The tablet market is now just two tablets

Kindle FireAmazon introduced its Android-based Kindle Fire tablet today.

Priced at $199 (a price that’s sure to drop moving forward), this tablet pretty much makes every tablet but for Apple’s iPad obsolete.

It’s now a two-horse race, with Apple and Amazon splitting the table market share and revenues between them. What the revenue/market share split is hard to say – the iPad is more expensive and highly profitable, but Amazon’s offering is subsidized by folks who will then by more stuff from Amazon.

But the bottom line is all other tablets – at least for now – are toast.

High-end users will stick with the iPad, with its more powerful specs and large number of gestures; the newbies ore the non-techies will plunk down the fewer bucks and get a slick tablet to view movies, read books, listen to music and read email.

Amazon retains its e-ink Kindle e-reader, and it’s now priced at $79. They’re going to move a ton of those, as well.

Amazon seems to have done a really good job setting up for the tablet, with all their cloud services, as well. Apple did the same. The other tablet makers? Not so much.

Both Apple and Amazon make it all about what you could do with the unit, instead of how fast the processor was and so on. Other tablet makers didn’t get this, either.

Wonder how many Kindle Fires end up under the Christmas tree this year? I’m betting Amazon’ll sell 3-5 million Fires this year. Yes, in just three months. The higher figure is if Amazon does drop the price before the holiday shopping season. (Update: I just read that the Fire won’t ship until Nov. 15th, so that’ll mean Amazon will still sell quite a few units, but closer to 1 million.)

The tablet wars – for the moment – are over.

Amazon and Apple won.

Everyone else lost.


Routers – The Good, the Bad, and the … Pretty

OK, I’ve been going through router hell recently.

I replaced an old workhouse with a new one, which seemed to fix stuff.

And then it didn’t.

Just one person’s opinion:

THE GOOD – Linksys WEFW1154 Broadband Wireless Router

My first home router; worked like a champ for approximately seven years. Had only 801.11B coverage, but made it through the house fine. Little bulky compared to today’s models, but cooler running. Allowed unlimited time for clients via DHCP, so was effectively a DNS server (until a box or router was turned off for whatever reason).

Again, a trooper. (Note the dust – actual unit!)

THE BAD – Linksys/Cisco WRT54G Wireless Broadband Router

Same footprint as the B router; this G router (which I bought on sale to keep as a backup) is about one-half to two-thirds the height of the old router.

Runs much hotter, and drops so much that I just bailed on it in less than a month. Piece of crap (but faster, when it runs…credit where credit is due).

Also, the old router had six ports: Internet in; four switch ports; one uplink.

This one (and subsequent models) get rid of the uplink port – any one can uplink (good), but steals a port (bad). Fortunately, I have space on my supplemental switch so this is not an issue (yet….).

THE PRETTY – Linksys/Cisco E1500 Wireless Broadband Router

OK, this is a nice looking unit (hey, no external antennas!), and so far has been working well, but I’m kinda soured on Cisco right now. No front lights, so I have to look in the back to see what’s going on (I’m sure that’s to save $$ somewhere, but idiotic for home use), and it seems to run hot, so I have configured with some breathing room. (Awkward!)

This will run 801.11N; I only have G running now, and it’s fast. Hasn’t dropped since I put it in a couple of days ago, so we’ll see how that goes.

I bought this unit because I can assign MAC to certain IPs, so I might lose a terminal window, but when an IP is refreshed on said computers, the IP stays. Again, too early to tell how that is going (I have the max lease time going – about six days – so I should start to see stuff after ~ three days).

Fingers crossed – which is always a (not) good way to run a network!

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell


Put into place by a Democratic president (Clinton) yet loved by Republicans (who keep trying to keep it around or delay the repeal of same), the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (re: homosexuality) is no more.

Good riddance.

We didn’t have blacks in the military.

And then we did, and they contributed as well as non-blacks.

We didn’t have women in the military.

And then we did, and they contributed as well as males.

With sexual orientation, it’s a little different: Most people can usually tell if you’re black (African-American or whatever) or a woman.

Sexual orientation?

Not so much.

But there were/are homosexuals in the military, and they’ve contributed as well as heterosexuals.

Now they can serve openly.

What’s the big deal? I mean, really – it’s the 21st Century.

Let’s start acting like it.

Daily deals…huh?

I’m not a business type – I’m more concerned with building tools and so on than getting into the weeds with marketing issues – and here is an example of something I’m just missing:

Whole Foods

This was today’s deal.

Ten bucks for $20 of Whole Foods’ stuff.

They sold a million of these deals. (And there was a viral aspect – get three to buy same, your purchase is free …).

$10 million loss to Whole Foods, and Living Social gets a cut of each coupon (not as draconian as GroupOn, but every penny counts, especially when you’re giving a portion of a million deals!).

To me, Whole Foods is a pretty well-established brand; does it need to spend $10m+ on this kind of promotion?

That’s where the lack of MBA in me gets lost…

One decade post 9/11


As today is the 10th anniversary of 9/11, it’s only fitting that I say a few words about these awful events.

However, I will keep them brief and only for the record. I have been making a point of avoiding all coverage of this event: this is not an event to be celebrated in any fashion; it should be for those who lost in these attacks to privately mourn. I didn’t know anyone involved in that Tuesday’s events; I was just a spectator – a distant one at that – to what happened that day.

This blog was operational at that time, but I didn’t get around to posting anything about the day until four days later.

I was at home that day, working on a freelance project. As usual, I got up and – before hitting the shower – checked my email and news/tech sites.

CNN was slow to load, and when it did, it was in crisis mode: Few images, just HTML links of the hot news. The one picture was like the one to the right – a plane-shaped gash in the side of the first tower hit.

