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How Apple Segments the Market

Posted in Analysis, Apple, Business, Gadgets, Geek, Marketing on April 19th, 2010 by leodirac – 2 Comments

Apple has done a fabulous job in recent years of asserting itself as a major player in the computer industry.  One of their tools for accomplishing this has been a fanatical commitment to high-quality products.  They strive to make every product they offer to be the best in its class, and they’ve largely succeeded at […]

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Apple’s subscription music service (part 2)

Posted in Analysis, Apple, Gadgets, Music on January 18th, 2010 by leodirac – Comments Off on Apple’s subscription music service (part 2)

Back in 2007, I predicted that Apple would launch a subscription music service probably around 2010. My logic was based on how long it would take to get enough connected iPods into the world. Having spent a bunch of time with an unconnected mp3 player with a subscription music service I knew this was necessary. […]

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iSlate’s amazing tactile feedback keyboard

Posted in Analysis, Apple, Gadgets, User Experience on January 15th, 2010 by leodirac – 1 Comment

There’s lots of hubbub about Apple’s upcoming tablet device, but the stuff people are talking about I’m not actually all that excited about.  A giant iPhone?  Sure, that’ll be nice.  A color e-reader that can run apps.  Okay, I guess that’s better than kindle.  A super-thin netbook without a real keyboard.  Meh.  Actually, I don’t […]

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Participatory Culture and the Democratization of Information

Posted in Analysis, Democratization of Information, Geek, Music, Social Computing, Television on December 27th, 2009 by leodirac – 1 Comment

An example of the trend towards information democracy is the democratization of culture. “Participatory Culture” is the modern trend of many individuals contributing to the mass of popular culture rather than culture being broadcast from a small elite of performers. By analogy, Hollywood’s hegemony over movies and television represented a communist politburo where a small group had the power and responsibility to control the cultural experiences of the masses. Today’s information technology is tearing down this monopoly that broadcasters held, and thus democratizing culture through three mechanisms: easier content creation, distribution, and a better editorial process. We’ll look at each…

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UAW vs. Chrysler: friends at last!

Posted in Analysis, Business, Economics on May 20th, 2009 by leodirac – 1 Comment

I’d like to share a couple thoughts on Detroit — a couple ideas that I’m not hearing in the popular or business press, but are important to understand. Chrysler goes bankrupt First some background. Chrysler is being restructured under bankruptcy. This doesn’t mean they’re going out of business. It means that they owe more money than they have or will be able to pay. So with the help of a judge, they’re sitting down with everybody they owe money to and telling them frankly “you’re not getting everything we owe you. Sorry, but there just isn’t enough to go around.”…

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Dinocams – The legacy of SLR cameras in the 21st century

Posted in Analysis, Gadgets, Geek, Travel on March 1st, 2009 by leodirac – 6 Comments

DSLR cameras make very little sense today. Modern imaging technology is rapidly turning them into dinosaurs. The forces keeping them alive are a combination of a physical legacy in hunks of glass, and aspirational marketing. I’ll explain, but first, what’s a DSLR and why don’t they make sense? Background on SLRs and DSLRs (If you what “f-stop” means, feel free to skip ahead to the next section.) SLR stands for Single Lens Reflex. Practically speaking it refers to a camera where you can change the lens. You look through the same lens that actually takes the picture, letting you put…

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Creative Commons Licenses on Books

Posted in Analysis, Intellectual Property on January 25th, 2009 by leodirac – Comments Off on Creative Commons Licenses on Books

A few weeks ago Lawrence Lessig showed up The Colbert Report to plug his new book, Remix. The interview itself is quite funny. Lessig talks a bit about how traditional copyright laws don’t make sense with modern technology. My favorite part is when Colbert dares the public to remix that interview with “a great dance beat” by saying he will be “very angry and possibly litigious” with Lessig periodically interjecting saying “I’m totally fine with that” and “I give you permission.” Of course, the great dance beats have been showing up. Lessig blogged about a bunch of them. The one…

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Apple moves downmarket: iPhone as a services platform

Posted in Analysis, Apple, Business, Cloud Computing, Google, Hardware, Marketing, Tech Industry on August 3rd, 2008 by leodirac – 2 Comments

Coincident with the launch of the iPhone 3G hardware, Apple has started a couple of new online services: MobileMe and the iPhone App Store. In some ways these are natural extensions of existing product lines. But I believe their launch actually represents a fairly substantial strategic shift as Apple attempts to diversify from a hardware-only company to one that runs on a mix of hardware and services. In order to make this strategy work, Apple will need to sacrifice its much coveted high hardware margins. Diversifying from hardware Since Jobs pulled the company out of the doldrums, Apple has been…

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Is Apple using scarcity to hide iPhone quality problems?

Posted in Analysis, Apple, Business, Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, Hardware, Marketing, Psychology on July 28th, 2008 by leodirac – 9 Comments

Here I propose an alternative explanation for iPhone scarcity: the difficulty in obtaining a new iPhone keeps people from complaining about problems with it. I will explore this sophisticated marketing technique that Apple may or may not be employing to cover up quality problems with the new iPhone 3G. Even if Apple is not doing this deliberately, I assert that it is a valid and potentially very useful technique if your product is lucky enough to have the prerequisites. New iPhones are hard to get The blogosphere is full of speculation about whether or not Apple deliberately made the iPhone…

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Why Evolution Runs Backwards in the Refrigerator

Posted in Analysis, Cooking, Economics, Evolution, Humor on July 19th, 2008 by leodirac – 4 Comments

Evolution-like processes exist in many places beyond genetic adaptation of biological species. We see similar processes in a great many aspects of modern life, generally running many orders of magnitude faster. Much of economics and business is governed by processes that select for the most successful product or business model or manufacturing process or organizational structure. Successful practices thrive and out-compete ones which are less effective at meeting human needs and desires. Warfare has very obvious parallels. In computer science, user interfaces, programming languages and system architectures all evolve by analogous processes. Similar effects can be found in governments, religions,…

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