Tech (General)

The CD Is Now 30 Years Old

The CD is now 30 years old:

The digital music revolution officially hit 30 years ago, on Oct. 1, 1982. While you may be surprised to learn that the heralds of the coming age were, in fact, the Bee Gees, it probably comes as less of a shock to learn that Sony was at the very heart of it. After years of research and an intense period of collaboration with Philips, Sony shipped the world’s first CD player, the CDP-101. Music — and how we listen to it — would never be the same.

The CD is actually kind of strange. Most people would date CD’s to the late 80’s not the early 80’s. Presumably because of the adoption rate.

In related note, a curious little tidbit about the Sony CDP-101 from Wikipedia:

Due to the cost of producing Digital to Analogue converters at the time of its production, the CDP-101 features only one DAC, which is used for both the left and right audio channels. No sample-and-hold circuitry is present to delay the first channel until the other is ready, so the left and right channels are out of sync by approximately 11 µs.

Weird to think that’s what they had to do. Clever how they dealt with it.


What Happened To Sony?

Remember when Sony was the gold standard of electronics? Well, those days are obviously gone. Earnings are down 94%. Wow. Part of that stems from the laptop battery problems, but an under-rated portion of that is the lack of clear innovation at Sony for the past several years. Sony still doesn’t seem to think the Walkman is threatened by the iPod.

When will Sony learn to innovate and return to the days of old? Hopefully soon. 94% drop in earnings can’t go on forever, so something must happen.

Hardware In The News

Lenovo Starts Recall

Like there was any doubt it would happen, there’s now officially a recall on Lenovo/IBM laptop batteries made by Sony. Not surprising Sony has given up and started a global recall to get the damage over with, and behind them as quick as possible, and minimize potential future incidents/lawsuits.

Like there was anyone who didn’t know weeks ago this was going to happen.

Hardware In The News

Thinkpad Explodes

Engadget has the scoop on a Thinkpad that blew up at LAX. From the picture I’m virtually positive it’s a T4x/p (T40/p, T41/p, T42/p, T43/p). According to IBM/Lenovo Documentation (T40/p, T41/p, T42/p T43/p) they do ship some with Sony batteries, in addition to Panasonic and Sanyo. I personally have a Sayno in my T43. I believe the T60’s also have Sony in the mix (docs). I’m pretty sure that’s a 6 cell battery in there based on the contour of the rear of the battery (it’s burnt so it’s hard to be 100% positive with that picture quality.

So is it a Sony battery in there? Will there be a recall? My guess is this is going to be a very quick investigation. Considering how many business travelers have Thinkpads, and how many are using the T4x series right now, there are tons of these laptops on planes right now as I post this.

Software Tech (General)

Sony should compensate for it’s rootkit fiasco

After this whole mess with rootkits, I’m starting to think Sony should be giving monetary compensation to those effected. Write an app to see if the rootkit was installed, and give a confirmation number. That number should be worth some hard cash, since it appears that the only way to get rid of this giant hole is to completely wipe your hard drive and reinstall your stuff (lots of time, and as we know time = money).

I don’t believe for a second this caught Sony by surprise, they knew what the software did, and how much trouble it can cause the end user. Their business strategy was simply to hope nobody noticed. There’s no way this software was written without an understanding of what it did. Absolutely no chance. Rootkits have been a topic of discussion for sometime (mainly related to spyware).

I’d say those effected deserve at least $250- per computer, likely more. Considering the best remedy right now is to backup documents, format and reinstall. That will take at least 3hrs -5hrs for most people. And for many people who don’t have much experience with this, it will take much longer.

In all honesty, Sony should face some legal consequences for fraud or hacking, since that’s essentially what they did. If a 17 year old can get 17 months for hacking Paris Hiltons cell phone (the last part of her anatomy not widely available on the internet), and Canada got a kid for 2 years, how could this be worth nothing?

If nothing happens to Sony (which is very likely), the next company to attempt this is going to take it a step further, and it’s just going to get worse. I think CNet’s article has a great title “Who has the right to control your PC?”. Very appropriate.

Update [11/21/2005 @ 1:58 PM EST]: Texas sues Sony BMG over alleged spyware. Thank you State of Texas! I still want users to be compensated though. They are the ones who get still get the short end of the stick.


PS3 the next Mac

Sony states:

The operating system has also yet to be clarified. The integrated Cell processor will be able to support a variety of operating systems (such as Linux or Apple’s Tiger).

A very interesting proposal. It’s not surprising that they would be supported, especially considering who developed the Cell processor. It would be interesting to see if Apple would create a Mac OS X distribution for the PS3. It would have some potential of increasing the user base, and providing a new avenue to showcase the OS’s features and capabilities while not really infringing on the computer business (people aren’t likely to trade in their PC’s for PS3’s just yet). Apple may have had this in mind for some time, just take a look at technologies such as Inkwell, VoiceOver, and of course Speech (which has really been around for several years). It’s perfect for the PS3.

[Hat tip MacNN]