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Comment: Irrational consumerism (Score 1) 365

One of the most intriguing areas of marketing is irrational consumerism.
It flies in the face of economics and common sense.

I've tried, several times in different businesses, giving products & services away for free to cultivate a customer base.
People love free stuff and value it right?
Actually, no.
What I've learned from doing this is that people only value things that you make them pay for.
If you drop the price of something, or make it free, the consumer perceives the value of what you gave them as low or valueless.
You discover this later when you turn off the freebies, or raise the price.
Charge a premium for your product, or service, and your consumer will, in most cases, believe it's worth it and treat it with reverence.

Apple's been clever at never dropping the perception of value in what they make, thus maintaining the value of their brand.
You'd think those well educated, experienced, business types at Microsoft would know better.
They really need to address the already dreadful consumer perception of the MS brand value and this is doing the opposite.

Comment: Russia in Vogue once more (Score 1) 346

by seoras (#47198701) Attached to: Did Russia Trick Snowden Into Going To Moscow?

I grew up in the cold war believing that the "bad guys" were all communists and the Russians were baddest of the bad.

After the Berlin Wall collapsed and East/West made up a new enemy was announced and Islam and the Taliban became the new fashion in Western media's world evil.

Now we see negotiations with the Taliban, prisoners exchanged, troop withdrawals, etc.
Look who's the bad guy again.
Just today I was reading an interesting BBC article on medieval armed combat (trying to get away from the usual media junk food politics).
Yet even in that article the journalist managed to turn it into negative piece on Russia.

Comment: As a father I do understand this... (Score 1, Informative) 92

by seoras (#46986465) Attached to: New Zealand Spy Agency To Vet Network Builds, Provider Staff

If I were John Key and I had a daughter in a Paris art school I'd want to keep her tits off the screens of millions of voting Kiwi's.

Comment: In the real world (Score 1) 453

by seoras (#46955271) Attached to: Study: Earthlings Not Ready For Alien Encounters, Yet

"scientists or astronauts might make the best candidates for the first alien conversation"

Of course this would never happen as politicians understand far too well the huge benefits of being the man in front of the camera for historical events.
Which is why, unless we get change our politically controlled & manipulated civilisation, no extraterrestrial intelligence will never show up here.

Comment: American Beauty... (Score 1) 664

by seoras (#46142121) Attached to: Virtual Boss Keeps Workers On a Short Leash

...would have been a whole lot different if Lester Burnham had been wearing one of these.
Lester: "I jack off in the office toilet everyday"
Catbert HR guy: "Yes we know Lester. You're ID badge registered the excessive calories you burned while in the head and it's mic picked up you talking dirty to your imaginary girl friend during your cubicle 'workout'. The company doesn't allow wankers at your pay grade and level, only my level and higher. Your fired."

Comment: Show me the money (Score 1) 961

by seoras (#45526785) Attached to: Why Scott Adams Wished Death On His Dad

When ever I see a law that makes no rational sense I always look at the finances and who gains.
In this case:
"His smallish estate pays about $8,000 per month to keep him in this state of perpetual suffering"

$8k a month is a good (corporate/governmental) reason to keep people on life support machines and drag out a miserable existence that bit further.

Shame that $8k a month couldn't be better spent on someone who's got a chance at life rather than keeping alive someone who's got no chance and is suffering.

The world makes no sense with humanity in control but seems to make perfect sense when nature is left alone.

Comment: Re:To what end? (Score 4, Interesting) 178

by seoras (#45480735) Attached to: Galileo Navigation System Gets Go-Ahead From EU Parliament

You assume that European's view America as a friend who will always let them use GPS?
Of course friends don't spy on friends or apply pressure to force diplomatic aircraft out of the sky, etc, etc.

There's other reasons.
Like spending European money on European technology projects & creating European jobs - even if they seem unnecessary.
That's a winner for me (speaking as a European).

Depend too much on the technology of another power and you end up belonging to that power entirely.

Comment: Kids going to school in the dark (Score 2) 462

by seoras (#45317951) Attached to: Re: Daylight Saving Time, I would most like

I'd keep it as it is as I don't want my kids going to school in the dark.
They have to come home in the dark for a month or two but that's unavoidable.

I'm in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Anywhere from the Scottish border north benefits from daylight savings for the purpose of not having to do the morning commute in darkness.
As you get further north (e.g Iceland) it makes no difference (day break at 11am, nightfall 2pm).

So there's a sweet spot between 54 & 60 degrees north where any country in that region would benefit from day light savings.

Comment: Google peaked faster than Microsoft (Score 1) 168

by seoras (#45164721) Attached to: Should Google Get Aggressive About Monetizing Android?

I believe what we are seeing is a faster technology company life cycle than what we saw with Microsoft.
Microsoft peaked with it's desktop/laptop OS monopoly and then crumbled when the consumer technology paradigm shifted to mobile/tablet.

