Sunday, December 31, 2017

Products, a majority of whose functionality depends on physical components that can be seen and measured, are more susceptible to getting copied than electronics and software [COMPACTIDEA]

Realized this when reading this article on China's first high-bypass turbofan engine. It's so much easier to reverse-engineer a "physical" product such an aircraft turbine than it is to, say, Microsoft Office. You can see a powerplant's components. You can disassemble it and measure each component and how one component connects to another. Only the software portion of the engine might not be possible to copy. But a bulk of what constitutes a CFM or Pratt engine is out in the open, naked, unprotected, ready for copying by China. Can the same be said for Microsoft Office? No. You have no idea of Office's source code, and so it isn't easy to reverse-engineer software. Software's very nature dictates this. Online services such as Facebook that rely on server-side software are even more difficult to copy, if at all - you have zero access to Facebook's backend software. Even if you had access to it and built a copy of FB, how will you overcome network effect of the billions of users of FB? Seems next to impossible.

Update [10-Oct-18]: Russia/Sukhoi can examine the coatings / insulations of foreign-built aircraft for ideas only because these are physical things that can be seen and understood. Can't do the same for electronics or software.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Device manufacturers aren't forced to strictly follow net neutrality - Amazon's Fire range of products use a clever, hybrid model

Start with this from Wikipedia: 

"Amazon Fire OS is an Android-based mobile operating system produced by Amazon for its Fire Phone and Kindle Fire range of tablets, Echo and Echo Dot, and other content delivery devices like Fire TV; the tablet versions of the Kindle e-readers are the Fire range. It is forked from Android. Fire OS primarily centers on content consumption, with a customized user interface and heavy ties to content available from Amazon's own storefronts and services." - [link]

It's these "heavy ties" to Amazon's products/services that make Amazon's Fire Tablet and other products sort of hybrid when it comes to following net neutrality. Ostensibly they do follow, but "effectively" they're somewhere in the middle, because even if the device does technically support other storefronts and services, Amazon actively steers/nudges users to its own goods and services.

  1. By just not having any app for some/all of competing storefronts and services, and
  2. By forcing users to have a heavily degraded [perhaps unusable] experience when using these rival storefronts and services from Fire's Web browser,
Amazon effectively provides only its own storefronts and services. It's able to make a legal claim that others's stuff too can be used, but it knows that:
  1. Others' stuff isn't much usable, and
  2. So Fire users practically won't use others' services.
This sort of a hybrid, deniable approach isn't easy to prove because it looks benign on the surface. But just because it's hard to spot and prove doesn't mean that it doesn't exist, or that it doesn't have distorting effects on the market [effects that net neutrality is/was meant to avoid].

Thursday, December 28, 2017

To break Google, high-quality, Google-free, Android-based, Android-compatible mobile operating systems are needed [COMPACTIDEA]

Application compatibility must be maintained. Google-free or Google-presence-reduced versions of Android, such as Amazon's Fire OS, OxygenOS, Samsung Experience, Aliyun OS/Yun OS, ColorOS, etc., are good steps in this direction. Of course, a full-fledged alternative app store is also needed [Yandex.Store? Amazon Appstore?]. Native YouTube support is also an issue, since Google won't provide its YouTube app for these alternative operating systems. But to break Google's back, alternative OSes need to be done. Even Microsoft should launch a full-blown, Microsoft-powered version of Android, complete with Bing/Cortana, Office, Outlook, etc.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Rivals of Google's search engine should combine their crawling, indexing functions to massively reduce their costs [COMPACTIDEA]

Yandex, Baidu, Naver, and maybe Bing too, should combine their crawling and indexing assets to significantly reduce their costs. They're merely duplicating the same activities without any extra benefit. Their innovation is in the actual ranking [and also the interface/presentation] - that's where they can and should differentiate. But why waste billions on duplicating crawling and indexing? No point. Perhaps they could create a separate firm called "Global Search Crawl and Index" which maintains exact copies of the index [and also the crawling and indexing software/technologies] in the different countries in which these rivals are domiciled [so that due to political reasons a certain client - say Baidu or Yandex - cannot be cut off from the system]. If such a combined system is made, it'll massively reduce the costs for Yandex, Baidu, etc., and thus allow them to better compete with Google. Who knows, a combined index might even make the index much bigger [after discarding duplicates of each one] and thus produce better results for each of the rivals.

Monday, December 18, 2017

The only reason why I don't like Bitcoin is because of its exorbitant, staggering energy usage [COMPACTIDEA]

Can our planet, our world really afford to do billions of transactions using a system that consumes so much energy that your eyes could really pop out?

"The electricity consumed for a single transaction is 251 kW⋅h..." - [link]

My 1.5 ton air-conditioner consumes only 2 kWh of energy per hour of usage. Now imagine spending 251 kWh for every single Bitcoin transaction. Bullshit. Forget capitalism and free markets - the world, on an aggregate basis, shouldn't be wasting such a large amount of energy on doing and recording Bitcoin transactions, even if it's profitable for a subset of the folks.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Does Rossiya's Ilyushin Il-96-300PU presidential plane realize that it shoulders the entire world's safety and future each time it flies with Vladimir Putin?

Realized this while watching this nice video. Mankind really has all of its eggs in one basket. The Rossiya Ilyushin Il-96-300PU aircraft really carries the one man who is single-handedly saving this planet from getting enslaved by the American monster. So much weight on the shoulders of the Ilyushin airliner. So much responsibility. We, the rest of the world, don't realize the gravity of each of Putin's flights. Out fate, our future, our safety, all depend on the safety and well-being of Vladimir Putin. America would chew us all alive if not for Putin. He is the one indestructible, impregnable adamantium wall that's standing between the insatiable greed and lust of America, and the rest of us.

Bisleri's Vedica premium drinking water from Himalayan mountain springs is worth a case study [COMPACTIDEA]

In short, it's a product directed at the affluent, rich, status-conscious types. The extra/high price is more about the premium brand than about any actual marginal benefits of the product compared to "regular" mineral water. Brilliant - essentially the same product but with double or triple margins. Today I frequently/regularly see Indians serving Vedica to guests when they have to portray themselves as rich, where they have to showcase a certain "image" in the society. And I think Bisleri has been quite successful - I see a lot of [and growing] usage of Vedica around. Sales and profits are probably growing [in general I'm not in favor of companies looting people on the basis of merely brands, but because Bisleri is an Indian company, it's less bad compared to Western companies such as Coca Cola or Pepsi taking away Indians' hard-earned money]. Overall, Bisleri's Vedica is a brilliant idea and a good candidate for a business school case study. Packaged mineral drinking water was already considered a premium, luxury product in India, but before Bisleri launched Vedica, who knew that you could go even higher in this product?