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nytimes has this article today titled Cable freedom is a click away, it talks about how upgrading your computer, installing a few desktop apps and adding a wireless connection, keyboard and mouse will mean you can move away from a monthly cable bill.

Some thoughts….

You don’t need all that setup. To watch television shows online, you just need a laptop and wired / wireless headphone set. hulu, joost etc. are all web sites, unless you are looking at recouping earlier investment, you can watch all you want with out a television. All you need is the patience to watch the show a day to a week later, depending on the show.

I do not own a television, and i’ve been using a laptop to watch what i want for more than two years now. Over the past two years the choice of sites that i can visit to watch what i want has gone up, in particular with hulu.

The article never mentions the downside nor does it talk about the options for that very important internet connection. In this setup you are essentially dependant on your internet connection provider. If you use a cable company to get Internet as well then you are at the mercy of all the other users in your neighbourhood who use the same cable company. In other words if enough number of users in your neighbourhood are like you, then the bandwidth you will be able to use goes down drastically. That’s because cable companies provide shared bandwidth in most localities. If all your neighbours are using the same setup, then you are essentially trying to load a page all the time.

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It’s been about six months since Oracle announced Sun acquisition but it isn’t completed yet. News reports indicate that EU approval for the acquisition is not yet through. In the interim Sun apparently is laying off about 3000 people, apparently 10% of its workforce.

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/10/why-the-industrial-revolution-was-in-great-britain/

This is one of the best cause consequence analysis of technological evolution. Why did industrial revolution happen in England and not any where else? A very thought provoking analysis that i hope to revisit again with my take on it. A must watch. Iam trying to get a link where i can embed it and will do it once i find it.

It has been a very long time since i posted.

I was quite busy at work, and so did not have the time or energy to do anything else.

Do you remember that old point about “inflection points” from “Only the paranoid survive”?

We had that great looking chart of various IT companies IBM, DEC etc. which had the entire stack of technology all by themselves. The hardware (often right from the chip), and the sofware. Then that model went bust with Microsoft dominating the OS market with its Windows OS and Intel dominating the chip sector and hardware makers basically getting invisible. Hardware makers, like Dell, were outsourcing manufacturing to OEM’s and branding to sell along with OS makers like Microsoft.

The first attack on this model, was apple, which managed to create a brand that was able sell hardware with out any regard to the underlying chip manufacture. Apple also managed to create a unified brand of “apple” with its hardware and software. Remember, even as apple embraced Intel chips for its computers, Intel was never the brand being sold. It was, Apple, with its hardware and software.

Today we see the same thing happening at an enterprise level. Oracle takes over Sun and thus becomes a brand that can sell across the whole stack of IT structure. If approved, Oracle will be able to sell hardware, OS, multiple database options, Applications servers and finally Enterprise applications systems.

Oracle is not the only company that can provide you some thing like this, IBM is pretty much in the same place and HP can do something pretty similar. We are not even counting Cisco’s avowed contention to get into the data center. I would think, Cisco is probably looking at EMC + VM Ware to get a piece of this pie.

In essence, we are going back to a situation where a customer can choose a single vendor and buy hardware, OS, Databases, Applications servers and even enterprise level applications. In an emerging situation like this, who will be the greatest looser?

I think given the current power structure, it will be intel which will be the biggest looser and the next, if at all, will be microsoft. Intel is the biggest looser since it will loose its pricing power enjoyed over a period of about 15 years if not close to 20 years. It will be interesting to see how AMD reacts to these unfolding events.

What will the reaction of Andy Grove, be to this trend?

Over the past 10 days or so, we see “reports” about the safety of small cars. Like this “opinion” of wall street journal, where they conclude that small cars are inherently unsafe. WSJ did a follow up with this article.

There are two arguements against this idiotic arguement, one satirize their point of view by taking it to an extreme. The argument in this case is fairly straight forward. The crash tests conducted were between small cars and mid-sized sedans. These tests wer.e for head-on collisions, where the total momentum is higher.

