January 30, 2011

Tech Sunday: Will.I.Am Gets A Job At Intel

taking it to a whole new level

From the press release:

Intel Teams with will.i.am, Black Eyed Peas Front Man


* will.i.am joins Intel as "director of creative innovation."
* Unique collaboration entails the development of new technologies, music and tech advocacy.
* Intel and will.i.am "share a strong interest in innovation around music, art and lifestyle."

For those of you who don't know, Intel is a company that manufactures atomic-scale thinking machines that are the pinnacle of human civilization.  I can't hate on a guy who writes songs that make people happy, but his only substantial contribution outside of the world of pop music is punching Perez Hilton in the face.  Is that enough on the resume to get a job at Intel?

So why is Intel hiring an idiot to be Creative Director?  Because outside of its engineering departments, Intel is staffed and run by idiots.  Same goes for nearly every tech company.

The closer you look at the strategic plans of companies like Intel, Microsoft, HP and others, you come to the conclusion that the CEOs of these companies must all be heavy investors in Apple, because none of them do anything that is remotely threatening to Apple.   I would like to know how much Apple stock is owned by the guys who run Apple's competitors.  It wouldn't be hard to extinguish Apple from the marketplace,  Apple's products aren't really that good.  Yes, a lot of people buy Apple products.  But a lot of people also read The Secret and watch Glee. I wouldn't put a lot of stock in what the masses think.

Apple is successful not because their products are "insanely great."  No matter how good they are, their products are obnoxious and way overpriced.  $499 for an device with a 1024x768 screen, no ports, no accessible filesystem, graphics from the first Bush Administration, and a 1GHz CPU?  That's not overpriced?  Yes, yes, we all enjoy the pinching and zooming on the iPad, that multi-touch return-of-the repressed masturbatory ritual that only crudely and temporarily substitutes for real satisfaction.  But the thing is so crippled by design you can do nothing with it but consume.  Oh, look streaming episodes of Glee.  Wicked.

I'm using an iPad last night, and it comes to pass that I need SSH in order to--and I apologize for being technical here--transfer and organize "terabytes" of "warez" and "illegally downloaded Hollywood movies in high definition" among the horrific array of computers on my MPAA-disapproved home network.

SSH is one of maybe a thousand free command line tools that are part of the entirely free Linux operating system.  The source code is freely available. All it does is let you log into another machine and get the command line on that machine.  So naturally I assume someone has put up SSH for free on the app store, because duh.

I look at the offerings on the App Store. SSH costs $10.  Or $1.  Or $5.  There are about ten different SSHs for sale on the App Store.  None of them are free.  Most of them have a three-star rating.  How the hell does the command line get a three star rating?  What is the criticism?  "Pfft. This sucks because I can't use Helvetica."  Hit the bricks, Hipster, and take your overused homogenized Velveetica with you. It's remote access, you either logged in to the other system or you didn't.  It's a binary proposition. 

At best, I still have to pay $1.  Actually, $1.09 because of sales tax.  That's right. Listen up all you 1337 hax0r5 and script kiddies, if you want SSH on the iPad you're going to pay the State for the privilege.  How does that sit with your "information wants to be free" ethos? 

I think it's unacceptable.  It is 2011. I was promised tricorders, Skynet, and flying cars, not sales tax on the bastard child of telnet so that Pixar could crank out movie after movie about baby toys doing baby crap in a way that oddly follows the plot of The Magnificent Seven.

You would think that a competitor would step into this breach to offer a tablet or phone computing device that was, well, a computer.  Nope.  Oh, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "But Android has all the unix tools blah blah blah."  You're thinking that because you are a stupid Android consumer who is stupid.  Android devices aren't computers either.  The flagship Android phone, the Droid X, has about thirty-seven cores running at 1.21 jiggawatts.  (Jay-Z is Android's Creative Director).  With all that hardware, have you ever tried to run one of those real-time audio apps like they have on the iPhone? You can't.  Do you know why?  Because Android has exactly the same round-trip audio latency as DOS 2.1.  Yes.  I looked it up.  To do real-time audio, you need under 10ms.  Meanwhile, the Droid-What is 350ms in version 2.2 and 45ms in an "optional" package in 2.3. (According to the Davos Summit, "Optional" is an industry term for "Unavailable".)    So, despite the fact that it runs on military-spec hardware, Android can't do the fun multimedia stuff that the iPhone can do (provided that you pay and pay and pay for it (plus sales tax.))

And now Blackberry wants to sell a tablet too.  Oh joy. The Blackberry is basically a corporate house-arrest ankle bracelet that prevents you from thinking about anything other than your job no matter where you are in the world.  I can't wait for that soul-sucking experience in 9-inch high-definition.  With multitouch.

This is not competition.  This is copying.  Charging users a premium for a locked down OS which in turn nickel-and-dimes the user for single function apps that are freely (and legally) available in much more advanced configurations on normal PCs is not innovation.  It's asinine.  Which brings me back to the beginning:  I'm convinced the CEOs of these other companies secretly hoard Apple stock. How else can you explain this total unwillingness to do the obvious: to bring to the tablet space the computing platform that relegated Apple to a niche player in PCs?

You know what costs $499 and can do real-time audio, SSH, PDFs, Flash, 1080p and
everything else you'd ever what to do for no additional cost?  A crappy laptop
from Tiger Direct.

So why don't any of these companies just sell you that laptop, minus the keyboard, with a touchscreen?  I would buy that.  Today.  But no one sells it. Why? Because corporations are amalgamations of people operating in lowest-common-denominator cover-your-ass protected mode.  Some corporate sperm donor at Intel or Microsoft or HP wearing khaki pants and a blue dress shirt sees Apple's success with the App Store and decides to copy it in his company.  Khaki Blueshirt, VP of Entrenched Thinking, then gets labeled internally as an innovative guy, because in corporate America, innovation means copying Apple without also copying all the artsy designy stuff that is "gay."

Attention corporate America:  you don't want to copy Apple. Apple sucks.  Yes, they make money.  Two-and-a-Half-Men also makes money.   Apple makes money for the same reason Moleskine makes money selling $0.99 cent notebooks for $7.00--because they don't teach checkbook balancing in high school.

I don't need Intel to sell me a quad-core CPU designed by Will.i.Am with two dedicated "urban" cores providing hardware-accelerated Photoshop graffiti tags.  I don't need a "krunk" instruction set that invites me to "get retarded."

I need Windows (or Linux, real Linux) in a tablet form so I can download Firefox, Flash 10.1, Greasemonkey, VLC, utorrent, SSH, and a life-goals management app called "Inception 2010 BRRip 1080p x264 AAC - honchorella (Kingdom Release)".  That's what I need.

Listen up, Khaki Blueshirt.  Just because you upgraded the star wipe in Powerpoint doesn't make you a creative guy. You're a drone. You sell commodity hardware and a lots of it.  You want to beat Apple, stick to what you know. Sell tablets that allow users to do more than fingerpaint and view advertising at the same time (yes, there's an App for that.)  The hundreds of millions of us that have not bought iPads want tablets that let us do on them what we do on our regular computers--spreadsheets, Powerpoint, movie piracy, and porn. Don't get fancy.

-- pastabagel


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