Like wise Google has enjoyed more than a decade of search monopoly.
(Effectively, you are free to choose other search engines, but internet consumers don't. They are brand locked-in)

My perspective is as a website owner who has become fed up with the page ranking shenanigans of each of Google's search engine updates.
It's fairly obvious to me that Google purposely ranks lower websites who they feel should be paying them to get the audience they once enjoyed organically.
As an ordinary Google search user I see poorer quality search results than I did previously.
It's smacks of desperation.

Luckily I realised the vulnerability of my online business to being dependant on Google for clients more than a year ago.
Also, using analytics, I spotted that the desktop visitors were declining 10% annually in favour of mobile visitors.
So at the beginning of this year I decide to create mobile App versions of my website business.

Choosing to do iOS only Apps was the right decision.
If you are going to dip your toe in then you want to do it in the most lucrative market.
At almost 3x the revenue of Android in addition to lower support and development costs (Android is fragmented over vendors/platforms/OS versions/stores) iOS makes more sense in every way.

I hear the cries for "When are you doing an Android version?", from my website users to which I give the honest reply "When it makes financial sense".

I doubt if I'm alone in this and it makes me wonder how Google can turn around their longer term prospects and make Android as much of a success as iOS.
It may already be too late.

Comment: Execution not ideas. Get it in writing. (Score 2, Insightful) 131

by seoras (#44978007) Attached to: Cricket Reactor Inventor Says $1mil Prize Winners Stole His Work

Who's side do you come down on with Zuckerberg & Winklevoss twins?

Patent trolls? Lodsys going after the small developers after already having Apple pay for in-app license?

I did an MBA a couple of years ago.
It included a course on "ethics" which really did nothing other than help you self justify any action you took as being ok and easy on your conscious.
I still write software, independently now. I did the MBA to learn how "they" think.

As a lawyer once told me there's no such thing as "justice", only law which isn't the same thing.

Moral of this story is get a contract signed before you go sharing, especially from MBA types.

At the end of the day it's about execution, not the idea.
I come down on Zuckerberg's side.
I think patents should be abolished.

Comment: The Kremlins new PR machine (Score 1) 212

by seoras (#44828077) Attached to: Snowden Nominated For Freedom of Thought Prize

With the recent PR coup over Obama on Syria I'm now starting to question Snowden's true motives.

Instead of flying from Hawaii directly to a S.American country that, later, offered him asylum he flies to Hong Kong and stays at the Russian Consulate.
Then flies to Moscow, slums it in the transit area for a month, staying in the press headlines (including causing the forced landing of Bolivian president Evo Morales due to a rumor that Snowden was onboard). Finally getting a 1 year visa to stay in Russia.

Now don't get me wrong, I think it's great that the NSA, and allies, illegal activities have been brought to light.

However I'm looking at Putin and the Kremlin and thinking - nice PR work guys, you're playing the West at its own, old, game and beating them at it.

The question this leaves for me is; was Snowden really a Russian spy and rather than being exposed in the old fashioned cold war way they chose instead to make Snowden and paymasters look like the good guys through a well staged PR stunt?

Comment: How do you legislate fairly on this? (Score 1) 85

by seoras (#44730385) Attached to: How Patent Trolls Stalled a New Transit App

How do you legislate fairly on this? It's a question I've been pondering.

I can't see software patents or any other type being abolished due to the loss of perceived wealth that would cause within an economy.

Instead I think a solution has to be found in the handling of patent cases.
A fast track legal process which takes a "Tax" on all claims to fund itself.
Removing the lawyers and courts fees thus removing the fear factor.
Patent owners should be limited to a percentage of all profits made by the product the patent has a valid claim on.
If multiple patents apply then they must share this percentage among them.

So lets say I'm an Apple developer and Apple takes 30%, leaving me 70%.
How much is fair for (using Lodsys as an example) the use of in-app purchase technology?
That 70% isn't all profit. (marketing, further development, business & admin costs etc)
10%? 20%? 30%?

I'd feel a lot keener to -innovate- and create new stuff if I felt that it wasn't going to be ripped from my hands by legal thieves.
If I knew there was a ceiling on what I'd have to pay out when the trolls came knocking on my door I could get on with doing what I do.

What the patent trolls forget is that we all stand on the shoulders of others.
Their "intellectual property" couldn't exist without the publicly domain intellectual property that existed before it.

Comment: MS will code for you if you are a Top 10 App (Score 1) 210

by seoras (#44621265) Attached to: Write Windows Phone Apps, No Code Required

I know an individual iOS developer who has a relatively successful App for personal finance (top 3 position in App store).
He was approached by MS recently asking him to port his iOS App to Windows Phone App.
The best bit was that MS offered to code the App for him!

You'd think it would be easier for MS just to write a cross compiler that took an XCode project and compiled it for their platform.

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard