Sunday, February 12, 2012
Thursday, February 09, 2012
A company that aspired to a value system that became well known as "Don't be evil" has been replaced by a new motto asked by many now -- "Is Google evil?".
Back in 2005, i actually believed that Google was a benevolent company, and blogged about it here (http://captaink.blogspot.com/2005/09/talk-about-google-talk.html).
I have changed my position of that over the last few years.
It hapenned with Microsoft, in the late 90's, when they grew too fast, became big, became arrogant and now, ironically, act as a good internet citizen with humility. There seems to be increasing evidence that Google is operating like the early Microsoft years. Now you might say what makes Google evil?
Several examples to cite:
1. Patent-Theft: Eric Schmidt then the CEO of Google, sat on Apples board between 2006 and 2009. The very time when Apple had been preparing its iPhone into the market in 2007. It turns out that Google had previously purchased Android in 2005 (before the iPhone came to market) as a mobile operating system to compete directly with front-facing QWERTY physical keyboard devices like Blackberry and Windows Mobile phones. Android was designed from the outset for keyboard devices, which did not have a full-screen, or multi-touch gestures. Google later stole many iPhone multi-touch features and included them in Android. Steve Jobs in his last days promised to "go thermonuclear on Google... to right this wrong".
2. Disingenuous: When Vic Gundotra, said:
"If Google didn't act, it faced a draconian future where one man, one phone, one carrier, were our choice. Thats a future we don't want.... If you believe in openness, if you believe in choice, if you believe in innovation from everyone, then welcome to Android".We are led to believe that consumers have a choice between a curated, tightly managed AppStore where content doesn't contain malware, tracking cookies, porn vs. the Google free 'open' Android marketplace. Thats the real choice with Open -- it doesn't seem so attractive now does it? When Gundotra says that Android is open, it means as a handset maker you have access to latest source code? that as a handset maker you can contribute back into the main source code? err no. In fact Google says that you must ask permission and explain to Google exactly what your plans are before receiving the latest source code. How is that open? When Gundotra says that "it turns out that on the internet, people use flash" - what he didn't want to admit was that Flash sucks on mobile phones and are drain on processing power and battery life. How ironic today, 2-years later, with the just released Chrome browser on Android, they chose not to support Flash.
Being disingenuous -- doesn't make Google evil, but it portrays a company that will exploit a populist viewpoint to characterise itself to be benevolent, to give the impression that its the vanguard of technological idealism.
3. Monopoly: In 2008, DOJ filed a file suit against Google at its unlawful attempts to tie search advertisement prices with Yahoo. In 2010, a federal district court in new york agreed with the DOJ again at Googles attempts to monopolise book content by forcing publishers to give Google exclusive access to content. Google has imposed technical constraints to make it hard for Microsoft Bing search engine from correctly accessing sites like YouTube - in effect Google is creating a walled garden on prime internet real-estate. Lets take where Google is very dominant and that is in search advertisements - they make it almost impossible for advertisers to export their ad campaign data to another advertisers. Over Googles second failed attempt at social media, the FTC alleged that Google used "deceptive tactics and violated its own privacy promises to consumers" over the use of consumer data with Google Buzz.
4. Patent War: Google is being chased by Apple, Microsoft and Oracle for patent infringement in Android. Apple view is simple - multitouch is a competitive advantage that they will protect aggressively -- and they have chosen to attack Google by indirectly suing handset makers like Samsung and HTC. In what has become a patents arms race, things escalated when Google purchased Motorola with the sole aim of acquiring its patent chest, a desperate attempt after it had failed to win the Nortel patents. None of these Motorola patents could seriously be used to defend Android against Apples claims. So why spend $12Bn on a company losing $250M each quarter? It turns out Google is willing to hold the industry at random by allowing Motorola to to request unreasonable license fees (2.5% of selling fee of products) on FRAND licenses (FRAND licenses are meant to be reasonable license fees to enable telecommunications interoperability in the industry).
Feb 2012 - So the Google acquisition of Motorola was approved, but take note of the carefully worded statements from:
(a) the US Justice Department - "the company has not made sufficient promises to license essential patents in fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms".
(b) EU Competition Commissioner - ""This merger decision should not and will not mean that we are not concerned by the possibility that, once Google is the owner of this portfolio, Google can abuse these patents, linking some patents with its Android devices. This is our worry. … We might be obliged to open some cases in the future. This is not enough to block the merger but we will be vigilant."
