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Archive for September 2007

TechCrunch40 winner…

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Here is an excerpt from Ars Technica coverage:

Another standout was the winning company, Mint. Mint links to your banking accounts in the same manner as Quicken or Microsoft Money and provides a number of statistical analyses to provide helpful services. One of its main services is the ability—much like Quicken and its ilk—to drill down into your aggregated spending habits and see where your money is going and how that trend changes over time. An example in its demonstration was clicking into food-related expenses to expose a breakdown of groceries and eating out. There are a number of notification features that permit you to receive SMS or e-mail alerts when your account balances reach a certain level, abnormal spending, as well as tools to help you save money.

mint

While Mint’s service to you is free, they look to generate revenue by saving their users money. This works by analyzing your spending and recommending deals to you, from which Mint gets something of a referral fee. For example, if Mint notices you spend a lot of money traveling, it will recommend to you a credit card that gives you the maximum amount of airline miles. If it notices you’ve got a particularly high interest rate, or if there is a card out there with an interest rate below what you’ve currently got, it will offer those up. What remains to be seen—Mint just launched today—is if this business model will actually work. The “save me money” portion of the web site is hidden in another section of the site, and it seems rather unlikely that users would deviate from the “main” part of the site so they can be pitched with credit card offers, even if the pitches are highly targeted.

Written by gooddealz

September 19, 2007 at 3:45 pm

Posted in News Only

Expose benefits on Vista…

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Another great little application that I using on Vista… Switcher is free utility for Windows Vista (running Aero) that lets you arrange the windows on your screen in different ways. I am not sure if Apple copied other programs before it but the Mac OSX Expose is the one that was implemented before this little apps came out… So I assume it copied Expose and it extended some nice features like text search filtering and some customization. The default view is the “tile view,” which arranges the windows so that you can see all of them, even across multiple monitors. Another view, called the “dock view” magnifies one window and arranges the rest along the side. There is also a grid view, which is a good one to use if you are also going to use the number shortcuts for the windows (the first 9 windows can be activated by pressing the respective number on the keyboard).

switcher

Above is my desktop captured. It support dual monitor.

Your desktop can be treated as a window, too. In this new version of Switcher, the windows now have a customizable background color, border, and a label which can display any of the following: the filename of the application, window icon, the number shortcut, the memory used in megabytes, the process name and the window title. Other features include the ability to close windows during a session, smoother animations, and additional keyboard shortcuts. To learn more about Switcher, check out Bao’s Blog. To download the program, visit the Switcher website here.

Written by gooddealz

September 19, 2007 at 3:36 pm

Posted in Great Stuff

Service Revenue vs Products Revenue

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IBM plans to mount its most ambitious challenge in years to Microsoft’s dominance of personal computer software, by offering free programs for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations.

The company is announcing the desktop software, called IBM Lotus Symphony, at an event Tuesday in New York. The programs will be available as free downloads from the IBM Web site.

IBM’s Lotus-branded proprietary programs already compete with Microsoft products for e-mail, messaging and work group collaboration. But the Symphony software is a free alternative to Microsoft’s mainstay Office programs–Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The Office business is huge and lucrative for Microsoft, second only to its Windows operating system as a profit maker.

In the 1990s, IBM failed in an effort to compete head-on with Microsoft in personal computer software with its OS/2 operating system and its SmartSuite office productivity programs.

But IBM is taking a different approach this time. Its offerings are versions of open-source software developed in a consortium called OpenOffice.org. The original code traces its origins to a German company, Star Division, which Sun Microsystems bought in 1999. Sun later made the desktop software, now called StarOffice, an open-source project, in which work and code are freely shared.

IBM’s engineers have been working with OpenOffice technology for some time. But last week, IBM declared that it was formally joining the open-source group, had dedicated 35 full-time programmers to the project and would contribute code to the initiative.

Free office productivity software has long been available from OpenOffice.org, and the open-source alternative has not yet made much progress against Microsoft’s Office.

But IBM, analysts note, has such reach and stature with corporate customers that its endorsement could be significant.

“IBM is jumping in with products that are backed by IBM, with the IBM brand and IBM service,” said Melissa Webster, an analyst for IDC, a research firm. “This is a major boost for open source on the desktop.”

