Two days ago, I started this post:
As I mentioned before, Amazon’s business strategy looks like cheating:
- Sell product for a loss
- Sell a lot of that product
Amazon lost money for many years.
Their most recent financials show them making 3% profit.
That is not very much.
By comparison, Apple makes ~25% profit (though Apple is on the high side of the spectrum).
…then, just today, this report came out:
Amazon profits dive
Perhaps I was on to something.
Suddenly, The Singularity sounded close.
(Hey! This is my 260th post on this blog. Cool.)
Today was a fairly typical day in Senior English.
- Mass–energy equivalence (E=mc2)
- Quantum Physics
- The neutrinos themselves were subject to Relativity, hence, they didn’t exceed C
- Black Holes at the LHC
- Dark matter
- Dark energy
We also got in three freewrites (“What do I do best as a student?” “What I left behind to be here.” “What _________ does best as a ___________.”) and learned Chiasmus.
A typical class. And typically good.
Two thoughts on Amazon.
First: Amazon’s business strategy seems like cheating.
- Sell product for a loss.
- See a lot of that product.
Something doesn’t add up. Who is being screwed?
I have heard that Amazon uses the Walmart strategy of pinching suppliers. Except Amazon’s suppliers are the content creators, the authors and artists.
Merlin Mann explained the difference between Apple and Google business strategies this way:
Google: Thanks for looking at 100s of ads you hate.
Apple: Thanks for buying 100s of dollars of stuff you love.
So, would Amazon be: Thanks for buying 100s of dollars of stuff for so cheap that someone isn’t getting paid?
Second: Why is the Kindle so primitive and cumbersome?
People who own a Kindle, love it. That might be all that matters. My experience with a Kindle is limited to helping two people set up their Kindles (now called Kindle Keyboard). And it was horrible. The two people were thrilled. But I was literally offended by the primitive, cumbersome way you interacted with it. The keyboard was embarrassingly horrible, navigating was horrible, browsing the internet was horrible.
Almost a third point: Why seven models? (Is the DX still available?) Aside from the fact that every business (except Apple) operates that way: make a confusing number of products; give them confusing names; operate on poor revenue-to-profit margins.
Almost a fourth point: Amazon’s PE ratio. !?
The parts that are new in iOS 5 look and feel like they were designed by Microsoft.
Here’s what happened when I upgraded:
- All music is gone.
- All apps are gone.
- All PDFs are gone.
- All ebooks are gone.
- All TV shows, movies, Podcasts are gone.
- Updating to iOS 5 reset my iPhone 4 to factory settings. iTunes warned me that it would do that, but it also assured me (in the same window) that it would back-up my iPhone.
- * I just bought a new MacBook Pro, and this is the first time syncing it with my iPhone. I thought that could explain the problems. But five friends (without new computers) reported the same problems.
- iTunes backed-up my phone… but to where I don’t know. None of my stuff is in iTunes.
- All my bookmarks (and the folder they were in) were kept or re-added (I don’t know which).
- All the photos and video in my Camera Roll were kept/re-added.
- The move from MobileMe to iCloud did not work. I had to make sure every device I would want to use with iCloud was upgraded to the latest release, which took over an hour. Then iCloud tripped at the last step. Literally. The “Finish” step. It said it could not complete it at this time and I should check my service status (or something). Clicking on the link took me to a page I had never seem, which simply said that all services were working.
- I started the moving process again and again and again. The fifth time worked. (That could be a slogan!)
- None of my logins work. Long story short: I had to manually change my iTunes, App Store, and Game Center logins on all devices.
- I had to re-download all apps, ebooks, TV shows, movies, podcasts from their various homes.
- I had to re-load all music (from an external hard drive).
Total time to upgrade to iOS 5 and iCloud: 4 hours. (“The Fifth Time Worked!”) Reminds me of upgrading earlier versions of Windows.
Now, for the first time, the OS feels hacked together and is ugly in places.
- There is now a Video app. But it doesn’t have videos from the camera in it. Those are in the Photos app. The iPod app is now the Music app. No videos there.
- The new iPod app gets a new, horrible, Microsoft-esque icon. I am embarrassed for people to see it. The value and intensity of the color do not fit (with the rest of the Apple icons). The design, color, and thickness and drop-shadow of the music notes on the icon are wrong. Apple’s design philosophy is (still) “White”… except for that wart of an icon.
- The new ways that notifications work is quite a mishmash, especially for Apple.
- The original alert was “Fisher Price” style. And we still have those one-at-a-time, rounded-corner, pop-up alerts.
- But there are two other options. You set these options individually by app, so you can easily have all three styles!
- The new fold-down, box-at-top alert is “Android” style—dark and small.
- But there is a third(!) alert option: the pull-down from the top, which has the same dark theme as the fold-down, box-at-top, but the pull down window does not fold down, it is a third, different action. It really feels like using three different UIs… all at once. Ugh.
- Did I mention that the Lock Screen notifications look (slightly) different than other notifications? Fun!
- “User be damned!” The “List – Date” buttons at the top of the Reminders window provide backwards visual feedback. Other buttons throughout the UI looked pressed when pressed. These twin buttons look neither pressed when pressed nor unselected when the other is pressed. Grr.
- Many people report that they need to triple-click the home button to get the camera button on the lock screen. But other people report that they need to double-click the home button.
Did this come from Cupertino or Redmond?