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Comment Re:I think there is some misremembering of history (Score 1) 278

Nah, it was price. Pricing the 128K Mac for $2,500 was one of the dumbest decisions ever made in the computer industry. I bought one soon after at UT for $1,111. Apple's profit margin was insane. It's great to see them consciously NOT making that mistake again. It's true the familiarity factor came into play later, it helped solidify the PC's lead. But in early 1984, very few people used computers at work, percentage-wise. It wasn't until the late 1980s that nearly everyone got one on their desk, and till the mid-1990s that most people had one at home.

Comment Take the initiative in a hardware project (Score 1) 283

I know of a guy who got hired by one of the biggest newspace companies, apparently they were very interested in a large model rocket he built himself and tested. This kind of thing used to be more common, but I guess not that many students nowadays grow up building Heathkits, flying models and other hardware stuff on their own.

So at least take advantage of whatever student engineering projects are available at your school, or even better take the initiative to start one. You'll learn a lot in the process, and maybe even more importantly, build your confidence level.

Comment Fastest-growing tech market, ever (Score 1) 338

The tablet market is growing and changing faster than any I can ever remember. Almost every *day* there's an important announcement. It seems way faster than PCs in the 1970s-80s, for sure.

Because Apple has such a lead with the iPad, which is selling at such huge volumes for such a new device, the price to stay in this game has gone WAY up. Yet it's hard to understand how a company like HP could just give up on tablets - if they have. Can't help wondering if that decision will be reversed.

To compete, makers will have to produce huge volumes to get unit prices down enough to reach competitive price points, and STILL be willing to take a loss for an extended period. Since HP is so big, and tablets are such an important growth market, it seems like a reasonable bet for them, especially considering that WebOS is potentially a strong contender.

Jeff Bezos has obviously placed HIS bet with the Kindle Fire, and its successor, whatever that will be. It will be interesting to see who else stays in this business after this Christmas, and what acquisitions take place.

Comment Somebody finally noticed (Score 1) 580

I've been wondering when investors would finally notice how little Microsoft gets out of their huge R&D investments. I bet they'd do better if they cut everyone's budgets!

Here's what I wrote in 2005:

"... In general, while Microsoft prides itself on the billions it spends each year on research and development, I suspect years from now it will be regarded as a case study on how not to do R&D investment. It's not at all obvious that they have gotten much for their billions. For years they have been touting natural language and usability testing, for example, but there seems to be little to show for it in the first area and still a lot of frustrations at times in the second.

... Ultimately, what Microsoft needs to do is to grow up. Gates and Ballmer have long touted the need to be 'paranoid' in order to survive in the tech industry. This may have worked when Microsoft was small and IBM was the giant, but now that Microsoft is dominant, the idea of a paranoid 800-pound gorilla doesn't bode well for the industry as a whole or for the users.

Like a teenager, Microsoft shows much promise in an industry that is entering a new era of innovation, but it must mature and come to grips with its own limitations. It can't be everything to everyone..."

Comment Re:Chinese "capitalism" is still largely an illusi (Score 1) 468

Interesting comments, about the war production of UK vs. Germany.

"fascist regimes always produce good economic results, only because we believe them when they tell us that we do."

I think it was MIT's Lester Thurow who recently argued, from electricity statistics and other measures, that there was little chance China could really be growing at 10% or more per year. He estimated the growth at more like 5-6%

Historically, China's had a tough time holding itself together, and so you can't help but wonder whether they'll manage this time around. Not counting WWII, they went through three major upheavals (1911, 1949, late 60s) just in the past century.

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