The move towards a non-military controlled positioning system gather pace, as China joins EU’s satellite network. The American’s don’t like the idea, so that automatically means the French do. The Germans and Brits get lots of jobs, so they like it. And the rest of Europe hopes for little tidbits of cash from what will probably be one of the largest industrial projects of the next few years.
Neil MacIntosh, the poor fellow, owned an early Star-Tac and suffered. Yes, the dirty little secret of the ST was that it sucked. Or at least, the interface sucked and it would cut out a fair amount. But it looked damn good and everyone wanted one. It’s the only American phone ever to actually look like anything other than a brick. What a shame, then, that every other Motorola phone since has looked like a breeze block, and inherited all the “issues” that bedeviled the early ST’s software. Not entirely fair, but you get the idea.
How can a company that created the Star-Tac, one of the classic early mobile phone designs and for a while the hottest geek product in the world, go so wrong since then? Christopher Kenton in BusinessWeek Online rants about the awfulness of his Motorola phone – should be required reading for any Motorola executives.
According to Creative Commons, new record label
Magnatune “is completely rethinking old music industry business models. They offer music from a wide range of genres that you can download, stream, and listen to. And, like computer shareware, you buy stuff you like only after trying it out first. The label splits profits with artists 50-50 and even offers a sliding scale for purchases through Paypal.”
It’s not quite “The bands own everything. The record company owns nothing. Everyone has the freedom to fuck off” though, is it?
Salling Clicker is brilliant, but it’s not the only option for controlling your Mac from a Bluetooth-equipped phone. Also worth having a look at is Romeo, which has the advantage of being open source.
Slava at Unsanity points out a little factoid delved from the internals of iChat: the existence of an encryption module, at least internal to Apple. Hopefully, this is something that Apple will add to the product for the rest of us in the future. As more and more people use IM, it’s likely to be more and more of an issue.
John Gruber posts an entertaining piece on Why 2004 won’t be like 1984., riffing on the theme of why Apple isn’t like other companies. However, in the process he gets a few things muddled or just plain wrong. For example, he claims that “in reality, [Apple and IBM] weren’t competing much at all,” because of the differences between the Mac and the IBM PC. But this ignores the fact that in the business market, particularly small businesses, IBM was eating Apple’s lunch: Instead of buying Apple II’s, small businesses were buying IBM PCs and Apple’s market share was tanking as a result.
John’s also wrong about OS/2, which he claims Microsoft “pretended to support… while secretly planning all along to abandon.” If you read the excellent book on the origins of Windows NT, Showstopper, you’ll find that this simply wasn’t true: Gates was very committed to OS/2 early on. To quote the book: “at the outset, Gates had been so bullish about OS/2 that he vowed it would supplant DOS in less than three years,” and even when it proved a disaster “Gates did not want a rupture with IBM.” However, unlike IBM, he recognised OS/2 for what it was – a waste of effort – and made sure that there was an alternative, Microsoft-owned product in the pipeline. Even then it was Paul Maritz who told Gates and Ballmer than “we either have to choose the Windows horse, or the OS/2 horse” as late as 1990.