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I, Cringely On A Momentous Week

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the warping-space-and-time dept.

Google 221

rocketjam writes "Robert X. Cringley offers his take on three recent high-tech occurrences, saying they add up to an 'inflection point' that will change the landscape of the personal computer, video game, and electronic entertainment businesses forever. He briefly points out that Bill Gates' revelation that the next-gen XBox will offer music and movie playing capabilities as well as web-surfing will put MS into direct competition with its hardware OEM customers. He also touches on Yahoo's new music service and Apple's rumored movie download service. The meat of the article though is his take on the significance of Google's Web Accelerator. He says, 'If surfing can be doubled in speed for nothing, of course nearly everyone will go for it', the upshot of which is that AOL, MSN and Earthlink lose their relevancy. From this point more speculation on the implications of Google's success in this endeavor ensues."

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And when cringley speaks (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524998)

assdot listens.

Gasp! (5, Funny)

Meagermanx (768421) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524999)

The computer world is changing? OMFG!!

Re:Gasp! (-1, Redundant)

Thijs van As (826224) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525011)

It constantly is...

Re:Gasp! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525323)

Ohhh... Now I get it...

no no no (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525111)

the computer landscape is changing. get with the program.

Re:Gasp! (3, Funny)

learn fast (824724) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525135)

Thank god we have Robet X. Cringely to explain these things for us.

fp (1)

kahuna720 (56586) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525002)

fp

Re:fp (1)

CK2004PA (827615) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525253)

first reply!

ooOO (3, Insightful)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525008)

Cringely is somewhat more reliable than Dvorak...
but we still need the "pundit deduction" in force here.

I do wonder about the xBox 360 though... can you say, "PC?"

Re:ooOO (2)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525032)

"I do wonder about the xBox 360 though... can you say, "PC?"

XBOX 360 != PC. Just like XBOX != PC. That's like calling a man a woman because they're not biologically dissimilar and they can do pretty much the same work.

Re:ooOO (4, Funny)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525048)

so...
That makes the Xbox 360 a girly-box?
Me confused.

Re:ooOO (2, Funny)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525121)

Oops. Forgot who my target audience here is. Next time, I'll leave comparisons to women out of my analogies.

Re:ooOO (2, Funny)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525229)

Aristotle says we should always begin our reasoning from what is familiar to us.

you are correct (0, Redundant)

geekoid (135745) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525096)

XBOX != PC
XBOX == Crappy PC.

got your goat.

Re:you are correct (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525165)

"XBOX == Crappy PC."

Yep, just like my PS2, GameCube, N64, and Dreamcast are also crappy PCs.

"got your goat."

Sort of. I don't have any real affection for the XBOX, I just can't believe how many computer-intelligent people don't know the difference between a game console and a PC is. A PC isn't a PC because it runs an X86 processor. It's a PC because it has certain pieces of hardware AND it runs general purpose apps. The XBOX sort of qualifies for the former (the processor inside it may be Pentium based, but it still has some subtle differences. Not to mention it has a BIOS that PREVENTS it from running 'unauthorized' software.) but definitely does NOT qualify for the latter. To put it another way: ever see one of those trailers that's just the ass end of a truck? Is that a trailer or a truck? It shares some of the components of a trunk, but it's PURPOSE is to be a trailer.

So yeah, it gets my goat. If we're all going to make generalizations based on superficial observations then we're going to have a real hard time making intelligent comments about news articles involving technology.

Ugh I'm grammatically challenged today.

Re:you are correct (1)

mankey wanker (673345) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525276)

I think the part that Cringely wanted to get at was the part where the proposed XBOX does most of the things most people would want from a computer. The problem will most likely be security, the more the XBOX behaves like a PC the more it will have to be protected as one as well - and that's where the fact that it doesn't run general purpose apps bites everyone in the ass.

I still think a proper desktop PC is better than any possible "appliance" type PC, or even a laptop for that matter.

Re:you are correct (1)

damsa (840364) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525350)

The only difference between a console and a PC is the software. The only reason the Xbox is hemoromaging money, it is the replacement for a PC. Even Steve Jobs said the iMac is but a Entertainment Hub. Xbox as a games console is so you get used to having MS in the living room. Once you install Linux on something. Its a PC.

Re:you are correct (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525436)

got your goat, again.


Ugh I'm grammatically challenged today.


also, your humor could use some work.

Re:you are correct (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525493)

"also, your humor could use some work."

Heh. Yep. Nobody liked my academic literature joke.

Ever wake up and spend most of the day with a cloudy mind and your eyes trying to close? (No, not a hangover. NFI what I did wrong.)

The finger (1)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525221)

``What message does this send to Microsoft's hardware OEM customers that make home computers? What is Microsoft saying to Dell, HP, Gateway, and others?''

The same thing they've been saying to the rest of us for years. It rhymes with "duck foo".

MS has always done this in the software space. They work with other vendors to do the stuff they don't, woo them, make all sorts of promises, then one day announce their own version and let those vendors try to survive on eating their product they can't sell. Just ask WordPerfect, Lotus, or the folk making TCP/IP stacks for DOS and Windows in the early to mid 1990s.

