my bank? the IRS? So without getting into the nonsense of a National ID card, the Obama administration, along with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is quietly looking into helping the private sector with the technology of trusted IDs. After all, we already have something like that with our Apple ID, and it’s not a bad idea when it comes to commerce in general. “Obama Administration fleshes out online trusted IDs.”

For example, what if your ID were linked to a constantly changing, encrypted credit card number, never used twice? The archaic idea of a piece of plastic in your wallet with a single number — which leads to trafficking in stolen numbers — would suddenly go away.

We have yet to fully see how the Android phones will do against the iPhone when customers have a choice. AT&T customers, to some extent, had a choice, and uniformly selected the iPhone. But that depended on AT&Ts Android offerings. Now that Verizon will get the iPhone in February, we’ll see first hand the choices people make. It’ll take about a year for the system to stabilize, but here are some starting points: “iPhone Vs iPhone: Let The Battle Begin” and this very informative chart from Business Insider: “Why Apple’s iPhone War With Google is Just Beginning.”

Ok, time for some comic relief, as only the British can do it. “My Blackberry Is Not Working! - The One Ronnie, Preview - BBC One.”

Did you know that Blu-ray players have been able to output high-definition via component outputs? That’s so that owners of older HDTVs with only component inputs could watch Blu-ray movies in HD. Not any more. The movie studios are set to invoke the Image Constraint Token (ICT) on new Blu-ray discs that will force the Blu-ray player to restrict the component outputs to 540p, much less than high-definition. That’s okay now because all new HDTVs these days have HDMI inputs. According to TV Predictions, “Blu-ray discs purchased before 2011 can not include the Component restrictions. So, your current library of Blu-ray movies will still work fine with an HDTV that does not have an HDMI port.” The new Blu-ray discs that enforce this protocol must be clearly labelled. More technical details are at Engadget.


There are people who have criticized John Dvorak in the past for some Apple baiting and poorly conceived, out of touch articles. But every once in awhile, he comes up with a gem, and I can recommend this one. It’s chock full of good analysis and analogies. “The Apple-Google Blood Feud Worsens.

Every technical topic has its nuances. For example, the smartphone industry has been successful in meeting the iPhone challenge, but the tablet industry has not. Will that trend endure? Will the Apple tablet eventually become an also-ran? Is there something fundamental about tablets that’s different and will allow Apple to maintain it’s lead? Here are some thoughts from PC Magazine’s Tim Gideon on all that.

Speaking of the iPad, there’s been a lot of discussion about how the (print) publishing industry should be handling its transition to digital documents. Here’s some blunt advice from the Online Publishing Insider: “iDiots’ Guide To Publishing On The iPad.” It’s both funny and informative — and fit for both consumers and publishers.


Like me, Infoworld’s Bill Snyder is no big fan of the cloud. In his latest column, he argues that the sensationalism of mobile computing and the cloud has to be weighed against “privacy, vendor lock-in, and bandwidth constraints,” and that will slow down the demise of the desktop PC (and Mac). It’s one of those “The Emperor Has No Clothes!” columns that will bring you back down to earth. As always, highly recommended is: “The PC era is not over — yet.