According to sources at the Pentagon, American quagmire-building efforts continued apace in Afghanistan this week, as the geographically rugged, politically unstable region remained ungovernable, death tolls continued to rise, and the grim military campaign persisted as hopelessly as ever.
In fact, many government officials now believe that the United States and its allies could be as little as six months away from their ultimate goal: the total quagmirification of Afghanistan.
"…at the end of the day, Fox News’ nightly audience in the third quarter of this year was 2.25 million viewers in primetime. For perspective this means that it has roughly the same audience as your average Dollhouse episode, which was just yanked by Fox (the broadcast network, not the cable news network), so that its ratings wouldn’t stink up November Sweeps. Even with Fox News’ ratings going through the roof because of its little war with Obama, the actual number of viewers is minuscule. Or to put it otherwise, 2.5 million Americans watch Fox News, which means that 297.5 million Americans don’t.”
"The analyst group [Gartner] believes that ‘all’ major PC firms will have signaled their intentions to build smartphones by the end of 2009 but that none of these will have more than two percent outside of the iPhone maker, even by 2012. Instead, most of the non-Apple growth will be left to traditional phone designers."
Some unsurprising trends: the Los Angeles Times is an absolute horrorshow. Not shown: the Boston Globe disappearing off the bottom of this chart, in a two decade decline from 521,000 in 1990 to 264,105 this year.
“And then there’s HP, a company with one of the best names and proudest histories in the industry. Apple made news this week for the design and tech specs of its all-new iMacs, which start at $1199. HP made news this week for unveiling a Windows 7 launch bundle at Best Buy that includes a desktop PC and two laptops, all for $1199. That might be great for Microsoft, but how is it good for HP that their brand now stands for bargain basement prices?”—Daring Fireball: Herd Mentality
“Macs have remained largely immune to the economic gloom or even the potential threat of lower-priced Windows PCs. But Macs have competed against Windows Vista PCs. Can Macs defy Windows 7 gravity? Because of the netbook scourge, I must say yes. Few Windows PC manufacturers are competing where Apple sales are strongest: Computers selling for $1,000 or more. But all major OEMs are fighting for sales in the segment for the smallest, least powerful, lowest-cost and least profitable portables. Are their executives insane?”—Apple declares war on the entire PC industry | Betanews
“Think about the strange influence that daytime cable news has on American politics. The three networks combined have an aggregate daytime audience of roughly zero. But even though the audience, looked at nationally, amounts to rounding error the networks are hugely popular among the tiny number of people who work in professional politics. Just like traders have CNBC and Bloomberg on in their offices, political operatives are constantly tuned in to what’s happening on cable news. The result is a really bizarre hothouse scenario in which people are basically watching … well … nothing, but they’re riveted to it. How things “play” on cable news is considered fairly important even though no persuadable voters are watching it. And cable news’ hyper-agitated style starts to infect everyone’s frame of mind, making it extremely difficult for everyone to forget that the networks have huge incentives to massively and systematically overstate the significance of everything that happens.”—Matthew Yglesias » The Cable Effect
How this happens in today’s day and age is beyond belief. Hundreds of thousands of customers that generate millions of dollars in revenue means you back their stuff up, in triplicate. You test these backups regularly, and you move a copy off site that doesn’t get touched except in case of an emergency (i.e. right now). The head of the mobile division (and person in charge of what’s left of Danger) is Roz Ho, who has been at Microsoft for 18 years. You would think she’d know something about how to run a business.
“Most tellingly, perhaps, those clamoring for an escalation in Afghanistan avoid mentioning the name of the country’s president, Hamid Karzai, or the fraud-filled August election that conclusively delegitimized his government. To do so would require explaining why America should place its troops in alliance with a corrupt partner knee-deep in the narcotics trade. As long as Karzai and the election are airbrushed out of history, it can be disingenuously argued that nothing has changed on the ground since Obama’s inauguration and that he has no right to revise his earlier judgment that Afghanistan is a “war of necessity.”—Frank Rich - Two Wrongs Make Another Fiasco - NYTimes.com
“Clearly, other companies know how to sync painlessly with iTunes music (see RIM’s Blackberry Media Sync for example), so why doesn’t Palm develop a syncing solution for their own hardware? The exact reason is unknown, but my guess is that it’s a combination of things. Perhaps Palm doesn’t have the resources to develop their own sync app. Or maybe they want some publicity. Or maybe they just want to push Apple’s buttons. Who really knows. But I seriously question the strategy and brains of any company that ties critical product capabilities to the unsupported use of their competitor’s software. I mean, really? Can it get any more ridiculous? Can you possibly send a more mixed, less confidence-inspiring, “we’re a bunch of hacks who can’t provide our own sync software for our products” message to customers?”—On Palm, Competition, and iTunes Sync