Remembering Y2K

Tonight marks the 10th anniversary of Y2K, so I’m using it as an excuse to look back at lessons learned and not learned from that experience. The greatest lessons had to do with psychology, not technology.

Y2K was no surprise to me. I wrote a chapter on it in my book Accidental Empires back in 1991 — fully nine years before the actual deadline. To my knowledge that was the first in-depth explanation of Y2K in the mass media. I explained how the problem came to be, how it could be solved, and predicted that doing so would cost a lot of money and force a transition on […]

By |December 31st, 2009|2009|155 Comments

Fallon's Getting a Dell!

There were already two computers in our kitchen but that wasn’t enough for Fallon, age three, who needs his daily fix of YouTube Scooby-Doo clips.  So for Christmas Fallon (who refers to himself as “the small boy”) got a Dell Vostro A90 netbook running Ubuntu Linux.  That’s the business version of a Dell Mini9 with a black case and Bluetooth installed.  Fallon would probably have preferred the more colorful Mini9 but he got the Vostro, instead, because I was able to buy a new one from Dell for $199 with free shipping.
Heck of a deal.

Alas the little Dell, with its perfect tiny keyboard for Fallon’s perfect tiny fingers, wouldn’t charge correctly.  The […]

By |December 30th, 2009|2009|152 Comments

New Cringely Posts on AOL

If you care about real estate, politics, or economics, you might find interesting this pair of posts I made this week on AOL’s Housingwatch blog:

http://www.housingwatch.com/2009/12/28/fannie-and-freddie-more-than-politics-as-usual/

http://www.housingwatch.com/2009/12/30/fannie-freddie-ii-the-wrath-of-obama/

By |December 30th, 2009|Uncategorized|42 Comments

The Next White Whale

A week from now I’ll announce in this space an important project involving technology startup companies, which I feel are key to continued economic prosperity for the United States. This will be my major project for 2010 with the Moon shot following in 2011. But first I want to conduct a little experiment involving venture capitalists. How interested are they, really, in your ideas or mine? We’ll see.

This is a tough time to be a VC. Investment returns have been poor for several years. Some of this can be blamed on bad investment decisions, some on a horrific economy, and some of it comes down to what are essentially deferred returns because […]

By |December 29th, 2009|2009|57 Comments

New Improved MS Word 2007!

Now that Microsoft has lost its appeal (ain’t that the truth) and has to pay $290 million to Canadian company i4i and take the docx file format out of Word 2007, is it just me or doesn’t that sound like an improvement to the product?

The whole point of docx didn’t seem to be to help users, but rather to make life difficult for both Microsoft competitors and for users who decided not to upgrade from the previous Word versions that used only the .doc format.

Microsoft deserves to lose this one.

By |December 22nd, 2009|2009|91 Comments