rants

  • Samsung’s Race To The Bottom

    Samsung’s Race To The Bottom

    It’s happened before and it’s happened again – a popular commodity appears and is remade in so many permutations and from so many manufacturers that the differentiation ultimately focuses on price. When this happens, the small players sneak in with cheap hardware, the big players stumble and try to buoy sales with higher-end models (an example of this is the Dell Adamo as… Read More

  • Why I Go To Disrupt

    Why I Go To Disrupt

    It’s never good for someone inside an organization to defend its actions to the outside. It smacks of self-serving and one-sided debate, and, as the Bard wrote, “the lady doth protest too much, methinks.” Be here I go protesting too much. Read More

  • Fools And Their Bitcoin

    Fools And Their Bitcoin

    I got a text message today from a PR person – one I actually like – who asked me if I wanted the exclusive on two new bitcoin ATMs in Austin as well as a “roving” ATM that will, presumably, be spitting out crypto currency for drunk social media marketing managers at SXSW. “Do you want the story?” he asked. Read More

  • How I Funded My Company With Credit Cards (And Almost Failed)

    How I Funded My Company With Credit Cards (And Almost Failed)

    We have all heard of the story of Airbnb. They’re a successful company that made it through their infancy by “bootstrapping by credit card.” They ran out of money early on and rose to the occasion by brute force and now they’re a billion dollar company. That sounds great, in theory. In practice it sucks. Here’s my tale of woe. It’s a cautionary tale and… Read More

  • Bitcoin’s Image Problem

    Bitcoin’s Image Problem

    I know manias. I’ve seen them again and again – hordes of people find out about a product or idea, back it with all their might, and are angry when anyone refuses to genuflect to their sacred cow. It happened to Notion Ink, it happens to Apple, it happens to Blackberry, and it happened in the vaccine autism scare, in the truthers, and in countless other subcultures who manifest… Read More

  • Open Thread: What Will You Give The World This Year?

    Open Thread: What Will You Give The World This Year?

    Maybe it’s the ham and biscuit brunch talking, but here’s something we’ve never done: an open thread. To celebrate our new Facebook commenting system, I’d like you all to start sharing what you’d like to give the world this Christmas. Is it your start-up? Is it a new hardware project? Is it a great idea? Share it here and let’s have a nice, free-for-all… Read More

  • The End Of Subsidized Phones Could Be Near

    The End Of Subsidized Phones Could Be Near

    For almost a decade and a half, mobile customers – and Americans in particular – have enjoyed a certain economic perk: phone subsidies from the major carriers. This meant you could, on sign-up, get a very expensive phone for at most a few hundred dollars and, as an incentive to hang around, upgrade that phone every few years. These subsidies seemed as God-given as freedom of speech… Read More

  • Let’s Sit Out Black Friday, Shall We?

    Let’s Sit Out Black Friday, Shall We?

    It’s Thanksgiving in the States and tomorrow is the biggest shopping day of the year. In fact stores will be open tonight so you can elbow your way into a scrum of bargain hunters and frotteurists. I’m here to tell you it’s a sucker’s game, at least when it comes to consumer electronics and computer hardware. Read More

  • How To Stop 3D Printing’s Race To The Bottom

    How To Stop 3D Printing’s Race To The Bottom

    Today’s big news, courtesy of Quartz, is about the expiration of laser sintering patents that will change the face of 3D printing in 2014. In short, the reason “good” 3D printers – namely the ones that create solid, injection-molded style pieces – aren’t cheap or readily available is that older 3D printing companies have held the laser sintering process hostage. Read More

  • We Asked For This

    We Asked For This

    There is a certain jollity in the reactions of the webby class to news that the NSA has been, first, spying on Verizon communications for years, and second has approached multiple information-gathering startups, hat in hand, asking for access to their data stores. It is indeed funny: faceless bureaucrats who, we are certain, can barely click the Start menu, are horking down data from… Read More