Why would it be any different in hardware?

Re:ooOO (1)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525231)

But he's a pundit that reads Slashdot. And carefully. Late in the article he mentions an anonymous Apple employee posting here. While I disagree completely with some of his conclusions - mainly due to the fact that, well, Google keeps talking about their 'core business' being search and everything else revolving around it for the foreseeable future, and Apple going to a subscription model won't exactly be tough - I also think he's come up with a quite well-reasoned article.

He doesn't quite mention how scary it could be that GOOG is getting so big and is so effective at finding things. As government gets bigger and badder in the US, I am more scared by the week of the NSA just sort of walking into Google and taking over, or it having already happened... Call me paranoid, but they're probably able to find 4/5ths of everyone even mildly capable of organizing effectively.....

Anyways. An interesting analysis but not taken as far as I would. I'd say that there could be a server / client war again, only this time BOTH players are enormous vertical monopolies. Wunderbar.

Pundits are fun, in general, but I'd say Dvorak is more a cult icon expanded than an actual pundit...

3 powerpc cores do not a PC make (1)

dmh20002 (637819) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525382)

Seeing as it doesn't have an x86 CPU in it, it won't natively run any Windows x86 PC software. They may implement some lame emulator. So at best it would be a thin client which has some merit as a replacement for a PC, as long as all you want is games, web browsing and email.

More on XBOX 360. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525013)


I work at Microsoft as do several of my friends. A couple work on the XBOX 360 and told me something over beer that really struck me as great marketting. Microsoft has purposely designed this box to be easy to break and mod-chip. The reason? Sales. They can go to game design houses and say "We sold X million units. You should design for us." and they will. Very much as in how they don't care much about the home pirate as they know it gives them mindshare.

I'm not breaking an NDA here as I'm not actually on the dev team.

Re:More on XBOX 360. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525046)

Worked for the desktop.

That said, all wireless was a brilliant move. So's the harddrive.

One of my buddies is already planning not only to buy one, but setting up to get it painted by the same guy who did his motorcycle helmet.

Re:More on XBOX 360. (2, Interesting)

aftk2 (556992) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525162)

How does this attitude jive with making a lower barrier to XBox Live? In case people don't know, XBox Live will be a two-tiered service, in which the free members can still chat with other members, access statistics, download certain types of content and play for free on weekends.

Obviously, if XBox Live is more attractive, people will do the opposite of what you're describing: they'll be hesitant to mod their Xboxes, because then they won't be able to access Live. That is, unless Microsoft stops caring about modded Xboxes on Live - which I seriously doubt will be the case.

Re:More on XBOX 360. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525185)

I'm the original poster.

MS sells lots of XBOXs because they can be mod'd

They tell game makers "We sold X units."

Game makers make more games based on that

MS says "We have Y games for XBOX 360!"

People buy more XBOX 360s.

Mod chips can easily be turned off for XBOX Live play.

Microsoft has all the various mod chips in their R&D lab. They know how they work and they're leaving loopholes for the mod chip makers in the future product. They don't care if the game companies have 30% of their games pirated, they want to move XBOX 360s

Re:More on XBOX 360. (3, Interesting)

Julian352 (108216) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525243)

That sounds VERY iffy for the reason that if the word gets out that Xbox 360 is easily modded, publishers will try to release games first on other consoles to get more sales and then port them to X360. The pirating of games is the biggest problem for the makers, as it costs them direct sales. The big benefit of console market is the fact that it's so much harder to pirate.

Re:More on XBOX 360. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525254)

How does this attitude jive with making a lower barrier to XBox Live?

"jibe," not "jive."

Re:More on XBOX 360. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525262)

I'd actually be pretty leary of some kinds of xbox mods, particularly modchipping. Just because of the strong possibility of draconian hardware revokation. There's nothing really standing in Microsofts way from starting out in the Wildwest to quickly build a critical mass, and then just deciding to go to the gulag once they've achieved it.

Re:More on XBOX 360. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525268)

You are partly correct there, XBox Live itself mitigates piracy for the pure purpose of copying games. The more attractive xbox live titles there are the more people willing to legitimately purchase the games and product.

However leaving the ability to mod the XBox for other homebrew purposes provides a secondary more niche market where you will see people owning both a modded and a non modded device. Along with their beloved XBox Live subscription. Can we say reoccuring revenue.

Re:More on XBOX 360. (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525391)

Well, as it stands now -- the easiest solution is to simply buy two Xboxes, which means more sales.
At any rate, some modchips have a Live-compatible mode where they act invisible. There are also case extended mods where you can have two hard drives. Assuming the Xbox360 has a removable hard drive, this won't be an issue.

Re:More on XBOX 360. (2, Insightful)

mufafa (868159) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525197)

How does that make sense?

If the xbox is easy to mod.. then more ppl pirate games.

More games pirated doesn't equate to more sales.

In fact if anything, ppl being able to pirate and play games easily, means that less of the original games would be sold.
Unless you mean the very original person who pirated the game had to buy it at some point, but I doubt that would increase sales much - everyone else down the line would just copy/download the game and burn it.

