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Comment Re:News to me (Score 1) 672

That's funny, because the Sonic is a heavily treated global redux of the original Daewoo (South Korean) platform. It's worlds better than the crappy Aveo it replaces.

The recession has done LOADS to kick Detroit in the ass and make serious improvements to their product overall. I wouldn't have touched an Aveo with a ten-foot pole, no matter how foreign its heritage, but I wouldn't say that about the Sonic, even though the Fiesta is superior indeed.

No matter how middling the GMs are each in their respective category, none of them are the pungent duds of yesteryear. TFA is still spot on, IMO.

Comment Re:News to me (Score 5, Insightful) 672

You're clearly not from the Motor City. Badges have little meaning - nearly no meaning, really - as it's the *platforms* that are designed by the automakers, with the badges shared among them.

Pontiac was put to pasture because its offerings were redundant to those from Chevy, Buick and Saturn. Even then, Saturn got the axe for the same reason. The end result was a healthier portfolio of platforms upon which various GM makes could be engineered, tuned and packaged.

This, however, is the insight few folks realize: The automakers each have a cache of core engineers with talent and capabilities that vary wildly. The executives move their most talented engineers to the platforms that need success most, and their lesser engineers to the platforms that need it least. So, Ford F-150 and Chrysler minivan engineers are the best of their respective companies for a time, and fleet car platforms get the chaff. When the fleet car platforms suffer to the degree they need triage (Chrysler 200, Dodge Durango, Ford Focus), the best engineers are shifted here to perform some one-off miracles.

From here, it sounds like the trim engineers assigned to the aging GMs you had were running in "maintenance" or "cost reduction" mode. Shame for them to lose you, as it's clear to me the star teams were on call for the recent launch of the Cruze and Sonic.

Hard as it was for GM to eliminate and consolidate (trust me, I know, I lived off Pontiac's teat for the last decade), it was the right thing to do.

The new farts know what the old farts don't: Follow the star engineers' platforms for great reliability success!

Comment The wall (Score 2) 321

Freemium doesn't work? Better tell the music industry.

Joking aside...

No one has figured out yet that the viability of the freemium model is dependent on the "size" and "slope" of the "wall" between free and paid customers. That wall, folks, is *price*.

If you put up a simple, tall "wall" - an entry price point that is unusually high with no graduated options for consumer buy-in, then you will absolutely keep free users on their side of that "wall".

Zynga has shown that with small, repeated purchase opportunities - basically a *series* of tiny *walls* to step over - you can convert a freeloader into a paying customer (and in some cases the customer won't even realize what they've done).

Paying attention to my own behavior, I've noticed that the more reliable conversions to paid come from a low-grade but high-unit-cost pay-as-you-go option among a menu of options. See SimpleGEO and Zencoder for examples that apply to me specifically over this last month. Both have pricing plans that fit what I've described here.

Comment Apple makes cloudy (Score 2) 523

Stop allowing Apple to cloud up the argument by making you think that the form factor and interface is bound by definition to the UI design and feature list of the OS it runs.

Argument 1: What if the iPad could run, say, Win7 or Linux or some other OS? It adds wide-open capability, and gives way to content creation. But the form factor and UI frustrate.
Argument 2: What if there were a PC out there with a huge 32" touchscreen display and gesture UI, and it ran iOS. Could a stockbroker be happy with it?
Argument 3: What if the same PC with touchscreen display and gesture UI, and it ran Win7 or Win8 or WebOS or Cyanogenmod? How would that stockbroker feel then?
Argument 4: What would be gained by mouse-enabling an iPad? Who uses an iPad with mouse to access a PC via Remote Desktop? How is that working out for you?

Point is, if the platform were open, we would readily consider these questions, and make inroads on the answers. But Apple packages the UI, OS and form factor so well, we don't budge. Pity.

Comment Detroit: Where the weak are killed and eaten. (Score 1) 460

While all you process-laden geeks with your SCRUM teams and unit tests are getting the life sucked out of you in the Valley, we here in Automation Alley live by the seat of our pants, Montgomery-Scott-style, delivering barely-passable code on time, with the enhancements and 80/20 fixes to be pushed ahead of next year's model refresh, and a keen eye on the Bugzilla board, waiting for our user community to serve up the bug list. Thrilling, I tell ya.

Didn't yo mama ever tell you not to buy a first-year model?

Comment Android BREAKS audio AGAIN with 2.2-2.3 (Score 1) 129

Sure, 2.3 really is faster and more responsive than 2.2, with better battery life and a sexier interface to boot.

But WHY does the dev team INSIST on BREAKING streaming and AAC+ audio on EVERY release?



Programming Things I Wish I Knew Earlier 590

theodp writes "Raw intellect ain't always all it's cracked up to be, advises Ted Dziuba in his introduction to Programming Things I Wish I Knew Earlier, so don't be too stubborn to learn the things that can save you from the headaches of over-engineering. Here's some sample how-to-avoid-over-complicating-things advice: 'If Linux can do it, you shouldn't. Don't use Hadoop MapReduce until you have a solid reason why xargs won't solve your problem. Don't implement your own lockservice when Linux's advisory file locking works just fine. Don't do image processing work with PIL unless you have proven that command-line ImageMagick won't do the job. Modern Linux distributions are capable of a lot, and most hard problems are already solved for you. You just need to know where to look.' Any cautionary tips you'd like to share from your own experience?"

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