  • Your Bitcoins Are Finally Worth Something

    Your Bitcoins Are Finally Worth Something

    Bitcoins are nominally worth $113 as of this very moment. That means very little in the real world. As Forbes writer Kasmir Hill notes, it’s pretty difficult to go up to the McDonald’s cashier and offer an invisible cryptocurrency that resides entirely on the Internet in exchange for a Big Mac. She’s survived a week using nothing but Bitcoins and, although she’s… Read More

  • Fool Me Twice, Shame On You: AP’s Twitter Feed Has No Followers, Still Showing Hoaxed Tweet This Morning

    Fool Me Twice, Shame On You: AP’s Twitter Feed Has No Followers, Still Showing Hoaxed Tweet This Morning

    We all make mistakes, but for the AP and Twitter to futz up a phishing attack so royally is an embarrassment. As you’ll recall, the Associated Press’ Twitter account was compromised due to a phishing attack yesterday during which a tweet went out that said “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.” Read More

  • SimCity Gets Paid Advertisements Because If There’s One Thing That Game Needs…

    SimCity Gets Paid Advertisements Because If There’s One Thing That Game Needs…

    Sim City, EA’s beleaguered sim game that, for a time, was probably the most cursed title in the blogosphere, now allows players to place Nissan-branded® solar® recharging® stations® in their cities®. The cha®ging stations add a boost of happiness® to surrounding homes and businesses. You can download it here for free. (All Rights Reserved, While Supplies Last) Read More

  • On The Internet, Everyone Knows You’re A Dick

    On The Internet, Everyone Knows You’re A Dick

    In light of the recent PyCon debacle in which an offended party publicly shamed two developers at a conference for discussing dongles, I thought it would be interesting to address the problems of “lad culture” on the Internet (and, partially, the Silicon Valley/Alley societies) where wizards stay up late and make dick jokes over IRC. Read More

  • Apple’s Forward Stance

    Apple’s Forward Stance

    Apple doesn’t need a miracle, but clearly the marketing department thinks the company needs to step things up. To wit: Apple’s latest iPhone web page which touts “There’s iPhone. And then there’s everything else.” It’s a brassy, ballsy statement worthy of Steve Jobs himself and it seems to show an Apple undaunted yet clearly aware that it can’t… Read More

  • Maybe The PS4 Isn’t So Bad After All

    Maybe The PS4 Isn’t So Bad After All

    Although I, like many of you, suffered through Sony’s interminable and boring press conference last night, I came away less concerned about the PlayStation’s future as a platform. What I saw, in short, was a company that has finally embraced the network to a degree that forces its competitors to play catch-up and, barring a horrible blunder on Sony’s part, could guarantee… Read More

  • The Agony Of The Fanboy

    The Agony Of The Fanboy

    Every few months I’m reminded of the intensity of feeling some technologies – be they physical objects (they usually are) or web services – engender in a certain subset of the human population. It’s a well-documented effect: The object of desire is courted for months before launch, then at launch it is defended to the death, and then, when it is obvious that said object… Read More

  • Startup Founders: Chill Or Get Help

    Startup Founders: Chill Or Get Help

    There is a certain kind of Silicon Valley striver that I find abhorrent but, being separated by them by a full continent I feel I’m far enough removed to perhaps understand their wild-eyed efforts at self promotion and I often give the weirdos out in Palo Alto a pass. This time I can’t. Read More

  • The BlackBerry Diaspora

    The BlackBerry Diaspora

    I’ve tried to avoid chiming in on Blackberry 10 but the past few days have brought us an excellent set of reviews and assessments of the platform and, now that I’ve had the chance to play with the device first-hand, I’m ready to say it: Blackberry did a great job, but it won’t be enough. Read More

  • Thursday Wrapup at CES

    Why CES Matters (For Now)

    It’s easy to hate CES. It’s a vapid, broken wunderkammer filled with booze, waste, and gadgets no one will buy for months if not years if ever at all. The show floor is a crass place where marketers try out ways to get into our wallets and manufacturers, caught in a spiral of “design-build-trash” have to pump out new hardware just because they have to pump out new… Read More