5. Social Media Search: Right now if you search the Internet using Google -- you get a biased internet search result that will favour Google properties. Don't believe me try it out. Try and find and content from Twitter -- where is it? Same crap as we hear before, Twitter claims that Google doesn't need permission to index Google. Wrong according to Google -- Twitter needs to provide certain metadata before Google can index Twitter. Well this seems like a special rule that Google makes for special competitors like Twitter.
Should i stop here or carry on? Let see how the rest of 2012 plays out shall we....
In the meanwhile recent postings (10 ways in which google runs the world, The case against Google, Google gets big for its britches, Google: The Hero becomes the Villain, Is Google facing the beginning of the end?, all seems to coincide with many things of the things i have been saying here.
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Chris does a brilliant job of highlighting that the debt induced fiat monetary system which has driven our economic progress over the last 50-years is likely to fail in the future. In fact it was really nothing more than a sophisticated ponzi scheme which can only continue on the basis of perpetual compounded growth and a continued acquisition of real physical energy resources. The virtual economic economy is tied to the physical world -- this perpetual growth cannot continue forever as we are seeing with the massive de-leveraging across all asset classes in the current 2008 - 2010 recession.
Chapter 2 - The Three "E"s -
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Monday, May 04, 2009
Dr Manhattan's unusual hyperconsciousness allows him to perceive time in multiple facets. He slides through time and has a keen sense of predestination. For him, all time is simultaneous; all things happen at once. Therefore, he knows what "will" happen in "the future" but is incapable of doing anything about it. An obviously complex, distant, otherworldly character, Manhattan is ageless and indestructible but poignantly paradoxical in his fatalistic yet omnipotent existence.
Some even claim that Dr Manhattan might even be an indirect allegorical reference to Vishnu / Krishna.
Dr Manhattan appears to transcend space / time, talks metaphysically about reality, life and death. Dr. Manhattan seems beyond human, beyond super-hero, evolving god-like. He has a blue hue around him like Vishnu/Krishna.
Of course that in itself, doest mean anything, however lets roll back 60-years to the time of the first test of the Atomic Bomb.
In July 16th 1945, the Manhattan project, conducted the first atomic bomb tests, at Jornada del Muerto desert near the Trinity site in the White Sands Missile Range. Supervising scientist Robert Oppenheimer (a big believer of the Vedas/Upanishads) quoted Vishnu / Krishna from the Bhagavad Gita - "I am become death - the destroyer of worlds", just as the first Atomic bomb was detonated.
Afterwards, he recalls: "We knew the world would not be the same, few people laughed, few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scriptures, the Bhagavad Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the prince that he should do his duty and to impress him he takes on his multi-arm form and says - 'now i am become death, the destroyer of worlds.' -- i suppose we all thought that one way or another." - J. Robert Oppenheimer
Sunday, May 03, 2009
“On the surface of the world right now there is war and violence and things seem dark. But calmly and quietly, at the same time, something else is happening. Underground an inner revolution is taking place, and certain individuals are being called to a higher light. It is a silent revolution - from the inside out, from the ground up. This is a Global operation, a Spiritual Conspiracy.
There are sleeper cells in every nation on the planet. You won't see us on the T.V. You won't read about us in the newspaper. You won't hear about us on the radio. We don't seek any glory. We don't wear any uniform. We come in all shapes and sizes, colours and styles. Most of us work anonymously. We are quietly working behind the scenes in every country and culture of the world - cities big and small, mountains and valleys, in farms and villages, tribes and remote islands. You could pass by one of us on the street and not even notice. We go undercover. We remain behind the scenes.
It is of no concern to us who takes the final credit, but simply that the work gets done. Occasionally we spot each other in the street. We give a quiet nod and continue on our way. During the day many of us pretend we have "normal jobs." But behind the false storefront at night is where the real work takes a place. Some call us the Conscious Army. We are slowly creating a new world with the power of our minds and hearts. We follow, with passion and joy.
Our orders come from the Central Spiritual Intelligence. We are dropping soft, secret love bombs when no one is looking: Poems ~ Hugs ~ Music ~ Photography ~ Movies ~ Kind words ~ Smiles ~ Meditation and prayer ~ Dance - Art ~ Social activism ~ Websites - Blogs ~ Random acts of kindness.
We each express ourselves in our own unique ways with our own unique gifts and talents. “Be the change you want to see in the world” - that is the motto that fills our hearts. We know it is the only way real transformation takes place. We know that quietly and humbly we have the power of all the oceans combined. Our work is slow and meticulous. Like the formation of mountains, it is not even visible at first glance. And yet with it entire tectonic plates shall be moved in the centuries to come. Love is the new religion of the 21st century.