Re:More on XBOX 360. (2, Interesting)

MankyD (567984) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525242)

But more units sold does make a more attractive market to game publishers, since the number of units sold does not indicate the number of units modded. Mind you also that a lot of XBox games will be designed for Live, which may or may not work on modded boxes (probably won't.) Thus to play them, people will still have to buy the game and use it on an umodded box.

At the same time, I'm not sure I believe the grandparent poster...

Re:More on XBOX 360. (1)

mufafa (868159) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525341)

Cool .. that makes sense. I misread his original post as more games pirated leads to more game units sold (as opposed to system units). I wonder if xbox will have anything over the PS3 still though

Re:More on XBOX 360. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525398)

Mind you also that a lot of XBox games will be designed for Live, which may or may not work on modded boxes (probably won't.) Thus to play them, people will still have to buy the game and use it on an umodded box.

Good point. In addition, Gold level xbox live to play against friends brings in $50 per month per user. That alone could be the aim and allowing modded games to still work online would still require pay to access the service.

Re:More on XBOX 360. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525244)

I'm the original poster (again!)

Look. Microsoft doesn't make lots of money on the game titles themselves (other than those developed in house). They're trying to go to a subscription based model ala XBOX Live. THAT is where the money is. They don't care about piracy on the retail side of things, that's not going to put a publisher out of business but it will entice people to buy XBOX 360s.

The security put into place is just to appease most publishers that "Yes, we have a way of digitally signing games."

Re:More on XBOX 360. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525388)

So the XBOX360 is like the Phantom? Subscription and all that...?

Re:More on XBOX 360. (2, Insightful)

Psychic Burrito (611532) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525202)

Quote:
I'm not breaking an NDA here as I'm not actually on the dev team.

Well, but MS still hates you: modded xboxes will presumably also play warez games, so the game design houses now won't be convinced that easily that the plattform already has a hole in it...

Re:More on XBOX 360. (3, Interesting)

Vaevictis666 (680137) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525226)

Actually, the fact that XBox360 has networked music/video playback stock intrigues me quite a lot.

The main reason I modded my xbox was just for that reason, and I think I'm accurate in saying that my xbox has spent more than 20 times as much time running XBMC (for streaming video from my PC for the most part) than it has spent running games.

If this is built in to the 360, then that cuts out a big reason for many people to mod it, which to me seems like good business sense. I'm just curious how comparable the two are.

Re:More on XBOX 360. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525238)

I work at Microsoft as do several of my friends.

Wow, you say this and the morons moderate you up. Remarkable.

Here's a cluestick, retards - This guy is some wanker living in his mommy's basement, and this post was his procreation after a serious session of gay train porn masturbation.

Re:More on XBOX 360. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525454)

Really--some people will believe anything! If it's on the internet it must be true!

Re:More on XBOX 360. (1)

theclam159 (833616) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525274)

Wouldn't that be bad for MS? After all, they lose money on the console, which they have to make up on the games. If people are just buying the consoles to mod, then they'll have a net loss.

This strategy implies that they're going for a monopoly, rather than profit.

Re:More on XBOX 360. (1)

schtum (166052) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525394)

This strategy implies that they're going for a monopoly, rather than profit.

I'm not saying I believe what the AC is saying, but the way you put it, it matches Microsoft's strategy in every market they've ever entered, doesn't it?

Of course it's irrelevant, because all three major consoles will be cracked eventually, and sooner rather than later. If anything (assuming there's any truth to this at all), Microsoft's strategy in getting the 360 out before the competition is to give the crackers a head start.

Re:More on XBOX 360. (5, Funny)

Rorschach1 (174480) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525284)

Yeah, the 'install modchip here' silkscreen on the motherboard was a dead giveaway.

Re:More on XBOX 360. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525365)

Is it a coincidence that MS employees could be so retarded to think this is a viable strategy?

You do understand that game developers heavily consider the amount of piracy that occurs on a console when deciding what to develop for.

Re:More on XBOX 360. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525376)

Give it a rest astroturfer.

Easily modded!!!! OMFG!!!! I got get me one of them newfangled xboxen!!!

After last night's fiasco it's going to take a hell of a lot more than marketing folk posting anonymously on Slashdot to save the xbox 360.

Re:More on XBOX 360. (2, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525409)

I'm not breaking an NDA here as I'm not actually on the dev team.

No, but you are a Microsoft employee, so you probably *are* breaking a general (perhaps even implied) NDA. Company employees generally are *not* at liberty to discuss unannounced stuff publicly, whether they're directly involved or not.

For example, I can't tell you about a number of projects being developed by my company, and I'm not involved with any of them, either. (Not that you'd care about them, of course)

G.W.A. (0, Offtopic)

Admiral Justin (628358) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525015)

Too bad google's product is so poor, otherwise ... no... wait...

Poor product... will render AOL meaningless...

Google On Line?

