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+ - How, and Why, Apple Overtook Microsoft

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "James B. Stewart writes in the NYT that in 1998 Bill Gates said in an interview that he “couldn’t imagine a situation in which Apple would ever be bigger and more profitable than Microsoft" but less than two decades later, Apple, with a market capitalization more than double Microsoft’s, has won. The most successful companies need a vision, and both Apple and Microsoft have one. But according to Stewart, Apple’s vision was more radical and, as it turns out, more farsighted. Where Microsoft foresaw a computer on every person’s desk, Apple went a big step further: Its vision was a computer in every pocket. “Apple has been very visionary in creating and expanding significant new consumer electronics categories,” says Toni Sacconaghi. “Unique, disruptive innovation is really hard to do. Doing it multiple times, as Apple has, is extremely difficult." According to Jobs' biographer Walter Isaacson, Microsoft seemed to have the better business for a long time. “But in the end, it didn’t create products of ethereal beauty. Steve believed you had to control every brush stroke from beginning to end. Not because he was a control freak, but because he had a passion for perfection.” Can Apple continue to live by Jobs’s disruptive creed now that the company is as successful as Microsoft once was? According to Robert Cihra it was one thing for Apple to cannibalize its iPod or Mac businesses, but quite another to risk its iPhone juggernaut. “The question investors have is, what’s the next iPhone? There’s no obvious answer. It’s almost impossible to think of anything that will create a $140 billion business out of nothing.”"

Comment: Re:A quote (Score 1) 421

by HiThere (#48934019) Attached to: Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

I think what you are proposing is "long term occupation", and I agree that *can* be made to work. It does, however, have significant costs, and opportunities for disaster. The US occupation of Japan, and the Allies occupation of Germany were examples of successes, but it's not clear that this either could have been done in Iraq, or that there wouldn't have been intolerable costs. And there clearly wasn't the long term political will to accomplish it.

Comment: Re:So to cicumvent the screen locker... (Score 1) 368

by HiThere (#48926901) Attached to: Why Screen Lockers On X11 Cannot Be Secure

So what you're saying is that there is old hardware that will only work if you make your system insecure. OK.

FWIW, I don't consider any system that allows remote sessions to be secure. Period. So you need to isolate such systems. (This isn't an argument that you shouldn't run such systems. Just that you should take precautions.)

As an aside, I think that allowing compressed files to be expanded with the execute bit set is also a security hazard...just one that's probably worth the cost. In most circumstances. (And hazard isn't the same as hole. Not quite.)

Comment: Re:A quote (Score 1) 421

by HiThere (#48926793) Attached to: Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

You are making the assumption that they didn't intend this result. Or at least that they weren't aware that this would be the result. I find that quite dubious. As you say, it was obvious by inspection

OTOH, what would have been the result of disbanding the Iraqi army? You've created a bunch of people trained in violence suddenly out of work. I'm not convinced that it would have resulted in a better situation, though clearly it would be a different situation. And long term occupation would also have tremendous probabilities for disaster.

The real mistake was deciding to invade. After that I don't think there was a decent exit strategy...not if you are counting human cost. But this *must* have been obvious ahead of time, so clearly that wasn't their consideration. Who benefited? Who expected to benefit? How? It strikes me as a clearly political decision with only political gains.

Comment: Re:When everyone is guilty... (Score 1) 421

by HiThere (#48926679) Attached to: Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

True, there also needs to be a maximum length of any given law which includes in the length all other laws cited by reference.

I also think there needs to be a reasonable test for intelligibility. It's not right that everyone should understand every law, that's an impossibily high bar, but an average high school senior should. And at minimum should be able to. I can't think of a simple way of phrasing that test though that isn't of the form "Take a bunch of average high school seniors and have them write an essay about what the law means, and what it means is the intersection of what they claim it means", and that's also a poor idea, because it would eliminate everything...but I can't think of an objective "average understanding" evaluator.

Comment: Re:give this one a pass (Score 1) 152

by HiThere (#48907503) Attached to: How Do We Know the Timeline of the Universe?

Well....sort of. The CMB is modified by galaxies that are too faint to see, though I don't know by how much. It's filtered by intervening dust clouds moving WRT both us and the "origin of the signals". Etc. I normally assume that this is taken account of as best we can, but it's not unmodified signal. If you look at the raw (uncorrected) observations, I don't know how much noise is present, but clearly that are signals too weak to be recognized even though detected.

OTOH, I am not a cosmologist. But I do recognize that error bars are important, and that they tend to get left out of popular articles.

Comment: Re:Advantages are gone. (Score 1) 488

by HiThere (#48907027) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

Yes. There are numerous reasons to "not fight city hall". But that doesn't mean you can't do it for a good enough reason. E.g., I use tab spacing at the start of Python lines. This causes formatting problems if I use idle, but to me its worth the cost. And I've occasionally had reasons to use a length terminated string in C...though I usually also zero terminate it. (IIRC the reason was that I needed to include 0 valued bytes in the string.)

Similarly you can use zero delimited strings in Pascal, but you need to write the support routines that you would need, and since current Pascal has a string type that isn't limited to 255 chars it they would appear to be rarely needed.

Comment: Re:Discussion is outdated (Score 1) 488

by HiThere (#48906969) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

Python is an open source project. Ruby is an open source project. Squeak is an open source project. D is an open source project. Racket (scheme) is an open source project. ALL have decent language documentation. And that was just a list off the top of my head. Being an open source project is not an excuse for lousy documentation.

Comment: Re:Early fragmentation (Score 1) 488

by HiThere (#48901055) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

Did you ever try to run C on the Apple ][? UCSD Pascal was available, and worked well. C required an add on z-80 chip, and it was still a subset implementation. (Check out "Lifeboat C", though I think that was a later, and more capable version.)

So the situation is more complicated than you are assuming. I didn't get a full C compiler until AFTER I had gotten an 8086...which means probably that the IBM PC was already around.

Comment: Re:Advantages are gone. (Score 1) 488

by HiThere (#48900041) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

Sorry, but the length defined strings are optional, though common in Pascal. UCSD (and other early) Pascals usually buit that into the language, but I believe that now it's a part of a standard library, and alternates can be defined (though probably not with the same name). I'm not sure why you consider Pascal data structures more "well defined" than C structs.

P.S.: Strings in C can also be handled with a length byte. The zero terminated strings are purely a library convention, and can be overridden.

FWIW fpc Pascal has a string type in it's library that uses a length value longer than a byte.

From Sharp minds come... pointed heads. -- Bryan Sparrowhawk