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Month: May 2006

Sunk Costs

by David Veksler David Veksler No Comments

Only the U.S. Navy can spend $20
million to sink one of its own ships

The Navy spent more than three years
and $20 million preparing [the aircraft carrier] Oriskany
to become an artificial reef. The project was repeatedly
delayed to meet Environmental Protection Agency concerns
about removal of hazardous substances including oil, fuel,
asbestos and PCBs — polychlorinated biphenyls, which are
cancer-causing substances used throughout old ships in
electrical equipment. Even then, for a while, it seemed as
if the 56-year-old flattop might never go down. She was
towed between Pensacola and Texas three times before the
sinking was set.

Sign Pollution

by David Veksler David Veksler No Comments

This is what happens when you accept government funds to build a park: this intersection of two trails in a Ft Worth park has no less than seven caution signs. That peaceful-looking path must be some death trap. Some good samaritan has torn down two of the signs, but it’s still an eyesore. The whole park is like that. I’ve seen sign pollution all over Dallas and read about this happening elsewhere.


Revert to “samaritan”

Learning from failure with the Xbox 360

by David Veksler David Veksler No Comments

Learning from failure is a hallmark of the technology business. Nick Baker, a 37-year-old system architect at Microsoft, knows that well. A British transplant at the software giant’s Silicon Valley campus, he went from failed project to failed project in his career. He worked on such dogs as Apple Computer’s defunct video card business, 3DO’s failed game consoles, a chip startup that screwed up a deal with Nintendo, the never successful WebTV and Microsoft’s canceled Ultimate TV satellite TV recorder.

But Baker finally has a hot seller with the Xbox 360, Microsoft’s video game console launched worldwide last holiday season…

In an industry where you have to take a 4 billion dollar loss just to break into the market, the deadlines are tight, the stakes are big, and a mistake can cost you everything…

When Good Companies Go Bad

by David Veksler David Veksler 1 Comment

I love Google, but this is just pathetic:

Google has informally complained to U.S. and European antitrust regulators about what it says are biased settings on Microsoft’s latest Web browser, marking the latest spat between two companies whose business models are increasingly bumping up against one another.

Google’s charge, isn’t true, as you can see in my screenshot.  My IE7 is set to Google by default becuase IE6 was, and even if it wasn’t, the change is very easy to make.
However, even if it were true, it’s fully within Microsoft’s right, and in fact might be expected by their shareholders to favor their own search engine over Google.  By complaining to a regulatory agency, Google is basically claiming that Microsoft doesn’t have a right to pitch its own products before others.  And this is coming from the dominant search engine on the market!
Meanwhile, the Firefox browser is set to Google’s browser by default, and does not even have MSN Search as an option. In exchange the Mozilla corporation makes millions from Google searches.  MSN search is also notably absent from Google Desktop and other Google applications.