Trifecta: America’s youth — it’s time to become real rebels and revolt against the Democrats!
Crapware comes to Android:
It’s not restricted to Sony Ericsson handsets, either. HTC’s often held up as the paragon of Android quality — alongside Samsung — but my own Desire HD is riddled with stuff that I simply don’t want: 3Mobile-TV, 3Musik and Planet3 were all installed alongside third-party apps such as Amazon MP3, Bebo, Bejeweled Deluxe and a demo of EA’s Sims 3.
Who’s responsible? Networks, largely, which receive clean handsets and then load them up with rubbish after signing deals with numerous partners. And it’s not like you can just get rid of this software, either — most of it’s there to stay, with hard-coded blocks in place to ensure you don’t uninstall any of the tat you don’t want.
There are ways around it, with rooting a possibility if you’d like an untarnished Android experience. Personally, I use a superb app called LauncherPro to kill two birds with one stone: it replaces HTC Sense with its own customisable home screen, and it also allows you to hide apps in your app drawer — the next-best option if I can’t uninstall.
Some “solution.” Why people paying $150 or more for a phone — with contract — put up with being treated so shabbily by their carriers astounds me.
(Hat tip, Gruber, who says that “The funny thing is, Microsoft learned from Windows being open to this sort of nickel-and-diming from hardware makers — to my knowledge at least, Windows Phone 7 devices don’t have crapware. Just Android.”)
Acer CEO: “Today I have to say, trying to break even this year becomes impossible.” J.T. Wang insists that the tablet market is just a consumer “fever,” even well into the second year of iPads and (to a lesser extent) Galaxy Tabs just destroying Acer’s netbook market.
I warned you three weeks ago not to go long on Acer.
HP had a plan for taking on the new tablet market. It didn’t pan out, but at least they had a plan. Acer doesn’t even have that much.
Here’s Claire Berlinski — who, living in Istanbul, probably spends some serious time worrying about this issue:
In January 2010, an earthquake struck Haiti and destroyed nearly 100,000 buildings. Hospitals, schools, government buildings, jails, hotels, churches, whole neighborhoods—all crumbled, entombing everyone inside. After the quake, I received an e-mail from a scholar of international relations. “It’s odd that earthquakes tend to occur frequently in countries that can least afford them,” she wrote.
You could only write such a sentence if you had never given the matter much thought. It isn’t odd; in fact, it isn’t true. Mother Nature doesn’t have it in for the poor. Rather, earthquakes come to our attention only when they are disasters, and they are disasters only when they strike dense urban areas full of badly made buildings. Last year, there were a number of earthquakes larger than the one that leveled Port-au-Prince, but they didn’t make the news because they happened in the middle of nowhere. California’s Loma Prieta quake, the “World Series earthquake” of 1989, was as big as the one in Port-au-Prince. It killed so few people by comparison—only 63—because San Francisco’s buildings and infrastructure were well designed and strong.
So, if Haiti had the same strict earthquake codes as San Francisco, far fewer people would have died last year? Well, no — and that’s not what Claire is implying, either.
Before you can have nice safety codes, you must first produce the wealth that makes creating them, enforcing them, and adhering to them possible. The best defense against natural disaster is: Wealth. And generally speaking, the more wealth, the better.
That’s one of the things I really worry about with our long-term growth problem, as Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank, ObamaCare, the EPA and the NLRB continue to crush the life out of American wealth creation. First the satellites stop getting replaced, and we lose our hurricane and tornado warnings. Then the seismologists have to find other work. And the building inspectors would rather take a little on the side, than to make sure everything is up to snuff.
Once you’ve developed enough of a culture of danger and corruption and poverty, it’s very difficult to turn back. But that’s the road we’re on right now — and you’d think the Haiti earthquake last year would have been all the warning we’d need.
If you care at all about the Israeli Front in the Global War on Terror, this is the most frightening paragraph you’re likely to read all week:
So to recap as we head into September, with the Muslim Brotherhood poised to take over Egypt and the Palestinians — encouraged by Israel’s enemies at the U.N. — poised to declare statehood unilaterally, we have al-Qaeda now active in Israel; a successful terrorist attack inside Israeli territory through Egypt; Israel and Egypt in a faceoff over the killing of Egyptian soldiers by Israel after those soldiers allowed (and perhaps even facilitated) an attack on Israel; and the Palestinians — with whom Israel is expected to make peace — celebrating the murder of a Jewish family and the killing of other Israelis.