*runs for the hills*

3.2 GHz PowerPC Xbox? Has APPLE heard of that? (-1, Troll)

holyshitholyshit (877523) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525016)

If a $300 Xbox360 has a triple-core 3.2 GHz PowerPC in it, I would say this is really just MORE proof that Apple has been ripping people off for years by putting out underpowered computers to save a few bucks and then jacking up the price.

Re:3.2 GHz PowerPC Xbox? Has APPLE heard of that? (1)

Thijs van As (826224) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525035)

...so you compare a Xbox360 directly to an Apple computer? Sure, they have the PowerPC CPU in common...

Re:3.2 GHz PowerPC Xbox? Has APPLE heard of that? (2, Interesting)

UWC (664779) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525090)

Yeah, and we all know that, just like the XBox 360, Apple's profit strategy also relies pretty much entirely on licensed software sales, 20 million identical units, decreased mass production costs over a 5-year product cycle, and... oh, wait.

Re:3.2 GHz PowerPC Xbox? Has APPLE heard of that? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525203)

Actually they have more in common than that. Xbox 360 software currently runs on Power Mac G5s [macdailynews.com] .

Re:3.2 GHz PowerPC Xbox? Has APPLE heard of that? (2, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525056)

" I would say this is really just MORE proof that Apple has been ripping people off for years by putting out underpowered computers to save a few bucks and then jacking up the price."

Erm. Couple of things:

1.) Microsoft is almost definitely losing money on these units. That would be a dumb business move for Apple.

2.) It's not clear, today, whether or not those processors could do the general computing jobs they'd need to on desktop machines. I'm going to be honest, I don't know much about this. I just remember reading in another thread about how the XBOX 360 processors likely have several things trimmed out of them. (Note: If anybody can correct me, it'd be mucho appreciated.)

I'm not a huge fan of Apple's prices, but I really don't think you can draw those conclusions based on the data you have.

Re:3.2 GHz PowerPC Xbox? Has APPLE heard of that? (2, Interesting)

ponos (122721) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525213)

I just remember reading in another thread about how the XBOX 360 processors likely have several things trimmed out of them. (Note: If anybody can correct me, it'd be mucho appreciated.)

Well, it is already clear that they are NOT PowerPC cores. The hardware specifications state that they are BASED on PowerPC, so you can't assume identical clock-for-clock performance. Most likely the hardware in the XBOX360 will be much more powerful than anything below high-end Macs (that will be 2x2.7 at that time, if I'm correct) Somehow it doesn't really matter, because Apple buyers generally aren't going to care if their computer takes 5" more to convert an MP3. Playing games is another area (not a strong Apple point, traditionally)

Also, do note that this thing has the cooling capacity to match: vacuum sealed water cooling (not sure of the exact details, though).

P.

Re:3.2 GHz PowerPC Xbox? Has APPLE heard of that? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525428)

Well, thanks for that pointless reply.

The xbox 360 processor is most definitely a PPC chip, it just isn't as fast a 970. With a comparable video card, a dual 2.7ghz PowerMac will destroy the 360.

The 360 is using stripped down PPC cores. The nightmare for developers is having to hand tune code to make up for all the missing out of order execution logic found in normal desktop chips like the 970 series. I pity the developers who are working on xbox360 projects.

By the time the 360 hits the shelves later this year PowerMac will put it to shame. And forget about being competitive with the PS3 and Revolution early next year.

Re:3.2 GHz PowerPC Xbox? Has APPLE heard of that? (2, Informative)

RatPh!nk (216977) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525120)

Just remember there are many PowerPC processors [ibm.com] and cores [ibm.com] that IBM makes. This is a "custom" fabbed chip for Microsoft with a (3) VMX unit(s) attached. This is not a Power4, Power5, or 970/FX/GX or like chips. Also, has pricing for XBox live has not been announced, but $300USD seems right.


But it sure would be nice to have >3GHz G5's or dual cores....or dual/dual...or ...

Re:3.2 GHz PowerPC Xbox? Has APPLE heard of that? (4, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525269)

If a $300 Xbox360 has a triple-core 3.2 GHz PowerPC in it, I would say this is really just MORE proof that Apple has been ripping people off for years by putting out underpowered computers to save a few bucks and then jacking up the price.

First, it's a multi-core 3.2GHz PowerPC based cell controller not a PowerPC CPU in the classical sense. Sony also has abandoned the CPU design in favor of multi-cell design for PS3. Second, the later something is designed, the newer it's components can be. Third, it's may not be up to Apple. Apple has always been at the mercy of its suppliers. Motorola could not provide enough G4 chips for the PowerMac a few years ago. Hence, they dumped Motorola when they decided to develop the G5. When IBM comes out with a 3GHz PowerPC CPU that Apple can use and Apple doesn't use it, then you might have a point.

Re:3.2 GHz PowerPC Xbox? Has APPLE heard of that? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525457)

Apple wouldn't use the chip in the Xbox 360 if IBM was giving them away for free.

Microsoft isn't using these chips because they want to. They are stuck with the hot and un-competitive x86 chips and not having the technology and expertise to create something competitive with Cell.

