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Monthly Archives: April 2012

A Tale of Two Mobiles

April 30th, 2012 - 6:02 pm

LG is quitting being a Windows Phone OEM:

One of the original launch partners of Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system is calling a quits. LG said during its earnings call last week that the company has no plans to introduce any new Windows Phones and instead will focus its efforts on Android. The South Korean-based manufacturer claimed that its partnership with Microsoft remains in good standards, however a focus on Windows Phone has not worked out financially. “The total unit of Windows Phone sold in the global market is not a meaningful figure,” an LG spokesman said to The Korea Herald. LG, which was once the world’s No. 3 handset maker, has seen weakening sales of its smartphone lineup.

But Woz is still a fan:

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak recently purchased a Nokia Lumia 900 and thus far has had nothing but a pleasant experience with the device. The folks over at aNewDomain.net caught up with “the Woz” and spoke to him about his opinion on the Windows Phone platform. “Just for looks and beauty I definitely favor the Windows Phone over Android,” he said. Wozniak called the operating system “intuitive and beautiful,” and said it makes him feel as if he is “with a friend not a tool.” He also noted that apps on the Lumia look “more beautiful than on Android or iPhone.”

Pick a side — or don’t. It’s just a great time to be a gadget freak.

On this week’s Hair of the Dog, we’ve got Paul Krugman telling the Big Lie, a flustered Robert Gibbs, and world-famous constitutional scholar Hans Gruber.

P.S. Obama eats dog.

The Young and the Unemployed

April 30th, 2012 - 3:14 pm

Trifecta: It’s this week’s Wheel of Punditry Edition. Spin the wheel and discover the topic!

Good news, of a sort:

The Obama administration’s top environmental official in the oil-rich South and Southwest region has resigned after Republicans targeted him over remarks made two years ago when he used the word “crucify” to describe how he would go after companies violating environmental laws.

I’d bookmarked the video for the most recent Week in Blogs, but it didn’t make the cut. First, the video quality wasn’t all that good. Second, I just couldn’t think of a gag that wasn’t in even worse taste than the clip. Apparently, I have a limit.

Here’s what he said:

I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy of enforcement, and I think it was probably a little crude and maybe not appropriate for the meeting but I’ll go ahead and tell you what I said. It was kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them. And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.

Charming. Historically inaccurate, too. Projecting much?

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Good Luck with That

April 30th, 2012 - 1:59 pm

The latest from the Edwards trial:

The wife of an ex-aide to John Edwards broke down on the witness stand Monday as she recounted how the candidate asked the couple to hide an affair he was having and justified using wealthy donors’ money to do it.

Testifying at Edwards’ campaign corruption trial, Cheri Young said she huddled around a phone in her Chapel Hill home with her husband, Andrew Young, and Edwards’ pregnant mistress, Rielle Hunter.

On the call, Edwards emphasized the need to preserve his campaign and keep the affair from his wife, Elizabeth, Cheri Young said. It was a couple weeks before the 2008 Iowa caucuses, and two suspicious tabloid reporters had already tracked Hunter from a doctor’s appointment to the Youngs’ home.
Edwards made the plan sound “as if it was for the good of the country,” Cheri Young said.

Asked by a prosecutor why she went along with it, Young put her hands together, pressed them to her chin and bowed her head as if in prayer. As she began to weep, U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Eagles dismissed the jury to give her time to compose herself.

I’d like to see a similar display of shame, or even simple humanity, from the MSM which played Sergeant Shultz through the whole thing.

Obama Eats Dog

April 28th, 2012 - 4:55 pm

I totally forgot until just now to link up the new Week in Blogs. So what’s it about?

Well, check the headline.

So this is a thing that happened near CU-Boulder. Full details here.

Friday Night Videos

April 27th, 2012 - 9:41 pm
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The best girl band of the ’80s? Maybe, maybe not — but what a great cut.

That’s Gonna Leave Another Mark

April 27th, 2012 - 2:08 pm

The Science is Settled

April 27th, 2012 - 12:53 pm

Trifecta: Scientific proof conservatives are smarter, more open-minded, and better at reasoning.

Better looking, too.

Over at TTAC, Jack Baruth gives three good reasons why the new Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 puts out an astonishing 662 horses. Here’s one of them:

Last but not least, there is the sheer exuberance of it. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but resources are getting scarce in this world and the United States no longer sits at the head of the table when it’s time to chew ‘em up. Your children won’t have a chance to buy something like this. It might not be illegal to own one, but it won’t be cheap or easy, either. If you want to experience six hundred and sixty-two horses pulling you down the streets of your hometown like a Apolloian chariot hitched to the sun itself, now’s the time. There won’t be much of a tomorrow. Ladies and gentlemen, I present the 2013 GT500. Raise your glasses, perhaps for the last time.

