I find myself recalling the early days of PC’s when the mantra of the day was mainframes and modems and you rented the software you used. The PC brought freedom from this model, once you bought the software you owned it, well at least in theory. The rapid change in hardware and software brought about a dilemma of how to get but fixes and updates. The Internet came along at the right time and solved the whole delivery issue. No more having to call vendors like HP for drivers and then waiting for the disk to come in the mail, but that was the time when we rode a dinosaur to work. Now it seems Microsoft and others don’t want to sell you software anymore they want to rent it to you.
Microsoft never seems to be far from some sort of spite whether it’s the poorly designed security of Windows, virtual disdain for open source (I think they compared it to communism at one time…), or being the eight hundred pound gorilla in the room. They reached a new low recently with the announcement of the Xbox One. Microsoft arrogantly assumed that it’s dominate position in consoles would allow it to dictate what the customer wanted. Personally, that seems to be one of the big problems at Microsoft, they don’t really innovate they just want to dominate. Apple is refined the art of innovation and integration, funny thing is I have problems with Apple because of their closed system, but that’s another blog. Well I was excited as my son was when I saw the demo footage of Titan Fall at E3 2013, that is until the fine print was read…
Recently the web, news channels, blog sphere and just about every other media outlet has been abuzz about proposals and amendments now making their way through the house and senate of the US. In a nutshell congress is proposing to eliminate the so called exemption that has existed through court tests and legislation, that has eliminated sales tax, when purchases are made online unless the company has a physical presence in your state. Most ecommerce sites do not have to collect sales tax from purchases outside the states where they have operations. Just as long as the laws have existed that prevent the websites from collecting sales taxes, many brick and mortar sites have been complaining of the unfair advantage that ecommerce sites enjoy. The advent of mobile devices that can search the web for products based on a photo of a product bar code have increased the advantage even more, as brick and mortar establishments have become the showroom for ecommerce. Smart competitors are fighting back by investing in such companies as ‘Sensewhere’ and ‘Point Inside’ that can provide customers with coupons for items that are near their in store position. Many stores, such as Best Buy and Sears, are using slightly different product models that make comparison shopping difficult, and many other methods are being used to entice customers to buy now. That being said, some establishments are still bankrolling the legislation to, as they call it, level the playing field.
The recent disclosure of data snooping by Verizon and now several Internet Companies from articles published by the Guardian in the United Kingdom show that there is probably someone or some entity that is leaking highly classified information about the inner workings of the NSA. What is odd is the timing of the three releases; think about it, the releases are happening right at the start of talks with the Chinese about cyber security. Obama is now in a defensive posture going into these high level meetings and has been put in a difficult position. So one has to wonder about the timing, could these disclosures have been leaked by the Chinese government to soften the approach taken by the US? As they say in security circles, true coincidences are rare.
I don’t normally comment on political issues but after seeing several articles in the Washington Post I had to say something. What’s even odder is the Washington Post had two articles that basically said the same thing, that the Feds quantitative easing (Learn what Quantitative Easing is: QE3 Explained) was a good thing for the economy and small business. What’s even more amusing is that after a few dozen comments appeared from small business owners, who overwhelming disagree that lower borrowing cost were important, the Washington Post buried the articles on Bernanke’s quantitative easing. Here are the articles: