rogueprof's Profile

  • Aug 02, 2007
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Latest comments made by: rogueprof

  • Personally, When I buy digital music I do so from the apple store. I trade MP3s with friends, some of whom use download sites. I think that your question is best answered not through personal preferences of a few people, but rather looking at the market in the abstract. One group of consumers owns other-party mp3 players and some of the people here will be motivated and aware of Double Twist. They'll purchase the product. Another group--most likely a far larger group of people who like music but who don't keep up on digital music trends--also own other-party players, and would like to use software like this, but just aren't aware of the options or don't believe that they have the computer skill / knowledge to use softaware such as this. Still others who own other-party players find that there music tastes/needs are satisfied through whatever channel they presently use (other sites, cd rips, friends, bittorrent, etc...) and really don't care one way or another. As for iPod owners.... Here the brand loyalty and integration of the store with the device really play against double twist, as does the pricing policy and sheer variety of tunes. That said, there will be some owners who want to use other download purchase systems, and some of these owners will undoubtedly have the motivation, expertise and awareness of double twist, and will no doubt buy the software. I wouldn't take lack of awareness / percieved skill set too lightly as a determining market factor. My own research shows that a significant number of iPod owners as well as people who plan to buy an iPod, are blissfully unaware of a number of basic capabilities of their own iPods, as well as features of the store. I'm talking about very simple things, such as burning and MP3 cd so as to strip out the DRM. For these people, the music they have, on the supercool iPod that they just purchased, is completely satisfactory, and they really don't care to learn that much more, or do that much more, with their iPods. So, to sum up this rather lengthy tomb: The key market problems faced by Double Twist have to do not with the technical battle that is to going to ensue with Apple, but rather with the sheer inertia of market indifference that Double Twist is going to face. To a certain extent, Apple faces the same problem. The iTunes store is a smashing success, to be sure, but one its total sales against the sheer number of iPods out there and the staggering amount of storage that these iPods represent, very few people are making consistent use of the store, or care to make consistent use of the store. They are happy getting music through what ever channel they are making use of. Personally, I have over 6000 songs on my iPod, and more than 11 000 songs on a portable hard drive which serves as my iTunes server. (BTW, I run a G5 15" 1.5GHz PowerBook) I have purchased exactly 10 songs from the iTunes store, as well as PacMan for my 5G 60GB iPod--black :-) Here in Canada downloading and sharing amongst friends is perfectly legal, although I don't download. I rip my own stuff and I share mp3s with friends.
    rogueprof had this to say on Nov 21, 2006 Posts: 17
    Double Twist iTunes Destroyer?
  • This article could have been interesting, instead it is puerile. I would take the windows machine because I want to communicate. If I had my choice I would take the mac because it's OS is far superior and transparent with respects to the net, as well as more secure. IE: it allows me to communicate better. The OS is the main user interface to the web... it's far from dead, in fact the net is one of the main reasons that the mac is finally seeing a rise in its market share. The notion that the internet is going to change the nature of operating systems has been around for quite some time... from futurist predictions, to thin client computing, to web-based apps that run over / through browsers and other forms of ip clients. What hasn't been thought through in any way is the business model that will replace the current model found in the IT industry. It would have been interesting for you to actually discuss how this magical transition to an ip-based global thin-client system is going to occur, and how it is going to be funded. Simply saying that something is on the horizon and is inevitably going to occur doesn't make it so.
    rogueprof had this to say on Sep 27, 2006 Posts: 17
    The Operating System Is Dead
  • Hi: I liked the article, and thought that it was a very interesting comparison. I do however, have a couple of comments. First: Although I believe that Jeff Raskin was the intellectual father of the Mac, and that Steve Jobs saw the project through to completion, I do want to put a word in for Burrel Smith. Smith designed the hardware for the Mac as well as its successor. Much of the machine's design was based on the ideas of Woz, as Smith himself always pointed out, but the design of the machine was Smith's and it was an incredibly ingenious design when one thinks of all that the original macine could do given its extremely limited resources. Also; a huge difference between Raskin's dream machine and the mac centered around the interface. Raskin favoured a text-based interface, with a serparate series of command keys that initialized a menu-based interface (much like the original bootstrap demonstration from 1969). Raskin himself has always said that, although he didn't dismiss the use of a mouse, he saw it more as a selection device, and for use in specialized programs, as opposed to the general use that is made of the mouse now. Although I never had a chance to actually take up this discussion with Raskin, I think that he was wrong about the specialized keys. This is because Raskin envisioned the use of the keys by a specialized operator who was very conversant with the program and its interface--which was always somewhat opposed to his vision of the computer for everyone. Studies have shown that the GUI/mouse based design allows for very quick learning of basic features/architecture of computer programs by those who are being initially introduced to a computer. This is somewhat due to the simplicity of the mouse interface as opposed to that of the specialized keys, which are more fluent when used by an expert. Anyhow. Great article. Thanks for prompting these thoughts.
    rogueprof had this to say on Sep 14, 2006 Posts: 17
    Has the Mac Hit Raskin's Ideal?
  • Frankly, I am sick and tired of hearing the Dell vs. Apple concerning costs comparison. It's true; Dell's are typically less expensive than Macs. In the past there were a number of reasons tied to the Mac specific hardware in the box that were partially responsible for this, along with the fact that, as a closed system, Apple can charge a little bit more simply becuase their are no other direct competitors in the OS X / Apple OS -compatible hardware market. Macs more than likely will never be as cheap as Dell's cheapest machine. And there isn't any problem with this fact. This is because to achieve the lowest price possible Dell works as many cheats into their hardware as they can. The result is that very few professionals who use, for instance, multimedia software, on a regular basis use Dells. A better comparison in terms of price/performance would be the Sony multimedia computers; the Vaio laptop line, for instance. When one compares a Vaio with a similarly equipped PowerBook / MacBook Pro the prices are very very similar, and no longer a hinderance to switching. Comparing Dells to Macs is like comparing Volkswagens to Audis: If you want to be a cheap and efficient car that gets you from one place to another reasonably well, then buy a Volkswagen. If you want to buy a car equipped with all-wheel drive, a screamer of an engine, and a great chassis/body/interior, then you buy an Audi, or one of its competitors, like BMW, etc..... You don't buy a Volkswagen.
    rogueprof had this to say on Mar 08, 2006 Posts: 17
    Five Reasons Why There Will Be No Macs in 2010
  • This is a case of hysteria being compounded by a lack of reading the comments to your articles. The hysteria began when Apple stopped including a firewire port on the iPod. Immediately writers here began a Chicken Little routine, claiming that FireWire was doomed, and that it would only be a matter of time before the port was missing from every Apple product. Of course, a number of the comments that followed pointed out that FireWire is absolutely necessary for video editing as a result of the timing protocols that FireWire has, and that USB (1 and 2) do not have. No timing protocols, no FireWire. Moreover, no Digital Camcorder manufacturer that I know of uses any other port but FireWire. Interestingly, instead of adhering to the logic of these comments, the hysteria then grew to include the idea that Apple was dropping support for iLife for the low-cost computers. Pretty amazing as to who one entirely speculative fear can generate an irrational panic. In any event, these comments were ignored, and the hysteria continued... right up to the latest Macworld, when the introduction of the new iMac, somewhat allayed the fears of the most alarmist individuals who write/read this board. FireWire gto dropped from the iPod for sound, simple, reasons. -1: the vast majority of iPod purchases are made by PC owners, the vast majority of whom do not have a FireWire port. No sense incurring an expense to the iPod when 95% of your potential customers won't use it. -2: Form factor concerns made it impossible to include a second port. -3: Cost concerns in an increasingly competitive market segment (Apple's dominance not withstanding) mean that any feature that is not popular with the vast majority of the purchasing public will be dropped in an effort to keep prices steady while adding other features (like a video play back feature) or dropping the price, or both. Now, go take a chill pill.
    rogueprof had this to say on Jan 26, 2006 Posts: 17
    FireWire Lives!