If that doesn’t make you at least a little bit sad, you’re not a real American.

Your Friday Morning Dose of Doom & Gloom

April 27th, 2012 - 8:02 am

You’ve seen the headlines already, but let’s look a little deeper:

U.S. economic growth cooled in the first quarter as businesses cut back on investment and restocked shelves at a moderate pace, but stronger demand for automobiles softened the blow.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.2 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said on Friday in its advance estimate, moderating from the fourth quarter’s 3 percent rate.

2.2% is not a disaster. It’s about what you’d expect a hot economy to do as it cooled off. It’s been the same with jobs growth. 120,000, 140,000 — not bad, if we’d just enjoyed a year or two of 200,000+ growth each month. Of course, we never got that hot economy. We never got the jobs growth. We never got the big GDP numbers.

As Zero Hedge reminded everyone this morning, “It now takes $2.52 in new debt to raise GDP by $1.00.” That’s unsustainable. And everyone knows it. It’s just that in Washington, they can pretend not to know it, so long as Bernanke keeps doing the ZIRP and the Twist.

Want to hear the really scary part? You probably don’t, but I’m going to tell you anyway. Last quarter’s anemic growth might have been borrowed from the current quarter, thanks to the unseasonably warm weather. I’d look for sub-2% growth perhaps as early as this quarter, but certainly in the second half of the year. That stinks.

Which brings us to the argument Mitt Romney needs to start making. Romney has taken some heat from the right, for talking up the economy, for seeing the silver lining. But he really had no business going negative while the jobs numbers looked OK — you don’t win by talking down a growing economy. Those days are probably over, although we won’t know for sure until next Friday’s jobs report. If it’s another lame one, then Romney needs to switch gears again, and explain to people why Obamanomics has failed. And it’s a simple case to make.

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That’s Gonna Leave a Mark

April 26th, 2012 - 5:30 pm
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The Twitter hashtag is #StillNotReady, if you’d like to have a bit of fun.

Michelle Obama Hates Me

April 26th, 2012 - 2:06 pm

Tonight’s menu.

Melissa really pulled out all the stops this year. You can follow along with the picture fun tonight on Twitter. Look for VodkaPundit and/or the #CasaVerde hashtag.

I Bow to the Master

April 26th, 2012 - 12:28 pm

Because of Physics!

April 26th, 2012 - 9:54 am

Trifecta: What American schools aren’t teaching you or your kids.

Who Owns You? Google Owns You

April 26th, 2012 - 5:09 am

Thinking of uploading your stuff to the new Google Drive? First, you might want to read from their terms and conditions:

Your Content in our Services: When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide licence to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes that we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.

The rights that you grant in this licence are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This licence continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing that you have added to Google Maps).

Don’t be evil!

More seriously, I expect an uproar big and loud and sustained enough to force Google to back off and — like Dropbox and Sky Drive — let you keep your own rights to your own stuff.

Or, just keep being evil.

UPDATE: It might not be quite so evil as it first appeared. We have this from CNET:

That means that Google can’t use your content for commercial purposes without your consent. However, the TOS also states that, “you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones.”

For content that is yours, Google can’t re-use it for its own purposes. But it can use content you upload in order to serve you. This can include integrating services together (like reading your scanned pictures in order to OCR them), and it can include analyzing your files to target advertisements to you. Google already does this in GMail. Google doesn’t currently serve ads in Google Docs (now called Google Drive), but it may, according to its license agreement, use data about the content you upload to target ads to you anywhere on the service.

So Google can’t sell you, but it will use your files to help selling to you.

April Pollsters Bring…

April 25th, 2012 - 4:07 pm

An important reminder from Nate Silver about the flood of polls:

It is easy to get lost in the weeds. But, of course, the election is still more than six months away, and in the past 10 presidential campaigns, the national polling leader in late April has won the election only half of the time.

Also to consider: The GOP nominating process was a long one. It remains to be seen how well Romney can execute in the real race.

Back in January, I wished the iPhone a happy 5th birthday — and warned that its days are numbered. The comments, as they are wont to do, turned into an iOS vs Android flamewar. Commenter James B wrote:

Look at Apple’s marketing materials: the main marketing drive of the 4S is Siri (software). The 4 can run Siri – jailbreakers have proven that – but Apple doesn’t allow it to…because they’d sell less 4S’s. Screen DPI is unchanged, screen dimensions are unchanged. Camera resolution is up, storage is up (both standard things to increase in a new product cycle). The 4S now has a dual-core chip…like every Android phone released in the last 3 months. It’s still running 3G when every carrier is advertising their 4G networks and phones, and will be for a year. The 4S was not revolutionary from a hardware perspective, it was evolutionary, and their main new feature was software.

