Saturday, May 29, 2010

Blog # 143: A New King of Technology

A Supersized World

Calories With Those Fries?

Stop the Presses! There is a brand new King of Technology! The New York Times reports:

New King of Technology: Apple Overtakes Microsoft By MIGUEL HELFT and ASHLEE VANCE Published: May 26, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple, the maker of iPods, iPhones and iPads, overtook Microsoft, the computer software giant, on Wednesday to become the world’s most valuable technology company.

In intraday trading shortly after 2:30 p.m., Apple shares rose 1.8 percent, which gave the company a value of $227.1 billion. Shares of Microsoft declined about 1 percent, giving the company a market capitalization of $226.3 billion.

Technology’s New King!

The only American company valued higher is Exxon Mobil, with a market capitalization of $282 billion.

This changing of the guard caps one of the most stunning turnarounds in business history, as Apple had been given up for dead only a decade earlier. But the rapidly rising value attached to Apple by investors also heralds a cultural shift: Consumer tastes have overtaken the needs of business as the leading force shaping technology.

Microsoft, with its Windows and Office software franchises, has dominated the relationship most people had with their computers for almost two decades and that was reflected in its stock market capitalization. But the click-clack of the keyboard has ceded ground to the swoosh of a finger across a smartphone’s touch-screen.

“It is the single most important turnaround that I have seen in Silicon Valley,” said Jim Breyer, a venture capitalist who has invested in some of the most successful technology companies.

”Microsoft depends more on maintaining the status quo, while Apple is in a constant battle to one-up itself and create something new,” said Peter A. Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook. “Apple is a bet on technology,” he said. “And Apple beating Microsoft is a very significant thing.”

“The battle has shifted from Microsoft against Apple to Apple against Google,” said Tim Bajarin, a technology analyst who has been following Apple since 1981. “Apple has a significant lead. But Google is going to be a powerful competitor.”

Apple and Microsoft initiated the personal computing revolution in the late 1970s, but Microsoft quickly outflanked Apple and grew to be one of the most profitable businesses ever created.

A little more than a decade ago, Apple, which had pushed out Mr. Jobs in 1985, was widely believed to be on the path to extinction. Michael S. Dell, the founder and chief executive of Dell computer, went so far as to suggest that Apple should shut down and return any money to shareholders. (The computer maker is now worth about a tenth of Apple.) Around the same time, Microsoft’s chief technology officer called Apple “already dead.”

But with the return of Mr. Jobs to Apple in 1996 — and an investment by Microsoft of $150 million — the company began a slow path to recovery. Apple’s rebirth began in earnest with the introduction of the iPod music players, and Mr. Jobs began to gain a reputation for anticipating what consumers want. The company elbowed aside Sony and came to dominate the music distribution business with the iTunes online music store.

It later upstaged Nokia, the dominant brand in mobile phones, by introducing the iPhone in 2007. And this year, Mr. Jobs shook things up again, with the introduction of the iPad, a tablet computer that has the potential to create a new category of computers and once again reshape the way people interact with their devices.

Mr. Jobs helped create “the best desktop computer, the best portable music device, the best smartphone and also now the best tablet,” said Steve Perlman, a serial entrepreneur who was an executive at both Apple and Microsoft and is now the chief executive of OnLive, an online gaming company.

Still, Microsoft is a hugely powerful and profitable company in the tech world. . . But Apple has the momentum. “Steve saw way early on, and way before Microsoft, that hardware and software needed to be married into something that did not require effort from the user,” said Scott G. McNealy, the co-founder and longtime chief executive of Sun Microsystems.

“Apple’s products are shrink-wrapped and ready to go. The full story may be found here! •

And as for Apple finally overtaking Microsoft in value, this is no surprise to those of us who are characterized by Microsofties world wide as Apple Fan Boys. In truth, we knew there was more value in an ounce of an Apple products as in a ton of Microsoft vapor ware. Microsoft seemed to require controlling the pc industry to flourish, and when it belatedly discovered the web and decided to try and extend its os domination to the world wide web, it killed Netscape by offering its web browser, Internet Explorer, for free (in Microsoft’s own words) to cut off Netscape’s air supply. Ultimately this brought the government’s antimonopoly forces down on it, which considered forcing the company’s breakup. And the European Union has fined Microsoft megabucks and forced it to offer competitor’s web browsers in the European Union sales.

