Who Designed This Crap? The Latest Model: Innovation or Ripoff?

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cg0def

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I agree with some of the stuff you wrote ( i.e. every one has an opinion and none and a lot of the post are too harsh on the writer ) but Enron and the Bible in the same post are a little bit too much for my taste.
Also you should know that Sony/BMG and Sony Computers might as well be 2 separate companies. Each devision has it's own CEO and it's own business strategy etc. So using Sony BMG as an example of Sony Computers' dubious business practices is totally inadequate. Also my might want to consider the fact that every company exists in order to make money ( granted that there are laws limiting their actions ).
 

Whizzard9992

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Strangely enough, it has been my experience that opinions, unsupported by anything other than ego, wishful thinking, denial and self-delusion are even less useful than the stuff that periodically emerges out of buttholes. At least one can use that stuff for fertilizer.
That's funny because I always thought an opnion was a personal perspective; a point-of-view. I guess the next time someone says to me they're going to another doctor to get a second 'opinion', I'll be sure to tell them they're wasting their time with a doctor's ego, wishful thinking, denial and self-delusion.

And if you and I are entitled to hold and express our opinions, why isn't Mr. Gerber?
There are plenty of places for opinions. The internet loves opinions. I come to THG for articles, as most do. I don't care that he expresses his opinion, but for what reason does his opinion deserve to be placed beside real, substanciated articles? I think it's a great rant. It's a poor article.

{...}
Can we stay on topic here?
{...}
Stepping back to look at the bigger picture, it is a fact that the first obligation of a company is to make a profit. But there are legitimate and illegitimate ways to do this. Can you say ENRON, for example?
Way to stay on topic. You really showed us.

The case of the Sony notebook is one of those gray-area issues that is part of life. Unfortunately, this is very far into the dark end of the scale. Given the lead times involved in product development, it is not unreasonable to assume that the upgrade version was being developed in parallel with the original model, just somewhat later.

Given the extremely short time (even for notebooks) between the release of the two models, Sony "should" have offered owners of the original model an upgrade exchange path for a reasonable fee (which would be significantly less than the cost of the new model, but still enough to give Sony a decent profit).

Sony could then have turned around and contributed the exchanged systems to charity, gaining good PR, not to mention a tax write-off, while still making money. Sony could have come out looking absolutely brilliant. They have designed and produced an amazing, innovative product - again (can you say Walkman or Discman?), they are taking excellent care of their customer base, and they are being socially responsible. Normally, a company pays people to beta test their products, not the other way around, as in this case. Sony used the purchasers of the original model as advanced beta testers and then expected to gouge these people if they wanted the "new and improved" product.
Lots of opinionated info here under the guise of fact.You're making a lot of conclusions based upon assumptions. Upgrading modular components doesn't have a large development lead-time.

As opposed to the dreck raised in Mr. Gerber's article and many of the posts in this thread.
People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
 

WizardOZ

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To Whizzard9992:

Well. well. It seems a few buttons were pushed - pretty hard too. Poor booboolah has to resort to straw-man arguments too.

Like the term "theory", the term "opinion" has variable meaning depending on the context and application it is used in. Since you are using a professional case to try and slag my comment about unsubstantiated personal opinion, lets work through this.

First, a physician has recieved several years of higher education and training. Second one year of practical experirnce aka internship. Third more experience after licensing. Last, what the docter is atually giving you is an assessment and a judgement of your situation. In this context, a doctor's opinion is exactly the same sort of thing thing as a judicial opinion - another term for a judgement. By the way, why is mal-practice insurance necessary? And why do you assume that a given doctor will reach the correct conclusion about a specific case, even if the patient has told the doctor everything the doctor needs to know? Oh yeah, doctors are human too- with all the potential for ego, pride and other frailties of said state. Now, if I had been making suggestions about specific medical situations, without proving competence, you would have point. But that's not the case here. I love straw-man arguments like this one - they speak volumes about the individual making them.

On the issue "plenty of places for opinions..." THG is also a place where one can fiind plenty of those. The very title of the column you are having so much trouble with is a crystal-clear indication that it is an opinion piece. After all, one person's crap is another person's brilliant design or execution. Deal with it. And some of your posts on this thread are what else, if not personal opinions? You really like straw-man arguments.

The long quote about Sony's approach that you claim is off topic shows that you didn't understand one of the fundamental points in Mr. Gerber's article. To wit, that many of the "inspired" product releases and marketing gimmicks are exclusively about profiteering.

