Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sony's PlayStation 3

Sony has recently come out with their PS3 and quite honestly, I'm still trying to figure out why they're allowed to stay in that business. They ran into the classic problem of being the top dog, relaxed a little bit, and is now getting walloped by the competition. However, even if Microsoft and Nintendo weren't around, Sony has made it a point to mess up in as many areas as possible. Every time a read a report, they've done something new wrong. For the fun of it, I compiled a list of some of the things I've heard:

  • Delays in development of the new system out (I know, lots of high tech firms do this, but it doesn't make it right).
  • Promised features they couldn't deliver on.
  • Cut back production estimates multiple times.
  • Doesn't have perfect backwards compatibility with older games.
  • There are very few games to choose from, especially relative to the competition.
  • The system is extremely expensive, again especially relative to the competition.
  • Their big claim to innovation are the graphics, which game developers aren't taking advantage of yet, but even still this is more of incremental improvement rather than true innovation (read "Leading the Revolution" by Gary Hamel to get more on this).

Historically, when companies have issues like these, they fall hard and fast. Just look at the ups and downs of Boeing and Airbus and you'll see what I mean. It amazes me that consumers would line up and fight to get this system. Is it really that cool? Everything I've read would suggest no. On the bright side, I believe the free market system is going to work and Sony has a very high chance of falling to third place in the gaming industry. I believe this because of simple math. Sony has sold 400,000 units, Nintendo has sold 2,000,000 units and Microsoft has sold 7,000,000 units. Furthermore, with the shortages of PS3's and Wii's, X-box sales have picked up again. By the end of the year, Nintendo plans on having another 1,000,000 units out. Sony on the other hand, wants to have another 600,000 units out by the end of the year - though analysts say because of the production process it might be closer to another 400,000 units. Oh yeah, don't forget that Sony and Microsoft lose money on each system and Nintendo makes money on each system.

From what it looks like, Sony can't produce enough units to catch up even if every single one of them sells. Knowing gamers, they're going to jump systems rather than wait for Sony to get their act together- which is already evidenced by the increase in X-box sales. It really is not looking good for Sony on plain raw numbers, which they deserve for all the mistakes they've made. Though I must admit, it would have been nice to see them put up a bigger fight against Microsoft. There's nothing like seeing two titans go after each other. Oh well. Perhaps in 6 years we'll see a better effort by Sony when the new wave of systems come out.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I'm excited because it means I get to go home for the weekend. I'm going to get to hang out with my family and just have a good time. If I get lucky, I'll make it over to my cousin's house and try his Nintendo Wii. Then, don't forget the loads of food I'll get to consume as well. Now all I have to do it get there.

I'm driving, which doesn't seem so bad, except it's an 11 hour drive. It really takes time to prepare yourself for such a trek. I must eat well, sleep well and mentally prepare myself for sitting and focusing for so long. I remember my first time was really difficult because I simply wasn't ready for it, but after that I've been fine with the long trip. Here are somethings I do to have a successful trip:

  • I eat well the night before, really well the morning before and light the rest of the trip. This way I've got the energy I need.
  • I get 8 hours of sleep TWO nights before and 8 hours the night before. This way I'm well rested.
  • I listen to talk radio most of the way. I find it gives me something to focus on.
  • I open the windows periodically to let fresh air into the car.
  • I leave early, because I'm a morning person, and I skip a lot of the traffic.

With that, I'm off to start preparing myself for the long haul. See you soon family.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Apple Teams up with Airlines

Apple just announced they will be working with select airlines to allow their iPod to be perfectly compatible with the players on the back of seats in airplanes. This way you can take your travel companion with you a watch it on a slightly larger screen. This idea is brilliant, but I think so because of thought of it a couple years ago. I'll admit, my idea was slightly different, but the concept remains.

My first experience with the airplane's small screen was during a trip to Italy. It was a blast watching all the different movies and it really helped time pass. I started thinking about all the different kinds of content airplanes could buy. My first idea was the "ESPN Classics" series. Passengers could watch their favorite games and competitions while traveling. Just imagine watching all the Ali fights on the way to a business negotiation. I liked the idea because each episode stands alone, doesn't take two plus hours and are entertaining. I could easily see this extending to other favorite TV series (Simpsons, CSI, Law and Order, etc). It really was grand hopes for the airline industry. Right now most of them were mainly competing on price and there aren't many winners in that game. This would allow an airline to start competing on entertainment - something business might be willing to pay more if it increases employee satisfaction.

I'll admit, this is a much better idea because now passengers can watch exactly what they want and the airlines don't have to invest millions into new content. Very smart. Good job Apple. Of course, Apple made it a point to partner with so many different companies that it won't lead to a distinct competitive advantage for one company. Hopefully though, it will give them a more overt way to distinguish themselves from low-cost carriers.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Bathroom Remodel Project

This weekend proved to be a busy one. I'm taking a project management course, and part of it is to manage an actual project (makes sense). I chose to help a friend remodel his bathroom floor. This type of project is what's known as a "marathon project" where we worked numerous hours to get it all done in a weekend.

The reason for the remodel stemmed from an uneven and squishy corner on the floor. As we pulled up the layers of linoleum, we realized that a fix had been done before, and so we set out to correct the work. Instead of boring you with the details, I thought I'd share some things I learned from the project.

1) Projects never go exactly as planned - even if you plan for it.
2) Putting in 12 hours of physical labor a day can get tiring REALLY fast.
3) Toilets are surprisingly easy to replace, but still read a tutorial or two first.
4) Floor patterns are EXTREMELY important (guys: pay attention to this).
5) Start with small projects to learn what you're doing - inviting experts to help doesn't hurt either.

Those are some of my lessons learned. What do you think? Want to add some of your own lessons? Go ahead.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Oregon Weather is Back

It has been a beautiful fall in Oregon this year. There has been very little rain up until the beginning of this week. We really have been lucky. Each football game we went to was nice (ie. no rain and not cold) and I haven't had to bust out my warm jackets yet. Now as the rain starts rolling in, we get to pull out our umbrellas and rain jackets. Though the nice part about it raining is that it actually warms up here because of the cloud coverage (this, by the way, is why is rarely snows where I am in Oregon).

In other news, I have a flag football game today, which will be in the rain. I'm excited to play. The best part is that we'll be playing on field turf, so I don't have to worry too much about my footing and only have to focus on catching the ball. It's pretty fun playing with a bunch of my friends because we all get to play an important roll. That's about all that's happen on this front. We're excited for Thanksgiving and are working hard to learn as much as we can in our final year!

Oh yeah, the picture has nothing to do with what I'm talking about. It's one that my brother put together based off of a picture we took some time ago. I think it's pretty neat.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

November goodness


My work sample on Food Chains is going very well. We are officially half way finished, yay! I have about two more weeks before the final assessment and then I will be returning to 1st and 2nd grade...I really miss the younger kids!

The pictures are of the beautiful fall trees and some pumpkin carving fun my roommate, Cheryl, and I had for Halloween!

Also, more good news, I am looking forward to celebrating my 23rd birthday at the end of this month on the 27th. I will be good and stuffed from Thanksgiving and then I will get to eat even more cake!

Love, Jessi