IBM executives compare this move with the push it gave Linux, the open-source operating system, into corporate data centers. In 2000, IBM declared that it would forcefully back Linux with its engineers, its marketing and its dollars. The support from IBM helped make Linux a mainstream technology in corporations, where it competes with Microsoft’s Windows server software.

IBM is also joining forces with Google, which offers the open-source desktop productivity programs as part of its Google Pack of software. Google supports the same document formats in its online word processor and spreadsheet service.

IBM views its Symphony desktop offerings as part of a broader technology trend that will open the door to faster, more automated movement of information within and between organizations.

A crucial technical ingredient, they say, is the document format used in the open-source desktop software, called the OpenDocument Format. It makes digital information independent of the program, like a word processor or spreadsheet, that is used to create and edit a document. OpenDocument Format is based on an Internet-era protocol called XML, short for Extensible Markup Language, which enables automated machine-to-machine communication.

Any inroads IBM and its allies make against Microsoft, analysts say, will not come easily. “Three major players–IBM, Google and Sun–are now solidly behind a potential competing standard to Office,” said Rob Koplowitz, an analyst at Forrester Research. “But it’s a tough road. Office is very entrenched.”

Read here for more information on the above article.

Personal thoughts:

There is no such thing as a free lunch in the corporate world. The reasons why so many companies are throwing free apps or services out is simply because their revenue generating model is no longer product based but service / advertisment based. Red Hat for example generate its revenue through services / support / maintenance of their Enterprise OS. Google throws out free apps and services because their revenue model is primarily advertisement. IBM has shifted its revenue model to consultancy / services based similar to Red Hat…

There is no such thing as a free lunch. Of course no one like monopolistic businesses… Microsoft was a classic example. I used the word classic because after the DOJ allegation, Microsoft has been rather timid on its stand, somewhat… People complaint that bundled application like Internet Explorer are killing off Netscape and 3rd party applications. Is that really true? Maybe… There is a difference between great application and average application. Most of the stuff you see bundled in Windows are just average quality (and that’s Microsoft fault and it is a good thing cos many companies can do better applications than them) and thus they probably only kill off those 3rd party application that are of average quality. If a 3rd party product is of great quality / standard, will there be a chance of getting knocked off by bundled application? Unlikely… This begs the burning question in the first place, if a 3rd party application is only of average quality, it would never have survived in the first place, with or without bundled. The law of competition and choices out there will kill it off. And then comes Apple with its great iLife applications, bundled… or Google with its ads engine tied to its search results… I don’t know about you but I see the same thing across all their business model. So who is complaining? It’s maturity of the industry as a whole. I wrote an article on what could have been the cause of the agitation in the 90s against Microsoft and how things are different now (other than in Europe). Have a read.

Back to the free lunch thing… Once a company’s revenue model is no longer product driven, there is all the excuses / reasons to champion Open Source or Open Standards everywhere because the very survival of the company (for now) is not dependent on the popularity of a certain products. Microsoft, and many other application company lives on their core product, Windows and Office suite. Microsoft sees a threat coming at them for years and in recent months, you have seen them expanding their revenue model to their competitors’ turf, advertising (see this article on the shift to online advertising). Google definitely can see the threat coming their way… even though it will be a long time before any dent is made. Google or IBM or Suns releasing open source suite is merely trying to put down a formidable competitor by attacking on their core revenue stream.

Likewise, I believe Microsoft should simply releases services / advertisement engine that is FREE to hit back at Google! (but it will take people to start using their Live Search and other connected services in the first place in order to make the dent in Google’s armor… the battle starts now but will only see the results… a long time from now. Google’s dominating search engine is still way ahead of the competition)

With the quality of the open source application getting better… many companies that rely on product revenue will be killed off faster. Whether this is a good news or a bad one depends on which model your business is in. The good motivation is that any company making revenue off application has to keep getting better and set higher standard than any other out there to continue to stay in the game. It has always been the case, for history are written by the winners / survivors.

So, it’s good to have choices… consumer wins. So IBM, thank you for the free Lotus Symphony suite, or Google for the free Google Apps, or Sun for free StarOfficebecause we know what your motives are and we know if one day, if one day… your free open source application were to topple Microsoft Office suite and covers over 80% of the market share, we will see more than just support for open source but ways to make money off consumer. (free bundled ads or chargeable support / services or version differentiation to get enterprise to buy into the more features applications…) Will that be back to square one, where the history of how Microsoft Office suite came about… slow and steady… version after version of improvement… market shares after market shares… to the eventual dominations of the office applications.