So it looks like they just took whatever IBM had sitting around for cheap...MS management isn't exactly pleased with the 3.5 billion they wasted last time.

These aren't the PowerPCs Apple uses (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525344)

Apple uses G5s. The XBox PPC cores are PPEs which are much simpler and not terribly appropriate for general computing use

The Mysterious Future (3, Insightful)

Scoria (264473) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525019)

will put MS into direct competition with its hardware OEM customers.

And, once Microsoft begins to gradually dominate that market, their positions might become similar to that of a Wal-Mart supplier. Their business models will change as they begin to provide manufacturing services for Microsoft.

Micro-Mart? (1)

ArielMT (757715) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525071)

We all know that their software is already commensurate with Wal-Mart's quality, but I dread the day when their hardware is as well.

"Welcome to Micro-Mart, the only computer and gaming store you need."

Re:The Mysterious Future (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525148)

Microsoft won't be in competition with the OEMs until they port Office to the XBox 360. Same goes for all the other existing x86 software and backwards compatability. Until then that is all just fluff to make the XBox look better than the competition (Playstation). Besides, they said all the same things about the XBox last time as well. Every time a new gaming console comes out we have to hear about how it brings the power of ten thousand supercomputers into your living room.

Michael

Another "Web Accelerator?" (1, Interesting)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525020)

Can we please stop this crap cliche phrasing?! I know it works for the computer-not-so-literate, but stop this "We will blow your mind for $2.50" and just advertise real-life broadband connections.

But I guess I am just a fool.

Re:Another "Web Accelerator?" (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525257)

Can we please stop this crap cliche phrasing?! I know it works for the computer-not-so-literate, but stop this "We will blow your mind for $2.50" and just advertise real-life broadband connections.

He's talking about the Google Web Accelerator. It costs nothing, and is actually geared to users that already have a high speed connection. I have a smoking 5Mbps connection, and personally I find GWA pretty effective with a lot of sites.

Re:Another "Web Accelerator?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525265)

Google Web Accelerator appears to be a proxy that compresses web pages and images more aggressively than they might otherwise. It's not a broadband connection.

I suspect that this is easy for them to do because they are already caching everything they hit on the web and they already have tons of boxes and bandwidth. Besides, consider the value of knowing what everyone is looking at if you're a search company. People using their service would provide google with invaluable 'spidering/popularity' information even if the service remained free forever.

If wishes were horses... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525037)

'If surfing can be doubled in speed for nothing, of course nearly everyone will go for it',

And if Google gave away free money, of course nearly everyone will go for it. But Google aren't giving away free money, and they have no hope of simply doubling the speed of surfing just with software.

the upshot of which is that AOL, MSN and Earthlink lose their relevancy.

Or they could... what's that word? Oh yeah, compete.

Re:If wishes were horses... (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525313)

But Google aren't giving away free money, and they have no hope of simply doubling the speed of surfing just with software.

Two things:
  1. Most sites are too lazy, or dumb, to enable gzip compression. GWA compresses such content, which reduces the size up to 75%.
  2. Precaching - grabbing the next article in the web review for instance - can vastly speed up web navigation. Most users aren't endlessly clicking from link to link to link. Instead they follow a link, read some material, click next, and historically sit there, going flaccid, while waiting. Prefetching means that when you click next, the page is instantly available.
Even excluding mega-caching for sites on crappy servers (which can act as an anti-slashdotting), these two things alone can dramatically speed the user's experience. The Google Web Accelerator as it is today is imperfect, but it most certainly is a workable idea.

As Seen On TV is in trouble.... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525052)

ASOTV, it's been a good ride, but all good things must come to an end. Cringley used you as his source [slashdot.org] of insider info in this article. This would normally mean that you are in trouble, but you have been so blithe about revealing company strategy (and philosophy, and personal opinion of SJ, etc) that you are clearly not worried about job security. I wonder why? Who at Apple is not worried about job security? I do not think you are Steve Jobs. In any case, some big eyes are now turned in your direction, and you should probably be more tight-lipped. But thanks for some great posts!

Re:As Seen On TV is in trouble.... (4, Funny)

As Seen On TV (857673) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525234)

In fact, Bob and I exchanged e-mails briefly just a few hours ago. I was happy to confirm for him that I am, in fact, male.

He said he was too.

So we have that in common.

So... (1, Funny)

Kirby-meister (574952) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525375)

So...you could say you sent him a confirmation e-male? *rim shot*

Re:As Seen On TV is in trouble.... (1)

SYFer (617415) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525470)

I've certainly enjoyed reading his posts too and thought of him today when I read this great post [slashdot.org] over in that thread about how dissidents can cover their tracks (not that ASOT is a dissident, per se). He can use his iPod Shuffle as the USB drive (I certainly do). Just avoid the dreaded elevator, ASOT!

Re:As Seen On TV is in trouble.... (5, Funny)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525513)

So now we have a Slashdot article about a tech writer who referenced a Slashdot post who wrote to the writer and mentioned it in the comments in the comments of the Slashdot article about a tech writer who referenced a Slashdot poster who...