˜ † ˜

Word is the government is investigating Apple’s almost complete domination of the music business. However, when all is said and done I think they will find that Apple did nothing more to dominate the music player business than build a better player, and then work out a system for buying music that was only competitive with the sources of stealing music. If the iTunes store is easier to use than Amazon’s mp3 store, there is nothing anti-competitive about that.

˜ † ˜

Anyone around here sentimental? The “I’m a P.C., I’m a Mac ads are finally history. But someone has cleverly strung pieces of each one together into one whole. Taking a cue from Steve Jobs famous line at Apple product introductions, it’s called, “One More Thing,” of course starring John Hodgeman and Justin Long. •

Mark Twain Autobiography Finally Coming

As we head into week number 143 of our blog, there are several headlines of interest. The 100th anniversary of the death of Mark Twain has passed, and to celebrate it the institution which houses his autobiography will begin its publication. Twain devoted the last ten years of his life to its writing, but directed that it be withheld from publication for 100 years from his death. The 100 aniversary of his death occurred on April 21st, and according to the publishers his long awaited autobiography will be released in 3 volumes, the first coming out this fall. The full story may be accessed here!

˜ † ˜

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain

And someone name Michael Jordon reports at that:

Every year at the end of May, Mark Twain pushes aside the lid on his coffin, claws his way out of the fetid soil, and tries to anoint a new recipient of The Mark Twain Prize For American Humor, the prize granted to the funniest people in the world! This year, the deserving winner is Tina Fey, comedienne extraordinaire and my and every other comedy geek's future girlfriend if there is any justice in this world. Fey's career highlights include a nine year stint on Saturday Night Live, six Emmys and two Golden Globes for her TV series "30 Rock" (which she stars in, writes, and produces), and a successful movie career that's included such hits as Mean Girls and Date Night. Fey is only the third woman to win the award, after Whoopi Goldberg and Lily Tomlin won it in 2001 and 2003 respectively.

Tina Fey wins the 2010 Mark Twain Award

At 40, Fey is also the youngest person to ever receive the award— I’m going to assume it comes in the shape of a solid gold vibrating sex toy— which will be handed out on November 13 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. The ceremony will include “a night of humor featuring other comic stars.” Other comic stars? Count me in!

Previous winners of The Mark Twain Prize For American Humor include Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, and George Carlin. No word yet on whether Twain specifically requested Fey in his 100 year old diary that will finally be released this year, or if the marching orders are coming from zombie Twain. Either way, all the 30 Rock geeks should be pretty excited.

– ☯ –

Spectators in Phoenix hold signs protesting Arizona's controversial new immigration law during Telemundo's morning show broadcast of "Levántate," which featured an interview with Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon. Photo: Mark Henle-AP

With the uproar over Arizona’s new racial profiling immigration law resounding all over the nation, most people are forgetting one rather important fact. Although people of Mexican descent who were not born in Arizona are called illegal, the fact is that ten years after the successful Texas revolution in 1836, in its first action after Texas joined the union the United States dispatched its army and invaded Mexico, and after conquering the country, forced Mexico to cede not only Texas but all of Mexico’s territories west of Texas to the United States. From Wikipedia:

The Mexican–American War was an armed conflict between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 in the wake of the 1845 U.S. annexation of Texas, which Mexico considered part of its territory despite the 1836 Texas Revolution.

In addition to a naval blockade of the Mexican coast, American forces invaded and conquered New Mexico, California and parts of northern Mexico. Another American army captured Mexico City, forcing Mexico to agree to the sale of its northern territories to the U.S.

Territories which included New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and California, were paid for, but under terms under which Mexico was given no choice other than accept. Houston Federal Judge Woodrow Seals, who ruled that the State of Texas must educate the children of those in Texas illegally reflected this knowledge of the original ursurpation of Mexican lands in making his ruling.

