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Stratovarius
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With Microsoft reducing prices on its first generation Surface RT and Pro tablets, there's been some discussion around what should have happened at launch. Below is the best analysis and description I've seen.

What Microsoft needs to learn is:
1. Marketing is not just about advertising; it is about having physical products on physical store shelves that people can touch and interact with. Steve Jobs understood this.
2. Advertising is not just about looking cool. Show what the product can do. Steve Jobs understood this.
3. Claiming that your product is as good as an iPad and justifies the same price as an iPad does not mean people will pay up. You have to earn that added market value. Until then, be prepared to undercut on price. Google understood this.
4. An OS that depends on a new app ecosystem should launch with absolute killer apps that are showcase examples of what it possible. Steve Jobs… yeah, you guessed it.
5. Indie developers are your best friends, not your minions.
6. OEM are your minions, not your best friends.
7. Each product should leverage and aim to leverage the resources and services you already have. The Music app should have leveraged Zune. The File explorer should have SkyDrive integrated (on desktop and in Metro), not as a separate app. The games app store should have leveraged the classic Indie Xbox Live games like Geometry Wars, Limbo, Fez, Minecraft, right on launch.

There has been speculation that one of the reasons for Microsoft’s ambivalent behaviour with regards the Surface launch was that it wanted to set the benchmark for OEMs to aspire to (a move it was forced towards by OEMs producing cheap crap, basically), but not upset them by outcompeting them. In a similar way Microsoft has been hampered in breaking into the mobile market by its dependency on Intel and its apathetic attitude towards developing a decent CPU for the mobile market (until Microsoft released Windows RT for ARM and lo, Intel pulls a decent Atom out of the hat).

Microsoft should have marketed the Surface RT something fierce: put it in every mainstream consumer electronics store at near cost, as if it is out to crush the OEMs rather than compete with Apple. Hardcore Darwinism: only the fittest OEMs adapt, the rest dies and takes their crappy hardware with it. That is how you improve the quality of OEM products.
Instead it is treating OEMs like friends, and Asus, Samsung, Acer, Lenovo and Dell even asspecial friends who get to release Windows RT devices while the other OEMs don’t. And the result? A lot of trash talk by the OEMs which are supposed to create flagship hardware for the platform. “Windows RT isn’t good enough”. No, your products are not compelling enough: too mediocre and too overpriced.

OEMs are not Microsoft’s friends. They are business opportunists. Microsoft needs to focus on making its software and hardware so desirable that OEMs will kill to be part of it. Again, Google understands that. It does not worry about how selling the Nexus 7 at cost may affect the profit margins of other OEMs like Samsung. It sells, and hence Android sells. Other OEMs either keep up or perish —and because Android is doing so well, they are doing their best to keep up.
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Got my first experience with Google TV today. It's an interesting product that could certainly do with a little more polish, but it is useful, and the search feature tends to make up for most of the drawbacks, or at least makes navigating around them possible. Still trying to figure out just what the best apps for it are though.
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Wow, just wow...
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The biggest of the big data uses - dairy farmers. If you're at all interested in applied statistics or genetics, this article's worth the read.
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I want this camera. Badly.
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Readers are some of the kindest people in the world.
Hey, check this out! One of the best fantasy/comedy stories I've read in a long time is free on Amazon today. That's pretty cool of you, +James Tallett!

From the description on Amazon:

Bloodaxe thought he was in for a nice relax. He was, after all, dead.

And then some jumped up prick of a god told him he had to rescue a kingdom. His own kingdom, in fact. So Bloodaxe grabbed his, well, axe, and leapt back into the fray.

First, though, he had to be born. And learn not to crap his pants. Then he could get to the killing. Lots and lots of killing.

This is his story.

Bloodaxe is a fourteen thousand word short by James Tallett, author of Tarranau and the epic fantasy best-seller Breaking an Empire.
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Why? Really, why?

Who needs a computer based on the movement of crab herds on a sandy beach?
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Today through Kindle Select, my humorous fantasy Bloodaxe is free! And here's a little quote to let you know what the writing's like.

The enemy warriors had just been given ample evidence that King Bloodaxe had outsmarted their Duke straight up. Unfortunately, they're pigheaded idiots, and they fought like a bunch of berserk northmen. Which is appropriate, since my men fought like berserk northmen as well. Comes with the territory around here.
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9 feet of snow in 16 days...
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Whistler 2012 (34 photos)
34 Photos - View album
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