Once you start to understand that this is a software business, you will easily see where Apple is making the mistakes that will cost them this market segment in the long run.

Well, we’re not to the “long run” just yet, but I did ask James to “C’mon back on the evening of [April] 24th, and we can talk all about dying platforms.” He didn’t come back, despite a fairly lengthy post here yesterday concerning Apple’s quarterly results.

For the the iPhone, however, the interesting bit isn’t that profits were up 88% over a year ago — although that does seem like pretty big news for a company that is “making mistakes” which will “cost them this market segment.”

No, the interesting thing is how Apple’s Android competitors are doing. Former smartphone darling HTC reports that profits are down 70%, “thanks largely to the launch of Apple’s iPhone 4S.” Samsung is the distant Number Two in smartphone profits, but even second place might not mean what it used to:

Verizon, meanwhile, said it sold 6.3 million smartphones, 3.2 million of which were iPhones, over the quarter. More than half the smartphones that Verizon sold were iPhones. Verizon, too, posted healthy mobile data revenue of $6.6 billion.

AT&T posted an even bigger iPhone blowout. 75% of its smartphone activations went to iPhone, and more than half of all its activations were iPhones, including cheap-ass feature phones given away for free. Sprint can be said to be surviving, only because of iPhone sales. But what about overseas, where consumers can be even more price-senstive than here? “Greater China saw iPhone sales 5 times the level of the year-ago quarter.”

Again, not bad for a dying platform.

On the Android side, Jay Yarrow writes that “It looks like the mobile story for 2012 is not going to be so good for Android. It appears as though the operating system is in choppy waters, and is suddenly facing a lot of trouble.” Yarrow makes a good case, and I highly recommend you read the whole thing.

Which brings us to this blurb from GigaOM:

For developers, consumers and even carriers, Android seems irreparably broken. But Google will not fix the platform anytime soon, because despite its fragmentation problems, the company is getting what it wants: massive amounts of user data.

Google still makes most of its money selling cheesy banner ads, and it shows.

Meanwhile, Windows Phone is getting its big push, thanks to Redmond’s deep pockets — and Google’s missteps:

Microsoft has in the past acknowledged that it pays mobile developers to help them create apps for its Windows Phone platform.

That practice is now even more alive and well as both Microsoft and Nokia struggle to make a dent in a competitive marketplace with Windows Phone and the new Lumia lineup, according to the New York Times.

Microsoft has eagerly contributed money to developers, anywhere from $60,000 to $600,000, to help build apps. That’s the type of cash the developers themselves could never raise on their own.

While I like the Metro UI, I remain wary of Windows Phone’s chances after the less-than-stunning debut of Nokia’s top-of-the-line models. “Good” isn’t good enough in this highly-competitive market. Maybe WP8 will be a breakout hit this fall, but it’s far from a sure thing.

The Apple haters seem sure that Android will somehow bury iOS. It’s hard to see how that happens, since iPhone is only half of the iOS hardware ecosystem. The other half is the iPad tablet — and Android has simply failed to compete in that field. Meanwhile, Apple enjoys a virtuous cycle, where iPhone buyers become iPad buyers (and vice versa), and developers enjoy selling to both in a un-fractured App Store.

Me, I think there’s room for at least two major mobile platforms in such a rich marketplace. There will always be Feature Geeks demanding an “open” OS, even if they have to jailbreak their phones to make it that way. There will also always be an even larger market of people who want a nice touchscreen phone they don’t have to pay a lot of money for. Android fits both bills nicely. Windows Phone might find a niche in the bottom end, too, if their OEMs don’t flub another launch. Or maybe Android’s problems will open a door for Redmond to walk through.

The competition, of course, is good for everybody.

But unless Android tablet makers can figure out how to compete, and unless Windows Phone 8 is a hit in phones and tablets, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario where anyone breaks Apple’s stranglehold on mobile profits. Sure, “in the long run,” every platform eventually fails — which includes Android, too. But so long as Apple is making the big money, iPhone will remain alive and healthy.

Go Capitalist on the Socialists

April 25th, 2012 - 10:57 am

Trifecta: The New York Times is getting all medieval on its reporters’ asses.

BONUS: There might be gloating.

