The Cringely boys Kickstart Mineserver™, a $99 Minecraft server

When my three sons, ages 13, 11, and 9 decided to do a summer business together I thought it could be almost anything. After all, they’ve visited three dozen tech startups with me in our RV and they’ve been surrounded by technology entrepreneurs their entire lives. What business would it be?

I just never expected a $99 Minecraft server.

It’s brilliant, really. Minecraft is hugely popular but the Minecraft hardware market is almost nonexistent. It’s not that nobody thought to do such a server but that it’s a business idea most entrepreneurs would see as not having legs. It will scale, sure, but will it endure? In a few months someone — no doubt someone in Asia — will copy the idea, […]

Chinese talking cybersecurity means security is already lost

A longtime reader and good friend of mine sent me a link this week to a CNBC story about the loss of fingerprint records in the Office of Personnel Management hack I have written about before. It’s just one more nail in the coffin of a doltish bureaucracy that — you know I’m speaking the truth here — will probably result in those doltish bureaucrats getting even more power, even more data, and ultimately losing those data, too.

So the story says they lost the fingerprint records of 56 million people! Game over.

Remember how this story unfolded? There had been a hack and some records were compromised. Then there had been a hack and […]

Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine

BobBellevilleCriesAlex Gibney’s Steve Jobs documentary is available now in some theaters, on Amazon Instant Video and, ironically, on iTunes. It’s a film that purports to figure out what made Steve Jobs tick. And it does a lot, just not that.

I’m not a dispassionate reviewer here. More than a year before Jobs died I tried to hire Alex Gibney to make a Steve Jobs film with me. At that point he suggested I be the director, that he’d coach me (“It’s not that hard,” the Oscar-winner claimed.) We talked and met but didn’t come to a deal. Later Gibney decided to do a Jobs film on his own — this film — and […]

Another 9/11 anniversary passes quietly

burningWTCI’ve been quiet lately, I know. My sons’ Kickstarter campaign has taken a toll on their Venture Capitalist… me. I never before appreciated the physical effort that goes into managing what is, for me, a significant investment. They do the work but I pay for a lot of it and that brings with it the need to oversee — something I’ve never been very good at doing. You’ll see the result, hopefully, next week.

While I’ve been so preoccupied a lot has happened in the technology world. Apple introduced a slew of new products and Alex Gibney released his Steve Jobs documentary. I’ll comment on both of these shortly. Yahoo was […]

Evil Google waiting on line one

telephoneLately I have been getting telephone calls from Google. Do you get them, too? The numbers they come from are in many different cities but the callers always ask to speak to the business owner (that’s me) so I can claim my business listing and my free web site from Google. But I don’t want a business listing and I don’t need a free web site, I explain. Please take my name off your list. Then they tell me the first of many lies: “We can’t take you off our list.”

Resistance is futile.

Actually the script varies a little and sometimes they say “we won’t take you off,” not “we can’t […]