From Jack, this site.
From Jack, this site.
According to surveys reported in The Atlantic, 23% of the surveyed adults in the US did not read a single book last year.
Without question, the American bookworm is a rarer species than two or three decades ago, when we didn't enjoy today's abundance of highly distracting gadgets. In 1978, Gallup found that 42 percent of adults had read 11 books or more in the past year (13 percent said they'd read more than 50!). Today, Pew finds that just 28 percent hit the 11 mark.
The article tries to downplay the influence of TV and the internet, but I don't see why. I know many, many young adults who don't read books. They read a lot, online, but they don't read books. Alas, in some instances, not even their assigned textbooks.
And given the wealth of material available for information and entertainment (and, yes, education) via other media, I will be surprised if the number who read books doesn't continue to decline.
There are rumours, possibly in the long-shot category, that Apple will finally be bringing out a phablet: a smartphone that is larger than any they currently produce but smaller than even the iPad mini. In other words, one suspects that competition in the smartphone market from Nexus/Google, LG, and Samsung, all of whom produce larger phones than the iPhone, is sufficiently eroding Apple's sales that Apple has to acknowledge (and produce for) this sizeable niche in the market. From the Christian Science Monitor:
[A]ccording to the Chinese news site Huanqiu, Apple is at work on its first-ever phablet – a handheld device that splits the difference between a small tablet and a large smart phone. Huanqiu (big hat tip to the team at BGR) alleges that the Apple phablets would debut in May, months before the launch of the next iPhone, and would feature an A8 processor and a 5-inch-plus display. (For comparison's sake, the iPhone 5S has a 4-inch display, while the iPad Mini, the smallest Apple tablet, has a 7.9-inch display.)
...Especially in Asia, where the phablet market is up 600 percent from the same time last year, plus-sized smart phones are incredibly popular. A range of companies, from Asus to Nokia, offer phablets. Bob O’Donnell, the founder of Technalysis Research, recently estimated, in an interview with Forbes, that 175 million phablets will be sold worldwide in 2014.
That's the kind of demand, presumably, that Apple would like to exploit. ....
I have not had my smartphone stolen, but I know several people who have.
In one case, the person was walking in a European city with his suitcase in one hand, holding his phone in the other hand texting with his thumb (i.e., he did not have a tight grip on the phone). Someone just ran by and grabbed it. My friend couldn't run fast while carrying his suitcase, and he didn't want to set the suitcase down to chase the thief.
In another case, someone left her smartphone on a school desk. She wandered away, and when she returned, it was gone.
Here is one other relevant incident not involving smartphone theft: The only time I have ever been pick-pocketed was in Madrid. In preparation for traveling there, I had read warnings about pickpockets, and so I had my passport and wallet in my front pockets and had my hands on top of them. But while I was in a crowded market, someone stole my transit pass from my rear pocket.
These three incidents all highlight the advice in this article [via MA]:
One of the best ways to prevent smartphone theft is to keep an alert hand on the device at all times. Don't loosely hold your smartphone as you lollygag down the sidewalk. Keep a firm grip and keep it close to your body. Better yet, leave it concealed in an interior pocket.
I don't always follow this advice. Often, while returning from theatre or music rehearsals late at night, I walk through one of the dodgier parts of downtown, texting or checking my email. I do keep a firm grip on the phone, I don't "lollygag down this sidewalk" at those times, and I tend to put it in a front pocket at times when I feel wary of my surroundings, but I could probably use more care in those situations.
But here is some additional good advice about things to do now, before the phone is stolen:
In case of theft, you'll want to know your smartphone's serial number and model number. Both are usually listed under the "settings" tab or imprinted on the back of the device. Importantly, smartphones also have a unique device identification number, known as an International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI).
The IMEI is a 15- to 17-digit numerical code assigned to each smartphone by manufacturers. It allows carriers to remotely disable your smartphone when you contact them [source: MPDC].
