It's the George W. Bush Family Comedy Hour

As worked up as I might get over all of this, I just find it ridiculous these days.

Even talking-in-tongues psycho Senator Brownback opposes this escalation, as does “maverick” senator Hagel. It’s pretty clear America is rejecting this, with only about 30% supporting escalation (probably to scratch their Vietnam itch) and 11% approving of Bush’s speech last night.

Neil Conan of NPR asked someone yesterday, “what about the notion of giving the President another chance?” A year ago or more, my head would have exploded. I just laughed. Another chance? How many does he get?

Another comedic bit here: Bush is on the verge of handing the Democrats a governing 2/3s majority in Congress on some issues. Could it be that unity on Iraq might engender a Congressional bipartisan era, where they govern with little or no input from the President?

Probably not, but he’s got a veto proof minimum wage bill headed straight for him, and if he thought he was going to sink the Kennedy bill last night, he failed.

It’s all just hilarious.

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The Path Forward for Microsoft

Later this month, Microsoft will launch what I anticipate will be the last dominant version of Windows. It’s just hatching from its infancy, but the next generation of computing is upon us. Others have written more intelligently about the evolution of the PC and can make subtler and more powerful distinctions about the various discrete eras of personal computing.

Whatever the others may be, some of those eras were the advent of the GUI and the advent of the Internet. We’re now entering a second era of the Internet, where the Internet becomes the dominant medium for all media, so to speak, and where the innovations and nuance of the Internet are not resulting in second generation ideas.

Microsoft will not be able to remain as dominant in this next era for many, many reasons.

First, Microsoft was late to the last generation, the Internet generation. Internet Explorer didn’t even exist during the first years of the web. Microsoft had virtually zero Internet enabled applications and only a company-wide memo by Bill Gates identified the Internet as the future and re-focused the company.

They were also late to the GUI. The first lame version of Windows did come out in 1986, but that was 2 years after the Macintosh and several years after the Apple Lisa and the Xerox.

They didn’t invent the GUI, and they didn’t even invent any single Internet app. They copied search. They copied chat. They bought in to webmail. They copied maps. They copied the browser.

These products have all been sucessful because of Windows. It makes Microsoft’s copies easy to use (just like it made Microsoft’s copy of WordPerfect run, and Microsoft’s copy of Lotus 1-2-3 and Microsoft’s copy of …. well, I think they might have invented PowerPoint and Flight Simulator…).

But now most of what you can do in Windows, you can do on Linux, for free. You can run OpenOffice on Linux. Google’s stuff too. Ad-based software and opensource are taking over what used to be the totality of the computing world: the desktop. In other words, desktop software is no longer a revenue stream. Sic transit Microsoft Office.

These are some of the consequences of the Internet: rearranging the revenue stream for desktop software while marginalizing it at the same time. Consequentially, the OS becomes more fungible. Sic transit Windows.

Second, with one exception discussed below, Microsoft doesn’t generate content. Content is what generates revenue, to look at it, use it, and advertise it or search for it. Original content, the abstract atomic widgets of the ideas economy. The Killer App or the Killer Movie or the Killer toy and its logistics are what creates money. As these ideas are atomized into finer and finer grains, something like a word processor will be some kind of collectively generated whole composed of a series of parts selected by the user.

Third, their corporate culture is risk-averse and bloated. Bill Gates can’t write a memo and say, “We’re making Windows free in 2012 and Office free in 2008,” or “We’re going to make Windows a front-end for Linux.” It can’t happen.

Microsoft’s position in games is one aspect of computing that will erode slower. First of all, most gamers have to have a Windows PC. Linux can do a lot of stuff for work, but for play, the only thing better than a console is a good Windows PC. They also generate XBox games, the original content. They can leverage that. Microsoft=Games. Unify the Xbox and some future windows.

Governments are starting. When are businesses going to get smart and quit paying several hundred dollars per user for software that’s free? Eventually the market will make that happen.

Psychic On the Apple Phone

Last fall, I wrote this on MacRumors:

I do not believe that the iPhone will be released until there is a significant increase in the rollout of UTMS. It’s the only standard that will make the iTMS worth using on the phone (other than EVDO, which is not on GSM phones.) Since GSM is the world-wide standard, even if there is a CDMA version of the iPhone, there will at least be a GSM version, if it’s not also the only one.

So, *IF* there’s going to be an iPhone, don’t look for it before Christmas.

GSM. Check. 3G Check. After Christmas. Check.

Now that may not sound all that prophetic, but compare with some of the other posts on that page. Americans. Lol. They really thought it wouldn’t be for the GSM that 95% of the world uses?

Update: Apparently, it’s EDGE. Jobs said 3G but was joking. (A pic of a rotary dialer on an old ipod was there.) I’m shocked. That’s going to be awful slow to use the iTMS. Well, too bad. I’ll be waiting for 3G.

Apple Phone?

There has been so much hype, speculation, and nothingness regarding Apple’s potential entry into the cell phone market that I wonder if it’s not the biggest tech red-herring since… Apple’s replacement for System 7.

But I think Apple has shown with the iPod that they know how to make consumer electronics. But to keep the iPhone from being lame, it’s going to have to have the following three features.

1. Unlocked. It needs to work on any (presumably) GSM carrier, and not tied to them. Making a separate CDMA version might be OK, but since most of the world uses GSM, I can’t see Apple doing that if it’s not simple.

2. Push e-mail. There are two basic ways of doing this right now. Blackberry and Windows Mobile. (There are alternatives, but I don’t like them much.) This entails a Mini Mac OS on the phone. Apple needs to get over its PowerTalk disaster and advance beyond POP3, an ancient protocol that’s the lamest feature still on the Internet.

3. Cellular iTunes Music Store/Sync to home computer iTunes. This will require a 3G connection. I can’t believe the rumors that say it will come with EDGE. Maybe that’s the minimum requirement, but to make these features really work, HSPDA needs to be included.

If these three elements and their corollaries are met, I’ll ditch my Windows phone and my wife will probably ditch her CrackBerry.