Archive for October, 2005

A taste of (chinese) things to come

Thu 6, October 2005 22:21:20

Another war of words has started in Europe, this time because of the LandWind. The LandWind is a low cost Chinese SUV, manufactured by the Jiangling Corporation, which recently debuted in the Netherlands. The importer is promoting it as the “first Chinese car in Europe”, and claiming it’s an excellent value-for-money car.
As usual, people were skeptical of the quality of the car, following the common preconception that “Chinese products = low cost + low quality”. Than this report came out:

Automobile association ANWB issued a warning on Wednesday about the safety of the Chinese sports utility vehicle on sale in the Netherlands. Tests have shown that the driver’s compartment of the ‘Jiangling Landwind’ would crumple in a frontal collision at 64 kph. The driver would be killed or seriously injured. The ANWB said the vehicle’s design mirrored the technical expertise achieved by western car makers 30 years ago.

Several more news came out about how unsafe this SUV was. Now the importer is fighting back, stating that it submitted the LandWind to a new test, and that although it’s not the safest car out there, it meets European regulations.

I have no comment on the quality of the SUV… I haven’t even seen one on the road yet! But what strikes me the most is this small paragraph on the FAQ section of the importer’s website (which is also not the best quality):

Are there a lot of Landwinds sold yet?
The 2.0L is already sold out.

Well, well… what’s the lesson here? There’s ALWAYS a market for low cost items. Even if a large part of the population is quality and safety conscious, cost is ultimately the final decision factor for many people, particularly when the economy is not exactly topnotch.
I believe this is another serious wake-up call for a lot of American and European companies, like car manufacturers, which are used to use their “prestige” as an excuse for demanding a premium price.
I believe we will see more and more of these examples, as the Asian companies start moving up the food chain, from the “cheap shirts” to luxury goods.
West, beware…

Miserable failure


Another example of creativity (and political sarcasm!).
In Google, type “failure” or “miserable failure”. Press “I’m feeling lucky”.


The explanation of why this happens is on the “Sponsored links” section.
Regardless of what they say, I think Google is the only company who has enough “coolness” to pull off something like this.
Pretty funny, if you ask me.

“Google formally declares war on Microsoft”?


Google formally declares war on Microsoft

Titles like this are “engineered” to cause a bombastic reaction, but it did get my attention…

GOOGLE HAS confirmed that it will launch free spreadsheet and word-processing software online and take on Microsoft in one of its biggest markets.

Regardless, it is another interesting move from Google into MS turf. It’s clear that Google is less and less worried as been seen as a rival, with an extra confidence fueled by their own success. Therefore, aggressive moves like these (if they are confirmed) are not so much of a surprise.

But how much impact does it actually have? Well, for the near future, not much, IMHO. I can see the value for the “regular guy on the net” to use an online & free word processor to type an occasional letter, or even do some quick math in a spreadsheet (maybe even calculate the monthly bill of internet costs). But for corporate users, the bulk of Office license buyers, there is much more at stake. There are issues of security, privacy and reliability which will keep a local computer/network solution the preferred choice.
Think of email and you’ll get my point. I mean, sure Gmail is great (I really love it!), and everybody would agree that those 2+ GB of space are the equivalent to mail junkies nirvana, but seriously, did it make even a small dent on the Microsoft Exchange licenses? Or even Outlook? The bottom line is that companies need to be “in control” and they will not easily rely on free, online services, simply because they depend on them. Unless, of course, they start signing “service level agreements” with Google, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.
So, sure, these are great news – another big step for Google, a giant step for mankind, but that won’t take Microsoft down. Well, not for now at least…


Wed 5, October 2005 10:40:49

I’m still working out some details on my WordPress theme. I’ve made
some nice additions to the side bar, and fixed some CSS problems.
I’m pretty happy about the fact that it is fully XHTML 1.0 compliant,
and the CSS is not only valid, but seems consistent across browsers
(and that was difficult, believe me…). Of course, more testing is still needed.
I’m even thinking of making the theme available for download…

Hello Universe!

Sun 2, October 2005 14:04:34

This is my very first post. Yep, the first… primero… numero uno.
It might not have much content right now, but for now I’m just happy that I got the time to put it online.

Let’s see what the future holds.