That’s from Andrew McCarthy at National Review, and it means that we’re looking at the nearly-worst case scenario for Israel and Egypt. Look at this map of Egypt’s population density. By and large, Egypt is the Nile River valley. The great bulk of Egypt’s 80 million people live in a Third World maze of hovels along the river’s shores from Aswan to the Delta. Should that warren ever become — with a wink and a nod from Cairo — infested with al Qaeda, it would be the Devil’s work to root them out again.
Well, there is one easy solution — the one John Birmingham used in Without Warning. Its back to the wall and under immediate threat of nuclear and chemical destruction, Israel launched a preemptive nuclear strike on its Muslim neighbors. Egypt was most easily dispatched with a single, low-yield nuke fired by F-16 into the base of the Aswan Dam. The end result was as horrific as it was effective: Egypt’s length of the Nile Valley, flooded with boiling, irradiated water.
Please note that I am not endorsing this “solution” any more than Birmingham was. I mention it only to illustrate the difficulties involved in dealing with an Egyptian Islamic Republic. We’ve been fighting in Afghanistan for ten years now, against an enemy with meager resources beyond a willingness to kill and be killed. Egypt has F-16s and Abrams tanks. In Afghanistan, the enemy hides in caves and amongst tiny villages. Egypt has those 80 millions packed tightly in a post-urban rat’s-nest nightmare — and the locals are known to be quite friendly to al Qaeda’s aims.
But at least Mubarak is in chains and on trial, right?
Samsung is reportedly sniffing around HP’s for-sale computer division.
I can understand Samsung wanting to become the World’s Largest Computer Maker™, but I’m not sure how much sense it makes. HP is getting out of making computers, because tablets and mobile have just murdered their razor-thin margins. There just aren’t enough profits to justify HP staying in the business, after waving the white flag in the mobile space.
Samsung is enjoying success in mobile. They make some very nice Android phones, and their tablet is the best (surviving) iPad competitor. The latter isn’t saying much — but the tablet market is still quite young.
So why would Samsung want to take resources (cash, engineering talent, etc) away from mobile and devote it to a low-margin, dead-end mass market? Of course, the Google/Motorola deal still doesn’t make much sense to me, so maybe I’m too stodgy on M&A deals. What do you think?
Dear GOP Voters,
Looking at the latest Gallup numbers, you could nominate an expired package of processed luncheon meats, and it would sweep the floor with President Obama. In fact, I’d wager that Mr. Bad Bologna would win every state except for Denial — a 56-state sweep.
So when the straw polls or caucus or primary vote comes your way, vote your conscience, not just for whomever you think is most electable…It’ll make you feel better the next morning, I promise.
Besides, strategic voting like that is how John Kerry got the nod back in 2004. And he makes the spoiled bologna smell pretty good.
It’s good news/bad news on the Fairness Doctrine. First, the good:
While the commission voted in 1987 to do away with the rule — a legacy to a time when broadcasting was a much more dominant voice than it is today — the language implementing it was never removed. The move Monday, once published in the federal register, effectively erases the rule.
It’s about time. Now, the bad:
Monday’s move is part of the commission’s response to a White House executive order directing a “government-wide review of regulations already on the books” designed to eliminate unnecessary regulations.
It took months to remove a regulation from the books which hasn’t been in force for 24 years. Are you surprised? Of course not. And that’s why the President’s commission is such a joke. The only way to do away with enough of the regulatory state to make any real difference, is to start abolishing entire programs, divisions and departments.
It looks like the Libyan Civil War & Friends is all over but the reprisals — and let’s hope the rebel forces keep those to a minimum. But after 40 years of Gaddafi, some ugliness is to be expected.
Gaddafi’s rule was an odd one. At home, he set himself up as the Kind Father — using oil money to keep a lid on things and thuggery when money didn’t suffice. He used taunts and terror to give himself a place on the world stage far bigger than tiny Libya deserved, but perfectly suited to his Comedic-Fascist personally. But he backed down when spanked — by Reagan in 1986 and by Saddam Hussein’s example in 2003.
By the end, he was wearing a fright wig and paying American celebrities to appear at his name-brand concerts. Nothing, however, could save Gaddafi from the combined power of the Arab Spring and NATO warplanes.
And what of NATO’s involvement in the Libyan Civil War? It worked — and for that we should be thankful, and just a tiny bit proud. It’s proper to celebrate when a dictator falls. But, good lord, what a mess we helped make of things, right up until the very end.
