Preorder Ouya NOW!


I’ve already supported Ouya, the up and coming $99 video game console. I’m not expecting it to compete with the Xbox 360, I don’t consider it part of the current generation of console games, but I do consider it to be a console that is going to shake up the industry. I should be getting mine some time next month, since I was part of the Kickstarter funding process. But now that this thing is growing, and it’s going to be in stores like Target and Best Buy, it’s clearly gaining more and more momentum. Another round of consoles will be released in June. The good news if you missed the Kickstarter? The price isn’t going up. You can Preorder Ouya from Amazon now for just $99, and yes, it qualifies for free super saver shipping.

If Microsoft buys a stake in Dell

A friend asked me what i thought of Microsoft buying a piece of Dell. Here is what I wrote to him on Facebook.

Microsoft taking 10-15% of Dell is a natural move, now that they are edging more in to the hardware market with Surface, Surface Pro, and whatever this year’s Surface 2 is bound to be. Apple doesn’t want Dell, they’re ALREADY a hardware manufacturer with ties to Intel, which they will break when OS11 launches. I expect them to go back to their non Intel ways. Higher profit margins. Right now I think every company is trying to innovate ways to increase revenue streams, not being innovative in ways that are making people flock to them. This goes for everyone. Did apple think a 5th row of icons was gonna sell iPhone 5? Does Intel think we can stay at their 3Ghz barrier forever and just keep adding cores? Microsoft stepping in to more hardware is exciting. It’s not just a mouse with their logo on it, or the next Xbox, it’s a real Microsoft product stepping up and showing companies like HP and ASUS how to do it. With a stake in Dell, it makes that a lot easier.

My friend mentioned that he didn’t think it would stop at 15%, and that Michael Dell wanted to bring the company back to a privately held company. I continued…

Michael Dell only owns I think 15 or 16% himself. Private, maybe, but I don’t think he wants to give up the goat to Microsoft entirely, and let them call the shots. And I don’t think Microsoft is interested in being seen as a threat to their licensing partners; all the other OEMs who sell Windows on their machines (Acer, ASUS, Toshiba, Sony, HP, etc…). If they see Microsoft as a direct threat to their business, they won’t support it by licensing Windows. MS must know that. If Microsoft buys a huge chunk of Dell, the others will flock to Linux or another alternative, just so they aren’t giving their competition a dime. It would be the end of Microsoft as anyone has known it for 25 years. I think Microsoft is smart enough to know a small investment in Dell would pay for itself while working on “a tablet” and maybe “a desktop” or two, but they don’t want to be seen as a threat to their OEMs.

This just isn't going to work, Disney…

Wreck It Ralph (Four-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD + Digital Copy). On sale at Amazon (as of the time of writing this article) for $39.99. Normally? $50.

Disney, and other big film studios, need to listen up. This is not how you get people to start using your digital releases. You packed in a digital copy? Cool! Oh, I can stream it from any Ultraviolet compatible service, like Vudu? Great! Wait, you’re charging me how much extra!?

The battle has been “if I own the film, shouldn’t I own the CONTENT, and not the format?” People don’t want to take part in Wal-Mart’s disc-to-digital program because they feel they shouldn’t have to pay for something they already own. There has been and still is reluctance in the move to Blu-Ray because you’re re-buying everything. Moving from VHS to DVD was easy – there were many obvious benefits, and the prices came down quickly. But if I buy a movie for $15-$20, I expect to see that little sticker that says “Free digital copy included!” But something is happening with this insanely over priced Wreck It Ralph release.

This box includes the Blu-Ray 3D and the Blu-Ray versions of the movie… which for some reason aren’t on the same disc. Then a generic DVD, and a digital copy. Note that the digital copies generally do not include any bonus content that will be found on the disc versions, and, that much like your movie theater experience, your discs will be loaded with trailers and BD-Live content advertising other Disney properties before, during, and after your movie watching experience. Exactly what the hell am I paying fifty dollars for? If you want to make 3D catch on, if you want to see digital distribution take off so that you can save money with more limited physical releases in the future… the way to do it is not by gouging the consumer – it’s by making those things perks for buying current-generation packages.

3D comes back every few years, this latest round really seemed like it was going to be the one to work, but it still hasn’t stuck. Film studios love the idea, because it affords them an additional level of anti-piracy. But 3D still hasn’t taken off. So why are you charging me $10-12.50 for a disc of your stupid blurry movie? Especially for a CGI film – it’s not like it took additional cameras and advance capturing technology – it’s a render!

I’m sorry, Disney. I had high hopes for Wreck It Ralph, and for the future of Disney – I thought they might be starting to get it. But their exclusive Disney digital format is a pain (just go with Ultraviolet, like everyone else, please?), and the unbalanced pricing structure is just absurd. It’s just not going to work out like this. I hope you see your problems and change, down the road, Disney.

It's time for the Open Source Smartphone

I’m trying to wait for a Windows Phone 8 device, but my carrier, Sprint, isn’t making it easy. I know, I hear it already, calls to ditch Sprint and run away from their decrepit, slow network. Trust me, I’ve been tempted to a hundred times over – but that Unlimited data holds me back. People ask, realistically, how much data do you use? I’ve had months as low as 300MB, and some over 4GB. But I still don’t have a 4G Phone with my current HTC Arrive WP7 phone, and we’re talking about today. The question is: how much data am I going to use in two, four, and six years? As if we don’t do enough online already, even more things are going to go through your data connection in the future. I’m going to stay where the Unlimited is as long as possible.

But that means I’m still with Sprint. My phone selection is terrible. They get some of the big names, like the Galaxy S3, and this week announced that they will be getting Windows Phone 8 devices. But they didn’t mention a date. Which means, to me, probably some time in August. Mid-to-late summer. Just a guess. But When I take a look at what else is out there, and what else is coming? I’m having a hard time plotting myself into the Windows Phone ecosystem.

If Ubuntu launched their Ubuntu for Phones tomorrow, I would buy the device it was on. If there was an unlocked, CDMA device, even if I had to pay full price, $500, my order would be in, instantly. Now, we know from experience they’ll do GSM first, so AT&T will get their crack at it, and Sprint / Verizon customers will wait in line. But imagine if they could sell the OS. Treat the phone like the computer. It is a blank slate, and the software you install on it is up to you.

There are groups of hackers who do things like make Android run on old Windows Mobile devices, or change the version of Windows Mobile on a device… but what if it wasn’t just for the hardcore of the hardcore? Jailbreaking iOS is fairly mainstream, and several Android phones can be rooted easily. The Smartphone market took off because Apple escalated it to new heights. And then we quickly fell in to that compartmentalized set of ecosystems that Apple segregates us all in to. Your Mac wasn’t supposed to run Windows. It can, now, because Apple realized where the better hardware was. And OSX became a geek’s dream, because underneath it all, it’s Linux. Apple co-opted, improved upon, then locked it down, just as they did with their computers.

I think it’s time for a free (as in speech, not as in beer) phone. On that phone can be installed Android, Ubuntu, and any other platform that sees fit to at least release a build. The software doesn’t have to be open source, like Windows and OSX aren’t, but the platform should mature for enthusiasts. Take it apart, upgrade the RAM, swap out the CPU… it’s time to liberate the device we’re all so dependent upon.