No Flash in the Pad

Apple has been criticizing Adobe Systems lately for what Cupertino perceives as poor performance and design deficiencies in Adobe’s Flash web media technology, which it darned well wants to keep off the iPhone and iPad. Adobe, in turn, has been defending Flash, however gently, citing it as a great enabling technology that has got the web in large part to where it is today. Both companies are correct, and that’s the point that seems to be missed by most of the pundits standing around pointing at the fight. Flash has been vital to the success of the web, but Flash is old.

Apple’s preferred media architecture, HTML5, is the future of the […]

By |February 22nd, 2010|2010|213 Comments

Google's Walk in the PARC

No, Google doesn’t intend to become a national Internet Service Provider, despite its new plan to build a number of optical networks to serve homes and businesses at up to one gigabit-per-second.  The real plan is half Xerox PARC and half Tom Sawyer.

When the Computer Science Lab at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center was organized by Bob Taylor in the early 1970s to revolutionize computer, network, and printing technology, there was a conscious decision to live 10 years in the future. The CSL would build devices that could be expected to make economic sense in 1980, not 1970.  This was a huge leap, because it meant the amount of memory in each […]

By |February 15th, 2010|2010|112 Comments

The Cringely 2010 (Not in Silicon Valley) Startup Tour

Small companies create jobs in America.

According to a recent study by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, companies less than five years old generated nearly two-thirds of the new jobs created in the U. S. in 2007. But what’s even more important is that without these startups more jobs would be lost than created, the U. S. economy would permanently shrink and America would eventually lose its superpower status, simple as that.

This is because big companies grow by increasing scale and productivity, which is to say by reducing the number of jobs per unit of sales, while startups grow by inventing cool stuff. See the difference?

The startups that most reliably become giant American […]

By |February 8th, 2010|2010|155 Comments

Authentication is Secondary

As we’ve all read, Google recently experienced a massive attack on its network, probably from China, and has threatened to leave the Chinese market as a result. I’ve written about that aspect before (Google taking its ball and going home) but this column is about the attack itself and Google’s internal plans for how to deal with future such problems, because of course this will happen again. I’m frankly trying to understand what Google is up to in its response to the Chinese threat — a response that doesn’t make much sense to me given the details of the attack as published.

First reports of the attack blamed a security flaw in an […]

By |February 4th, 2010|2010|71 Comments