I turned on the TV and watched for 15 hours straight. I was watching live coverage when the second plane hit the other Twin Tower, and that’s when you knew we were under attack. One plane could be an accident/the result of a mechanical failure, perhaps the result of a hijacking.

But two planes, coordinated like that. This is deliberate; there may well be more…

I have a handful of take-aways from the days and years following the attacks:

  • Then Mayor Rudy Giuliani of NYC did a great job at keeping things in perspective and he helped the city and the country get back to what now passes for normal.
  • Both David Letterman and Jon Steward delivered powerful soliloquies when they returned to air a week or two after 9/11. Both were heartfelt, classy responses and, to me, jump-started the healing.
  • Our privacy has eroded to an enormous degree as a result of legislation like the Patriot Act (and other similar policies/projects). This is not good; we need to re-examine many of these security measures.
  • On a related note, the whole flying process is now seriously messed up (Senator Ted Kennedy found himself on the “Do Not Fly” list and had to run the gauntlet to get on a flight). Noted security expert Bruce Schneier refers to all the security at airports as “security kabuki,” and says the two good pieces of security to come out of 9/11 are the following: Reinforced cockpit doors, and passengers accepting that they might have to fight back (as they famously did on United Flight 93 over Pennsylvania on 9/11). The rest really doesn’t do anything.
  • Taking out the Taliban in Afghanistan (with that government’s sanction): Good.
  • Taking our eye off the ball in Afghanistan to engage Saddam Hussein in Iraq: Disastrous in just about every way possible. This was reinforced by this year’s Arab Spring, when many countries’ people took to the street to toss out (or try to do so) dictators without any real outside help (Libya is a little more complicated).
  • While 9/11 did briefly unite America, it also lead to a completely unacceptable level of hatred and prejudice against Muslims in the US. From claims that Sharia law is creeping into our justice system through the vehement push-back on the so-called Ground Zero Mosque in NYC to the Murfreesboro, TN, mosque lawsuits (and vandalism), these actions are a putrid stain on our democracy, our vaunted melting pot heritage.

CEO shuffle – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I can’t remember a time since the go-go days (and subsequent burst) of the 2000 internet bubble when so many major managers of tech companies were shuffled around like fray-edged cards in a loaded deck.

Until recently.

The CEO shuffle – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly:

  • The Good: Steve Jobs has stepped down as CEO of Apple (but on the board). Not good for Apple, but – to me – good for him. Health is more important than business. Spend time with the wife and kids. And Apple’s going to be fine, at least short term.
  • The Bad: I never really had an opinion about Jerry Yang’s replacement at Yahoo, Carol Bartz. Well, now she’s gone. If she was really fired over the phone, well, that’s indefensible. She’s the freakin’ CEO – if no respect for her, show some respect for the office. Yeah, Yahoo is circling the drain – what she was brought into to fix – but, still. Face to face. Confirms to me (if true) that Yahoo’s best days are just a distant image in the (internet’s) rear-view mirror… (Update: Time to re-read Paul Graham’s screed against Yahoo! from about a year ago, What happened to Yahoo.)
  • The Ugly: The crazy-ass shit going on at TechCrunch – Arrington in/out? HuffPo winner/loser? AOL’s Armstrong has a spine or not? It’s a clash of what each party defines (or declines) to accept as journalism and act accordingly. I think – right or wrong – Arrington has always acted consistently; AOL/Armstrong and Arianna/HuffPo kinda want it both ways (each in a different “both ways”). Interesting…

Note: Some may swap the “good” and the “bad” (bad that Jobs is stepping down; good that Bartz has been given the boot). Whatever. Just my take at this moment – the “ugly” I have more to say about, but that’s another post.

This post is a reaction to Bartz’s sudden departure – and how I saw the small pattern.

Top 100 Cover Songs

Over at, they’ve put together a list of the top 100 cover songs of all time.

Lists are always fun – always something to argue about, always something to learn (I thought “Sandy” was a Springsteen song covered by Tom Waits. Other way around.).

Just to put my 2 cents in, here are some covers that should be on that list, IMHO (note: – I’ll be adding to this list as I think of them):

  • Percy’s Song – Fairport Convention (original by Bob Dylan)
  • Whiter Shade of Pale – Annie Lennox (original by Procol Harum)
  • Trout – Neenah Cherry, with help from REM’s Michael Stipe (original music by Steppenwolf, from The Pusher). So not a cover per se.
  • I Don’t Like Mondays – Tori Amos (original by Boomtown Rats)
  • Wooden Ships – Jefferson Airplane (original by Crosby, Stills & Nash)
  • Hallelujah – John Cale (original by Leonard Cohen)
  • Highway Patrolman – Johnny Cash (original by Bruce Springsteen)
  • Gloria – Patti Smith (original by Van Morrison)
  • For Shame of Doing Wrong – Sandy Denny (original by Richard Thompson)
  • The City of New Orleans – Arlo Guthrie (original by Steve Goodman)
  • Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash (original by June Cash’s sister, can’t recall her name. June Cash co-wrote the song)
  • Helter Skelter – U2 (original by the Beatles)
  • Little Wing – Stevie Ray Vaughan (original by Jimi Hendrix)
  • Good Morning Little Schoolgirl – Van Morrison (original by Muddy Waters, written by S.B. Williamson)
  • Like a Rolling Stone – Jimi Hendrix; the Live at Monterey version, please (original by Bob Dylan)
  • Crazy – Alanis Morissette (original by Seal, I think)
  • Friend of the Devil – Counting Crows (original by the Grateful Dead)