I have a friend who designs, manufactures and sells a line of accessory cards and I/O devices for PCs. Quite sucessfully and pretty innovative devices. Some of which have gotten good reviews from THG. Based on converstaions with him, changing features and improving performance on a specific device is not as quick a process as you seem to think it is. Given the expertise my buddy has vs your unknown level of same, but based on the content of some of your other posts, I see another straw-man argument here.

Glass houses indeed.


To cg0def

The comments about the Seven Deadly Sins are appropos - here's why.

The list is indeed originally a theological construct of the early Christian church, but I am sure that all of the major religions have something similar, as do the secular philosophies. Now, the church uses the list as a moral instruction and warning about the death of the soul and time in hell. But the seven deadly sins are not limited to destruction of the soul. They are quite literally lethal. The reason they are literally lethal is because over-indulgence makes one stupid. Really stupid behaviour usually has severe negative consequences, including death - see the Darwin Awards. The context in which I use the list is secular and real-time. Greed is one of them and Sony has not been "playing well with others". In either of the cases cited.

Your observation that Sony computer and Sony/BMG are two seperate legal entities is correct, and I thank you for the reminder. Nevertheless, they are both part of the Sony group and are subsidiaries of the parent. Given the way that Japanese corporations are known to operate (very tight vertical intergration and hierarcichal authority), it was not unreasonable for me to link the two together in terms of bad corporate attitude and behaviour. It may very well be that instructions from head office were misinterpreted or overdone. But I don't think so, given Sony's tendency to create proprietary formats which only work in Sony products.

I did state quite clearly that the first obligation of a company is to make a profit, or at least break even. Not sure how you missed it.

But there are many ways to make a profit. The issue isn't the illegal ones. It is the still-legal but dubious methods. As a business approach, "because I can" is not the best. This is where so many of the regulations that business whines about originate. Enron is an extreme example of corporate malfeasence. Greed, and pride rear up and look at the consequences. The case of the Sony notebook is a mild example of the same thing. An listen to the whining about the new corproate governance rules introduced after Enron et al. Best part is that these clowns still don't get it - see current situation at HP for instance.
 

cg0def

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I know that arguing online is about the dumbest thing one can do but ....
first of all I don't see why you felt that it was necessary to explain Christian dogma to me but I can assure you that I am quite familiar with it. What I was getting to was that Christian morale has very little to do with the way Sony Corp. or any other corporation, for that matter, does business.

Also while Japanese corporations have a very tightly integrated vertical structure this does not really apply to Japanese corporations who have gone global ( well it does but mostly to the Japanese branches ). In those cases the different division have quite independent governance but they do share the same general business mission. So the way Sony/BMG does business has very little to do with the way Sony Computers does. Also the goal of no firm is to IPO is to break even. If in the general microecon. model firms try to achieve an equilibrium this by no means is the same as a firm breaking out even. In the case of Sony you have millions of stock holders who would be quite unsatisfied with Sony if they were to just break even. ( and please don't cite the Bible about how this constitutes greed because I didn't invent the system )

Also I hope that you are not implying that by manufacturing new models too often Sony is breaking any laws because I can assure you that no such laws exist or would exist any time soon. Sony does honor their warranty policy for the older models and this is about the only obligation that they have. It is up to the company to give you an upgrade option and it is up to you to chose whether or not you would buy from them. If enough people express a desire for such an option Sony would have no choice but to offer it. But the bottom line is that this particular case is not even remotely the same as what happened with Enron and HP.

And just for future reference, it's great that you are religious but religion is more of a guide to the virtues that you should cultivate than an answer sheet to every question that you might ever have.
 

WizardOZ

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The wizards are warring! You miss spelled apropos, drop one of the p's. At least you spelled wizard right though :)
And you didn't spell "miss spelled" right - it's normally written as one word, with only one "s". Anyways, which dictionary are you using?

Reviewing my posts, I note other examples of either misspellings or typing errors. Which you neglect to either mention or raise. Why is that?

And your point is? Mine, as is clearly evident, is on top of my head.

I note that you have neglected to comment on the content of the discussion. Given the content of your own posts, why is that?

Warring "wizards" - now there's a good joke.

More like gross failures of logic and critical thinking on the part of Whizzard9992. Not to mention, apparrantly (I could be wrong here, if so I appologise ), poorly/narrowly read, ignorant of history (both US and world) and uninterested in current affairs outside the US. And, even in US context, not paying attention to either US situation, history or bigger world picture.

Who says s/he is, and I quote: "I'm one of the fortunate ones that just so happens to enjoy and have a natural talent for something both rare and valuable (Software Engineering)." If the content of this person's posts here in this thread is anything to go by, it would be be a very good idea to find out where s/he works and avoid anything that company produces like one would avoid the plague.