A few companies of British and French Marines, with plenty of US support, and this thing really would have been over with in “days, not weeks.” A smallish show of force, combined with inducements for Gaddafi to leave, is all it should have taken. Instead, Britain and France relied on tiny amounts of airpower, President Obama provided leadership “from behind,” and the West created every inducement for Gaddafi to wage a Götterdämmerung battle in Tripoli.
How many have died who didn’t need to? Hundreds? Thousands? It’s impossible to say. But in the “bad old days” of Western imperialism, a few warships would have shown up off the shores of Tripoli
to make things quite clear to Gaddafi — and maybe even to help escort him and some of his booty off to a luxurious exile somewhere on the Red Sea Coast or the south of France. But we in the West didn’t want to appear all imperialistic. So we gave the rebels just enough help to win, and win sloooooowly.
All war is cruelty. But an unnecessarily long war is pure sadism. And it’s obvious that Washington and Britain and France made this war unnecessarily long by a matter of months.
I’d say neither 3D TVs not Tabs are selling very well. Whatever happened to Android taking over the market for tablets?
Melissa and I have been checking out the available lineup on Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime Streaming, both of which you can stream on a $99 Roku box. Between those and my considerable library of ripped content we stream via Apple TV, we’re left wondering:
Is it time to ditch the dish and say goodbye to DirecTV?
If anyone has any practical experience, we’d like to know if internet streaming is up to the job.
Last week I’d found a concert version, but something funky happened with YouTube while I was out in the woods. So let’s try this again with the original album version.
If you lost your virginity outdoors, anywhere from Indiana to Kansas, Minnesota to Missouri, then this is one song that will stick with you for just about ever.
The Chevy Volt might just be the Deal of the Century. No, really:
The problem is said to be the price of the Volt, which is a massive understatement, because everyone buying a Volt is understating the price. No one purchasing a Volt has the faintest clue what it really costs, because of all the taxpayer subsidies plowed into production, and hefty rebates offered at the point of sale. $400 million in federal subsidies were extracted from the taxpayer to fund Volt production, and buyers have enjoyed a $7500 federal tax credit.
That means each of the 3200 Volts sold thus far has rolled out of the lot with $132,500 in taxpayer subsidies stuffed in the glove compartment. They sticker at $41,000, so that means each Volt sold thus far actually costs $173,500, with only $33,500 paid by the actual purchaser.
Who else will sell you a $173,500 car for just $33,500? Only Government Motors, that’s who! Such a deal — it’s like getting Mercedes SL55 AMG for the price of a fully-equipped Camry! Only, instead of getting a luxurious and high-performance convertible with a hand-built V-8 engine generating 493 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, you get a dinky little piece of crap that does 0-to-60 downhill, perhaps. Shoot, I guess at that price you’re not even getting a reliable midsize family sedan with a V-6 and all the options.
This might be the reason Government Motors has sold only 3,200 of the misbegotten things.
CNN Money‘s Paul R. La Monica says: It looks like stagflation! Here’s the latest:
Weekly initial jobless claims rose again and were back above 400,000. There’s the “stag.” And the Consumer Price Index rose at a much higher than expected rate in July. That follows a similarly strong Producer Price Index number Wednesday. Ladies and gentlemen, there’s your “flat ion.”
What are investors worried more about? If you look beyond the latest carnage in stocks Thursday, investors are clearly sending a signal that they are worried both about stagnation and inflation. But the emphasis seems to be more on the “stag.”
Of course, sharp VodkaPundit readers have known about the stagflation threat since June of 2009. Back then, we called it the Grand Unification Theory of Sucking. Today we call it… the exact same thing. I’m no genius, it’s just that I’ve seen this show before. Meanwhile, the entire Professional and Political Left thinks they can repeat the same policies that got us into this mess, to get us out of this mess.
Progressives are regressing so far so far, you half expect to see Nancy Pelosi devolve into a flappy little salamander, live on national TV. Their prescriptions are so ancient, I wouldn’t be surprised if President Obama comes back from Martha’s Vineyard next month, to announce he’ll be treating the economy to a round of leeches. If that doesn’t work, Henry Waxman and Barney Frank will take to breaking CEOs on the rack, until they confess to the heresy of not creating millions of green jobs.
The talk last week about creating a “Department of Jobs” was dismissed as a trial balloon, but that’s not what it was. It was the “modern” manifestation of sacrificing a lamb to the Rain Gods during a drought. No thunderclouds? We have displeased the gods with our selfish ways. No jobs? We have displeased the Government by not giving it the new federal bureaucracy it demands.
