Monday, August 30, 2010

Why not down?

Up is always considered better than down. Thumbs up is good thumbs down is bad, heaven is up hell is down, glory is up shame is down, success is up failure is down, high flying is better than low crawling. Why is up always better than down? And why not settle for the status quo or even exult down? 
Implicit in this universal sentiment regarding up/down is an affirmation of the value of effort and a nod in the direction of hard work. After all, down is the natural way to go, down is the easy way to go. It's interesting that up is also exalted as better than neutrality. This motif of exerting effort beyond that needed to simply exist as being a good thing speaks to a calling present in the heart of man that is higher than the calling to simply exist. The exultation heaped on what is essentially defying the second law of thermodynamics is an affirmation that we were designed to transcend the natural laws, to identify them and manipulate them, to understand them and harness them, to harness them for a purpose that transcends them.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

RIM wields a Torch in a world of Flashlights

So Research In Motion, Canadian makers of the Blackberry, launched their new flagship device today and called it The Torch. The Torch is the biggest letdown since last time RIM launched a flagship device and verifies the opinion I've held for about a year that RIM's days of ~40% smartphone market share will never return once they leave, and they will leave soon.

If RIM keeps trying to make their old formula of a portrait hardware keyboard and a crappy screen work they'll be insolvent before the end of the decade, though I understand their hesitancy to drop a formula that worked well for so long. The truly inexplicable part of the Torch's failure is that while it debuts the much ballyhooed Blackberry OS 6.0 it uses the same SOC as the Blackberry 9700 and a 3-years-behind-the-times sub VGA screen. I'm not sure how RIM's management came to the conclusion that they should equip their "Flagship" device with a micro-architecture from 2002 (no really, that's how old ARM11 is) fabricated on process technology from 2006 (though smartphones in general are all a node behind here) and running a resolution that is 400% lower than the iPhone 4s and 260% lower than most Android handsets. RIMs new Webkit browser is almost as much better than RIMs old browser as it is worse than Androids latest. It's useable unlike RIM's old browser, but about half as fast as the latest iPhone's and less than half as fast as the Droid 2's. Email is apparently flawless as it always has been on Blackberry but this doesn't really matter when everyone has flawless email. A large increase in advertising has accompanied the Torches launch though the advertising is for BBM rather than the Torch itself in perhaps a tacit acknowledgement of the devices shortcomings.

Message to RIM: We want better phones not more advertising!