The quality of logic and thinking, not to mention the penchant for ad-hominim attacks and straw-man arguments on/against posters this person disagrees with, is not what one could call encouraging. Especially when one considers what the products of this persons labour are - software. That possibly runs, or controls, critical infrastructure applications like water treatment or power generation plants. Do you remember the power blackout of August 2003? And, even if the software produced by Whizzard9992 and their employer is of a less critical nature than the cases cited, given the demonstrated shortcomings in both logical and critical thinking by this poster, why would anyone even consider doing business with this outfit?

As far as your comments on economics, status/situation of the middle class, and executive pay etc. go you are bang on - in my considerd opinion. Funny how some "Western Democracies" are moving towards the socio-econimic and political status typical of, for example, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and many South American "republics" in the 70's to the present You may want to check out www.workingforchange.org for further info/support.

Windaria's posts make it quite clear that this person is a follower of Ayn Rand's philosophies of utilitarianism and related "thinking". Demonstrably bankrupt, empty, stupid, failed and utterly counterproductive thinking and approach to society. Best summarized and defined by the Margret Thatcher's statement: "There is no such thing as society". Wrong again. Thatcher was a contemporary of Reagan - they were best buddies. And look at the consequences of their logic and thinking.

Windaria and fellow thinkers have gifted us with situations like Walkerton, Ontario, Canada 2000, where a number of people died due to contaminated water. Look up the details and facts. Most striking aspect is so-called "Common-Sense Revolution" of Harris Whizz-kids, which is amazingly similar to Ryand's outlook and philosophy. The only reasonable comment to make to Windaria and ilk is: slither back under your rock and FOAD.

Not directly on topic, but definitely related in the context of business and political attitudes and approaches to "the most important component of the chain - the customer". You know, the one who is " KING" - except when, etc. And who is the "sucker" when it comes time to "upgrade".

The famous quote by P.T. Barnum about "suckers" comes to mind for some strange reason.
 

michaelahess

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I'm just giving you crap, and I checked the spelling at dictionary.com as it looked slightly off to me. Who know's they may be wrong.

And your point is? Mine, as is clearly evident, is on top of my head.
Mine is my finger, just look at my avatar. :)
 

cg0def

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The famous quote by P.T. Barnum about "suckers" comes to mind for some strange reason.
Here's something that you might want to know about the famous quote which like so many other *famous* quotes is actually attributed to the wrong person.

P.T. Barnum quote

Also you should know that the customer is king slogan applies only to marketing and marketing usually has very little to do with the design of business strategies and the creation of new services/goods. The only way for Sony to decide offering an upgrade policy IS for them to view this as a requirement for at least sustaining the current number of customers ( also related to marketing ) which is currently not the case. There is also the highly improbable option of passing a law that requires compute companies to offer an upgrade policy. This could work say in Japan but considering the political situation in the states this is highly unlikely. Outside CA you can't even force computer manufacturers to even recycle old computer and even in CA it's not the manufacturer that does the recycling and a great deal of the cost is paid by the consumer. ( which is always the case with new taxes )
Anyway this is very much off topic.
 

WizardOZ

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I know that arguing online is about the dumbest thing one can do but ....
first of all I don't see why you felt that it was necessary to explain Christian dogma to me but I can assure you that I am quite familiar with it. What I was getting to was that Christian morale has very little to do with the way Sony Corp. or any other corporation, for that matter, does business.

Also while Japanese corporations have a very tightly integrated vertical structure this does not really apply to Japanese corporations who have gone global ( well it does but mostly to the Japanese branches ). In those cases the different division have quite independent governance but they do share the same general business mission. So the way Sony/BMG does business has very little to do with the way Sony Computers does. Also the goal of no firm is to IPO is to break even. If in the general microecon. model firms try to achieve an equilibrium this by no means is the same as a firm breaking out even. In the case of Sony you have millions of stock holders who would be quite unsatisfied with Sony if they were to just break even. ( and please don't cite the Bible about how this constitutes greed because I didn't invent the system )

Also I hope that you are not implying that by manufacturing new models too often Sony is breaking any laws because I can assure you that no such laws exist or would exist any time soon. Sony does honor their warranty policy for the older models and this is about the only obligation that they have. It is up to the company to give you an upgrade option and it is up to you to chose whether or not you would buy from them. If enough people express a desire for such an option Sony would have no choice but to offer it. But the bottom line is that this particular case is not even remotely the same as what happened with Enron and HP.