You don't have to be a highly educated person or have any exceptional knowledge to understand it. It comes from the intelligence of the heart, embedded in the timeless evolutionary pulse of all human beings. Be the change you want to see in the world. Nobody else can do it for you. We are now recruiting. Perhaps you will join us. Or already have. All are welcome. The door is open.”
~ Author Unknown
Monday, December 01, 2008
The main objective was to attack US and British nationals.
That would certainly be the dominant view that has been expressed by the UK and US media, but it is not the main reason. Certainly the explicit targeting of UK and US nationals amongst other nationals, has Internationalized the situation. The objectives of the these terrorists are multi-dimensional, this is just one in a continued spate of attacks that have occurred in India over the last few years (one would argue 2 decades). Firstly, the idea is to split the secular line that has held India together for a Millenia, by creating a fault-line between the Hindu majority and the Muslim minority the terrorists achieve their objective of creating civil disharmony across India. Secondly, it was meant to be an attack on Globalization, an attack on free-spirit, free market thinking, democracy and global commerce in a part of the country where foreigners like to do business. Places like the Taj Palace Hotel are where people "do business". In a country growing at 9% GDP, there is concentration of dynamic innovation and deal making that was happening in Mumbai. So by targeting Mumbai they wanted to fracture the heart of the financial a d business community at a time when the world economy was weak. Thirdly, it was an attack on foreign nationals to believe that India is not a safe place to do business and not a safe place to visit and a reminder to US/UK for their foreign policy in Afghanistan/Iraq, but it was not the main reason.
The name Al-Qaeda has become a very simple label to be used for the various factions and sub groups that operate across the globe on an International, State, inner-State level. As such Al-Qaeda may not be a command and control hierarchy that is involved in these attacks -- But what is left of the Al-Qaeda infrastructure is firmly situated in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That there are many separate offshoot groups in Pakistan (like Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Jaish-e-Mohammad) that are linked to Al-Qaeda should hardly be surprising.
Predictably India blames Pakistan.
Lets be clear hear. What India has been saying for the last 10-20 years is that they are not happy that Pakistan is turning a blind eye whilst terrorist organizations are freely allowed to recruit, train and carry out cross-border terrorist activities. India has been very clear about this in the many negotiations and dialogues, where they have asked Pakistan to 'remove the terrorist infrastructure which is within Pakistani borders'. The fact that Pakistan has not removed these groups is viewed by India with much mistrust and seen as tacit indirect approval from Pakistan.
Lashkar e-Tayibba (LeT) - based in Pakistan.
What needs to understood is that there have been many bombs and attacks on India's sovereignty over the last 20-years... In the last 30-years over 4000 people have died from terrorist bombs in India that is second only to Iraq! Lashkar e-Tayyaba were identified in the Mumbai blasts in 2006 (article i wrote in 2006). Lashkar-e-Tayyaba were involved in the Ayodha bombings in 2005, the Hindu holy city of Varanasi in 2005. Certainly the terrorist that was caught had admitted he was trained by the LeT in Pakistan and satellite phone communications was intercepted back to Karachi in Pakistan. Let us not forget the machine gun attacks in the India Parliment in 2001 which led to 1M Indian armed forces facing the Pakistan border, was also traced back to the LeT.
On final point India's Elite National Security Guard (NSG) commandos were dispatched to deal with the terrorist threat at the Hotels and it took them 3-days to secure the Hotel. It was a highly organized mission that took over 3-6 months to plan; the terrorists had detailed internal maps of the hotels; were expertly trained at short-fire burst shooting of the AK47. Were operating for 3-days without sleep which means that they had taken performance drugs (e.g. Adrenalin, LSD, Cocain). Contrary to what the press has said, this was a highly trained and organized outfit. So its quite reasonable to make the connection with the LeT and therefore for India to blame Pakistan for the origins of these terrorists.
This is a gross error -- Pakistan is not a secular country. Pakistan was created during the partition of India to be an Islamic Republic. They refer to it as the "Land of the Pure". When Pakistan was created, Hindus made up 20% of the population, today the Hindu population is 2%.
LeT - why would they deny involvement?
