Friday, September 16, 2011

On Turning 50, and Other News of Interest

    August has been a month of many milestones. I turned 50 early in the month.
The technology world has been stood on its head. Steve Jobs resigns from Apple.
HP first pulled their tablet,from  the market, and then announced they are getting out of the PC business altogether.
The 800 Pound Giant in the room, Netflix has stood its ground with Starz and refused to bow to their demands about tired pricing and  let them take their content elsewhere. I won’t miss it.
    Apple, and Steve Jobs have been called one of the greatest inventors  in the 20th Century. If one dose research one will find all of the products that he made famous are products that have been made by someone else before he refined it and set a new standard. There had been portable computers before,  Apple made them usable.
    More important then the legacy of Steve Jobs, and it is very important, is the future of Apple and the entire tech industry as a whole.  Over the last few months I’ve noticed a change in the focus of many tech company, even companies as venerable as Kodak are changing their focus looking for ways to sagging sales and poor product lines. Right now there are only a very few product lines that are interesting, the top players among them being the tablet, and the king of the hill, is Apple’s IPad.  But there seems to have been a shift to a very large degree away from trying to make a better product to protecting intellectual property . ie, their  patents.  While  some concepts and ideas are pretty cut and dried, and obvious , and the patent for that should be obvious, and the company that first filled the patent for it owns it at least to start with,. However, thee are a great many patents are are far more questionable. To the point of  one questioning is there even a prototype  filed at the patent office, and did anyone even read it? The patent office has said that need access to experts to help them sort through all to the tech patents the receive to help them tell which are legit, and which ones should be rejected. Because they don’t the the personal or expertise to go over all the material.

    That's not even counting all of the patents the various companies have already, and are either trying to protect or sell.  In many cases the  intellectual property may be worth more then the products they make with the information or ideas, sometimes even the company.  What kind of messages  dose that send to consumers who see new reports about companies suing each other over  patent infringement or other subtleties that no lay person or many lawyers can understand. Instead of putting the efforts to helping build the economy by giving consumer better products at lower prices. and creating more jobs and products we want to buy.
All their doing is making lawyers rich, and generally making a mockery of the US patent system. A complete rebuild of the US patent system is in order, along with  the copyright  office and reevaluating the way the publishing industry works. However, I don’t see this thing happening in the foreseeable future.

    What dose it mean when Google buys a hardware company like Motorola,?
They didn’t buy a printer company, or a camera company. They bought a company that makes hardware to run their operating system. Android.  At this point Android is  powering  roughly about 50% of all the smart phones in use depending on what report you read, and what is being covered, US or world. Point is it it fast edging Apple, and is generally killing other smart phone devices. Thus the questions becomes is there a conflict of interest in Google owning the maker of its own software distributor , the Motorola versions of the  Android smart phones. Along with the the other companies who also make phones that run Android.  On the flip side, Apple owns both the hardware and the software for their phones, in fact for all of their products. The difference being they don’t licence their IOS out to other hardware builders to put IOS into and sell to the public. Apple maintains a very tight control of their product cycle and loop from development, to production, distribution to sales both on line and retail. Something no other company has ever had.
Netflix finds itself in a quandary, much of it its own making. Last month they announced a new pricing scheme, separating the Streaming and the Dvd content, into two separate billing options, and increasing streaming fees. and increasing to total if you want both streaming and DVDs. So essentially you have your choice of three prices. Streaming, is 7.99, Dvd only is 7.99 month  Nd more for both Streaming and DVD.
Netflix is expecting to lose around a million subscribers due to this new format.
It’s  expected that after several years of a format that has essentially changed the entire video  delivery system in may ways and set new standard to make what are precised as radical changes, to a tried and true format that upsets the satus qu  will bring on a out  cry, in this case its likely to take the form of a loss of subscribers. Weather it will be as much as they predict  or not m also how long the numbers will stay low are two important questions. Balancing them out are the cost of the content . Netflix has to be in a position to pay a fair price for content, but but not let itself be bullied into doing deals like Starz wanted. I have commented several times under different  articles about the Netflix /Starz issue. One can be found here;


The whole landscape of on line video is going to reshaped yet again as the dust settles over Hulu, and who eventually buys it. The main goal of any content owner and provider should be essentially the same: To provide consumer with easy acces to any content they have the right to through either subscription, like Netflix, or Amazon VOD, or even Hulu, or Boxee, and Roku, including the IPad, and Android tablets. If the consumer knows they can get they’re content when and where they want it with minimal fuss, and low price, they will be less likely to go to  alternative places to get the content they want. Distributors, and content owners will both be paid and everyone will be happy.

    A side note on turning 50 this year. Its now been a about a month since my birthday.  Sometimes, 50 is a concept one has to wrap ones brain around. The idea that you’ve been alive and doing your thing, for half a century. Most days you don’t feel any different then you did at 49. Suddenly your 50 and everything is older, every tool or possessions that you bought or acquired when you where younger seems older. Events that didn’t seem that long ago suddenly seem like  ancient history when you stop and do the math as to how long ago it really was.  Getting to be 50 has been a real adventure for me. As many  of you who personally know me I’ve had heart issues since I was born, and was not expect to live,  I was sent home, they had done all they could do for me. But I survived and eventually a operation was developed in Canada, The Mustard Procedure, which essentially rebuilt the top half of my heart. I was the first one in the United States to have it and Survive.  To this day I’m setting new records. I have since gone on to do all the things everyone else dose, high school get married, and raise  4 kids, and many other things that  the little blue boy they sent home to die was never expected to. do. The Lord has seen fit to keep me around for this half century   .I’m looking forward to many more years of doing what I do best, being a tech pundit and all around geek and movie lover, Lord willing.


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