For a fair comparision, of the severity of the crash results, it is important to compare the results for small to mid-size car collision to mid-size to full size cars, full size car to SUV and SUV to an 18 wheeler collisions. Furthermore, an accurate description of the so called “Safety” of various cars would be a head on collision with the highest momentum generating vehicle on the road.

So, we should see the results for a small car, mid-size car, full size car and a SUV against a fully loaded 18 wheeler. Ofcourse that detail would not be given out. If a small car was not “Safe”, then the safest mode of transportation would be an 18 wheeler for everyone.

That argument sounds ridiculous… because it is.

Ultimately every auto crash is a question of momentum, and momentum is generated by weight “and” speed of the vehicle. Then we would also have to consider probability theory. Questions related the probability of an occurance of this sort happening should also be considered before a judgement of the viability of small cars is made.

Any opinion degrading small cars and their so called “safety issues”, with out delving into these issues is utter rubbish and should be treated for what they are, idiotic arguments.

I would be surprised if you have not yet heard or listened to Susan Boyle considering the saturation coverage this singing sensation has recieved. On the off chance that you haven’t, here it is…

You would agree that she has exceptional voice and unusual vocal range and she is evidently well trained. It is conventional wisdom now, that she is a great talent, that susan boyle is the kind of discovery that makes the efforts of shows like “Britian’s got talent” and “American Idol” worth while.

To realize the real reason she is a singing sensation, watch the video again and pay attention to the visuals of the audience as Susan speaks. Here are a some of things you notice.

When Susan says, “its a collection of villages” you can hear the audience sniggering, and when she says she is 47 (Remember the first time she was asked the same question when she wasn’t on stage, she says she is almost 48. Was there a friendly tip then to say she is 47?), the audience laugh quite loudly and the panel of judges roll their eyes.

If this isn’t humiliation, i don’t know what humiliation is!

Wait there’s more…

Simon Cowell asks her what is the dream and Susan says, “trying to be a professional singer”. The camera focuses on a good looking young women in the audience who does an exaggerated eye roll. And when susan says i would like to be as famous as Elaine Page, the camera again focuses on a woman in the audience who is commenting, we do not know about the comment itself but by this time you feel the vibe of the audience, which probably started off with the eye roll of the panel of those judges.

Everyone in the auditorium, including the panel of judges thinks she is a middle aged country women with high hopes of making it big, and they laugh at her and are already against her. But then she starts singing, and the expressions of the panel of judges show they don’t believe what they are hearing. As the song progresses, audience support moves to support her strongly and the camera man catches a couple of obviously elderly ladies and their reaction when comments were made by the panel. Towards the end, camera doesn’t show many young people but audience members who are either middle aged or elderly or do not fall into that “ideal” body type. The delightful laughter of relief on the face of a women towards the end of the comments, is the evidence of strong swing among the audience. Panel of judges acknowledge her obvious talent and a star is born.

To me, the story here is not about Susan Boyle, though obviously, she is the conduit which depicts what human society as a whole has transformed into. The story was depicted by that online producer, and cameramen of the program, who managed to build a narrative of the feelings and emotions of the audience and panel of judges regarding this women who thought she had a certain skill, but they were discriminating against.

Human beings as a society have become superficial. We no longer respect intellectual achievement, we don’t think being able to think in the abstract is an achievement, we do not think, as people age and gain experience they get more wise, we think people who do not live in an urbanized landscape can achieve anything. Did you notice the level of disapproval for people who are aged, people who do not come from an urban area, people who do not fall into the same pegion hole of body image face in our society?

Bryan Williams was being mild when he said, “She beat expectations and perceptions”. He was being polite, not to Susan Boyle, but to his own audience. Susan Boyle did not just beat expectations and perceptions, she managed to break through the unseen boundaries of a globalized world that descriminate aganist age, body image and rural people.