my personal blog

June 5, 2008

Proof That The Tech Industry Is Not Boring

Filed under: business,technology — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 10:48 pm

Broadcom pwnedHere’s the proof in the form of a headline from The New York Times today: “Broadcom Co-Founder Faces Conspiracy and Drug Charges”. Apparently, the guy had a nasty habit of slipping ecstasy into executives’ drinks when he was meeting up with them.

Enjoy the read.

On a semi-related note: Now, the next time I’m trying to get one of Broadcom’s shitty (but ubiquitous) wireless adapters to play nice with Ubuntu, I’ll take solace knowing that some of the douche-bags behind Broadcom are now behind bars.

June 1, 2008

Volkswagen Karmann Ghia (What’s In A Name?)

Filed under: business,thoughts — Tags: , , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 11:59 am

I was thinking about the name of the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia the other day. Surely, most people don’t puzzle over corporate nomenclature, but I hardly think it’s uncommon for a consummate Volkswagen enthusiast to do. The name Karmann Ghia rolls of the tip of one’s tongue in the same way as the term fahrvergnügen, but thanks to the model’s fame, folks let that side. So, what’s in a name?

The makeup of the name Volkswagen Karmann Ghia is logical enough it’s almost boring. The vehicle was the combination of the expertise of three separate companies: Volkswagen provided the Beetle-based mechanicals, German coach-builder Wilhelm Karmann GmbH created the convertible top and built the vehicle, and Italian automobile design firm Carrozzeria Ghia SpA designed it. And there you have it: The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia comes from the names of each of the three companies that had a hand in creating it.

Type 34 Karmann Ghia

The way the model came to be made by three separate companies is a story of outsourcing. In fact, for such a classic vehicle, it’s almost embarrassing, and a little funny. In short: Volkswagen needed a sports car, so they outsourced its construction to Karmann, who in turn outsourced its design to Ghia, who used a design they had lying around.

The Karmann Ghia isn’t the only model Karmann built for Volkswagen. They also built all generations of the Golf-based convertible (Cabrio in the US); both of the Karmann Ghia’s successors, the Scirocco and the Corrado; and all Beetle convertibles, including the New Beetle Convertible (the convertible top itself, not the entire vehicle). The New Beetle Convertible is the only current Volkswagen/Karmann-made model.

On a last note, it’s fortunate that the nomenclature that begot the Karman Ghia name does not include OEM suppliers. I’m not sure the Volkswagen Hella Bosche Continental makes as good a vehicle name as the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.

May 30, 2008

Google Android: Suck it, iPhone

Filed under: business,rants,technology — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 11:05 am

I was just reading about the latest demo of Google’s Android mobile operating system. The Android Community site got an exclusive live preview of the latest version, and posted plenty of pictures and video, most importantly, this:

In a nut-shell, this system is already looking like it can do whatever the snazzy iPhone can dish out, with two key differences: it’s free, and it’s open. Where the Apple software, even with the new App Store and iPhone SDK, is crippled by being under Apple’s lock and key, Google Android will let developers do whatever they want, on their own terms.

May 29, 2008

Silver Lining (Buried Under Bad News)

Filed under: business,news — Tags: , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 1:08 pm

While reading about the unsurprisingly bad consumer confidence numbers, I came across this article focusing on the Florida consumer confidence numbers.

In the midst of the numbers, and the suggestion that the stimulus checks (as I expected) had no effect on consumer confidence, I found a glimmer of good news:

Although most economists foresee price declines extending into 2009, [director of UF’s Survey Research Center at the Bureau of Economic and Business Research Chris] McCarty said he expects many Florida housing markets to bottom out by July based on price patterns so far. Once these declines stop, consumers and lenders will know what homes are worth, as will potential buyers, he said.

There it is: Despite the fact that the U.S. is still in the middle of this long tunnel, Floridians can soon begin seeing the light at the end of it. Looking at the charts at Zillow, you can see that although both lines are still trending downward, the green line (FL average) is moving downward at a more steady rate, where the yellow line (U.S. average) is actually starting to dip at an increasing rate.

Oh, it’s minor, but it’s there. If McCarty is right, then the Florida housing market is going to hit that low point this summer. Just looking at it, I think July is a little too optimistic; September sounds about right. I’d say, we’ll see another $15k drop over the summer, but that will be the end of it. Meanwhile, it looks like the U.S. average has a long way to go, yet, and when it bottoms out, it’s going to be a slow climb back up. I think Florida’s going to come out on top, just like California did in the 1990s.

April 7, 2008

No Gas Day, Part II

Filed under: business,rants — Tags: , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 11:14 am

Seriously, people are still on about this “buy no gas” nonsense? Do so many people have such a fundamental lack of understanding in economics that they actually believe that boycotting the two largest gasoline brands will force a price war that cuts the price of gas in half?

I’ve been seeing the Facebook group How to get GAS back down to $1.30 per gallon popping up lately. I already ranted on this nonsense the last time I got wind of a word-of-mouth movement to lower gas prices using consumer might, some two and a half years ago.

I won’t even bother to delve into the reasons why this is bullshit this time around. In a nut-shell: there is more than enough demand for fuel that a boycott will do nothing to shift the price of a barrel of oil. Your individual vote counts. Don’t waste it on nonsense like this. Get to the polls this November instead if you want real change, people.

September 21, 2006

Fun With Job Scams:

Filed under: business,work — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 6:48 am

I’ve been in an employment dry spell lately, and decided to take the plunge and post my resume at HotJobs and CarreerBuilder (via Yahoo! and MSN respectively). It wasn’t long before I got results. And naturally, they were in the form of a scam.


July 6, 2006

IE7 Beta 3 No Longer Copying Flock

Filed under: business,technology — Tags: , , , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 4:20 pm

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who noticed that Internet Explorer Betas 1 and 2 were using a favorites icon which flat-out rips off Flock‘s Flockater icon. I downloaded Internet Exlporer 7 Beta 3 last night and this icon was nowhere to be seen.


July 2, 2006

Keep the Penny

Filed under: business — Tags: , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 7:16 pm

If we stop circulating the penny (as discussed in this news story)we can expect merchants to round-up their prices. Yes, proponents claim otherwise, but history does not agree.

After the introduction of the Euro currency, it was commonplace for merchants in Euro area countries to round-up their prices across the board to retain “attractive” numbers such as .99 in their prices. Although it had only a minor effect across the board, this caused a decrease in consumer spending that put a slight damper on economic growth related to the introduction of the new currency.

Mark my words, despite claims, prices will increase slightly across the board, causing slight price inflation that will hit the “working class” average Joe. For example, if a product currently costs 2.91, expect it to go up to 2.95, not 2.90.

June 21, 2006

Microsoft Ending Phone Hassles?

Filed under: business — Alfonso Surroca @ 3:29 pm

Everyone knows Microsoft as the purveyor of operating systems and video game consoles, but it’s interesting to hear something about Microsoft working behind the curtain. The company is apparently close to deploying a communications system designed to better connect parties by allowing them to choose precisely when and how they are contacted. (more…)

June 17, 2006

Apple-Nintendo Merger or Mac Gaming Platform?

Filed under: business,technology — Alfonso Surroca @ 2:02 pm

The Apple-Nintendo rumor appears to be out there again, after news that Apple may be working on a gaming division. Sure, the new DS Lite has that iPod look and feel, and sure, Nintendo and Apple combat that “third player” position in their respective markets by offering more desirable gadgets than the competition. But, that’s where the similarities end.

According to this blog post at c|net, people just don’t see this happening mainly because both companies have had such an independent culture for so long, that you could say neither company is merger material. (more…)

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