Stories that repeat

The story.

DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) was one of the titans of the computer industry in the 70-ies. Hoards of programmers were writing applications to run on their famed PDP and VAX platforms. Any application one may think of was available. What went wrong and why DEC was sold for cheap to Compaq (part of HP now)? Corporate greed and arrogance among other things. DEC became so big and powerful at the time that they have refused to follow the standards and decided to set their own. They have encapsulated themselves in their own cocoon which led to their demise later.

The repetition

Apple has hoards of programmers writing applications for their famed iPhone OS. Hundreds of thousands are available. Practically any application one can think of is most probably written and available. Of course Apple is not a stranger to corporate greed and arrogance. Their system is closed, proprietary and they twist the hands of their programmers and consumers alike. They do not respect de-facto standards and try to set their own. We know how it ends. Steve Jobs, the history tends to repeat itself sometimes as a comedy and sometimes as a tragedy.

The repetition

Conversations

Shopping for furniture lately. Stumbled across the term “conversation set”. The conversation set consist of two chairs and a small table. Plenty are available online and in the stores. I’m looking and thinking that we need more conversations than conversation sets in this country.

Another recall Toyota ?

I would call my Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV  “the ultimate driving machine” if the slogan was not taken by BMW. The engine, the drive-train, the electrical motor, the suspension work in perfect sync to deliver very powerful and smooth ride at an excellent mpg (about 25 on average).  There is one flaw tough that my 14 y.o. daughter Tina discovered in a natural and innocent way in the conversation below one morning when I was driving her to school.

Me: I ‘m very nervous driving today.

T: Why is that?

Me: Your Mom left a light on and drained the battery last night.

T: So…

Me: I recharged the battery this morning, however the car turns itself off at every red light and needs battery power to restart. I don’t know if the slightly recharged battery will last after so many restarts.

T: Why would the car turn itself off at every red light.

Me: The car turns itself off to save gas and protect the environment, because it is hybrid and because it is intelligent.

T: If it is so “intelligent” why wouldn’t it prevent the battery from draining overnight in the first place ?

The moral of the story is that no one can be brilliant in everything. Toyota produced brilliant driving machine, but the intelligence and human interface is something others are doing better.