Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Intel Back With A Vengeance, Apple Back To High End Drawing Board

Intel Core 2 Quad brand logo
Intel Core 2 Quad brand logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
ComputerWorld (and others) have reported some interesting news items out of Intel, the erstwhile computer chipmaker.
During the last several years, it was interesting to see how Intel faced competition and where it's greatest threats came from. Instead of Intel getting beaten by PowerPC chips, that were made originally by the giants IBM, Motorola and Apple, Intel had a far rougher time competing with the brash and bold people of AMD. Now, however, the tide seems to have turned.
I have to say that Intel has come back with quite a lot of steam, thunder and vengeance, or, add your own cliche' here.
I do find it amazing that Microsoft is still so far behind in helping applications and users take advantage of even the dual-core chips available today in most computers being sold today. Not that Apple has done much better. Application makers are also not off the hook in that regard.
As usual, people are buying computers that can do far more than they can do. What I mean by that circular sentence is that the capabilities of the chips in most cases are outstripping the capabilities of the software to benefit from them.
Sure, most software products, especially image processing, speech recognition, video compression, etc. push computer CPU chips to the limit in terms of their clock speed. But, to use a bad example, that is somewhat like driving a Ferrari mostly with just one of the rear wheels, while the engine RPM nears redline.
One hopes that better use of these multi-core chips is at hand soon, before people realize that the multi-cores are not worth upgrading for.
As a MacUser I am looking forward to the Q4 release of smaller quad-core Intel chips, with QuickPath. I suspect that may be when my beloved 2003 vintage PowerBook G4 17" (whose design is still used on MacBook Pro laptops) will finally get a new shape and design.
That may also be just in time for some new battery technologies, as well as laptop sized Blu-Ray drives to become available, assuming Steve Jobs allows them in Macs.
That surely would be a nice toy, I mean, tool, to get in the New Year 2009.
What do you think?

Monday, March 17, 2008

"King Of Spam" To Be "Queen Of Slam" In Prison Showers

I was delighted, and highly amused, by news that the so-called "King Of Spam", Robert Soloway, has pleaded guilty to fraud and other crimes. He may face 26 years in prison.

There are several ironies here.

One, just like Al Capone, he is not going to prison for his actual crimes (shamelessly sending spam and explicitly inappropriate content, without caring if children were the recipients, costing users and ISPs millions or more in extra costs and time/effort wastage) but for tax fraud. Al Capone must be turning in his grave.

Two, it would be such sweet poetic justice, and irony, when he finds himself the new "Queen of Slam" or 'bitch' of some hard core prisoners in the prison cells and showers.

Triple the irony, if his new "Daddy Bubba" and buddies are criminals who had actually ordered and used penis enlargement pills AND Viagra that Robert Soloway may have at one time emailed them about.

Quadruple the irony, if those pills actually had worked... poor Robert Soloway. It's going to be a long, long, long, hard, hard, hard 26 years in prison.

Monday, March 10, 2008

NY Governor Spitzer In Bed With Prostitution Ring, Literally

It appears that Elliot Spitzer, NY's holier-than-thou(sands) crime-busting, Governor has given one final opportunity to NY to Spit Out Spitzer. I had created those domain names and web sites to express my disgust with his decision to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants (which they could then use to gain other documentation, and learn to fly planes if they wanted).

Most people remembered (and I respected) him for his going after white collar crime. It seems it was more than Wall Street crooks that Spitzer was doing things to/with. The NY Times reports he is admitting to being involved with a prostitution ring. So, selling out American interests by giving driver licenses to illegal immigrants was not as big a problem, but having sex may have him thrown out of office. What do you think?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Is Indian Outsourcing Industry Losing Out To Other Sources?

Someone posted an interesting question on LinkedIn, that I have also seen being asked in other places, whether India was not the top outsourcing destination and why?

From discussions I have had with various people, and my own observations, I think that, yes, India's value as an outsourced services provider has increased in volume but is now less of a cost advantage to client companies. Quality has suffered, and many American companies in particular have pulled back from Indian operations.

While it will take some time for India to fall off its perch as the main focus of IT and even other professional services outsourcing, IT is beginning to show some changes.

Several factors are at play. In the past Pakistan, etc. could not really come close to what Indian companies could offer in a scalable manner. Such countries are getting better, though India still has far more momentum.

A major problem, besides India's poor infrastructure, is the fact that GOOD Indian engineers can now command salaries not a small but a significant fraction of salaries for similar positions in the USA.

Additionally, the quality of resources being churned out, almost mass-produced, by the professional/educational system there is not at par with what Indians have previously built a great reputation on. So some clients are starting to see significant declines in quality and significant increases in the amount of hand-holding or reiterations needed to get things right.

That still does not mean it is a slam dunk for Pakistan, Bangla Desh, etc. to steal India's thunder. India still offers far greater stability than, say, Pakistan can - so a US businessman is not going to worry too much about being beheaded during a trip to India.

So, yes, India is vulnerable to good competition on cost with good quality work. But, it is not on the way out.

Certainly many Pakistani and other countries' companies are leveraging that. But, I do not see Pakistan's built-in tendency to self-destruct any great opportunity going away anytime soon. Having been born in Pakistan, I have been an entrepreneur in Pakistan in the 80s. I know how tough it was then - even before suicide bombings became a problem. Now, suicide bombings targeting Pakistanis are a DAILY occurrence. I can only imagine how difficult it would be for a Pakistani company to convince Americans or any foreign clients to visit and freely move about the country.

I surely respect those that are trying to do it in the even worse situation of law and order they face. Their job is not going to be easy to even catch up to India, much less get ahead. But, time, effort and rising Indian costs can give them a better foot in the door than ever in the past.

In the meantime, Indians being far more strategic and better business-minded thinkers, are doing a great job not just moving up the "food chain" in services they provide, but are also leveraging global capital markets to turn the tables and buy American and European companies.

I do not see Pakistan's biggest business, industry and media tycoons thinking or being far sighted beyond the lengths of their own noses.

What do you think?