I wonder how different things will be…

Written by gooddealz

September 18, 2007 at 10:27 am

Posted in Opinions

Zimbra… taken.

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Yahoo has acquired online collaboration suite Zimbra for $350 million, the two companies announced this afternoon. Yahoo said that it hopes to expand its presence in universities, businesses, and through ISPs with the help of Zimbra’s offerings.

“Zimbra’s tremendous talent and innovative technology will help to extend our core Mail offerings, further strengthening our strong leadership position in this space,” said Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang in a statement. “Additionally, Zimbra’s successful relationships with large ISPs are key as we expand our worldwide partner network and continue to focus on our commitment to being the partner of choice.”

Zimbra currently offers open source e-mail, calendaring, and contact management solutions that can be used both on- and offline, and services small businesses and educational institutions. The company also encourages users to create “Zimlets,” which tie information from other web services into Zimbra’s suite. The Zimlets essentially act as widgets that can be customized and placed around Zimbra’s e-mail or calendar tools so that users can access information quickly and conveniently. The companies believe that Yahoo’s broad reach with its advertising and content network, combined with Zimlets, will make for a nice pairing.

For more information, check out the full article here.

At our company, we love Zimbra! Been using their open source version for coming to 6 months now and I must say, it’s pretty solid and pretty free! Offers Ajax like webmail and one of those nicely designed interface.

Personal thoughts:

Yahoo just recently revamped its online email client based on the code it obtained years ago in purchasing Oddpost. And this Zimbra acquisition looks more likely to take on Google’s enterprise market with it’s Google Apps and so forth. Yahoo is not ahead in search and to the media, is still known primarily as a media company rather than a serious enterprise focused giant. With this acquisition, it will be an interesting move to see how Yahoo can penetrate another segment of the business that is currently dominated by Google.

Written by gooddealz

September 18, 2007 at 4:45 am

Posted in Opinions

Triple Decker CPU coming… from AMD

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AMD is positioning the new processor, which will be marketed as part of the Phenom line and sport 2MB of shared L3 cache, as a response to consumer needs. The company’s PR is pitching the idea the dual-core/quad-core split has left a gap in the market and is implying that consumers will want to save some money instead by picking up a triple-core part more suited to workloads with lower levels of multithreading.

From what I can tell based on what has been announced, the new triple-core Phenom is essentially what The Inquirer described it as—a quad-core Phenom with one core disabled. This should help alleviate some of the yield issues that are bound to plague a part this size, but only if the tri-core actually sells.

3core

The new processor will debut in the first quarter of 2008 in socket AM2+ format, but AMD hasn’t released any details on pricing, speeds, etc. I imagine that we’ll have a pretty good ballpark idea of that information when the launch prices and speeds of the quad-core Phenom are announced.

For full article, click here.

Personal thoughts:

Seems more like AMD is trying to steal the upcoming processor launch from Intel and to tell investor that, ‘hey, we are still coming out with innovative stuff and are still kicking Intel…’. Barcelona was delayed and from the initial review on the performance, it might not be sufficient to upset Intel’s existing lineup of processors, from dual core to quad core.

One thought on the 3 core processor is yield issue possibly faced by AMD. Intel has always been the more technological advanced competitors among the two. That has always been their strongest reason why they kept coming back leading… But that is not to say that AMD can’t compete at the same level, they got some great engineer, just as good as Intel after recruiting many of them from Digital Equipment. Yield is one major issue faced by all semi conductor company and I suspect the 3 core processor is an easy way to turn off the side of the core that is not at full quality yield, instead of wasting it, it can be sold off as a 3 core processor.

Just a thought…

Written by gooddealz

September 18, 2007 at 4:30 am

Posted in Opinions

Apple is the new bully… really.

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Hurray! O2 has won the UK mobile operator for iPhone!!! Certainly worth celebrating right? Well… at the expense of agreeing to give Apple 40% of iPhone derived revenue plus a percentage of the sale price… Man! Apple really is the new bully!

It appears Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile has secured the rights to sell the iPhone exclusively across five European countries. Orange has secured rights for France.

T-Mobile will sell the iPhone in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Hungary and Croatia, according to a report in the Financial Times. T-Mobile is rumoured to be handing over 10 per cent of iPhone revenues in order to clinch this deal.

If the Guardian news are correct… this is ridiculous… and yet, this is business… O2 certainly can proclaimed to the whole UK that they have won the battle… but at 40% revenue going to Apple in order to get the exclusive deal PLUS with software SIM unlock available… I wonder if it is worth the contract in the long run for O2… I really wonder.

But having said all that… Apple / Jobs is one heck of a businessman. To use such tactics / strategy to get all the major European operator to fight and out do each other…

It will interesting to see how Apple will use the tactic when they come to Asia market next year. Will Singtel go all out to beat Starhub and M1 or will M1 give 50% of the revenue just to beat Singtel to it… We will see how it turn out. Regardless of who win the deal in the end…

There is only one BIG winner, Apple. And yes, this is what the world will become if such behavior continues from them… Who is the monopolistic bully now?

Written by gooddealz

September 17, 2007 at 2:01 pm

Posted in Opinions

iPod Touch Review is up…

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Attention all men!!! Start your drooling… iPod Touch is coming. Apple has done it again, no doubt about it. Design, design, design… User experience, user experience, user experience…

Here’s an excerpt of the review from Ars Technica.

Apple has once again set the bar high for the competition. When the original iPod came out, it revolutionized consumer expectations for how a digital audio player should perform and what the UI should look like. In the years since then, the competition has tried to build a better iPod and make navigation easier. As a result, the iPod’s interface began to look a bit dated, and that may be one of the reasons for the drastic UI changes made to the new iPod nano and iPod classic.

With the release of the iPod touch, Apple has taken a giant leap ahead of the competition. The interface is extremely well thought out and navigating between the different areas of the iPod touch’s functionality is a snap. Coverflow is more than a cool visual effect; it’s also a way to quick navigate through your music library. And if you don’t like using it, no problem. You can drill through the list views easily enough.

Like iPhone, the Internet rocks on the iPod touch. Apple has come up with the best mobile browser implementation so far, and it’s great to see Safari make an appearance on the iPhone as well. Also, browsing through photo albums is a breeze. In fact, with multitouch, I almost prefer looking at my images on the iPhone over my desktop Mac.

The iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store is another winner. One of the frustrations with online music stores is that users are tethered to the PC when buying music. Apple has changed that with the iPod touch. All you need is a WiFi connection and you can browse the iTunes Store to your heart’s content and buy that song you just heard on the radio.

The minimalist iW-FMS interface takes good advantage of the iPod touch’s real estate and the store’s entire music catalog appears to be available as well. Purchasing music is as simple as it is on a desktop or laptop and your purchased music syncs automatically to your PC the next time you sync your iPod touch.

There are a couple of things that I wasn’t so crazy about, however. While I realize that the iPod touch lacks the ubiquitous connectivity of the iPhone (seeing as how it’s not a phone and all), there’s no good reason for the e-mail client to go missing. At least you can still do webmail via Safari.

While I can see Apple’s point of view when it comes to an e-mail client, crippling the Calendar application on the iPod touch so that you cannot add, edit, or delete appointments is just plain silly. There’s no reason for this functionality to be missing, and the fact that you can edit contact information on the iPod touch makes Calendar’s missing functionality all the more irritating. The Notes application is entirely absent as well.

The screen problems bear watching. I found the differences between the iPod touch and iPhone screens to be very puzzling. Chances are, Apple went with a cheaper LCD on the iPod touch to keep the costs down and if that’s the case, Apple should reconsider its decision. Even if you don’t get an iPod touch with the negative black effect, the picture won’t look as good as that of the iPhone.

Apple could have hit a home run with the iPod touch by including full calendar functionality along with the e-mail and notes applications. Instead, the company chose to go with a common product differentiation strategy: removing some of the functionality from the cheaper device to make it a bit less attractive than a more expensive product.

My other disappointments with the iPod touch are the screen quality, lack of external volume buttons, and relatively paltry 16GB of storage—one-tenth of the iPod classic’s. If it wasn’t for those issues, the iPod touch would score a perfect 10.

That said, the iPod touch is an impressive product. It’s a joy to use and if you’ve been lusting after the iPhone but don’t want to sign a contract with AT&T, the iPod touch is a fantastic alternative. If you’re looking to replace an older iPod or another digital audio player and want a small Internet appliance to boot, this is the device for you.

The Good:

  • Slim profile, lightweight
  • iTunes Store well implemented
  • 3.5″ display is great for video
  • Snappiness of UI
  • Built-in web browser
  • WiFi support
  • iTunes WiFi Music Store delivers

The Bad:

  • No e-mail client
  • Lack of ability to edit calendar items
  • Screen quality isn’t as good as that of the iPhone
  • Negative black affect may be more than an isolated problem
  • Only 16GB of storage means I have to leave some of my music at home
  • Can’t use 802.11b/g to sync
  • No iPod disk mode

The Ugly:

  • The fingerprint smudges covering nearly the entirety of the iPod touch’s shiny surfaces

Written by gooddealz

September 17, 2007 at 10:03 am

Posted in Great Stuff

Best Open Source CMS Out There… Getting Better…

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Drupal… Man! We love it at our web technology company. It is so powerful, flexible (strong technical customization is needed) and so usable for both us or our clients.

The current stable deployment is version 5.2 and now we are hearing version 6.0 beta 1 released for testing… Wow! The best is just going to get even better soon… (Best CMS is subjective of course but if are in the open source industry, you will definitely agree that Drupal is very powerful and very forward moving as the development are very active and it just keep getting better. Even IBM, after evaluating many open source CMS, decided to use Drupal for one of their deployment. Dell did the same thing on their IdeaStorm site. Nothing can suite all needs, but Drupal do come pretty close to that. Others open source CMS are like WordPress, eGroupWare, Joomla, Moodle, osCommerce, TYPO3… and more)

Here is the excerpt from the Drupal community:

After eight months of development, we are proud to announce the release of the first beta version of the Drupal 6.x family. This beta includes a tremendous number of new features and new programming APIs for both users and developers. We improved Drupal’s human language related features, interoperability with databases, logging solutions, sign on systems and also included an update notification module for improved security, so it becomes easier than ever to get up to date with the latest security and bug fixes.

It is important to note that this beta version should not be used on production sites. We’ve resolved most errors reported so far, but there are outstanding known issues and most likely some problems that have not been reported as of yet. It is expected that there will be at least one more beta version followed by at least one release candidate before Drupal 6.0 is ready to be packaged. You can help us reach the final release date sooner by testing this beta and providing feedback.

What’s new, what’s changed?

Installer

The new Drupal 6 experience starts with the installer, which has been highly improved. Now it guides you through the initial setup steps, so starting a new Drupal site get significantly easier. Configuration parameters that used to be all around the place are now prompted for during the install so there are far fewer steps to get the site configured.

 

Languages

You will notice the improved language features as well, in both the installer and throughout using Drupal. Right to left (RTL) languages are supported, interface translations are automatically imported, and you can translate your posts right from the built-in interface, without installing more modules.

 

OpenID

The OpenID client module has been added to core. This allows your users to sign on your site with their OpenID accounts.

 

Actions and triggers

A new Trigger module has been added to core. The Trigger module lets you assign flexible configurable actions to several events happening on your site (eg. send an email when a post gets published).

 

Update status

The highly popular Update status module is now in core. This informs you about the latest bug fix and security updates for modules and themes enabled on your site, so you can always keep your site secure and clean.

 

Menu system

The menu system was rewritten from scratch, making it much more efficient. The menu interface is nearly identical so aside from the performance improvements, you will only notice the other changes if you are a programmer.

 

Themeing

Themeing has been made more flexible and easier by moving most of PHPTemplate engine deeper into core. Default template files (.tpl.php) can now be implemented by modules and a handful have already been converted. If you don’t like the way something looks, just find the .tpl file, copy it to your theme, and change the HTML.

 

Book and Forum changes

The book module and forum module have been reworked from the ground up: it is now possible to have any type of content in forums (polls for example) and the book administration is simplified.

Lots of smaller touches are included in this release. Just to name a few improvements, Drupal 6 has password strength checking, post teasers are much easier to define and table headers are sticky for easy vertical scrolling. We also took a lot of care to improve the performance of this release: more data is cached, JavaScript files are aggregated, less PHP code is loaded for each page request, and so on.

