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  • Michael Krakovskiy 8:56 am on February 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Akio Morita, , Betamax, brand electronics, , famous brand-name electronics, , Masaru Ibuka, Microsoft Windows, MiniDisc, , PlayStation, , Sony Canada, Sony Trinitron, , technology cooler, , Trinitron, , Walkman   


    [3F11] Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield

    Homer: [gasps] Look at these low, low prices on famous brand-name electronics!
    Bart: Don’t be a sap, Dad. These are just crappy knock-offs.
    Homer: Pfft. I know a genuine Panaphonics when I see it. And look, there’s Magnetbox and Sorny.

    People often ask me why I refuse to buy Sony products. Indeed, I boycott Sony, and I am not the one to hold a grudge against evil multinational corporations. The level of incompetence on the high levels of Sony’s management disgusts me.

    I used to be inspired by the story of Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita starting a company in bombed Tokyo, and growing it from a radio repair shop into a giant corporation. I loved my Walkman, and thoroughly enjoyed the Playstation. I used to buy Sony Trinitron monitors which were brighter and sharper than the competition, but had visible horisontal lines formed by support wires made out of tungsten.

    Over they years I felt that the quality of Sony products declined, while the company stopped to innovate and instead began to rely on brute force. They mostly missed the MP3 revolution. Instead they started to figh format wars.

    The MiniDisk, the Memory Stick, Blu Ray: Sony would stop at nothing to control the format. They won with the CD and Blu Ray, lost with Betamax and just about everything else. None of these formats made me want to buy Sony products, and I’m very grateful that I don’t have to.

    Sony would not stop at what’s legal – they even resorted to hacking their users’ computers – some Sony CDs installed rootkits on Windows machines in the name of copy protection! This is equivalent to breaking into your apartment just to make sure that you haven’t stole anything.

    Normaly Hanlon’s Law is in effect, but I highly doubdt that things like these are benign byproducts of Sony being a large corporation. It seems like lawyers are doing a lot of thinking at Sony, and they aren’t thinking about winning people over.

    Instead of trying to make their technology cooler, Sony through its lawyers started sending cease and desist letters to people who did things like making handmade iPod cases or toy racing cars out of outmoded Walkmen (I can’t find the original article mentioning the lawsuit about the racecars, but I remember reading it).

    Then came the last drop. My wife runs a website about pipe organ event that she coded herself. She included an Amazon store that randomly showed different music-related items – it was a proprietory piece of software over which she had a rather limited control.

    Sony employs a company called Net Enforcer that sends out DMCA takedown notices whenever they think they see any unauthorized “retailers” selling Sony products. My wife’s store’s algorithm used to include some Sony products sold by Amazon. Rather than dealing with the offending items, Dreamhost simply took down the whole store and notified me.

    NetEnforcers would have you believe that they are protecting Sony’s brand, not letting various riffraff sell Sony products. I had to spend a good deal of time trying to figure out how to fix my wife’s store and not include any Sony products. As a result I refuse to buy any Sony brand electronics. I’m pretty sure this is not what Akio Morita would approve of.

  • Michael Krakovskiy 9:36 pm on November 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , creative googled-up solutions, , Eric Sink, , Microsoft Windows, Vault   

    The Vault 

    A friend of mine, a contractor, recently came to me with a strange problem. He did an excellent job renovating my apartment, and since then he got used to me delousing his Windows computer and coming up with creative googled-up solutions for just about anything. This one has me stumped though.

    Right now he is demolishing a location, previously occupied by a bank. It has a vault door in it that my friend needs to cart away.

    He wants to sell it. I mean, the thing looks valuable – but I have no idea of who would want something like that. Movie people? A restaurant? Eric Sink (his company has a product called Vault and he must be flush after Microsoft buying a chunk of his stuff). I wonder what would happen if we did place it on eBay. Well, in fact there are a few of them there, and people don’t seem to be buying.

  • Michael Krakovskiy 9:49 pm on December 31, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Microsoft Windows, , S&P 500, web application   

    Happy New Year! 

    I am continuing this blog’s tradition of a New Year’s cards, even while thinking of closing down deadprogrammer.com. I might do it the Dr. Fun way – get it to 10 years and call it quits.

    This was a tough fricking year. I spent it on call for application breakdowns, learning system administration, stressing out of my mind, hitting hard deadlines, missing soft ones, gaining 15 pounds, etc, etc.

    I was stupid enough not to listen to my very smart friend and keeping my 401K in S&P 500 instead of in cash equivalent funds. I did have enough sense to sell it after Lehman Brothers shat the bed.

    This was my first year of being 99% free of Microsoft Windows. Indeed, once you go Mac you don’t go back.

    An interesting new web application that I worked on in my spare time should launch around February. I did waste a lot of my free time watching “my stories” (“The Wire”, “Mad Men”, “How It’s Made”, and other yuppie deligths), but I did not waste all of it. You’ll see.

    In any case, I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

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