The carrier can also enter your smartphone's IMEI into a national database that tracks stolen smartphones. All major carriers in the U.S. participate in this database, as do a few international carriers. This database feeds into the Global System for Mobile (GSM) and Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service networks [source: Rouse].
To learn your smartphone's IMEI, dial *#06# and the number will appear on the screen. If your phone is an older model, this may not work. However, you can also turn your phone off, remove the battery and record the IMEI under the label. Be sure to keep the information in a different location than your smartphone [source: Wollan].
You should also install a tracking app. For iPhones, you can try Apple's Find My iPhone. Or, if you have iOS 7 installed on your iPhone, you can remotely launch Activation Lock if your phone is stolen. This technology prevents thieves from erasing your phone's data or disabling location apps. It also prevents thieves from restoring or reactivating your smartphone [source: Friedman]. For Android smartphones, there are several third-party apps including Where's My Droid and Lookout [source: Wollan].
If your smart phone is stolen, call the police and give them the serial and IMEI numbers and any locations identified by your phone's tracking app.
Cryptolocker. Stiff punishment is called for. From the BBC (via Jack):
A virulent form of ransomware has now infected about quarter of a million Windows computers, according to a report by security researchers.
Cryptolocker scrambles users' data and then demands a fee to unencrypt it alongside a countdown clock. ...
Dell suggested PCs be blocked from communicating with the hundreds of domains names it had flagged as being linked to the spread of Cryptolocker, and it suggested five further steps the public and businesses could take to protect themselves:
- Install software that blocks executable fields and compressed archives before they reach email inboxes
- Check permissions assigned to shared network drives to limit the number of people who can make modifications
- Regularly back-up data to offline storage such as Blu-ray and DVD-Rom disks. Network-attached drives and cloud storage does not count as Cryptolocker can access and encrypt files stored there
- Set each PC's software management tools to prevent Cryptolocker and other suspect programs from accessing certain critical directories
- Set the computer's Group Policy Objects to restrict registry keys - databases containing settings - used by Cryptolocker so that the malware is unable to begin the encryption process
No, I haven't been hit by it. Things like this really make me angry though.
By now most of you have seen the WestJet Christmas Miracle video. It involved marvelous planning and was a great promotion on their part. If you haven't seen it, go here and read about it and watch it either at that link or in the youtube video below. It looks as if the folks at WestJet had a ball planning and carrying out the surprise.
After you have watched the video once or twice, then watch the video about why and how they did it (it's a lot of PR fluff, but has some things of interest).
But then be sure to watch what are called the bloopers. They aren't really bloopers; they're more like cutting-room snips. But they add to the joy and understanding of the entire event. Check out how they dealt with the woman who wanted a ring for Christmas! Too bad that scene didn't make final the cut for the main video.
Does anyone know: what did WestJet do about the people who said they wanted a new car for Christmas?
Several times in the past year, I have been asked to complete forms that ask for:
Each time I fill in my correct date of birth. But then when it comes to filling in my age, I write "<90". One person good-naturedly chided me about this answer, to which I replied in my best curmudgeonly voice something like, "You got my birthdate. Tell your computer to do the arithmetic." [grumble grumble harumph grumble]
I took this quiz recently and scored 72, which (according the scoring) means I am an "Extroverted Ambivert". I guess that means I'm a blend of these two general character types:
What does it mean if a person spends all their time blogging and on Facebook?
[Addendum: as others have pointed out, I do plenty of other things with my time as well.]
I have tried replacing my laptop with an iPad or phablet (and keyboard) and storing files in the cloud. Several times. It seems it should work, but it doesn't for me. Matt Yglesias says most people aren't quite there either.
One problem is that I don't like the iPad software supposed equivalents to my laptop software. E.g., I don't like the "conversation" version of gmail, but that's all that seems available in the gmail app on iPad.
Another problem is that storing and using files from the cloud will take some learning for me.
It will probably happen at some point. Just not yet.
And vice versa, I suppose.