LeT have strong links with parts of the Pakistani Secret Service (ISI) which runs and operates within it own network separate to the state. This is a point that many people get confused about, Pakistan the State, the Army and the ISI Secret Service have had a long and independent / interdependent history. One would argue that the idea of Pakistan as a democratic state is a relatively new phenomenon. With the real institutional power and control being held through the ISI and Pakistan Army. The ISI were recipients of millions of dollars of funding from the Saudi's and the CIA which led to the creation of Madrassas (religious Schools) across Pakistan which was used to create the Taliban. Well when the Afghanistan war ended and Taliban took control of Afghanistan, what happened to the Madrassass and offshoots of the Taliban that stay in Pakistan. Well they are still in Pakistan fighting a proxy war with India over Kashmir. So organizations like the LeT have strong reasons to not admit anything because the links between LeT and ISI are far stronger and after the Mumbai attacks the pressure to reign them in will be stronger.
One final point, all the terrorists were supposed to kill to the death, it was not expected that any would be captured. But given that one was actually captured, why did he admit to being trained by LeT?
Why would Pakistan openly be involved in something like this?
I agree. It doesn't make sense for Pakistan "The State" to be involved in something like this. But please as i mentioned before there is a complex infrastructure made up of the ISI and the Pakistani Army that harbors Anti-Hindu, Anti-India ideologies that have fostered since the partition which then worsened under General Zia who Islamized Pakistan even further. Yes there is professional, educated middle-class buts its small, and has not had much voice so far. So to be clear here, when you talk about Pakistan you need to be clear which aspect you are talking about. By any standard Pakistan is a "failed state" and at risk of heading in the same direction as Somalia, this is not good for anyone to see happen. Only last month it had to borrow $7Bn from the IMF to ensure it didn't default on its debt liabilities. As i had mentioned there are parts of the ISI and the Pakistan Army that has an institutional memory which still even today cannot "get over" the fact that they lost India. You have to remember that the Mughals ruled India for 700-years when they invaded India and as such believe that they are the true rulers of India and the Hindus are their subjects. So after partition this has created a resentment that never really disappeared and a misguided insecure superiority complex which has defined Pakistani politics. This animosity is further worsened by the fact that when Pakistan looks at its economical growth in comparison to India which is seen as an emerging Super Power that will have the 3rd largest economy behind China and the USA by 2050. So there is much resentment and very little inertia to change current institutional thinking.
Pakistan - timebomb
As mentioned earlier, there is little inertia to change existing institutional thinking which hasn't evolved since the creation of Pakistan. So a country which was built around a Pro-Islam, Anti-Hindu, Anti-India ideology is still festering in many parts of the country and it will take time for that to change. But it cannot change unless its replaced with a new vision for the country, yet it has to do that whilst dealing with a Civil War which internally is eating up the country and with problems on both its borders while not being able to grow its economy. Yes its a failed state and it will unfortunately continue to be so for a long time. I am pretty sure that Barack Obamas No'1 concern is the safe keeping of the Nuclear Weapons in Pakistan (which were kindly donated by the Chinese).
What are the terrorists motivations?
India is not a country that had invaded another country in her 5000-year history, a reputation unequaled by any other civilization in history and based on the timeless deeply spiritual values of "Ahimsa", which means non-violence. The same philosophy followed by Mahatma Gandhi. In the last 2-years Islamic terrorists have bombed Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Assam, Orissa, Mumbai. Each one has been different and different number of people have died -- but yet India has not responded in a coordinated or directed response. It is a process of a thousand cuts that these terrorists intend to bleed India. Unlike 9/11.... Each attack is designed not to exceed a certain threshold, but as a total it is designed to test the limits and patience of the country. And the terrorists know that. They would not dare try something of the scale of 9/11, it simply doesn't make sense. But each individual attack is designed to push India further over the top.
And you may ask what is the point of this? -- Islamic Fundamentalism has moved beyond the issue of Kashmir. Kashmir is demarcated with a Line of Control and its borders will one day be remapped against those lines. There is more political alignment between India and Pakistan on this issue than most people realize. But Islamic Fundamentalism has already moved to Fascism and the only place left for it now is Anarchic Nihilism. You see the world is changing, people are getting wealthier, more educated, the internet is opening peoples eyes, telecommunication and media is making the world smaller, newer generations are giving up on the ideas of their parents generations and are learning at a much faster rate. They can see what is happening in India as a template of what could happen in Pakistan. That is why these attacks are designed to break India's resolve as they try and deal with Pakistan "The State" to ensure that both countries cannot move forward to second or third base.
Where did India go wrong?