And just for future reference, it's great that you are religious but religion is more of a guide to the virtues that you should cultivate than an answer sheet to every question that you might ever have.

So who is arguing? I thought this was an interesting and useful discussion and exchange of ideas and information.

On to issues.

Well, I don't recall indicating that I am religious. And I wasn't quoting dogma either - I was referencing a very useful concept for shorthand reasons. Just because someone uses a particular reference or concept that is religion-based either in origin or context does not necessarily make one religious. It does show a certain level of general knowledge, ability to think conceptually and apply these concepts outside the box they originated in. In any case, I did state quite clearly that I was using the concept in a secular, real-time mode. You may recall the reference to the Darwin Awards? And, given your continued confusion about the extent of my religiousness, it was necessary to provide the backgrounder. It is becoming clear that you are indulging in an involuntary reflex reaction to the use of references to concepts connected to organized religion. You may want to step back a bit and carefully re-read my other posts. Also, check your assumptions.

On the issue of what is the purpose and duty of a corporation, I repeat (for the third time) that the first and most important job of ANY business is to earn a PROFIT. Sometimes, circumstances make it impossible for a company to make a profit, for whatever reason. When this happens, it is preferrable for a company to break even, rather than lose money. Which part of this is in conflict with general economic theory or normal business practice? And there is nothing wrong with profit in and of itself. Where exactly did you get the idea that I have a problem with the concept? But, profiteering is a legally-defined concept, and is "discouraged". Vernacular terms for profiteering include price-gouging. As I have noted elsewhere, there is more than one way to make a profit. Some of which are dubious.


As far as your comments re "morality" (of whatever religious context) and business practices being almost mutually exclusive go, in principle, yeah you're right. But only up to a point. Why are there so many laws and regulations to control all aspects of conducting business on the books? These serve one fundamental purpose - to enforce "moral" behaviour on the business world. Not out of specific religious concerns, but in the interests of all members of society and the society itself. I don't need to quote or reference ANY religious text or scripture to make legitimate observations about poor or unacceptable human behaviour. These are cold, hard facts. And many secular experiment in both psychology and sociology demonstrate that the adoption of "religiously moral" behaviour tend to produce greater benefit for a larger percentage of the participants than "immoral" behaviour. While we are on the topic of religion, you may want to consider why religion was invented in the first place, and what one of the more critical functions of any religion is. Specifically, social control and to minimize the behaviours that lead to conflict and therefore social collapse.

With respect to your comments about me possibly suggesting that the pace of innovation and subsequent release of "new and improved" product(s) by Sony, or any other company, all I can say is HUH? Where did you get that idea? I don't think that at all. I do think that companies that release significant upgrades to products such as the notebook cited in the article "should" offer existing, registerd owners of the earlier model a reasonable upgrade path . Now, I did say in an earlier post the path should ensure that both sides benefit, in that the company should make a reasonable profit, and the owners of the earlier model shoould get a break on the price of the new model. I should have added a limited time window for the upgrade. I also suggested how Sony could have won twice from the process - go re-read the post. And then tell me again that I don't understand micro or macro ecnomic principles.

"Global" corporations have tended to demonstrate indulgance in dubious and questionable practrices and ethics at a surprisingly high rate, depending especially on the industry. What is particularly striking in many of the examples that have been documented is the frequency of (speaking charitably) delinquent behaviour in jurisdictions with less stringent legislation and enforcement than in the home country of said corporations, most of which are Western-based. Some Canadian resource extraction companies and their performance in Africa come to mind.

With respect to your follow-up post re "famous" quotes, thank you very much. Most interesting and enlightening. Sort of like the "let them eat cake" comment incorrectly attributed to Marie Antoinnette.

Your observations re "the customer is king" comment are basically correct. Unfortunately they also indicate that you weren't paying attention to what I actually wrote. If you re-read the section of the post, you will see that I was actually slagging the concept.

Why are you having so much difficulty in reading and understanding my posts?
 

Whizzard9992

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On the issue "plenty of places for opinions..." THG is also a place where one can fiind plenty of those. The very title of the column you are having so much trouble with is a crystal-clear indication that it is an opinion piece. After all, one person's crap is another person's brilliant design or execution. Deal with it. And some of your posts on this thread are what else, if not personal opinions? You really like straw-man arguments.
What the hell are you talking about? I just said the article sucked. I don't care about what point he's making. It's not an article: it's a rant, and a rant based on unrealistic ideals (i.e. When I purchase something that goes obsolete in 6 months I should get my money back or Sony should charge more.)

