Posted in Current Affairs, Information Technology, Markets and Marketing, tagged Apple, Microsoft, Windows, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Vista, Windows XP on April 8, 2014|
1 Comment »
Today will be remembered as the day when Microsoft discontinued support for its Windows XP operating system. It will be remembered as the operating system that bridged the familiar “look and feel” of its predecessors with the simplicity and reliability that made it outshine Windows Vista, its unloved successor. As always, Microsoft had to take a step back to cater to its audience when Vista flopped. Consequently, Windows 7, while reliable and more capable in keeping up with time, came out like Windows XP2, it failed to excite, and the differences remained elusive to many users.
At the same time, Microsoft added geeky complexity offering several different ways to accomplish the same tasks culminating in Windows 8, a product that thoroughly spooked its audience and prompted it to just sit it out.
As the result of this product strategy, more than 12 years after its release Windows XP still remains installed on almost 25% of the world’s computers with no immediate end in sight (for comparison: Windows 8/8.1: ~ 10%, Mac OS X < 4%). Dr. Sheldon Cooper condenses consumer sentiment into one simple phrase:
Windows XP: your occasional blue screens will be missed – just not yet!
Read Full Post »
Easter – not only a caloric religious holiday but also the time of the New York International Auto Show. I’ve been going for many years although it isn’t one of the really important events car buffs don’t want to miss. But it’s as good as it gets around here, so why not? Five years ago I decided to try out my new digital camera on the occasion, and I submitted a few pictures to a German car website (also new at the time) named Carspotting. And would you know it? One of my pictures shot to #1 of the most viewed pictures and has since stayed there with over 300,000 views and counting. Counting, but counting slow because in all honesty I don’t think the site is doing so well. But that’s besides the point.
The trophy picture? Here it is – a “bumblebee” yellow Chevrolet Camaro. Which might surprise you as it surprised me. Neither is the picture special in any way, nor is the car something people take much notice of over here. Which goes to prove that Germany’s romantic relationship with the American Way of Life is still alive and well. A relationship frequently expressed through admiration combined with a shaking of the head. Hard to explain, but it’s there.
So what is the picture I liked best? Here it is: a detail of the then also new Audi R8 (yes, five years ago, time flies…) which I thought combined the white car with the red background in a great way. Oddly, the website has a second scale of “most voted for” pictures, and it emerged on that scale just a year ago. I believe this scale doesn’t even take into account whether people like or dislike an image, it just counts the votes. But what the heck. Seeing it there made me happier than topping the other list – I remember waiting forever to get a clean shot the way I wanted it with all the people there.
I have now decided to never look at this website again – it made me happy while it lasted but, like the Camaro, it’s getting stale and it is time to move on. So while this blog has no deeper meaning or message than this it will serve me as reminder of my decision. The blog, and the repeat I did on the Audi. Five years later and it’s still looking pretty hot, don’t you think?
Read Full Post »
Shame on me – I don’t even deserve that title, and I call myself German. Last weekend was the first time I could actually sit down and look at what other ActiveE owners were doing on the BMW sponsored online forum. Not only did I miss out on a gathering of Electronauts, I was also completely ignorant of all the enthusiasm my fellow Electronauts profess by discussing every aspect of the car, trying to outdo each other in highest mileage driven, longest distance per charge and so on. So what, in absence of all the excitement, has my life been like?
I really miss my trunk. No surprise, but the ActiveE is a single-purpose car clashing with my multi-faceted life. Driving an ActiveE IS a sacrifice in a number of ways. But I knew that, I agreed, so I’ll stop whining. Still wish they’d chosen an X5 as the base vehicle.
Other than my fellow Electronauts I am playing it safe: Anything above 80 miles total driving distance is out. I have neither the time nor the curiosity to look for charging stations elsewhere – my car can not dictate or slow down my daily schedule. Its purpose is to serve me, not the other way round. So sorry, my fellow Electronauts, I truly admire your enthusiasm, but I am not playing.
On the upside, I’ve never been so much at the center of attention (on public roads) as I am now. I frequently get the “thumbs up” from other drivers ranging from commercial vans to exotic sports cars. Takes some getting used to – at first I kept asking myself “Do I know you?”, but it’s all just part of my day by now. I wonder if I will miss this one day – would you? Alas, with great bling comes great responsibility: what are the odds of me dissolving into the crowd like my grey Prius did (no, I don’t want it back)? What are the odds of people remembering exactly who just misbehaved (allegedly…), speeded, went through a “Jersey Yellow” light and such? It may be paranoia but I am actually driving more consciously now, knowing that I am probably not going to wiggle my way out of any incident like that.
So it’s a social event, mostly:
- The security lady at the gate of a parking lot I frequently use making it a point of keeping the prime spot reserved for me so she can enjoy the view (letting her sit in the car once probably helped);
- The valet forgetting to take his tip because he was temporarily enjoying his job a lot;
- The fellow at the car wash exit taking periodical abuse (in Spanish, luckily) from his coworkers because he still hasn’t figured out how to start the car (subsequent cars pile up surprisingly quickly, I noticed);
- Other drivers taking pictures, honking their horns or telling me at stop lights how much they wanted to get this car.
It would be wrong to say that I am not having fun driving my ActiveE. I like the stereo, the feeling of sitting in a “real” car again after my Prius Years, but mostly the sensation of the electric drive with little noise and little need for using the break pedal. In fact, I have a feeling I don’t want to go back to a gasoline powered car – ever. So I guess I’ll continue to be the “everyday Electronaut” who goes about doing the things he used to, minus the gas.
Read Full Post »