Tag Archives: rant

Really? New Windows Phone 7 commercials rock | Betanews

For months I’ve been saying that marketing, more than technology, would define (or fail to) Windows Phone 7’s launch. … From putting the “P” in personal to smart messaging to simply brilliant advertising, Microsoft has pulled back the curtains on Windows Phone 7 in oh-so right fashion.

…”There must be aggressive aspirational marketing that is at least as good as recent Bing, Internet Explorer and Windows 7 advertising…Microsoft made the right, positive impressions when rebranding Windows Live Search to Bing — thanks to supporting marketing. Windows Mobile is dead. Long live Windows Phone. It’s a new brand that buyers must rightly meet.”

But what really rings — for the visceral appeal and because more people will experience it than the launch marketing material — is the TV advertising. The first commercial embedded above, “Really?”, overdramatizes people obsessed with their cell phones, instead of the real world going on around them. Marketing tagline: “It’s time for a phone to save us from our phones.” Oh yeah?

Microsoft’s marketing isn’t just messaging, there’s a worldview behind it: Your phone isn’t your life. In my post earlier today, I wrote: “Ballmer succinctly stated that Windows Phone 7 is designed so that people can ‘get in, out and back to life.’

So let’s make sure we have this right: there are any number of phones out there that are Just Phones. A smart phone is a different beast, more a computer in a phone costume than the other way around. And Microsoft is clearly not making a phone that is Just a Phone; it’s making a smart phone. And its pitch line for this is that you’ll use it less?

There is only one way this ad campaign makes sense, and that’s if Microsoft has hit an out-of-the-park home run with Windows Phone 7. If it’s so revolutionary that users can get the same things done in dramatically less time, more easily than anything that has come before, then this ad campaign makes sense. Otherwise it’s an argument against their own product and the Kin will soon have company.

Not really — Microsoft doesn’t have another option beyond this, and they’re not known for withdrawing from the battlefield. Once Microsoft has committed to a course of action, they stick with it until they get it right. Back in the day that was Windows before Windows 95. Today I wonder if they have the same will to win, the same sense of destiny that must have kept them going when the only answer they had to the MacOS was Windows 2 (dark days indeed).

I don’t think they need to go to the extremes that Droid is, advertising that their products are the beta version of the Borg, but they should at least claim that you’ll enjoy using their products.

Joe Wilcox (the author) goes on to talk about Millennials, as if they’re the only ones obsessed with their smart phones, and says that the ad campaign tailored to them (obviously not this one) is likely coming later. First, that’s not a given, second, they’re not the only ones who would rather give up their shoes than their phone, and third, these ads set the tone. Having said that phones are a nuisance, Microsoft won’t be able to claim later, “Ha, we were just kidding, it’s really a great heavy-duty phone.” The Millennials (and the rest of us who only vaguely remember how we got by with ordinary phones) won’t be paying attention.


Wow, this graphic sucks even more


I guess they thought the original didn’t suck enough. This version, suggested by Sarah Reichelt, is prettier. Although it makes sense to alphabetize everyone around the perimeter, it leads to many line crossings. Coloring the connections based on the plaintiff helps, but the long thin lines can still be confusing.

I wasn’t going to bother to see if I could untangle this mess, but as xkcd says, Duty Calls. My version still has one pair of crossed lines, and I didn’t bother to throw in the seemingly random colors of the original, but overall it’s much clearer I think. I would have touched up the layout a bit more if I weren’t doing it by hand in Keynote.


The mayor of Paris vows to combat traffic jams by putting more cars on the road


The French capital is notorious for its traffic jams. Now the mayor of Paris has come up with a bold new plan to rid his city of tens of thousands of cars. If he pulls it off, the e-car sharing scheme may become a trailblazer for other congested cities around the world.

This makes no sense. There are two problems: parking and traffic jams. I’ll grant that having a fleet of 3,000 electric cars available can ease the parking situation, since that’s potentially tens of thousands of cars that don’t need to be parked in the city.

But this will actually increase traffic. Everyone who would have been driving at any given moment can still drive, either in their own car or potentially in one of these. But in addition, there are some people who previously would have taken the metro who will now say to themselves, “I can get there faster if I drive one of these electric cars.” So in reality this will mean up to 3,000 more cars on the road at any one time.

Tablets that are (not) going to Rule the Coming Years | TechHotshot


“Sometime back laptops made the world wire-free and mobile. One could work from anywhere; but laptop today is no longer a substance of surprise. The glamour quotient has shifted towards a new cool stream of gadgets called Tablet PCs.”

“Today we are at the altar where tablets are empowering to become the gadgets of tomorrow and witnessing the growth potential of tablet industry it would not be wrong to say that 2009 was a year of laptops and 2010 will be a year of tablets.”


This is fundamentally flawed reasoning. The author is assuming that ten years after Bill Gates first proclaimed that the laptop and desktop would be supplanted by the tablet, now just happens to be the time people are ready to make the switch. That’s no more true than the idea that one hundred years ago people decided they’d had enough of horses and it was time to adopt another mode of travel.

People are buying the iPad because the iPad works as a tablet, not because they’ve finally decided they’ve had enough of laptops. The PC industry has a ten-year history of producing tablets that few people want. There is no reason to think that just because Apple has produced the iPad, people will start snapping up the Dell Streak or the Samsung Q1.

If other manufacturers manage to copy the iPad really well, or produce something useful themselves, they have a shot. Otherwise the next ten years of tablets will be like the last ten years, only thinner and lighter and more desperate as the iPad’s market share grows.

We are not alone — okay, maybe we are

The universe, [Stephen Hawking] points out, has 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars. In such a big place, Earth is unlikely to be the only planet where life has evolved.

“To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational,” he said. “The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like.”

The Times is overstating what Stephen Hawking said, but nevertheless, he’s arguing from incredulity. Just because the number of galaxies and stars is large doesn’t guarantee there are aliens. It doesn’t even make it likely. There’s simply no way to know at present how likely it is that we are alone.

As for the rest of the argument, it’s not much better. Any species of alien that has mastered interstellar travel will have perfected nanotechnology. Resource limitations won’t be a problem for them, unless you’re talking about pure raw material such as carbon. They’re not going to be running around the galaxy raiding planets for hydrocarbons.