To wit, that many of the "inspired" product releases and marketing gimmicks are exclusively about profiteering.
OH MY GOD! STOP THE PRESSES! SONY'S REALLY JUST SELLING PRODUCTS TO TURN A PROFIT?!?!?!?!?! :roll:

I have a friend who designs, manufactures and sells a line of accessory cards and I/O devices for PCs. Quite sucessfully and pretty innovative devices. Some of which have gotten good reviews from THG. Based on converstaions with him, changing features and improving performance on a specific device is not as quick a process as you seem to think it is. Given the expertise my buddy has vs your unknown level of same, but based on the content of some of your other posts, I see another straw-man argument here.
That's nice that you have a friend in the industry. I've worked on CE devices that have gone to market and I can tell you there's a lot more involved than a marketing guy who conjurs up gimmicks to screw the common consumer. But hey, I guess since you know a guy you're able to call everyone elses opinions about the matter

Glass houses indeed.
:?: WTF does that have to do with ANYTHING?
 

Whizzard9992

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More like gross failures of logic and critical thinking on the part of Whizzard9992. Not to mention, apparrantly (I could be wrong here, if so I appologise ), poorly/narrowly read, ignorant of history (both US and world) and uninterested in current affairs outside the US. And, even in US context, not paying attention to either US situation, history or bigger world picture.
lol wtf? How did you come up with that? How can you blatently attack me without knowing anything about me? How does me thrashing an article make me ignorant of US and world history??

Who says s/he is, and I quote: "I'm one of the fortunate ones that just so happens to enjoy and have a natural talent for something both rare and valuable (Software Engineering)." If the content of this person's posts here in this thread is anything to go by, it would be be a very good idea to find out where s/he works and avoid anything that company produces like one would avoid the plague.
Wow. I said that because I was saying I'm lucky to have a nack for Engineering instead of, say, artistry, where artistic talents pay less (for example). How does that statment make me a bad engineer, exactly?

The quality of logic and thinking, not to mention the penchant for ad-hominim attacks and straw-man arguments on/against posters this person disagrees with, is not what one could call encouraging. Especially when one considers what the products of this persons labour are - software. That possibly runs, or controls, critical infrastructure applications like water treatment or power generation plants. Do you remember the power blackout of August 2003? And, even if the software produced by Whizzard9992 and their employer is of a less critical nature than the cases cited, given the demonstrated shortcomings in both logical and critical thinking by this poster, why would anyone even consider doing business with this outfit?
That's quite a mouthful. I would love to post my resume or run any knowledge you or a companion could muster about software engineering into the ground, but there'd be no point. There's obviously disdain coming from somewhere else. Your parents, perhaps? :) Were you adopted? Abandoned as a baby? Was your brother killed by a rogue software engineer on a rampage? :)

As far as your comments on economics, status/situation of the middle class, and executive pay etc. go you are bang on - in my considerd opinion.
Ironic choice of words, given how you've trashed the notion of an opinion thus far.

Don't bash things/people you don't understand. If you have an argument to make, make it about a topic. Bashing someone personally online is not only rude, but it's ignorant and immature.
 

cg0def

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@ WizardOZ: You are about the most ignorant and stuck up person I have ever tried arguing with so you win. First off you specifically chose to quote the Bible and then apparently I have some bs reflex to organized religion just because I happen to not agree with your view of things. ( not to mention that the very foundation of the United States, Canada and all European countries is the separation of church and state ) Also you should know that the kind of knowledge that YOU call "general" is the worst kind. This is the type that lets you know a little bit about a lot of things but not enough so you can use the information in the CORRECT context ( most of the time ). Also just because I don't quote and then comment your every sentence does not mean that I didn't read your post and understand it. The problem is that you imply one thing and in the next post write that you never did say that. Call that an assumption but this is the way communication between people goes and maybe you should do some more of it ( in "real-life" I mean ).

Well anyway, until you get to the idea that not everything that you know is definitely correct there's no point arguing with you about anything. So you win and you won't get another post from me in this thread. Have a nice life a****le.
 

Whizzard9992

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Barry, I owe you an apology


Your article isn't that bad. Although I disagree with it, I've tended to hijack the threads associated with your articles. It appears I'm on a crusade to trash your articles. That's not the case. I agree I'm biased, and the moment I see the article title, I have a predisposition against the article.

You're trying something new, and that's commendable. I don't like it, but the threads have gone somewhere I'm not proud of, though I'm surely responsible for. That's not fair.

I don't mean to trash the articles or your writing as bad as I do, and I don't mean to do this to your thread. I hope you accept my apology.
 
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