Archive for February 2010
First of all, this is not a dig at Toyota. They, along with Nissan, manufacture some of the world’s most reliable and popular cars. The pride and attention to detail that goes into vehicles from companies like that (along with Porsche and others) means that any slip up is more a case of losing their way, than any intent based on nefarious decision making designed to appease stock holders.
On the other hand, whilst it is claimed the faulty Toyota cars may have lead to the death of up to 30 people, (not to discount the loss of life), that figure pails into insignificance with the number of people killed, injured or made ill by other products available world-wide. Sugar and it’s bi-products, not to mention oil, plastics and all manner of pharmaceutical products have had and are having a catastrophic effect on life everywhere – human and otherwise.
I plan a dedicated page on this, but for a warmup, consider that the junk fed to youth world-wide over the last 50 years or so has created a generation of millions of diabetics who will be dependent on a lifetime of insulin, not to mention the major hassle that goes with this horrible disease. It is outrageous that this subject is not given as much coverage as the Toyota issue. The difference between the two is Toyota have slipped up, whilst the processed food and sugar powered lifestyle of the West is ingrained into industry and society. I know books have been written about this, but the issue here is that as per certain other subjects in the news, Toyota are being spotlighted as a way to detract attention from matters of far greater significance.
Fight back club: Avoid sugar. Walk or bike to work or buy an electric vehicle. Improve your health and longevity whilst decimating nasty industries in the process. Delicious!
UPDATE – 11th March 2010: It appears the situation re Toyota is more serious than eluded to above, which is very sad. However this does not alter the key point of this posting. Being an entrepreneur, I don’t feel comfortable posting negative comments about another company or individual – “he who has not sinned” etc, however, where a whole consortium of industries exist simply to make people ill and then offer them an essental lifetime ‘cure’, something has to be done. Toyota will self repair and be back, but will certain other industries who exist for more nefarious purposes?
Once again an industry consortium has announced an idea that was in fact proposed quite a while back. In this case, it was Java, from Sun Microsystems – back in the 1990s. Write once, run anywhere – across multiple devices. Furthermore, Android from Google is based on Java and once their app store is perfected, so Android will begin to obtain a decent percentage of the market. The issue here is that more innovative companies see ‘standards’ like this as limiting their competitiveness. The real reason the industry is doing this is to counter the success of Apple’s app store and because more and more mobile operating systems are being announced, such as Bada from Samsung. In order for these apps to run across multiple platforms, the devices will need to conform to a minimum specification, and ideally, possess a similar user interface. This was tried in the 1980s with the Japanese MSX home computing standard. It didn’t work. The solution to all this is that those companies that produce credible OS’s put more effort into perfecting their app stores and offer fair licensing agreements.
Fight back club: Buy what works for you.
Be honest, when viewing UP or Avatar, how long before you forgot you were watching a movie in 3D? Twenty minutes? Fifteen? Maybe as few as ten?
The only reminder being the need to periodically remove your 3D glasses to rub that annoying smear off the lenses.
Surely it was the captivating storyline and creative production design that made the whole experience so compelling?
Whilst timing can be appropriate for some technologies, such as tablet computing – there are concepts that will never (ever) ‘take off’ because they do not offer a viable long term value proposition.
If 3D was practical and eternally compelling, it would have been adopted years ago. After all, the 3D movies made by Disney a few decades ago were outstanding but a gimmick, and to be fair, an experiment. Like a roller coaster ride – 3D is something you experience once every few years or so because the thrill is ok for 15 minutes, but after a while it gets, well, old!
Either way, the brain cannot be fooled. 15-20 minutes into a 3D movie it adjusts for this confusing scenario, rendering the technology pointless as an entertainment medium. Even for science, ‘fake’ 3D is not interactive enough to be useful.
The millions being invested by the consumer electronics industry in 3D is the biggest waste of money since the questionable DAB radio here in the UK. A far better use of the money would be to create a global 1080P HD broadcasting standard (no more PAL, NTSC and SECAM differences) and finally agree on some standard connectivity too, such as HDMI OR Mini-Displayport, OR even Light Peak. Industry leaders, what are you waiting for? Ongoing sales of expensive convertor cables and plugs?
Fight back club: When buying your next video based gear, only choose devices with built in 1080P video capability. (720P & 1080i is inferior!) Do not make your purchasing decisions based on 3D.
Beyond HD, I believe that full motion semi immersive hologram like 3D display technology will be the biggest revolution in ‘broadcasting’ since colour television. That is, a coffee table form factor device that projects walk / glance around true 3D motion ‘video’ and computer graphics right in front of you – just like those in the Star Wars and Avatar battle planning stations. ‘Holovision’ will allow for more socially interactive content and telepresence (multi-‘grasp’ networked chess, sports, World of Warcraft, architectural concepts and more), but best of all, it will not fool the brain, offering a long term value proposition until the touchy feely holodeck arrives in 2032*.
If you’re going to overthrow the forces of evil, plan your strategy using the right technology!
Update – January 9 2013: At CES, The Verge confirms the overdue inevitable. Finally. Now we can focus on more pertinent persitent technologies.
Update – May 13 2010: Looks like I’m not the only one to hold this view.
Update – 2010: The Japanese get it
On two occasions, once in the 1990s, and again more recently, this blog hinted that Western governments needed to make massive investments in high speed broadband networks with the economic benefits this provides, just as they built the highways, autobahns and motorways in the 1950s and 60s that we take for granted today. The private sector would never be able to deliver fast enough or consistently.
Time and time again over the last decade or so the evidence has continued to pile up that not doing this early on is coming back to huant us. Never mind the scenario discussed in this article – today, the iPhone is a prime example of a device that is technologically ahead of the networks it relies upon. Providing a fast, slick and robust interface, the iPhone (and most other wireless devices) grind to a halt the moment you try to do anything bandwidth intensive on them – such as streaming video – in particular during waking hours! And that is not Apple’s fault, but that of the governments, who rather than invest in the networks, hit them for billions of dollars for spectrum licenses. What where they thinking? (They weren’t.)
What they should have done is what governments do during a time of war or in general with the military – put bids out to tender and provided the money and resources required to meet minimum specification, performance objectives and milestones. Wireless leaders such as Motorola, Ericsson and Samsung could have been installing 4g/LTE base stations across the US, Europe and elsewhere years ago – providing our economies with a fast, slick and robust network in time for today’s speedy gadgets.
But they didn’t, so we are still driving sports cars on windy country lanes – and no, 7MBs HSDPA doesn’t cut it, nor does attempting to get your gadget to logon to the flaky WiFi network in a coffee shop you have rushed into in order to try to download that massive PDF.
Fight back club: Bring down the networks by consuming as much bandwith hungry content as you can until someone realises that information technology economies require a seamless digital highway. Go on, wake up your government today by stressing your air time provider until they cry!
Why are we in this mess? Greed. Did anyone really believe the private sector would deliver? Look at the trains!
Why do I hint that the West is stupid? Because we find it difficult to do things properly unless giving whatever it is a massive focused investment – at the last moment. Eastern nations such as Korea and Singapore have proven better at long term thinking and already benefit from a robust digital infrastructure that was built when we were all on dial-up. But we do do war well. 😉
Not an original sentiment of course. Anyone who monitors the news will have noticed the rapidly increasing number of instances world-wide of wildlife behaving strangely or suffering horribly. This is caused by a mixture of climate change and/or human encroachment into previously untouched wilderness. Whilst the latter is difficult to prevent (we all live in what was once wilderness), those attempting to discredit climate change based on the poor decision making of certain scientists need to stop reading reports and focus on the real world evidence. And that means looking out of the window.
Never has there been a moment in time when a verifiable public wiki designed to monitor temperature, rainfall, windspeed, pollution levels, animal migration patterns and more would be so valuable and enlightening.
Fight back club: Create a global nature monitoring wiki! Work towards a sustainable lifestyle that does not cramp your style. To industry and retailers: People won’t accept inconvenience, so this has to be done very thoughtfully. (I have some ideas on this. Will release them through my employer if they prove viable.)