Particle Debris (wk. ending 5/13) Spooky Stuff

Microsoft’s purchase of Skype was all over the Internet this week, along with lots of good jokes. (Microsoft will rename Skype to “Skype VoIP Technology for Consumers But Also Premium And Semi-Premium Business Clients Professional.” @chaseperrin) The purchase generated a lot of discussion about how Microsoft has lost focus, that Steve Ballmer is an idiot. Gene Steinberg thinks Microsoft needs to be put on suicide watch.

Perhaps it’s a case where Microsoft’s strategic intentions are oblivious to Microsoft’s inherent inability to execute. Anyway, I found this discussion interesting because there’s always more behind the scenes than meets the eye. “Why Microsoft Is Buying Skype for $8.5 Billion.

Part of the rationale for Microsoft to buy Skype is to give a boost to its Windows Phone 7 system. You have to hand it to Microsoft. They’re taking some action. The world wide acceptance of Nokia as a brand and the acquisition of Skype seem to signal some manner of strategic thinking. There’s more in: “How Microsoft’s Skype Purchase Can Help Windows Phone.

Despite our best hopes that Microsoft will handle the Skype acquisition smartly, some fear the company may not and are already making lists of alternatives — just in case. Check: “9 Great Alternatives to Skype for VoIP and Video Chat.”

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The issue of fragmentation on Android just won’t go away. It keeps rearing its ugly head like Freddy Krueger. First, here’s Peter Cohen’s overview: “On fragmentation, Google still comes up short against Apple.” Later in the week, we got into specifics as the company noted that their Netflix app will only be available on five of the hundreds of different Android phones: “Netflix streaming now on (a few) Android phones.” Hope your friends have the right one.

In a clever take on an often used phrase, Horace Dediu takes a close look at smartphone shipments instead of OS market share in “A rising tide does not lift leaking ships.” Looked at from that perspective, Nokia looks to be in some serious trouble. But not to worry. Doing business with Microsoft will save Nokia. Right?

With bold confidence, Business Insider has declared that: “The iPad is Becoming the Only ‘PC’ That Matters.” The chart backs up that headline. These days, we look at growth or decline to tell a story because growth in a fiercely competitive market carries great weight.

Have you ever wondered how the CPU in your Mac or iPad compares to the supercomputers of yesteryear? Here’s a neat article at TG Daily that tells how Jack Dongarra (University of Tennessee and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)) has estimated the speed of the iPad 2 at between 1.5 and 1.65 gigaflops. That compares to the world’s fastest supercomputer in 1994, coincidentally when I was working at ORNL and could only muster an SGI Indy with a meager 11 megaflops.

I saw a video with Neil deGrasse Tyson recently in which he said that taking an iPhone into the past just ten years would have resulted in the resurrection of witch burning laws. Imagine taking an iPad 2 back to the 1950s! It would surely be seen as extraterrestrial technology. (By the way, the video is hilarious and worth watching.)

Sometimes I am sure that Google (as the hare) is just throwing stuff out to see what sticks, at an ever increasing pace, while Apple (as the tortoise) is more careful, making sure its products have lasting appeal and value. Here’s a story that supports that idea: “Apple Gains Strength as Google Rattles Its Cage.”

Finally, this isn’t food for thought, but just a snack. I ran across this summary article of image editors for the iPhone — and presumably the iPad 2. If you’ve had any experience with these, let us know. “Top-Rated iPhone Image Editors.