Years ago, I joked with a friend that government was “the new voodoo.” All you’ve got to do is have the right people with the right laws, and magic can happen. These days, I’m no longer kidding when I say it.
Time‘s Andrew Rotherham asked the Education Secretary why he was putting down Texas schools, and got no real answer. Here’s the story:
Policy wonks like me had woken up to baffling reports that Duncan told Bloomberg Television’s Al Hunt that the Texas school system “has really struggled” under Rick Perry, the GOP governor who just announced he is running for President. “Far too few of their high school graduates are actually prepared to go on to college,” Duncan said in the TV interview, which is scheduled to air this weekend, telling Hunt that he feels “very, very badly for the children there.”
When I asked Duncan about this dire assessment in an interview I had scheduled today for my next School of Thought column, the former head of the Chicago school system was light on specifics:
“Texas has challenges. The record speaks for itself. Lots of other states have challenges too. But there is a lot of hard work that needs to be done in Texas and a lot of children who need a chance to get a great education.”
But what about the fact, I responded, that on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Texas’ fourth- and eighth-graders substantially outperformed their peers in Chicago in reading and math?
“I would have to look at all the details, but there are real challenges in Texas. And like every other state, they should be addressed openly and honestly as in Illinois, as in Chicago, and everywhere else.”
Confused? Me too, and I do this for a living.
HP’s TouchPad Follies have gone from sad to comic:
On that note, The Next Web reports that HP engineers had gone as far as to test webOS running on an iPad, finding that the operating system ran “over twice as fast” on the iPad 2 as it did on the TouchPad for which it had been designed. Even running as a web app within the iPad 2′s Safari browser yielded substantially better performance than on the TouchPad…
The report notes that the TouchPad hardware had essentially already been designed when HP acquired Palm last year, with the engineers tasked with getting webOS running on the existing design. The resulting handicap of outdated hardware reportedly crippled the webOS team’s ability to innovate for the tablet platform and ultimately led to the poor market reception.
The problem wasn’t WebOS, after all — designed by Palm a couple years ago. Now HP’s decision to get out of the hardware business makes a lot more sense. The biggest PC maker in the world was in over its head.
During the Iran Hostage Crisis, President Jimmy Carter stayed holed up in the White House — effectively becoming a hostage, himself. Our nation looked small and helpless, as our erstwhile ally committed acts of war against us with impunity. And our President looked small and feckless, oblivious to the message he was sending to the nation and the world.
And then there’s President Barack Obama, partying on Martha’s Vineyard while the nation is mired in high unemployment, higher underemployment, a melting stock market and creeping inflation. But, hey, don’t worry — he’s promising another pivot to jobs (his seventh) just as soon as he can tear himself away from vacation.
Somewhere between these two extremes lies wisdom. And leadership.
There are theories, of course, as to why.
On the one extreme, Boyd Richard Boyd thinks Obama really is “the anti-American President.” And he’s racked up an impressive list of damning quotes from the President himself to make the case. Among them:
Sept, 17 2007 to SEIU:
“[Y]our agenda’s been my agenda[.]”
November 2007 to ACORN:
“I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career.”
October 12, 2008 to Joe the Plumber:
“I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”
October 30, 2008 at the University of Mississippi, Columbia:
“We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America[.]“
Left out, unfortunately, was the time Michelle Obama raised the curtain and gave the game way:
Barack knows that we are going to have to make sacrifices; we are going to have to change our conversation; we’re going to have to change our traditions, our history; we’re going to have to move into a different place as a nation.
That seems like an awful lot of work to do in just four or eight years. But, remember, the cultural groundwork has been being laid for forty years already. That’s the hard part — the political revolution-from-above is comparatively simple.
I read earlier that HP is spinning off its PC business — or as I call it, “Going full IBM.” What I didn’t catch this morning is that they’re also killing off WebOS.
That’s a real shame, because WebOS is smart and functional. But HP has no one to blame but themselves, after completely cluster-effing the TouchPad launch.
Did Google spend $12 billion dollars on Motorola, just for the juicy patent portfolio? That’s what some very smart people are saying:
I don’t think Google is going to get into the handset business in any serious way. It’s not a kind of business they know how to run, and why piss off all their partners in the Android army? Much more likely is that the hardware end of the company will be flogged to the Chinese or Germans and Google will absorb the software engineers. Likely Google’s partners have already been briefed in on this plan, which is why Google is publishing happy-face quotes about the deal from the CEOs of HTC, LG, and Sony Ericsson.