My evidence is only circumstantial, but here goes:
Joe Kissell runs down the issues. The problems for most users will be that Mail takes a significant time to display messages in the Inbox and other mailboxes — here "significant" could be more than a day, even a several days, depending on the number of messages stored.
Mail, it appears, is reindexing folders and performing other tasks, but doesn't tell the user. Depending on user's Gmail settings, it could be downloading gigabytes of already read messages.
For longtime Mac power users, AppleScripts written for Gmail accounts will likely be broken with this initial move to Mavericks Mail. Some mailboxes will be reported as empty but have messages in them. Ordinary rules are also having problems, according to some reports.
Megan Lavey-Heaton at TUAW mentions problems with Smart Folders in Mail after updating.
Put all these things together and it is certainly conceivable that the problem with gmail under Mavericks was "engineered". But that would be stupid on Apple's part because the gmail users who have suffered will blame Apple, not Google.
At any rate, I hesitated before installing Mavericks on my MacBook. But since I use gmail only via a browser and have done my best to shutdown and not use Apple MacMail, I'm not anticipating any problems.
This latest virus is maddening. I really hope the people who started this and operate it are punished severely. The details provided by The University of Regina (I think it applies only for PCs, but I'm not sure about that):
There are more details at Snopes.
There is currently a 'Crypotolocker' ransomware virus circulating that permanently encrypts all the files on your computer then demands a fee for the key to access the files. It also encrypts any documents that you have write access to on connected network and Novell drives. The virus is sent as an attached file on an email, and once you open the attachment it runs immediately. At the moment the only way to get the files back is either use a file restore if there was a backup or pay the fee.
As always, please be very cautious when opening attached files in your email. For this particular virus, the subject of the email is often something simple and seemingly benign like "Subject: Scanned Image from a Xerox WorkCentre". An example of the email we have seen on campus is at the bottom of this message, with Subject: "Last Month Remit" with an attached .xls Excel spreadsheet.
Some virus scanners are not able to detect this virus, so be sure to update your virus scanning software regularly to ensure that your system is protected as new updates become available.
As I posted several days ago, I am not at all pleased with iOS7. Since that posting there have been some serious additional problems that have come to light:
This second problem has not yet been addressed by Apple and seems to affect a substantial number of people.
Apple’s latest and greatest operating system is making people sick – literally.
The animations and transitions added to iOS 7 have unexpectedly been making people nauseous and giving them motion sickness.
The issue is so prevalent, in fact, that it has an entire message thread filled with complaints on Apple’s forums, first spotted by The Verge, and complaints have been building on Twitter as well.The main source of the problem appears to be the zooming animation added in the recent upgrade.
Examples abound at the Daily Mail site linked above.
More silliness and non-functional glitz from from a highly paid designer that actually makes the product worse. What was Apple thinking? That silly glitz would help them in the smartphone wars with Samsung?
And what is with all the beta testers of iOS7? Are they not critical enough? Are they insensitive to poor designs?
Usually I am more cautious, and I wait a few days to read user reactions before installing iOS updates. For example, I never installed iOS6 on my iPhone (when I had one) because I wanted Google maps to be the standard app for my phone.
I should have waited before changing the iOS on my iPad yesterday. If I had waited, I would have seen this from Forbes [ht Jack], outlining some of the basic problems with iOS7.
I use my iPad for reading ebooks and scripts, for playing a few games when I'm bored, and for checking my email and Facebook at times. I am not a heavy user. In fact I mostly use it at night when I'm not on my computer. I gather others use their iPads this way, too.
My complaints about iOS7 are similar to those in the Forbes piece:
Regular readers of EclectEcon know I am not enamoured of Android, and the bizarre inability to turn off only some of the notifications on my Note2 really irritates me often. I have been eagrely awaiting the day that Apple would see the light and bring out a larger iPhone.
With iOS7, I'm less eagre.
Update: Yassir wrote in a comment on Facebook:
His suggestion works well for me.