Written by gooddealz

September 16, 2007 at 4:04 pm

Posted in Great Stuff

Cool Search Engines…

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Microsoft Silverlight Demo Site, Tafiti. People should really look at this and see the potential of Silverlight Technology…

For finding song lyrics… using any words you remembered. ChizMax.

Written by gooddealz

September 16, 2007 at 3:55 pm

Posted in Great Stuff

The Secrets to Apple Success…

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Following up with a great article from Mike Elgan on Apple’s Growing Success which I blogged about in a couple of articles focusing on different great stuff that Apple is doing and what Microsoft can learn from… The Dawn of Touch Interface, Apple is the new bully, Make Windows Simpler, What a Respond, Loyalty vs Hostage

Another follow up article came from him on The 8 secrets that make Apple No. 1. Another great article and it is worth a great read. I will comment it shortly. Here are some excerpts:

Last week I wrote about how Apple’s growing success will trigger accusations that it is a monopolistic, copycat bully and why the company should be defended against such complaints. This week, I’ll discuss the secrets of Apple’s growing success and call on PC makers and consumer electronics companies to steal those secrets so they can start making better products.

Apple isn’t the biggest consumer electronics company, nor the most profitable. So what do I mean when I say it’s the No. 1 consumer electronics company?

Basically, you can divide consumer electronics companies into two groups: Apple, and everyone else. Apple really is that different. Its influence on global design is many orders of magnitude higher than its nearest competitors. It engenders customer loyalty significantly greater than that earned by any other company in the consumer electronics space. The Apple brand and awareness of its products in the general culture far exceed what you might expect, given the company’s actual sales.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is famous for a crazy video in which he yells, “I…love…this…company.” With Apple, it’s the customers who shout that.

It’s no accident, and it’s not a passing phenomenon. Apple knows something that other companies don’t. Here are the eight secrets that make Apple the best company in the industry.

Secret 1: Engineering supports design — no exceptions

Most companies bring designers in late in the product development process to create an experience “wrapper” around all the features and technologies the engineers and marketing people created.

At Apple, designers rule. Apple’s brilliant designers figure out in detail how the product will look, feel and work, and then the engineers are tasked to make it happen.

Years ago, Jeff Hawkins changed the world by creating the Palm Pilot. He designed it by walking around with a Palm Pilot-size block of wood, pretending to use the device. He took notes about what he wanted to do with the device and how he wanted to use it. He refused to be influenced by existing organizers.

By the time he gave the engineers their marching orders, the Palm Pilot was conceptually complete. He got massive push-back on it from his engineering team — “If we add six more buttons, we can make it faster…” — but the original conception prevailed, and an awesome product was born.

Palm seems to have lost this visionary approach to product design and is paying the price in the marketplace. Apple still has it.

Secret 2: Fewer is better

Far too many companies give too much power to market analysts as a substitute for product vision. One result is product oversegmentation that reflects the finely tailored targeting of a product to a specific market segment.

Sony, for example, just unveiled four new Blu-ray HDD recorders — four! — each with minor, largely irrelevant differences. The company obviously thinks consumers will dedicate an hour of their time just to consider Sony’s various Blu-ray options. In reality, eyes will glaze, and people will wander away, confused. Imagine if Sony poured all its energy into just one Blue-ray HDD recorder. You’d probably want it.

That’s what Apple does. It tries to develop the fewest possible number of products, each with the broadest possible appeal. Yes, there are multiple iPods, but feature overlap is close to zero, and it’s super easy to learn which product does what.

Look at the iPhone. Or OS X. Or any other product area. The experience of going into an Apple store provides a relief from product variation overload. You can pretty much try every product in the store in 30 minutes, not including content and accessories.

Microsoft should have learned this secret in January. Vista came in so many versions that online experts had to publish tables to explain what was for sale. Consumers still have no clue about the differences between the various versions. Buying Vista isn’t a thrill. It’s a homework assignment.

Let me make this extremely clear for all you companies out there that still don’t get it: All these subtle product variations create anxiety. And anxiety makes people not want your product. Fewer is better.

Secret 3: The experience is the product

Everyone knows this secret, but few actually employ it. But Apple is dead serious about this secret, even to the point of offering $35,000 to the city of Montreal to remove three parking meters in front of the Apple store there. The city refused, but this is how seriously Apple takes the Apple “experience.”

