Particle Debris (wk. ending 4/29) Chaos, Disruption & Infamy

Chaos, lostHere is the most stark, blunt and searing analysis of the abject failures of the mobile community I’ve read to date. For all those people with their head in the sand, this is the wake-up call. “Anatomy of failure: Mobile flops from RIM, Microsoft, and Nokia.

It’s gotten so bad, it’s almost funny. Even John Dvorak can’t put it bluntly enough. “What’s happened to Research in Motion?” The competition is flailing, flopping about like a downed, wounded pheasant.

How do you bring out a pad computer [interesting terminology - JM] to compete in the market when you are known as the king of the hill in email, and then leave email out of the equation? It’s flabbergasting.”

Of course, I point to J.D. only to show how laughably, tearfully serious the situation is.

Meanwhile some very astute members of the technical community may have found a weakness in Apple’s tablet product line. Check out Harry McCracken’s “Hands on With the Nook Color’s New Software: It’s the Netbook of Tablets!” and Ryan Kim’s “How Cheap Tablets Could Be the iPod Touch for Android.” You can bet that if a company like Barnes & Noble or Amazon starts to gain some serious traction with a $249, 7-inch, color, book-reader + tablet with some serious Android apps, Apple will have to counter with its own 7-incher — despite the pooh-poohing by Steve Jobs himself. There’s some talk of Amazon going even cheaper, and using ad support to subsidize the price. In any case, these two companies appear to be out thinking RIM and Moto.

Did Knight-Ridder invent the tablet as we know it in their 1994 research for the future of newspapers? At first, I thought this was a fabrication, but I have seen nothing to suggest it isn’t real. If so, Knight-Ridder, in my mind, will go down in infamy for having been shown the future of newspapers by its research staff — and done absolutely nothing.

Do you like casual clothes, tunafish sandwiches, white wine, Hollywood movies, USA Today and Pepsi? Take your time. Really? Then you are, at heart, a PC person. If you want to know what the Mac person prefers, read: “Mac vs. PC: The stereotypes may be true.

Lots af bloggers and wannabe writers will tell you how to be popular on Twitter or supply Do’s and Don’ts. But the very best advice I’ve seen is very down to earth — and from a Macintosh expert, Chris Breen with Macworld. Here’s the real list of Do’s and Don’ts and don’t let anyone tell you different. “Weeding unworthy Twitter followers: Five do’s and don’ts.

Why are so many large companies being hacked? Of course, the standard (lame) answer is weaknesses in server software and an onslaught by the Chinese. But I have another theory, based on my own (and my wife’s) experiences. Namely, young, non-technical managers are having a really tough time distinguishing really good sys admins from beginners and wannabes. They don’t have the technical skills to know a UNIX guru from a UNIX novice, they don’t know the right questions to ask, and so they (and HR) end up hiring low budget people to save a few bucks. Those people carry on until something really bad happens, and then the whole company pays a heavy price, far larger than the money they saved. So here it is, folks: if you want to be a serious, professional organization with IT gurus, (like Apple) let your Ph.D., UNIX wizard Chief Scientist do the hiring, not the HR department. Don’t believe me? Here’s a real-world example from an expert, Arik Hesseldahl: “Amazon’s Cloud Crash Is Over, But the Talking About It Isn’t.

Those of us who are somewhat older (ahem), tend to be collectors. We grew up in an era when, if you didn’t own it or didn’t have physical possession, it wasn’t available. So we collected music, stamps, books, coins, and travel souvenirs. There’s still room for some of that, but there’s a good case to be made for the fact that we don’t need to own so much junk anymore. After all, when I read USA TODAY on my iPad, I’m not collecting newsprint. Rather I’m accessing the cloud. Carried to a reasonable extreme, there’s little need to own content anymore. Check out this very well written, compelling article by Lance Ulanoff: “The End of Content Ownership.” That said, my wife and I watched a Blu-ray movie last weekend, and my reaction, after seeing so much compressed stuff on Netflix and DIRECTV DVR was “Now THAT’S 1080p!” So we’re on the journey — just not there yet.

Amidst the kerfuffle recently regarding “Locationgate” there was very little technical insight. The issues were mostly political and philosophical. ANd that’s very much okay. However, I was interested to read a tutorial on Assisted GPS and how it works. After all, understanding how the technology works is key to understanding Apple’s initiatives — even if they were slightly mis-guided and lacking in adult supervision. Check Glenn Fleishman’s “How the iPhone knows where you are.

Okay, this one is slightly offbeat and maybe a little shaky, but the author brings up some good points. Apple needs a large sea of discontents if it’s to slurp up growing sales. And so, the larger the sea of discontents, the larger Apple’s sales — and profits — become. Author French writes: “Is it possible that dissatisfied Android users form the basis for a sales-rich stream of new Apple customers? If true, and this flow of unhappy customers doubles in size, is it likely that Apple’s ability to dominate the market from a profit perspective, also grows rapidly?” Check out: “Hypothesis: Apple Wants Android to Win.” Food for thought in a time when even the lamest observations pass for deep analysis.

Technical Word of the Week (TWoW)

Some readers have mistakenly believed that TWoW must be a relatively new word, coined within months of this writing. Not so. I cite words that are both high-tech & recent but also older and interesting. This week’s list has both.

1. Adoxography (n.) Fine writing on a trivial or base subject. (Like what I do.) Coined in the 19th century.

2. Instafodder (n.) An article that one immediately knows, with a quick glance, that needs to be saved for later reading. (With Instapaper.) Thanks to Dan Frakes, April 22, 2011. (via Twitter).