"If you have trouble reading the fonts in iOS 7, go to Settings > General > Accessibility, then touch the switch for Bold Text and also the Increase Contrast switch right below it. It will require a restart of your iPhone/iPad, but now reading should be a lot easier"
Have you ever watched the clerk at a fast food place or a server at a mid-level restaurant? They use touch-screen computers to send the orders to the kitchen, track inventory, compute bills, etc.
In a world in which so many people have tablets and smartphones, there is no reason customers cannot do this work themselves. It may take some getting used to, but good design with smooth interfaces should make it all work with the result that window clerks and servers will be less in demand as they are replaced by touch screens.
It is happening gradually now [ht Jack]:
If it pays to use touch screens on a partial level, watch for it to become even more prevalent for ALL transactions, especially if the minimum wages for food-service workers are raised by gubmnt.
Get ready to order dessert at Chili’s on a tablet–just look out for your sticky fingers. Brinker, which owns and operates the Chili’s and Maggiano’s brands, will be installing tablets on each table in its 823 operated Chili’s restaurants by March 2014, though the company says its servers will play a critical role in its new wireless experience.
Those tablets, provided by Texas firm Ziosk, will allow customers to order drink refills and desserts as well as play interactive games in what is an overall “reimaging” of Chili’s restaurants’ design, says Krista Gibson, senior vice president of brand strategy at Brinker International.
What you can’t do, at least initially, is order appetizers and your main course.
Restaurants make more money when customers can order dessert and coffee and then get out of there faster, and the Ziosk allows customers to pay by credit card on the tablet. A green LED light then notifies the serving staff that a group has paid and can leave without fuss. In tests, Chili’s found that half of customers opted to pay through the device and even more during busy workweek lunch hours.
But the device is supposed to really make money when groups, especially families, pay $0.99 to play games like trivia on the device while they sit. The system pays for itself, Mulinder says, if enough guests, at least a tenth of customers, opt into such “premium” content.
Sometimes we go into a situation with such strong prior beliefs about the truth (or the state of the world or whatever) that even very strong evidence that contradicts those priors doesn't persuade us. As a long-time academic and supposed scholar, I'd like to hope that doesn't happen very often with me, but I expect it does. [For more on the use of prior beliefs in statistical analysis, see this and the related links on Bayes.]
But here is a pretty impressive example from Slate.
This morning, out of nowhere, Public Policy Polling revealed to the world that it had polled the Colorado recalls, been on the money, but failed to release it. "In a district that Barack Obama won by almost 20 points," wrote PPP's Tom Jensen, "I figured there was no way that could be right and made a rare decision not to release the poll."
I expect that PPP could not possibly believe their poll results were accurate. So rather than report what they feared was flawed and what might sully the reputation of their firm, they chose instead not to report the results.
Well, at least this way they can say, "Our polling techniques are better than we thought they were."
According to several news releases, iOS7 will take over the swipe up and swipe down commands. Grrrr. From the Telegraph (via MA):
A new way to access search
The ability to search on the iPhone and iPad has been around for a while, however, iOS 7 will introduce a new way of accessing it.
Simply swiping down on the homescreen will open a search box and the keyboard, allowing you to search without having to swipe to a dedicated screen as in previous versions of the software.
Swipe up to close Apps
Like in previous versions of iOS, double clicking the home button at the bottom of the phone will show all of the Apps that are currently open.
Simply swipe up on the screen to close the app.
One of my favourite e-readers on my iPad is Stanza, and one of the many reasons I like it so much is that I can swipe up to brighten the screen and swipe down to dim the screen.
iOS6 buggered things up for Stanza for awhile, and Stanza had to redo their app. And now Stanza will have to redo their app once again.
[and meanwhile, of course, Apple has still not addressed the segment of the market that would like a larger phone]
Over six months ago, in angry desperation because Apple didn't bring out an iPhone that was even the size of the Galaxy S3, I bought an Samsung Note2. I have been unhappy with it from the beginning. I had hoped I would get used to it, but that just hasn't happened. About the only things I like about it are the large screen, the ability to use a micro SD card, and the ability to change batteries.