--CTRL - BREAK --

Phew. Got out of that one... :-)

Damn you Robert X. Cringely!!! (3, Funny)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525095)

I swear, each time he comes out with a new article about a given toy that does "XYZ" or can be hacked in some way I am compelled to go out and buy one and tinker with the damn thing.

Stop Robert! Stop for the sake of my pocketbook and my sanity!!!

Kick the dog or kick the bucket? (1)

mattjb0010 (724744) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525126)

He only got one thing wrong.. it's not "Microsoft kicks the dog", it's "Microsoft kicks the bucket" (or am I guilty of wishful thinking?)

Re:Kick the dog or kick the bucket? (2)

madprof (4723) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525193)

I thought about this too and I really think he meant "kick the dog".
It is a really funny ending to the piece though.
It is intended to sum up rather pointless, reaction-getting behaviour. I think.

Re:Kick the dog or kick the bucket? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525450)


Actually, I think he was trying to use a slightly less crude phrasing for "fucking the dog." (i.e. slacking off, not doing your job.)

Re:Kick the dog or kick the bucket? (1)

That's Unpossible! (722232) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525452)

You are guilty as charged.

Kick the dog... meaning Microsoft didn't do anything this week, while three of its competitors made news in different ways. Out of frustration, Microsoft kicked the dog.

Re:Kick the dog or kick the bucket? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525541)

Well, MSFT's CEO did announce he's retiring in 2012 today.

Guess that's when it will go under.

Speaking as an OEM (3, Interesting)

scronline (829910) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525131)

People buy from us because they DON'T want to have to deal with companies like Dell, HP, Compaq and the like. They also have a love hate relationship with Microsoft. They hate the company, but they also love having a computer. They already know the shoddy software microsoft puts out.

Personally, this just reinforces my opinions of late of the complete end of sales with Microsoft products. If a "partner" decides to go into direct competition, then they cease to be a valid partner. Linux is gaining mindshare and market share. Windows has become the product every wants to get rid of but is afraid they can't.

Hence forth a new business model for any OEM is to offer Linux training and products. Free of charge or very low cost. Let's show MS that they can't piss on the army of people who help put them where they are by even supporting their crap. If it wasn't for places like mine all over the US, how would MS get their stuff repaired? You know full well they won't work with someone over the phone to resolve issues. That will just take more value away from their products. And of course the huge OEMs answer is always "use the restore CD" and fail to mention that data will be lost.

Re:Speaking as an OEM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525208)

1. You first.
2. I'll see you at the bankruptcy auction.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525133)

"xBox 360 will perform many functions that currently require a home computer. Not only will xBox 360 play video games, it will play music and movies, surf the web and probably even offer a non-PC platform for voice-over-IP."

So what? Apart from the last point, I have been doing all that on my XBox 1 for about 2 years now. And it's not locked down by M$

Xbox and Google's accelerator (1)

Xeroc (877174) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525158)

The new Xbox definitely looks awesome, and I am sure that it will greatly increase Microsoft's competitiveness in that field.

Yes, google's Web accelerator surely will decrease the bonus to Earthlink, MSN, and AOL - but as reported before - it still has it's problems [slashdot.org] . I'm hopeful they'll fix any problems and get it more widespread attention!

In theory, by caching web sites on their servers, it could also alleviate the slashdot effect! (If we all used it)

Cringely, the misguided moron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525200)

On top of GWA having MASSIVE security/privacy issues.. .. Mr. Cringely has been "slapped".. for the Register reports [channelregister.co.uk] the end (for good?) of GWA downloads..

and no, it's not because they have reached their control limit for beta testing.. before you assholes rip me an asshole for not pointing that out..

Regards..

Nothing to see here (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525240)

This guy is talking nonsense, even if you don't include the "turning point" BS.
If you haven't read the article he suggests that Microsoft is trying to enter the Personal Computer buesiness. Obviously, this guy doesn't get it.
Although it might not last for long, there is still a distinction between the PC market and the console market. Microsoft probably wants in the long run that consoles will become PCs (That would explain the XBOX's HD). Ofcourse as soon as those consoles become PCs they will be running Windows, and that's Microsoft's reason for getting to the console market. If they just let other company's (i.e Sony) lead the console market, Microsof's vision of Windows-running consoles might not happen.
Microsoft does not want to compete in PC manufacturing, a market it has no experience and no leverage in, just for the heck of it, especialy when they have zero chance of dominating it.

Re:Nothing to see here (5, Insightful)

VGR (467274) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525430)

Indeed.

One of the more prized members of my collection is a CompuMate. It's a keyboard that plugs into an Atari 2600, making the machine into a computer with a usable BASIC.

For over 20 years, every damn console has tried to say, "Look, it's also a computer!" And every single time, it's an utter flop. No one will use a console to do what a computer does, because the console invariably is a substandard personal computer.

Seriously, how many times have we seen this? The CompuMate, the Intellivision Computer Adaptor, the Coleco Adam, the FamiCom, the Sega Channel ... in fact, I just saw a Dreamcast Web Browser CD in a flea market the other day. Anyone ever use that?