  • One more thing: anecdotal evidence is just that, anecdotal evidence. Consider: Between a good friend and I we have 10 000 songs on our iPods. None of it has been purchased through iTMS. When discussing consumer trends and experience it's always better to use aggregate data,w hich in fact is the only data that allows us a clear interpretation of what people in general are doing, and frees us from the blindness that can be caused by the quirky friends that we all have.
    rogueprof had this to say on Jan 20, 2006 Posts: 17
    Want to Marginalize the iPod? Ask Steve Jobs How!
  • A billion songs is a lot of songs, for sure. But let's qualify what that means: -1: This averages out to 25 songs per iPod user.... Not too many songs/iPod yet... although this will improve in the future, I'm sure. -2: Apple's profit/song is somewhere between 7 and 10 cents. So, when the company hits 1 billion songs it will have made, at most, approximately 100 million dollars in profit, over three years. This isn't chump change to be sure, but the ITMS is not driving Apple's profits in any way. -3: Music is far more price sensitive than the iPod. IT doesn't take much a rise in price before consumers look for alternative channels to get their music, and a slightly cheaper price somewhere else will cause music buyers to walk across the street in an instant. I think that this means that ITMS is perhaps the most vulnerable aspect of the iPod/ITMS combination. Once the record industry gets its act together and stops whingeing and actually puts together a decent web-based business model the iTunes store could lose a significant proportion of its market share. Of course, this is a huge condition, and the RIAA doesn't seem to be prepared to smarten up any time soon.
    rogueprof had this to say on Jan 20, 2006 Posts: 17
    Want to Marginalize the iPod? Ask Steve Jobs How!
  • This was a very interesting article, but it is predicated on one particular assumption; that Apple produces iPods to promote iTMS, or rather that people buy the iPod so that they can acess iTMS. Given the relatively low number of songs that are purchased in relation to the huge number of iPods that have been purchased, it would appear to me that something else has happened. What happened, in fact, is that Apple played the classic "second player entry to market" strategy. Apple looked at the market carefully, examined all the product available, did their consumer research, and produced a vastly superior MP3 player at a price that consumers determined was desirable given the product in hand. Once the original iPods took off, Apple continued to play this strategy by filling in all the channels possible. More importantly, however, Apple presented two things to the MP3 world that have become factors in the iPod's success, although not the reason behind it. The first was iTMS, which drives secondary consumption to Apple (buying songs, etc....) and furthermore helps perpetuate the sucess to the iPod. The second thing that Apple did was produce a series of products that employed a standard hardware and software interface. This allowed 3rd party manufacturers to produce all forms of product that rely upon a proprietary interface which supplies to these manufacturers some (to date) 40 million consumers or so. This second factor does not get enough play in the press, but in my opinion is a strong factor behind the continuing success of the iPod. First-time consumers of any consumer electronics product tend to look at the available accessories that can be purchased alongside that product. The fewer movies that were available in Beta, for instance, the fewer Beta players that people were going to buy. Similarly, when someone is going to consider spending $400 on what is essentially a digital toy that plays music, that person may indeed want to know what else he or she may buy that can enhance the use of the product. It doesn't take much imagination to picture a first-time buyer at the store, standing in front of a bizillion accessories, and thinking, "Wow, there's so much cool stuff out there that's available for the iPod. I think that I'll buy one of those cool nanos, and that cool widget that attaches to it's connector." Here Apple finds itself in what as known as a beneficent cycle, where every choice in the cycle leads to further positive choices at other points in the cycle. So; consumers buy iPods in part because of the accessories; buying more iPods leads to more manufacturers providing more accessories, which leads to more people buying iPods. One personal example will suffice: I was in a store last year that sells