As a long-time user of iPhones, I knew there would be adjustment problems. I tried to cut the Note2 some slack as a result. I'm sure there are work arounds for some of my complaints, and I am certainly willing to learn if you have suggestions. Here is a litany of my complaints.
As you can tell, I sure hope Apple comes out with a larger iPhone soon. And if you know how to solve any of these issues, please PLEASE let me know. I'm probably googling the wrong things, but I can't find solutions to these problems.
Update: Many, many thanks to those here, on Facebook, and who sent me private messages to help with some of my problems. The sound on-off problem was one I should have seen the solution to, but I certainly appreciated the help. The wifi on-off problem may have been solved, but I'll believe it when I see it. And the sync problem has likely been solved, too (again, though, I'll believe it when I see it). The notifications issue and podcast problems are still outstanding. As one person suggested, possibly The Economist needs a better android app.
Everyone's help will certainly make using this phone more pleasant (until Apple comes out with a bigger phone), so thanks, everyone.
I flew on something called WestJet Encore from Regina to Calgary (en route to London, Ontario). The plane seemed like a very new, spacious propjet that was pretty speedy, too. As I have said before, the attitude of the flight attendants, gate attendants, and pilots, etc. on WestJet is positive and enjoyable. But here is something else to like. The Encore flights serve complimentary wine and beer! When was the last time that happened for people flying economy class? I had two.
Too bad they don't have USB outlets or power outlets on these planes. They are new enough WestJet could have specified them in the specs. Oh well....
Update: Harvey King says in the comments that Encore is priced at about $70 more than the regular WestJet flights. I had no idea. I ended up on WestJet because the trip via WestJet was both more convenient and lower priced than on Air Canada.
Update #2: Another reason to love WestJet: Their little very low-resolution seat-back tvs showed the Roughriders CFL game live, so I got to watch that during the flight from Calgary to London
Update #3: WestJet is much more aggressive and in tune with the market in its pricing. For example, their one-way fares to and from Regina from London, Ontario, around the dates of the Grey Cup [CFL championship game] in late November are nearly as high as the round-trip fares from Air Canada. Not that this is necessarily something for a traveler to love, but it is an indication that WestJet is more in tune with the market than is Air Canada.
It is hard to imagine that there really are things to love about any airport. The lineups, the security checks, the interminable waits. Things are different at the Regina, Saskatchewan, airport.
I clearly arrived much earlier than necessary. There was NO wait at the security check-in (which is not always a good idea because the agents then have way too much time to pry through everything, but that wasn't the case this time).
Once I was inside the "departure lounge" it was still two hours before my flight was to leave.
There was almost no one else there (a couple off to the right who were sleeping). It looks to me as if the authorities have completely redone the departure area. It is huge and clean, possibly in anticipation of the hordes of fans who will be coming through here in November for Grey Cup (the CFL championship football game), and possibly as well to prepare for the continued growth in the area with the booming oil patch south of Regina.
The two things I love here are
Meanwhile I took a seat in an easy chair off in an alcove:
That's my laptop. See that black patch on the lid, under the apple? That's velcro (the soft loop part). I attach an external hard drive for backups to it whenever I am settled. I came up with this idea so that when I stand up or put my laptop aside, I don't end up slamming the hard drive onto the floor, which was happening far too often before.
An Ontario teachers' union has voted to ban cellphones in the classroom
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario voted to ban the use of cell phones in classrooms at their general meeting Friday night.
The new rules state that mobile devices should be turned off and stored during school hours, unless special permission is given.
This position is, as you might guess, one I whole-heartedly accept and support, given my ban on laptops in the classroom, too.
Cellphones in the classroom are a problem because they are distracting, not just to the students involved but to others as well. At the very least, they are high-tech ways of doing what used to happen: passing notes. But the ease of using them combined with the giggles, groans, and blips of light make them distracting to others as well. What surprises me is that teachers need a union vote to do this. They themselves should have done this independently long ago, and school prinicipals should have instituted such policies long ago. What has takent them so long, anyway?