No gaming console will ever threaten personal computers in any area except gaming (and even that's arguable). I don't know that I've ever seen a single business lesson which has been so forcibly resisted by one generation of companies after another.

no no no (2, Insightful)

lo_fye (303245) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525245)

First, using a "web accelerator" will NOT speed up your computer and turn it into a Thin Client. It will make things get to your computer faster, but if you don't have the juice to render it, it's still a no go.

Second, it is technically impossible for Google to pre-render Flash and pass it on to you. Flash isn't "server-side" -- it's done by your computer, which needs to be fat enough to run it.

Third, Yahoo's music service is priced well, but they're still misleading. They say "1 million songs" for $6.99/month, but that's to have them streamed to you, not downloaded. You can only download a handfull of tracks per month. Booo!

Fourth, why didn't Cringley (or anyone for that matter) ask if/when Google will try to buy Yahoo?

Lastly, no mention of Flickr? I think Google messed up when they let that puppy slip through their fingers and be purchased by Yahoo. Picasa? Puh-lease-a.

Re:no no no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525550)

Why so much talk about Google Web Accelerator to reduce client side latency, to eliminate slashdot-effect, and to reduce network bandwidth, when Akamai is already there in this business for quite some time, and does exactly the same things and has the same vision?

"Inflection point"? (2, Insightful)

saforrest (184929) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525267)

It's an expression made popular in Silicon Valley years ago by Andy Grove of Intel: "inflection point." It's that abrupt elbow in a graph of growth or decline when the new technology or paradigm truly kicks in, and suddenly there is no going back.

Man, I really wish that Cringely, as a supposed pundit to the geek masses, would not contribute to distorting into sensationalist manager-ese technobabble a phrase that already has a precise mathematical meaning [wikipedia.org] .

Re:"Inflection point"? (1)

cmburns69 (169686) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525413)

So what you're saying is that you don't like what the technology industry has done to a term with a "precise mathematical meaning"?

You're not talking about the "giga" prefix are you?

Interesting in theory... (2, Interesting)

Strudelkugel (594414) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525301)


At that point, you'll buy your PC from Google, use Google as your ISP, surf an Internet that is really the Google cache,

(A) Right about here the DOJ decides to take action...

be fed ads and sold content from Google servers. Its a GoogleWorld that requires no AOL, no Microsoft, no Intel, no HP or Dell -- only Google, cable companies, telephone companies, users, and of course advertisers and web page producers.

Doubtful because of (A).

It's surprising to me that he didn't mention the comment of the week; that from Gates about mobile phone making iPods obsolete. It was an important observation, since it is already happening. My phone serves as an MP3 player already. While it doesn't have the capacity of the iPod (yet), who cares... It has an antenna, has considerably more functionality, and I Always-Have-It-With-Me(TM)

Re:Interesting in theory... (2, Insightful)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525524)

Sure, because (A) already happened to MS and we see how they were crushed.

Xbox replacing low end PC market? (4, Interesting)

theclam159 (833616) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525319)

The new Xbox has several processors, 512MB RAM, a good graphics card, a hard drive, HD video quality, network connectivity, and is supposedly easily moddable. Eventually someone is going to get Windows or Linux to run on this and run WELL. When that happens, you'll be able to buy a highly capable PC for $300. An interesting side effect of this, is that Microsoft has to sell these things at a loss, in order to remain competitive to Sony and Nintendo. Therefore, this might be bad for their profits.

Re:Xbox replacing low end PC market? (2, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525518)

Since Linux already supports PowerPC, methinks it would be a heck of a lot easier to get Linux to run on an Xbox 360. That and the fact that anybody in the world can hack Linux to run on Xbox, but only a Microsoft employee can hack Windows.

You can ALREADY buy a capable PC from Dell for $299... what makes you think the Xbox 360 price point will be $300??? Most guesses I've seen are closer to $500. Plus the accessories (e.g. 802.11 adapter) will be more expensive because it is a closed architecture. So while this would make a great Linux box, I don't see it really undercutting PC sales.

Inflection Point or Week of Fluff (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525333)

I vote for Week of Fluff.

But then, I never was good at Calculus, and it looks like Cringely isn't either.

xBox360 - boring, waiting for PS3 or GameCube2.

Google cache - no real effect if you live on Gigabit Internet like all the colleges and universities do. IN fact, it's SLOWER.

We'll look back on today and ask "Wow, who would have ever thought the EU nominee for the WTO would have done that!", not "Google and Gates and Gumdrops, oh my!".

His powers of prognostication astound (4, Funny)

mcc (14761) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525387)

So.

Cringely is impressed that Google is offering a web accelerator service, something AOL has done for years; that the XBox will play music and video, something the playstations 1 and 2 did, respectively; that Yahoo is unveiling a service almost identical to the Napster service that appeared in the wake of the iTunes Music Store; and that Apple may, at some unspecified point in the future be releasing a product.

Well, that's all well and good. But I think the really important thing for the tech market is, will Gore or Bush win the election? Because Cringely doesn't weigh in on that at all.