and supports Apple products. While I was in the store a group of six late middle-aged people walked in and told that salesman that they each wanted a 60GB 4G iPod. From the conversation that I overheard they were each interested in the iPod because they were all long-term owners of BMWs and they were each upgrading their lease, and wanted to purchase a car with an iPod dock built in--hence they purchase an iPod. What Microsoft needs to do is not prodcue its own player--even though I would be very amused to see what kind hideous piece of overheating hardware the boys and girls in Redmond would manage to mis-design. What Microsoft needs to do is propose a single specification for software and hardware/docking system that would be adhered to buy a group of large manufacturers. this would give these manufactuers the two things that Apple has at the present: A strong, common operating system amongst a diverse group of products, and a common hardware interface that, along with the common software interface, allows accessory manufacturers to produce secondary products for this standard. Don't get me wrong, this is not a simple process. Microsoft would actually have to produce a well-designed piece of software that is nice to look at, easy/intuitive to use/virus free, and robust. Given that Microsoft has never managed to do this in its corporate history, it remains to be seen whether MSFT could do this now. The manufacturers would be left to see if they could actually produce a physical product that people would want to use over an iPod--i.e.; something that is more elegant and more beautiful. This is a challenge, but it's not impossible to believe that some company out there could come up with a product that is as elegant and beautiful to use as an iPod. So, in the end I think that what Steve did was try to bait and switch MSFT away from the correct strategy and lead them to the vertical integration model--which is almost assuredly a path to short/medium term frustration on the part of MSFT, and continuted success to Apple. And, given Apple's huge dominance over the MP3 palyer/tunes market, by the time that MSFT achieved dominance in that market, the market would have become like a commodities market, and Apple would be looking to exit--much like IBM did when they realized that the marginal returns on PCs did not justify the company's ongoing investment in resources.
    rogueprof had this to say on Jan 19, 2006 Posts: 17
    Want to Marginalize the iPod? Ask Steve Jobs How!
  • I think that the term "Power" is being excised from the product line because it refers to the PowerPC chips that have been used in the past. Otherwise there would be no reason to change PowerBook to MacBook if one were going to keep PowerMac. So; look for a name change for the PowerMac. Given that Apple likes to simplify and build on its branding at the same time, I wouldn't be surprised at all if it were called MacPro, or something like that, in order to maintain consistency with the renaming/branding of the MacBook. iMac and MacMini need not change, as they don't already refer to the PowerPC chip, and they have clearly identifiable brand names within the Apple/Macintosh structure.
    rogueprof had this to say on Jan 13, 2006 Posts: 17
    Possible New Product Names
  • Since when has anyone seriously thought that the Powerbook isn't a Mac? That is just plain ridiculous.
    rogueprof had this to say on Jan 13, 2006 Posts: 17
    Apple Gets Serious About The Mac
  • Or maybe the fact that Apple dropped firewire from the iPod was because there is nothing essential about the iPod that requires Firewire, unlike DVcam operation.
  • This frantic hysteria over the demise of Firewire just doesn't seem to go away. Yesterday's Keynote was somewhat anticlimactic, but one thing that seemed apparent is the fact that Firewire is here to stay for a while. Indeed, Apple wishes to continue its lead in home video, no? USB as a transfer protocol is just fine, but in and of itself has no timing protocols built in, and so is quite unsuitable for use in video editing. So, no firewire, no iMovie, no FinalCut, etc.... I don't think that Apple would spend so much time on iLife if it were preparing to delist the one feature that it's most noteworthy iLife product (iMovie) relies upon. FireWire 800 took a walk because there are still precious few products out there that support this protocol. Perhaps Apple will reintroduce FireWire when there are some products out there that actually support it. Until then, delisting this feature harms very few consumers, and keeps the product at a mroe manageable price point.