Under what plausible conditions can you think of letting a student have a cellphone in the classroom? Be sensible about this. I'm sure people can dream up some scenarios, but the prima facie bias should be "no".
What's the case against banning them? That a parent or guardian may not be able to contact a child instantly if they want to? Sheesh, cut the cord, folks. Make the kids keep their phones in their lockers.
Quite clearly the overall costs of allowing kids to have their cellphones at their desks outweigh any possible benefits.
I have written about this before, and it is included in my open letter to students every year. My experience has been that students with laptops in the classroom are generally unable to resist the temptation, now and then, to check the news, check email, check Facebook, play games, etc. Quite frankly if students want to do this rather than pay attention to my pearls of wisdom, I am a bit insulted, but after all it is their nickel and if that is what they want to do, okay.
But the problem is that students on laptops create negative externalities -- they distract the students around them, especially when they use the laptops for something other than taking notes.
When I first discovered this problem, I told the students, "If you want to use a laptop, you must sit in the back row." My theory was that this would create fewer distractions for other other students. It didn't work very well, though, because they'd be tap-tapping at totally inappropriate moments or, worse, they would be comparing messages and photos and game results with others in the back row.
So finally, about 8 or so years ago, I banned laptops from the classroom. Now [ht Ms Eclectic] there has been a study supporting my position. I have no idea how solid the methodology is, but given my own confirmation bias, I'm sure the results are correct 8-):
"[Y]ou might not be multitasking but if you have a clear view of someone else who is multitasking, your performance is still going to be impaired."
The students in the first experiment who were asked to multitask averaged 11 per cent lower on their quiz. The students in the second experiment who were surrounded by laptops scored 17 per cent lower. ...
Not aware of distraction
"At the end we gave a survey to all the students and what we found was that these peers who were seated around multitaskers had no idea they were being distracted, they didn't think the laptops were causing a distraction but based on the scores of their final test, they actually were," ...
I used an iPhone for maybe 3 years. But when Apple wouldn't come out with a bigger phone, I switched to a Samsung Note2 (which I don't much like, other than for the size). If Apple comes out with a phone more in the size range of Samsung's S3 or S4, I'll switch back to Apple.
So I guess at heart, I'm an Apple user. But this profile of the users of different devices from The Daily Mail (ht MA) doesn't describe me very well (you will probably have to click on the image or on the link to be able to read this):
I think there's another category of iPhone users: people who want things to work smoothly with little or no fuss.
I know, I know. It's old and it has been around many times. But it is funny.
In my previous post, I opined that "Size is important".
It is. I like having a bigger screen for my smartphone than is offered by Apple. The Note2 by Samsung is as large as I might want, though. It is not too big for most of my shirt pockets, but it is perhaps a bit too big to hold for long periods for reading or for taking self-portraits using the screen-side camera.
Given these considerations, I would probably NOT be interested in this larger Samsung "Mega 6.3" [h/t MA]. I would love the larger screen, but that size might be too big for my shirt pockets (MA says I should buy shirts with bigger pockets then; in fact if I wore only cargo pants or sportcoats, a phone that big might not be a problem.).
At the same time, keeping in mind the sizes of some of the early cellphones that many of us used back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I see nothing wrong with using a phone that is larger. My Note2 is considerably smaller than my early Sony phone or any of the early Motorola phones. A current phone is large? That means the screen is more readable and easier to use.
I have little knowledge in this area, so take the rest of this in that vein. As you know, I'm upset with Apple because they didn't have the good sense to come out with a smartphone the size of the Galaxy S3 (or the rumoured slightly larger S4). And I have seen nothing in the rumour mill indicating that they will move in that direction soon.
They will... eventually. But by then, Apple will be playing catch-up to Samsung and HTC. I still haven't adjusted to my Samsung Note2 and Android, but size is important!
So knowing that's my only take on Apple (other than the fact that I recently bought a MacBook Pro instead of and Window-based machine), you may not want to pay too much attention to these forecasts.