My guess is that hardware is sometimes seen as a necessary step to get the software out there. The way this whole thing seems to be going is to protect the Android operating system, and when they began to figure out how to dig themselves out of this patent hole and as is often the case with Larry, the solution winds up to be much bigger, and encompasses some other opportunity. The way he likes to deal with a problem is to come up with a scheme that not only addresses the problem but comes up with something big in addition.
I don’t think there’s a love of hardware there but I think that besides the patent thing, they’re now enamored by the idea of doing interesting things that you can only do if you own the hardware company along with a software company.
And Farhad Manjoo explains why Google must keep Moto’s manufacturing, if they ever want to recoup their investment:
When you buy an Android phone, none of your money goes to the search company—remember, the phone manufacturer got the OS for free. Instead of taking a cut of the sale of phones, Google says, its main goal with Android is to keep a foothold for its websites in the emerging smartphone market. The theory is that every Android user will spend a lot of time using Google services and thus seeing Google ads.
It’s a circuitous path to revenue, something akin to an oil company offering carmakers free engines in order to stimulate demand for gas. Still, this strategy made sense as long as Google’s investment in Android remained small. The Motorola purchase changes that rationale; it’s as if Exxon Mobil bought General Motors. Now Google has to find a way to recoup at least $12.5 billion from Android (on top of whatever else it was investing to build the OS). That looks very difficult. Earlier this year, Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, estimated that Google makes just $6 in ad revenue per Android user per year. By 2012, that number could be $10 per Android user per year. Across all users, that would mean about $1 billion in annual revenue. Even if that figure grows over time, it will take a long time for Google to make back the money it spent on Motorola, let alone to turn a profit.
Stripped of its patents, I doubt Google could get much more than a billion or two by selling what’s left of Motorola — the company has been losing money on every handset it sells. That’s a big, deep hole, and only Apple-size mobile profits will fill it. And Google can’t earn those big margins at ten bucks a sale.
Who’s got it right? Only time will tell. But $12 billion is an awful lot of money to spend — two years of Google’s total profits — on a purely defensive patent portfolio purchase.
Best Buy is reportedly unhappy with HP after having sold just 25,000 of the PC maker’s TouchPad tablets and is unwilling to pay for the more than 240,000 unsold units, according to a new report.
Multiple sources who have seen internal HP reports have told Arik Hesseldahl of AllThingsD that big-box retailer Best Buy took delivery of 270,000 TouchPads and has only managed to sell less than 10 percent of its inventory. One source suggested that the 25,000-unit sales number may even be “charitable” because it doesn’t take returns into account.
According to the report, Best Buy has refused to pay for the remaining tablets and has asked that HP take them back.
As I noted two weeks ago:
This is what so frustrates me about the TouchPad. For the way I work, WebOS might just be a better choice than the iPad. But I’ve used one, and it was pretty awful. Unreliable scrolling, unresponsive screen rotations, and apps took forever to load. Even the email app, which should pop up instantly, had me wondering if I had enough time to clip my nails.
HP should have gotten these details right out of the gate. Customers see the snappy iPad ads on TV, then go play with a TouchPad on display, and wonder, “Why doesn’t this thing work?” Then they go buy an iPad.
HP has gone on to try and fix what’s wrong. The WebOS update is supposed to be snappier, and they also knocked $100 off the asking price.
Even so, no one seems to be asking for a TouchPad.
During a sometimes-raucous session of what’s being called the “For the People” Jobs Initiative tour, a key member of the Congressional Black Caucus told an audience in Detroit Tuesday that the CBC doesn’t put pressure on President Obama because he is loved by black voters. But at the same time, Rep. Maxine Waters said, members of the CBC are becoming increasingly tired and frustrated by Obama’s performance on the issue of jobs. Even as she expressed support for the president, Waters virtually invited the crowd to “unleash us” to pressure Obama for action.
“We don’t put pressure on the president,” Waters told the audience at Wayne State Community College. “Let me tell you why. We don’t put pressure on the president because ya’ll love the president. You love the president. You’re very proud to have a black man — first time in the history of the United States of America. If we go after the president too hard, you’re going after us.”
Obama’s policies have hurt the most, the people who turned out in the greatest numbers to vote for him in 2008 — minorities, millennials, college grads. What will he have to do to get that enthusiasm back in 2012?