Another example is Apple’s packaging. The company’s products come in beautifully designed packaging with obviously expensive packaging materials and manuals. Compare that with Apple’s competitors, which see packaging as a place to save money or as an afterthought that doesn’t matter.

Why raise the price a few dollars and sell something in a better box? Because the box is part of the experience, and the experience is the product.

… Good stuff. Please read the original article for the remaining secrets.

Written by gooddealz

September 16, 2007 at 3:45 pm

Posted in News Only

The Fall… SCO Group

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No business strategy is more time-honored than using a sleepy Friday afternoon to drop some seriously bad news on investors, and SCO has followed the old playbook to the letter. At 3:21pm this afternoon, SCO sent a press release across the wire announcing that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. That sound you hear is the giddy chuckling of Linux devotees across the globe.

The move comes one month after a judge ruled that SCO did not possess any of the UNIX copyrights it claimed to have received in a deal with Novell, a move that dealt a death blow to most of its Linux-related litigation. Despite putting a brave face on the matter, it was clear that SCO was running out of cash, and observers wondered just how long they could keep going without the hope of a win in court to sustain them.

SCO still tries to spin the bankruptcy as positive news, of course, arguing that it is “in the best long-term interest of SCO and its subsidiaries, as well as its customers, shareholders, and employees,” and will enable the business to keep running.

Groklaw, which has a certain interest in this story, has already dug up SCO’s court filing in which they lay out their list of top twenty creditors. Amici, a document management firm, tops the list at $500,650, an amount that we would imagine is related to the mountains of paper churned up by the company’s legal machinations. Boies Schiller & Flexner, SCO’s lawyers, come next on the list. Also present are  Microsoft, Sun, Intel, Fujitsu, and HP; someone’s been buying computer hardware and software on some serious credit.

Read here for full story.

Who is SCO Group?  

The SCO Group, Inc. is a software company formerly called Caldera Systems and Caldera International. After acquiring the Santa Cruz Operation’s Server Software and Services divisions, as well as UnixWare and OpenServer technologies, the company changed its focus to UNIX. Later on, Caldera changed its name to The SCO Group to reflect that change in focus.

The company was part of the Canopy Group, but became independent after the settlement of a lawsuit between the Noorda family and a chairman of the group, Ralph Yarro, also former CEO of the Canopy Group.

Written by gooddealz

September 15, 2007 at 12:26 pm

Posted in News Only

What a Respond…

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The following are extracted from the HTC articles posted on  HardwareZone

With the legal wrangle between Apple and Cisco still fresh in memory in which Apple eventually reached a mutually satisfactory settlement to use the ‘iPhone’ name owned by Cisco, it didn’t take long before the touchy question (pun intended) was raised about the use of the word ‘Touch’ by Apple for its latest iPod Touch. HTC, being the trademark owner of ‘HTC Touch’, was expected to be on the defensive, but surprisingly, Mr. Peter Chou was quick to point out that HTC was proud that Apple shared a similar vision in the direction of touch screen user interface in handheld devices. “HTC Touch is no doubt a trademark, but I can’t comment [regarding iPod Touch] right now. However, Apple’s decision to name its latest iPod as the iPod Touch just goes to show that we had came up with a good product name for our HTC Touch,” said Mr. Peter Chou. Although common descriptive words cannot be trademarked, HTC might just have a strong case against Apple because the iPod Touch shares a very similar set of core functions in that it too has a touch screen user interface and is also capable of storing and playing digital music. No further comments regarding the possibility of legal actions for trademark infringement were made.

Personal thoughts:

If Peter Chou, HTC CEO had responded to the iPhone Touch with criticism, he would be ‘blasted’ for copying the iPhone innovative touch interface in the first place! (The originality of the touch interface was not from Apple but else where, even Microsoft Research had developed that years ago but never implement it to a consumer product. The Microsoft Surface will be the first commercial product from the giant to feature the unique touch interface. Check out Surface for more details) iPhone demoed the interface way back in January and after a couple of months, the HTC TouchFlo interface surfaced, which in all its attempt, was pretty useless and not well implemented. It is a good start at copying… now is time to innovate on it)

Written by gooddealz

September 15, 2007 at 12:12 pm

Posted in Opinions