Followup: Dawn of Dead…Talking Points

Well well well well… Not only is the UN flying “drones” (in the African conflict), but Pakistan, ever crying the victim, has since “developed” its own UAVs.  Hypocrisy much?

Pakistan’s Shahpar and Burraq UAVs just entered Army and Air Force service; their Navy is in trials.  I’ve seen claims that Pakistan won’t arm them… but I don’t buy that for a second.  First, the Shahpar is clearly based on China’s CH-3, which is armed.  Second, sub- and full-scale displays went public, arms at their wings.  3rd, Pakistan’s predicament begs for hunter-killer patrols.  Says analyst Usman Shabbir, of Pakistan Military Consortium:

It is important in a sense that it greatly cuts the gap from detection to shoot… Earlier, once you detected something and wanted it taken out you had to pass on the imagery to higher ups, who had to approve and allocate resources like aircraft and by the time the aircraft got there the bad guys were long gone. Now detect, make decision, shoot and go home — all in same loop.

One kill, and they lose all sympathy.  This, after admitting US drone kills were exaggerated.


Followup: Blind Cyclops Still Blind

The NCTA is resorting to ads: ‘Life without cable leaves a hole.’  Well, here’s a hole:

399I fill it just fine- a future without cable company crap is fine by me.  Leaving oil companies stuck with a hole in the ground is a bit more complex, but we’re working on it.

Dawn Of The Dead (Cockpits)

Looking around for a sale this Black Friday?  Or still looking for a parking space?  The ads are full of mini-helicopters, and some empty cars… just like the Afghani skies, and test courses in Silicon Valley respectively.  It’s not Black Drone-day, it’s now drone-era.

Lost in all the handwaving and whining about “drones” (or UAVs, UCAVs, or what have you*) is one simple fact: geeks know they’ve been here all along, ever since we called them “R/C planes” (or cars or helicopters or what have you).  How do I know?  Full disclosure: 45I’m not just a geek, I did some consulting on a “drone” project, though it was general work and would apply to a manned plane.

These are shelves in a hobby shop.  Like most such shops in the developed US, you can pick up an R/C plane for 200-400 bucks.  Some people have that in their pocket right now.  Some lucky kid in your town has such a plane, and maybe a bunch of kids. Continue reading

Leaving the Blind Cyclops

I post a lot about transformative technologies and new business models.  Folks, it’s time for The Big One: television.  TV, at least as we know it, will die… and by murder.  Not only do many, hungry competitors want a nice, juicy back for knifing, but television’s own execs see the future coming, and want out of “the old way.”

I’ll give NBC a little credit.  As other networks took little real initiative (beside disc sales, and via iTunes), NBC went for Hulu, and went big.  NBC saw how the playing field was shifting, and tried to get ahead of the game.  Besides, the web allows “rating” and targeting of desirable demographics in a way Nielsen and affiliate schedules can’t- this playing field is profitable.

And the game is shifting.  Monitors were “HD” way before TVs; Apple’s Retina Macs were arguably “4k” slightly before home 4k.  Monitors, as content-agnostic, act as TVs easier than TVs can be everything else.  Apple gets it, selling a set-top box for your not-TV jobs (except for gaming, hmmm…).  On the backside, broadband internet can do episodes just fine; the issue is sports and action movies, and even then just for crappier broadband. Continue reading

Block, Busted Idiots

Scratch another one.  Blockbuster Video, that strip-mall staple, is shutting down both its storefronts and its disc-by-mail service.

Despite being taken over by Dish Network, and despite offering their own disc-mail, they still can’t cut it vs. Netflix, Red Box, pay-per-view/on demand, downloads/streaming, etc… or just buying a popular title if the price is right.  Oh what a difference, indeed.

So why is this in the “Moto” category, too?  It’s the 21st century, and a 21st-century economy.  That late-20th century social custom of driving between isolated strip malls for small parcels is finally hitting in the pocketbook as well as the trade balance– the national pocketbook.  For many reasons (i.e., the urbanization of the country, and the world), the norm of the auto-centric day is declining.

Of course, nothing ever dies.  Blockbuster will not close a few franchised stores… and people still like strip malls and cars, just not as much or as often.  That’s why Ford, BMW, Audi, etc. are pursuing alternate business models, but aren’t closing, either.

So-nyr, and yet So-far…

Speaking of shifting to devices, there’s another industry teetering to massive change: Gaming.

The era of console dominance (and thus, a console arms race) was yesteryear; the industry now gets it.  Almost everyone in the target market has a small and/or mobile “device” (now part of some platform), which is nearing console capability with each rev.  The other side of the pincer is software publishing; a good 3D game is difficult (to make, and to market), and the number of game houses is consolidating toward unsustainability.  Something’s got to give, and startups plan on giving it to the established companies from both sides of the pincers.

On the hardware side, Sony admits this.  They felt they had to buy out Ericsson to form Sony Mobile, and compete with Samsung and Apple.  Meanwhile AppleTV is thiiis close to being a basic game console, and we don’t know how the putative ‘TV from Apple’ fits into this strategy.  More definite is Ouya’s miniconsole.  There are similar mini-ventures, and Valve’s ‘Steam Box’- not its final name, since there will likely be ‘Steam Boxen’ after the test units are returned. Continue reading