Many of the nation’s “gringos,” English only white protestants, who would wish to pack “illegals” off to their country of origin and making them to go to the back of the line to apply for legal re-admittance, support this point of view making no mention of the way the United States wrested Texas and all states to its west from Mexico, all the while decrying totalitarian states which annex their neighbors territory by force.

Whatever form the solution of America’s illegal immigrant problem might finally take, somewhere within it should be an acknowledgment of the true origins of states like Arizona, and why Mexican nationals deserve special treatment in their quest for citizenship. And under no condition should racial profiling be used by law enforcement agencies to single out suspected illegals.

– ☯ –

A roseate spoonbill passes a gull over an island in the Barataria Bay on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. The island is home to thousands of brown pelicans, egrets and roseate spoonbills, many of which are now stained by oil. Officials say that it might be impossible to clean the hundreds of miles of coastal wetlands and islands affected by the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which continues gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: John Moore-Getty Images

And from out It’s About Damn Time! Department, the FDA announced that it is considering a product known as “viagra” for women. Rob Stein writing in the Washington Post reports:

A panel of federal advisers will soon wrestle with a question that has bedeviled poets, philosophers and generations of frustrated men: What do women want?

That enigma will be part of a Food and Drug Administration committee's deliberations next month when it considers endorsing the first pill designed to do for women what Viagra did for men: boost their sex lives. A German pharmaceutical giant wants to sell a drug with the decidedly unsexy name "flibanserin," which has shown prowess for sparking a woman's sexual desire by fiddling with her brain chemicals.

For the full story go here!

– ☯ –

Here We Go Again!

My appointment with my new oncologist is Friday, June 4 at 3:30. Here we go again.

Several years ago I was sent to a different oncologist, who did a bone marrow test and declared I had chronic myloid leukemia. He began a treatment which damn near killed me, it made me drive my car off the road, and got me so I couldn’t eat food.

I took myself off of that medication and enrolled in the VA hospital, where they did a bone marrow test which found I did not have c.m.l. and I breathed easier. Several years have gone by since then, but thanks to a recent blood test guess what? My white corpuscles are once again raging out of control. And so I have scheduled an appointment with yet another oncologist. Next week’s blog should have an update on that visit.

Meantime here is what I learned from my last experience with chronic myeloid leukemia. At that time there was only one drug which controlled the condition. It was called Gleevec and it’s monthly dose was priced back then at $3,000. At the time of my original diagnosis my son Joel, who is a licensed medical doctor and psychiatrist, got me enrolled in the Veteran’s Administration under the assumption that the V.A. would furnish Gleevec if required; although the V.A. does not list Gleevec as a drug it provides, it does point out occasional use of special drugs.

It was funny, after the recent diagnosis I said to myself, how could this be as I don’t seem to have any symptoms? Then it slowly sank in to me that I most certainly do have symptoms. For once thing I bruise and bleed easily, and am frequently covered with bruise like discolorations on my arms, bruises which I have no memory of getting.

And of course my newest symptom which consists of very intense naps, three a day following meals. And on some days even more. Worst thing is I usually sleep through the first three quarters of the NBA regional finals, waking up just in time to see the last quarter.

The Heart and Soul nebulae is displayed in this infrared mosaic from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. The image covers an area of the sky in the constellation Cassiopeia over 10 times as wide as the full moon and eight times as high. Located about 6,000 light-years from Earth, the Heart and Soul nebulae form a vast star-forming complex that makes up part of the Perseus spiral arm of our Milky Way galaxy. Photo: NASA-AP

And so as our space cruiser banks around the Heart and Soul Nebulae and heads on track for a return to the third planet from the sun, we find it’s time to once again take leave of our little blog.

We put up a new one every Saturday morning after breakfast, and it stays up the entire week, except for those rare occasions where we slip something in after the original post. We hope you’ll come back again next week, same URL, for our next edition. Meantime, bye now, be good, and if you can’t be good, have fun being bad. Bye, bye.

The Real Little Eddy §

No comments: