Aug 15 2011

Google Make Its Largest Acquisition

Google announced that it was buying Motorola for a staggering $12.5 billion. This is the largest acquisition made by the online search and advertising giant to date. I was talking about this with a friend who said the following. “If I’m a typical Motorola employee I’m worried, if I’m HTC I’m pissed, if I’m Microsoft I’m making a bid for Nokia, if I’m Apple, I’m laughing it up.” I’m not entirely sure about my friend’s statement but I am positive that Google has changed it’s strategy and decided to fight fire with fire, patents with patents, lawyers with lawyers, and mind share with truck loads of hard cold cash.

Google went at great lengths on this deal, it not only paid top dollar for Motorola but it even created a special “Facts about Google’s acquisition of Motorola” SEO-rich webpage which includes choice quotes from Android partners and a message from Larry Page.

Larry, CEO of Google, wrote about the purchase…

Motorola has a history of over 80 years of innovation in communications technology and products, and in the development of intellectual property, which have helped drive the remarkable revolution in mobile computing we are all enjoying today.

The last Motorola phone I thought was ground breaking was the first generation RAZR. Since then I have not been impressed with their phone offering, including their Android versions. In the press release, Larry made several references of the StarTAC, which Motorola originally released in 1996.

To appease other Android partners and licensees, the press release stated that Motorola will e a independent business unit.

This acquisition will not change our commitment to run Android as an open platform. Motorola will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. We will run Motorola as a separate business

For me, the key and most revealing sentence in the whole press release was the following.

Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.

What struck me about the above quote is how hard Google is spinning this. When competitors buy up patents, it’s anti-competitive but when Google itself pays top dollar for a turkey stuffed with patents it will “increase competition.”

It has been reported that Google is paying $40/share, over 50% on top of the price at the time of the announcement. The reason Google is paying this price is clearly for the over 14,000 granted patents and over 6,500 pending patents Motorola has acquired over time. These patents will add to patents Google has added to it’s patent portfolio.


Aug 3 2011

Google Starts Towards The Path of Evil

The unofficial motto at Google has been Don’t Be Evil. Google’s philosophy states that “You can make money without doing evil.” The funny thing about being evil is that there is no technical IEEE standard of evil. That said, Google is on a slippery slope sliding towards impish and evilish behavior. As Google has a lock on the search and online advertising market, it has started to tailgate other industry leaders. Most notably, Google has started to tailgate Facebook and Twitter with different incarnations and versions of a social networking site. Depending on how you count, Google Plus is their fourth attempt at creating a social networking site. Google is also trying to compete with Apple in the mobile space. Well after a year into Apple revolutionizing the mobile phone market, Google got into the arena with their free mobile Operating System Android. In trying to compete in these two distinct markets, they have started to make decisions whose moral compass points towards evil-like behavior.

Even though Google’s latest attempt at a Facebook killer, Google Plus, has been well received it has also generated some of the most passionate arguments against any of their policies. Google Plus does not allow users to use pseudonyms, alias, nicknames, or any online handle other than their real names. There has been opposition against this stance from even within Google engineers tasked with implementing such draconian technology. The reasoning behind this rule makes no sense, and goes against a fundamental human right of self identity. I have the right to go and respond by any name I wish to be known as. In fact, many celebrities often use names other than their real names. Vic Gundotra, the Senior Vice President of Engineering at Google does not go by his real name that was given at birth so this all seems hypocritical.

The second misstep is their self serving stance on patents as written in a recent corporate blog post When Patents Attack Android. In this post, David Drummond, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at Google, practically accuses Microsoft, Apple, and Oracle of conspiring against Android with “bogus patents.” These are the same “bogus patents” that Google itself had tried to purchased from Novell for $3.14 billion. I doubt that any publicly traded company would bid $3.14 billion on “bogus patents” and in fact publicly complaining about having lost those patents demonstrates that they are not entirely bogus. Having lost the auction for said “bogus patents” Google went on to buy over 1000 patents from IBM for an undisclosed amount.


Jan 24 2011

Missing Feature: The Mobile Device Self Destruct Button

I use Apple’s Mobile Me service. I got the first year subscription as a gift a little over a year ago and I recently renewed the service for another year. I don’t use the email or calendar service in Mobile Me much but one feature that is worth its price is the Find My iPhone locator feature. This feature lets you track the location of your iOS device, it lets you put an alert message on your iPhone or iPad, and it lets you ring the iPhone (even if it’s on vibrate or silence mode). I’ve used it once when I lost my phone under the couch and I couldn’t find it. It also lets you lock down or even wipe your missing iOS device of all personal and identifying data.

Apple's Mobile Me

Apple's Mobile Me

All mobile devices, from phones, tablets, and to laptops should have a built it self destruct feature that when activated would destroy all data on a compromised device. It is my belief that a phone is a very intimate and personal device, there is so much personal data in my phone from private contact lists, to confidential business emails, to other dubious activities that I may or may not be involved in.