My first thought this morning was that losing almost 3-to-1 to Mitt Romney in your home state is probably a Sign from God (or at least from the voters) that it’s time to make your peace and drop out of the race, officially. Sorry, folks, but Rick Santorum is through. Again. So is Newt Gingrich, who bet everything on Delaware (Delaware?) and still lost by a 2-to-1 margin. That’s not easy to do in a field of four.

Ron Paul will run until the bitter end. It’s what he does. Newt will go back to Washington. I don’t know what — if any — future Santorum has in elective politics. Pennsylvania voters rejected him by whopping big numbers twice in a row. So he doesn’t have a geographical constituency to serve as his home base any longer, and he hasn’t been a factor in Washington in a long time. Maybe he can fight a death match with Mike Huckabee for that nearly unwatched Saturday evening timeslot on Fox News. I’d buy the DVD.

Yesterday’s five-primary sweep merely confirmed what we already knew: Romney is it. I say that without pleasure. The closest thing I had to a preference in this race was Rick Perry. Unfortunately, his approach was to run for Governor of America instead of President of the United States, and we all saw how well that worked out. Next time, take things a little more seriously, eh, Rick?

The real interesting action was further down on the PA ticket. First up:

With labor groups on his side and new district lines working against him, freshman Democratic Rep. Mark Critz scored an upset Tuesday night by narrowly defeating congressional colleague Jason Altmire in western Pennsylvania.

Reapportionment forced the two conservative Democrats into a member vs. member primary for the state’s 12th Congressional District. With few policy differences separating the two men, the race boiled down to whether the clout of organized labor would outweigh geography.

Three-term lawmaker Altmire held the latter advantage and was considered the early favorite to win.

Right there is how President Obama will hold on to PA, if he can. Big labor and (shhh!) mmmmmmmaybe some ballot-box stuffing. The Romney camp needs to prepare for both, and line up poll watchers in Philly and Pittsburgh. Lots and lots of poll watchers.

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The State of the Web: Spring 2012

April 25th, 2012 - 7:56 am

There’s much more at The Oatmeal.

Mitt Romney Wearing Jeans

April 24th, 2012 - 5:17 pm

Yeah, so that’s a Tumblr — and I can’t stop looking at it.

Buy On (Or From) the Dips

April 24th, 2012 - 2:14 pm

Apple shares have been trading sharply lower in the last two weeks, ahead of their Q1 earnings report. First, there’s the short-term problem, reported by CNBC:

In its quarterly earnings report Tuesday, AT&T (T – News), the largest seller of Apple’s (AAPL – News) coveted handset, announced it activated 4.3 million iPhones in the first quarter, a sharp decline from 7.6 million in the fourth quarter. While fewer iPhone sales translate to weaker subscriber growth for AT&T, it did help the company’s profit margin.

AT&T’s announcement comes a few days after rival Verizon (VZ – News) posted its quarterly earnings. Like AT&T, Verizon also reported a drop in iPhone activation to 3.2 million iPhones from 4.2 million in the prior quarter.

This could be a non-issue. Calendar Q4 wasn’t just when the iPhone 4S launched, it was also the holiday quarter. Previous iPhone releases had all been in Q3. Add launch to holiday sales, and you’d expect the numbers to be goosed up — way up. It should come as no surprise that sales would be apparently lower in Q1 — when all retail sales shrink.

But analysts see a longer-term problem for Apple. From the same story:

Adding to a string of bad news for Apple, Microsoft (MSFT – News) and Nokia (NOK – News) recently announced a new joint venture called AppCampus, devoting $12 million each to help fund developers at a university in Finland to build apps for the Windows Phone and other Nokia platforms.

“Longer term for Apple, you have to be aware of the fact that the carriers are really backing this Microsoft/Nokia platform because they want to get phones at a lower average price,” explained Gillis.

Let’s stipulate that Windows Phone is going to go somewhere other than down. While I like the Metro UI, it hasn’t been enough to help put phones into buyers’ hands. But let’s just say that WP8 takes off when it’s released later this year — right up against the release of this year’s new iPhone. Is WP8 going to steal sales from iPhone, which enjoys record customer satisfaction? Or is it going to steal sales from Android, which is already showing platform weakness and not-as-good customer satisfaction?

iPhone buyers have already proven themselves immune to “lower average prices.” Android thrives in that market segment. If that’s where Microsoft and Nokia have set their sights, it’s Samsung that ought to be worried.

Anyway, the numbers will be out shortly, and I expect them to be solid. Maybe not (yet another) doubling of previous sales records — but solid.