Double the speed of my web surfing? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525462)

To be honest, even with "just" a 512Kbps ADSL link, I'm not entirely sure I'd notice if you *halved* the speed of my surfing...

lots of noise, not much here (5, Insightful)

klossner (733867) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525467)

Cringely had a lot of interesting things to say in his prime. But now he's moved out of the valley, and many of his columns trumpet the Next Big Thing when it's not really.

Here, he seems to have missed the fact that Google Accelerator has already failed and is being withdrawn. The world is not going to redesign their web pages so that GETs have no side effect.

A couple of weeks ago, he waved his hands and explained that airline scheduling is just like network scheduling and you can speed up the net by eliminating the hubs and running traffic directly from one host to another. Then he waved his hands again and said that hubs are servers.

Last December after the tsunami, he told us how to build a warning system that could be deployed by putting a networked PC "on every populated beach a month from now." Never mind that third-world populated beaches usually don't have electricity, much less an internet connection.

Last July he designed a scheme to compress video for broadcast by encoding only what the retina was focusing on. But it would work only if every person receiving the broadcast always pointed their retinas to the same place as everyone else.

Cringely is at his best when describing a funky experiment that he's actually done, like when he was one of the first to put a WiFi antenna in a Pringles can. But his blue-sky predictions just don't fly anymore.

Golden opportunity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525469)

Now that the internet appliance TeeVee in the form of XBOX is 'real' I notice a huge gap in programming. Where doth da gap be you puzzle under microcephalic like, belt be too tight possum lving in your ass needs a bath, proletariat shrunken head mind glue?

Why it's the living art, unobtrusive but being there electronic hearth, good feelng warm images oF the one and true real TeeVee.

Face it doodzettes and doodees. Half the homes you enter have more TeeVees living in them than peeps and at least one of these TeeVees is always ON.

Rather than the bane blather of broadcast, the cookbooked product placed heartstring plucking doctor saves the one blue eye, one socket sporting a ball bearing, androgynous, smooth all over, wearing ladies shoes, choked to death on a piece of cheese at the Swiss picnic, if it weren't for saide doctor, baby down the well, buy this $hit FOOL, of cable, the pablum like world history and science targeted at precocious five years olds, why;s that teletubby got a 19" gun and is that a possun peaking out of his ass while he rides the wright flyer to the center of the earth, 'educational TeevEE'. yOU COULD PROseeD to ProDeuce something mindcalming becauz in the endo that'a all TeeVee used foranyway, opium for the souless monkey brains soup worls of middle managemant empty suits wife won't fuck, kids won't stop, bring me another PBR robo-dog, fucking volvo's on the blink again since that damn whettedback yardman got caught in the fanbelt while trying to cook the pussycat and munch a raw onion at the same time, welll lgot caught in the fanbelt and jammed the propellor.

No.
People do not want entertAINment from TeeVee. The want calm, a warm place ot congeal and congregate sans holy water and stale bickies.

Real TeeVee will bring them that. 1000 channels of the outsidew world thay loathe to experience out of fear and prejudice, yet endelessly disect for blame and recourse with their likemnded progressive for all be me for I'm a manager, arts and letters, french literature degree and che can;'t order a fucking cold beer without the real frogs swallowig their galoise and shitting their britcvhes, not that you;d notice the odor...

Set up 1000 camera's all over the world. Put one n a tijuana whore house, one in the popes loo, one at the greyhound stattion in Jersey city, one overlooking the drunken abbos sleeping it off in Darwin city center park, one looking out a sheeps arse, one aimed at a new york times paper box to display the front page and via a mirror the faces of all grabbing a paper.

Deliverthis $hit by way of IP to the XBX and it's teated 77inch FPD and people will PAY. It;s cheaper to produce than any of the crap on TeeVee nowexcept maybe the crashing waves splashing waterfall stuff on the bible thumping sations that fill in while preacher jo grabs a blow. But, it's much more diverse and interesting.

LIke the ipod gumstick suffle, randomly switch between these cameras with some weithing toward or away from those with motion action(subscriber selectable).

Hell, folks would pay $50/month for this stuff. Hell what's $50 when you can afford an xbx and a 77'FPDTV.

Anyone widhing to discuss the details of this idea...I have a producer with 10 years experience lined up. He's already run tthe ROI numbers. We just need some partnerz with some fucking JACK to get this show on the road.

Imagine, 24 hours of turds and condoms floating down down the river, LIVE! On YOUR TeeVEE

Cringley or Cringely? (1)

hydopower (869406) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525476)

Which is it?

GWA will not change the world, Cringe (3, Interesting)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525512)

'If surfing can be doubled in speed for nothing, of course nearly everyone will go for it', the upshot of which is that AOL, MSN and Earthlink lose their relevancy.

Er, maybe not. For a start, the GWA doesn't "double" surfing speed. Second, with current bandwidth, I doubt most people would notice or care much about "double" text-loading speeds (GWA doesn't get that sort of compression on images, MP3s, etc, obviously). Third, it's not complex technology. People have been developing (and using) this crap for ages. It's not as if Google have cracked cheap, in-your-house nuclear fusion.
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