  • Your reading of the role/place of software in Apple's world is somewhat right and wrong. Where it's correct is in the fact that the defining experience for an Apple user is one's interface with the software/OS. This is what makes an Apple and Apple, whether it runs OSX or one of the previous versions of the Apple OS, and regardless of whether it uses an 860x0 chip, a 60x powerpc chip, or a Gx power pc chip. On the other hand, the success of the software is directly tied to its extremely tight integration with a single platfform, as we all know. Moreover, and here's where your argument is incorrect, hardware counts for a very large percentage of Apple's profits. You can easily see this when you walk into an Apple store. Take a look at the price of OSX, and take a look at the price of the least expensive iBook. The margins that one can take out of the price of OSX are a lot smaller than those that one can take out of an inexpensive iBook. I don't see Apple leaving the hardware business anytime soon as long as they can take margins that are well above the industry average. It doesn't make any sense at all. Your reading of what happened the last time Apple went the clone route is also somewhat flawed. When Apple went the clone route the thought was that the clone manufacturers would make low-end PC-like boxes that ran the Apple OS, and that Apple would eventually concentrate on the high-end products, where all the best margins are at. This was a huge error, and it wasn't long before the clone makers were making high-end products that quickly began to cannibalize Apple's market share. This is, in the end, why Apple cancelled the clone project--they were having their lunch eaten by the clone manufacturers, and had this continued they would have been seriously close to losing their share of the hardware market, and thus their chance at the high margins that their profits have and continue to enjoy. About scenario B: Apple already out-sources their manufacturing to highly efficient companies located in Asia. The move to the Intel platform will allow both Apple and their manufacturing partners to enjoy greater efficiencies of scale and scope, and thus for Apple to either lower the price of their machines, or keep the price the same and temporarily enjoy much greater margins than normal. Switching to Dell as a manufacturing partner in your scenario doesn't make sense. Were Dell to sell Mac machines under its own branding the lion's share of the profits would go to Dell, while some form of licensing fee would go to Apple. Dell, seeing an opportunity to manufacture a line of high-end machines for a market that expexts and purchases high-end machines would mean that the margins that Apple enjoys would certainly start to diminish, and I don't see why Apple would want that to happen. Postualting an agreement where Dell would manufacture and retail mac clones according to a strict limit on both hardware and pricing options would be a serious detriment to Dell's ability to generate the higher margins that it needs, and thus unlikely from Dell's perspective. Allowing Dell to build any type of mac clone (low end, high end, middle) would simply subject Apple to a price war, something that would not help the company at all. I'm sure that Steve Jobs would love to multiply his market share. I'm also sure that he won't do that at the expense of the company's margins. He's seen what that can do to Apple and what that has done to the PC industry, where even Dell has trouble generating anything resembling a high profit. I don't think that he wants to go there, and that he'll be perfectly happy to sell fewer machines as long as he can make a much higher profit on each one that he sells. In the end, this is just another one in a long line of articles on this site that are nothing more than speculative drivel with very little actual analysis of where/how/when a company makes profits and what they are likely to do in light of how they make their profits.
    rogueprof had this to say on Jan 04, 2006 Posts: 17
    Dell Macs
  • I bought a Black 60GB two weeks ago. I love it. This is my first iPod and it works fabulously. The video experience is quite immersive, and I've missed the bus stop on my commute several times. Exporting videos through Quicktime can be a pain, but it's well worth it. The sound quality is amazing--even with the white earbuds, although I have a nice pair of noise cancellation headphones. I heartily recommend buying one.
    rogueprof had this to say on Dec 22, 2005 Posts: 17
    Thinking about a 5G iPod
  • I am way ahead of you. Not that I'm going to, ahem...., mention where I got them, but I've been using Quicktime Pro to convert a number of mpeg and avi files to the .m4v format. I presently have half a dozen episodes of Galactica, half a dozen episodes of Veronica Mars, a bunch of thresholds and a couple of DS9 (seasons 5-7) episodes on my iPod. I am also in the process of converting a number of west wing files, so that I can watch them too!! :-) I'm not sure how big sports will go over in the podcast format/iPod viewing channel.... Sports are a very immediate form of information--it's the fact that they're live that makes them so compeeling in addition to the athletic performance. Still and all, there will always be a number of sports nuts / fans of a given team who will want to be able to watch a given match over and over again. Any soap opera or soap opera-like show, such as the West Wing, will do well, given that people don't often have the time to view tv when it airs, and the amount of commuting that so many people do will give them the opportunity to remain up to date with their favourite story lines.
    rogueprof had this to say on Dec 09, 2005 Posts: 17
    Coming Soon to An iPod Near You