UPDATE: “Apple Delivers Another Monster Quarter.”

•Revenue: $39.2 versus $36.81 billion expected by analysts

•EPS: $12.30 versus $10.06 expected by analysts

•iPhone sales: 35.1 million versus 30.5 million expected by analysts, 32 million units is the whisper number

•iPad sales: 11.8 million versus 13 million units expected by analysts, whisper number is also 13 million

Beating expert EPS estimates by 20% — again? I think the Street needs better “experts.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: More numbers from SAI:

Profits were up 94%

iPhone sales were up 88%

International sales were 64% of revenue

So, Apple did indeed miss doubling profits quarter-over-quarter. But up 94% ain’t bad.

It’ll Hit Your Tickle Spot

April 24th, 2012 - 1:20 pm

It’s the doggoned funniest Trifecta episode ever, as I take on Scott Ott and Bill Whittle and the entire Romney attack machine, to defend President Obama from accusations that… you know… he eats dogs.

CargoBot Is More Machine Now Than Man

April 24th, 2012 - 11:30 am

App for “media consumption device” produced entirely on “media consumption device.”

I still get that thrill up my leg whenever anyone tells me all the things I can’t do on a tablet.

Dogeater: The Music Video

April 24th, 2012 - 10:40 am

Daniel Sobieski sent me the link to this video. It’s childish and small-minded, so I certainly would never encourage you to watch it several times, and then share it, along with a few laughs, with all of your friends and coworkers.

Missing Bill Clinton

April 24th, 2012 - 5:32 am

Say, remember Samantha Power? She was the one with the kicky idea that maybe we ought to invade Israel. Well, she’s back in the news today — as the chair of President Obama’s genocide panel.

You can’t make this stuff up.

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Yet another “War on…” narrative fail:

More voters think Mitt Romney and the Republican Party respect women who work outside the home than think President Obama and the Democrats respect women who stay at home, according to the latest The Hill Poll.

Forty-nine percent of likely voters said the presumptive GOP presidential nominee respects women who have independent careers, while 27 percent said he doesn’t and 24 percent weren’t sure.

When asked if President Obama respects women who stay at home rather than pursue a career, 37 percent of likely voters said he doesn’t and 35 percent said he does. Twenty-nine percent were unsure.

And if you think those numbers are bad, wait until the general public realizes that young Obama recorded the song, “I Ate A Dog (And I Liked It).” After the Osama bin Laden killing, I called the Obama crew “The gang that could shoot straight — but not much else” Did any regular reader here know I was capable of such understatement? See, these aren’t tiny little margin-of-error differences. These are differences which, if carried through to the general election, would lead to a Mitt Romney landslide.

So here’s what I think went on, and is going on.

During the primary of 2008, Senator Obama read the field perfectly. There were tons of delegates to be had in caucus states, where his community organizer skills would allow him to rack up wins. He could count on those wins being lopsided ones, too, because he’d also perfectly read his opponent. Hillary Clinton was running a very traditional Big Money/Big States campaign focused on the headliner primary wins. She all-but-ignored the caucus states, until it was all-but-too late.

Now let’s revisit the Democratic National Convention late that summer in Denver, where Obama was all-but-crowned as “Black Jesus” in front of those presumptuous Roman columns.

The convention buzz was all about two questions. The first was, “Will PUMAs bolt?” And I think everybody remembers that well enough. But the other one was, “What is McCain going to run tonight?”

Huh? Am I the only one here who remembers? Let me refresh your drink. Er, memory.

The night of Obama’s acceptance speech, the McCain camp let it leak that he would run an ad earlier in the evening. The content was the big mystery. McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin had energized the GOP base, and Obama’s selection of Joe Biden had… well, let’s be kind and say it had somewhat confused folks. McCain was hot out of the gate, and Obama appeared to have stumbled in his first major act as his party’s standard-bearer.

So we all sat in rapt attention in front of the tube at the appointed hour of the McCain ad.

What did we get? A folksy little congratulations from McCain. Speaking directly at the camera, to Obama, he said something like, “Tonight is your night. You earned it. Enjoy it. The campaign begins tomorrow.”

McCain came across as the older and wiser gentleman, the firmer hand, reminding the upstart who’d really been around and gotten stuff done. And he did it gently, kindly. It was a helluva ad.

And remember that McCain/Palin was ahead or tied in every major poll after that — right up until McCain suspended his campaign to deal with the banking crisis. “Deal,” in this case meaning, “Sit at a table and get rolled by Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Barack Obama.” His campaign was finished.

Why do I tell you all this?

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