Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bleeding Dollars - HD DVD

Normally I would leave this type of analysis to Tech Crunch, but I am sad for the quickness of the turn around on HD-DVD. EHomeUpgrade has a post on HD-DVD slashing the cost of their players. Now I have no real vested interest in either Blu-Ray or HD-DVD, but I was pulling for HD-DVD solely because of my Sony Hatetm. As a former Clie, Viao, and PowerShot owner, I love the style and function of many Sony products. They have been the Windows style Ying to Apples style Yang but, their proprietary formats and standards have largely driven me away from them. Mini-Disk, Memory Stick, UMD, Atrac3 I am sure there is more but I will leave it at that have soured my warm fuzzy feelings for Sony. Consumers marginally tolerate Microsoft for this type of B.S., however I think that Mac is proving that F with consumers for too long and you will find the people departing your product sphere at every opportunity.

What does any of this have to do with the Blu-Ray standard? Well HD-DVD was a pretty consumer friendly standard, it was an evolution of technology already in the trenches, and didn't mess with the customer much. First off the HD-DVD spec doesn't have Region Coding, which is a win for lovers of international content (or International viewers with a love for American content). The arbitrary splitting the world up into regions rather pisses me off as the internet has made pretty much anywhere my back yard. I read blogs from England, and Denmark, and some blogs with many posters around the world. Why shouldn't I be able to play my import Anime?1

Blu-Ray does do region encoding, and slathers some other content protection on for good measure. I find BD+ particularly onerous, as we have seen how well we can trust Sony's software judgment, RootKit anyone how about another? Granted modifying your hardware is often done by Pirates, but modifying your hardware does not a Pirate make you. I bought it, I will break it as I please. In my home Sony doesn't tell me what to do, I tell Sony what to do; and no matter how much that irks people it does not forestall my rights. Make no mistake, BD+ is a shot across the bow buy the Blu-Ray Consortium; put simply they believe that their intellectual property rights trump my consumer and physical property rights.

So to wrap up, the Pile on of the recent Warner Bros. decision to drop HD-DVD and the rumors swirling (or just being copied verbatim from others?)of Paramount leaving in February make me sad. HD-DVD was something of an underdog, and the slashing of prices only makes the smell of blood in the water stronger, I would love to see the broader implications of money changing hands brought up as I have to believe that if IE and Windows Media Player are grounds for anti-trust, buying studios has to rank in there somewhere.

1 Granted the good series are starting to get US distribution, but great Anime is still hard to get legally.

Monday, January 14, 2008

CES threw up all over Google Reader

Okay, so CES happened and I still have over 1000 unread articles and way, way too much to respond information to digest and respond to.

Tidbits: Engadget had an article about the possibility of ISP level content filtering and suggested that the answer would be to switch to a different provider should this occur. I think that this has been trotted out enough times that it was answered sufficiently some time ago, but I will rehash for them:

Not every one has multiple options for internet service, especially highspeed internet access. In my case in the Pacific NorthWest I have several the Majors Qwest and Comcast, and several minors SpeakEasy (serviced by Covad), Satellite, (randomly Verizion claims that I am in their dsl coverage zone too), and finally Sprint, AT&T and Verizon Wireless data plans. That is for me very near Seattle. My Parents don't have that luxury.

In North Idaho, neither Cable nor Verizon's DSL is offered. Their remaining options are Cellular Data (Sprint and AT&T have pretty good coverage out there), Satellite, or dial-up. They are less than 2 miles away from Adelphia's main Campus on the Edge of Hayden, Rathdrum/Post Falls and Coeur d'Alene. Should they be conscientious objectors to the filtering of internet content what dear Engadget should they do? My point is the gatekeepers are few, and we are relatively powerless (individually) to do anything about it.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Alright that was more than a little half cocked

I think that I may have been out of line with my Fedex Fiasco post, going off half cocked was not the best solution and I am sorry for lashing out.

That being said, I do feel that the criticism was valid and maybe there should be some examination of what your competitors are doing right. This is the 3rd package this year that I have received via Fedex ground or Home Delivery, and every time there has been some trouble. Contrast that with 4 packages from UPS, and every one of those I had held at the facility for pickup.

Think about that for a second. I don't want you to drop off packages to my house, I have had packages and mail stolen from my home. As a result I am not comfortable with the "leave and pray strategy" of package and mail delivery. My incoming mail goes into a locking mailbox, and I send my mail from the Blue Mail drop off points, and UPS lets me have my packages held for pickup (DHL has as well). You are the only company that only holds for pickup after 3 failed delivery attempts.

That means you want a driver to get into a truck and drive from your facility in Redmond I believe, to my house 20 some miles away 3 times before you are willing to hold it for me to come get it. I along with most residents of Washington have a job that keeps me at work from the hours of 8am to 5pm. That means that I will not be home to sign for my package, nor will most people. Imagine that this is true for 50% of your intended recipients, that means that half the time your drivers have to leave packages unattended on doorsteps or try 3 times to get a signature. If 75% of the 50% are fine with you leaving the package on their doorstep that means that 12.5% would like to have the option to have the package held.

Am I wrong? I don't know your company manager have to be gathering metrics on this, and if they aren't well then I am amazed Fedex is still in business.

On a completely related note my Helio Ocean is here!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Fedex, always with the cheap....

In more ways than one, Fedex always brings the cheap. Cheap customer service, cheap drivers, cheap packaging. Awesome Fedex, I swear to as long as I live its UPS for me. Interception of packages is key to good delivery. You want to deliver to my house during the day, and I'm not home I should not have to wait for you to try 3 times and then have you hold it. If I cannot be home wouldn't it save you gas and money to not try 3 times? Wow, what is more highest cost fuel or holding a package?

Genius's at the top could use some help. UPS sees that gas is their biggest cost so they did something, well a couple of somethings about it. You (according to my dock master) failed to even show up today.

On a related note the Helio phone that my wife is drooling about, is not here. Somebody messed up and forgot to bring me my package, and then their customer service told me my only recourse if they don't deliver tomorrow is to wait because their drivers don't get in until after their pickup area closes unlike some other company I can think of.

In their defense it is a large convention center in WA so hard to miss I know, and they only manage to deliver stuff here about 4-600 other times a year so why make it this time. One of the bigger Fedex Kinkos operates there so the location might be a little fuzzy to their deliverys.