Failure in Governance - the UPA Congress Party are a coalition government that needed to seek out other parties, minority parties to form a government. Each of these minority parties have their own expectations and motivations which need to be met. Which has made the Government very ineffective as it has to pander to everyone. Secondly with 15% of the population Muslim, that is a valuable vote that they cannot afford to disenfranchise, which has meant that targeting radical schools and groups within India has become impossible. In short the government has become limp through inaction at the risk of losing power, but general elections next May, it is a certainty that this current government will be out. To appease the minorities, when Congress came into power in 2004 the first thing they did was to dismantle and scrap Federal anti-terror laws. In short, the last 4-years of government has been viewed by most observers as spineless.
One final point -- Pseudo Intellectualism.
There is a pseudo intellectual view point common with many of intelligentsia press which likes to view that Pakistan is not responsible for these troubles and as such politicians and the press take a contrarian view from the most obvious answer. When you look at the mess that is in Kashmir, Pakistan, the Madrassas, the Taliban, Osama Bin Ladens hiding, its simply impossible to think that the problem is coming from somewhere else.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Friday, March 02, 2007
Just received my invitation for Joost, the creators of Skype. These guys are working on what can only be described as a kick-ass P2P Video TV Streaming client. Interface and Controls seems very reminiscent of OS X applications like iPhoto, QT, etc..
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Like the opening sequences of the Outer Limits which starts out -- "There is nothing wrong with your television... We are now controlling the transmission.... We control the Horizontal and the Vertical".
Steve Jobs thoughts on music, deserves some attention. For me this is classic Jobs.
Listening to some of the bloggers out there, i feel people have been a bit disengenious to Steve Jobs. So the reason im adding to the views of Scoble, JP Rangaswami, Bill Thompson (of the British Broadcasting Corporation no less!) is to get some sense of balance to this discussion and present it for what it really means to the industry.
But before i do, lets remind ourselves of that Wayne Gretzky quote that Steve gave us at the MacWorld 2007 Keynote. "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been."
That should reveal a lot to us.
- Lets be honest, digital content requires Digital Rights Management (DRM). Whether its music, videos, movies, books, photos. — In an increasingly digital world - we need such a framework, to suggest otherwise is pure folly.
To all the nay-sayers that suggest that we don't need DRM because its restrictive or its anti-libertarian, i ask them what are the alternatives? What do we tell the artists? DO we have a solution for them? Are we going to use an advertising model for music? Seriously. We need to have a better solution before suggesting that DRM sucks.
As long as the DarkNet exists, filesharing and tools like BitTorrent means that this problem will never go away. So we do need DRM to protect Digital Intellectual Property. This is not a question of ethics or morality or fairness, its a question of economics.
- Secondly, the consequence of this digital distribution means that one day record companies wont be selling CD’s. We all know that day will come and when that day arrives -- and Steve Jobs knows it will — we will have no choice but as consumers to pay with DRM.
But that day hasn’t arrived today — nobody wants to cannibilize sales or shrink the PIE. So we obviously live in this uneasy past and future worlds. The past, CD's (non-DRM) and the future, Digital(DRM). -- Steve Jobs knows that and he knows that the record companies know that!
Which is why he said what he said, because he is now the champion of the consumer cause -- fighting the evil-DRM, but at the end of the day, he knows that the record company can ill afford to do without it and so they became the bad guys. Steves' hands are tied he can only do what the record companies tell him.
All these side discussions about well he could release non-DRM stuff on iTunes or licensing the DRM to other companies -- are just side issues. The industry is still immature, its still growing, we are not ready for that debate yet, we need to agree that DRM is right or not, and if it isn't we need a soution for the artists. Figure that out first and frankly i don't think Steve Jobs cares, thats the recording companies problem and they already know the answer.
In the short run, let all these mindless journalists continue to discuss (on SecondLife - duh?) that the world doesn't need DRM and let them re-direct their attention to the European record companies. In the long-run, well, i think we need to go back to that quote from Wayne Gretzky. :)
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Saturday, December 16, 2006
All I know's I like my music sad.
Crystal days I'm pensive, thinking of you,
And while you're gone, I'm never really glad.
I think of love as some enormous sea,
Tempestuous or still, but never ending,
Something that once there will always be.
But that is not the message that I'm sending.
Missing you, for me, is something new:
An opening into my changing heart.
Love is something that I won't yet do,
But feeling what I feel for you's a start.
Love, like prayer, should not be lightly said,
So I'll just say, "You're in my heart" instead!"