I looked at the price of Apple stock earlier today. It was about $403US, up $5 for the day, but down about 28% from its peak. My guess (forecast or prediction is really too strong, despite my having used "forecasts" in the previous paragraph) is that in two years Apple stock will sell for $210 and in five years it will sell for $125.
If I had any confidence in these guesses, I would short the socks off Apple. But given my lack of confidence in these guesses, and given my generally strong risk aversion, I'll settle for just making the guesses public.
I hate listening to other people's phone conversations. Too many people seem to think it is okay to have cellphone conversations anytime, anywhere; and they generally seem to think they need to speak more loudly into a cellphone than in person. Ugh.
But what's wrong with texting and checking your email on a flight? Not much unless it distracts you in case of emergencies. Here's an insider's report:
I've heard phones go off or text signals as planes are landing. As with the pilot who wrote that statement above, it's never been a problem.
Turning off our electronic devices: How necessary is it, really?
Flight attendants everywhere will hate me for this, but ... having your electronic device on below 10,000 feet is not an immediate danger to the flight. How do I know? Pilots are the worst offenders of this rule. Not on purpose, of course, but when we're flying all day, sometimes we forget to turn our phones off. I've received a phone call everywhere from the takeoff roll to 18,000 feet over the Rockies and the airplane has never had an adverse reaction.
That said, it's still important for you to listen to the flight attendants and follow their instructions to turn off your electrical devices. It is their job to enforce the rules, no matter how dumb they are. If you want to give someone an attitude or an earful, please direct your worst to the hypocritical politicians who do not comply with the rule while on their private jets.
Remember those massive antitrust cases against Microsoft? Think of all the scarce resources devoted to prosecuting Microsoft and used by Microsoft to defend itself. I opposed those cases for two reasons:
According to Motley Fool (though not in these words), these two points are important for understanding the future for Microsoft, its strengths and its weaknesses.
The rise of tablets and smartphones has shaken up the once dominant “Wintel” PC paradigm. In an attempt to re-establish its supremacy, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) designed Windows 8 to be a hybrid operating system, useful on a variety of platforms.
But Windows 8 adoption has been poor -- consumers seem baffled by the changes. Meanwhile, Windows tablets are selling poorly, and Windows Phone remains in fourth place. Can Microsoft turn things around, or should the company cut and run?
Windows 8 has failed
Microsoft released Windows 8 last October. The new version of Windows was the biggest redesign of the operating system since Windows 95. Unfortunately, consumers seem baffled by the changes, and Microsoft’s hardware partners have been public in their disappointment.
There are two ways to keep industries competitive in the long run without resort to antitrust laws that are often ineffective (and frequently downright anti-competitive themselves!):
And always remember the sad truth that most antitrust policy can be summarized this way:
The price of Apple's stock is falling. They're losing market share to Samsung. We all know why: screen size. As I argued several years ago, the iPhone was great for everything, but I'd prefer something a bit bigger so that reading would be easier (e.g. see this). I figured I wouldn't even be interested in an iPad if I had a bigger screen on an iPhone.
So when the iPhone 5 came out just a bit longer but no wider than the iPhone 4, I gave up waiting and switched to a Samsung Note2. I am not entirely thrilled with the Note2, as I've said before: Android is difficult for me to adjust to, and the Note2 has buttons in the wrong places. I like that it takes micro SD cards and has a replaceable battery, and I especially like the big screen. And if Apple comes out with an iPhone 6 the size of even a Samsung Galaxy S3, I'll probably switch back. But preliminary rumours suggest they are moving in a different direction.
Meanwhile people are abandoning Apple in droves. From the link [ht MA]
"We think Apple is losing the screen-size wars," Mr Misek said, noting that demand was moving away from the iPhone's 3.5-inch and 4-inch screens to screens of 5 inches offered by rivals such as Samsung Electronics.
Makes sense to me.
Addendum: I meant to add that as I had expected, now that I have my Note2, I do indeed rarely use my iPad.