In addition to having the ability to destroy incriminating data from a mobile device, such as an iPhone or iPad, I want the ability to program rules into the phone. Such as if the phone has not been unlocked in over 24 hours, or if the attempted to unlocked more than three times, if it activated with a given specific code, if it is located in a known police or government building, etc.

Find My iPhone

Find My iPhone


Dec 30 2010

Apple Ruined My Neighbors Christmas

I just caught up for the first time since Christmas with my next door neighbor. They know I “work with computers” so they stopped by to see if I could help them with a small technical issue. One of their kids scored an Apple iPad from Santa but they haven’t been able to play with it. Apple requires you to connect your new iOS device, iPhone and iPad, with a computer and sync with your iTunes account before you can use it. You can’t even write a new text memo, watch videos on YouTube, surf online, send an email, much less purchase, download, and play games and music from the iTunes store before you connect your new iOS device with a computer. For five days now, their new iPad has been the best gift and the worst gift they received this Christmas.

I prefer the iPhone over any of the available Android phones, but the one thing I love about the Google Nexus One is that you don’t even need to plug to play. Just turn it on and you are on your way. Even updates are done Over The Air (OTA) so you don’t ever have to connect your Nexus One to a computer. The whole premise of Cloud Computing is that you don’t have to be shackled to a desktop.

I just had to walk through what my neighbor needed to do to set up their new iPad and you should have seen the confusion and disappointment in the parent’s and kid’s faces, respectively. In a nutshell, they have to download and install iTunes, create an iTunes account, connect the iPad with their computer, and then they can play a song or surf the web.

I can’t believe that Apple can revolutionize the user interface of the iPhone to have one button and yet have a complicated user experience of setting up their new iOS device.


Nov 23 2010

The Learning Library

I’ve always been a book lover. I have a private collection of Ruby, Perl, and Java books, amongst other topics, that would make a public library jealous. In fact, I recently moved and was surprised that that the bulk of the items boxed up where books. I’ve been making the trend of moving my library to ebooks. I was an early adopter of the Amazon Kindle, I still use my first generation Kindle. Here are some books in my collection, which I’ve use as reference.

I’ve even dedicated a blog post to a few of my favorite books, such as the following.


Nov 22 2010

The Ultimate Geek Gift Guide 2010

This geek gift guide is not so much for geeks and techies but for those that have geeks and techies in their life and need a little help in finding the right geek gift this holiday season. If you want to wow the geek in your life with the latest technology gadget you need to look no further.

The hottest piece of technology this year has been the Apple iPad. The iPad is great for geeks no matter their passion, music, photography, gaming, social media, etc. A geek that travels a lot would enjoy the 3G iPad so that they can always be connected no mater where they are. Whether you give the geek in your life an iPad or if they already have one, there are a ton of great accessories such as the iPad cases. I have been happy with the standard Apple iPad Case but for something more eye catching then consider the DODOcase. I also enjoy this leather portfolio iPad slipcase.

Targus Hughes Leather Portfolio Slipcase

Targus Hughes Leather Portfolio Slipcase

To get the most out of an iPad you need apps, for stocking stuffers you can consider getting a few iTunes gift cards which can be used to purchase apps, music, books, and movies from the iTunes store. I’ve already written regarding my favorite iPad apps.

Not every geek is into Apple products. Fortunately, there are other viable touch-based tablets such as the Google Android powered Archos 9 PC Tablet or the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

For the avid reader in your life, nothing beats the Amazon Kindle. There are other electronic book readers but the Kindle is the most wished-for and most gifted ebook reader. The latest generation of the Kindle is smaller than previous versions and Amazon provides just about every top book in the Kindle format. What I love best about the Amazon Kindle is that your digital library is available to you in just about every device, iPhone, iPad, desktop, Android mobile device, and more.

This holiday season the most sought after family oriented game will not be on the Wii, it will be on the XBox 360. The XBox 360 has a set of games that do no require a controller to play, instead you play them by controlling the game play with your body. The Kinect Sensor has a series of camera’s that capture your body movements and uses that information to control the character in the game. The best game on for the Kinect Sensor has to be Dance Central. Dance Central doesn’t require any controller or pad for you to get down with your dance moves, you just dance in front of you television set.. The other games to look forward to is DJ Hero 2 and Rock Band 3.

Xbox 360 250 GB Kinect Bundle

Xbox 360 250 GB Kinect Bundle

As everyone already knows, the standard geek uniform is jeans and a t-shirt. Any self respecting geek needs to have some ThinkGeek shirts in his wardrobe. ThinkGeek gear is like Armani Exchange for geeks, binary fashionable and geek chic.

If you need more suggestions, take a look at previous years geek gift guides: The Ultimate Geek Gift Guide 2009, 2008