Friday, May 12, 2006

Design by Force: The New Intelligence

And so Bush appoints a be-medaled, NSA domestic spy program-defending, active-duty officer to head the CIA. Appointing an officer is not unprecedented, but this one is not free of that banana republic feeling. An emblazoned, heavy yes-man.

In government, uniforms are a sign of weakness. Sadam Hussein decked out and firing a gun, or Mayday parades with flag-draped missiles, are images for ridicule rather than reverence; from the outside-in, these pretenses are easily seen for what they are. Strong societies do not take militarism seriously. Are we becoming acclimated to such weak-souled patriotism?

Hayden is "the right man". According to the Bush management style, this sort of hortatory marketese is almost enough ("trust me"), but then there is the obligatory recounting of credentials. Of course, Hayden's primary qualification is that he is a made man; as the architect of an illegal NSA spying project, he is marked by the kinds of transgressions that form the deepest bonds of loyalty. Hayden means something, and this is the symbolism that we ought not to ignore. Bush, and this is a pattern in previous nominations, tries to make these symbols of defiance as glaring as possible.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Google vs. MicroZilla

Google is cagey about its strategy. When Netscape was flying high, some of its executives talked of making Microsoft irrelevant — a strategic blunder, according to Silicon Valley lore.

Google is much more than an indexing service, and it's unclear that even enthusiastic investors understand the extent to which Google's business model is designed to make Microsoft irrelevant. And with Apple closing in on dual use hardware, with software to make it easy to switch between Windows and Mac operating systems (or to run Windows inside Mac), there are two Trojan horses in front of Microsoft's gates. New Apple users will find that they can switch to Mac without giving up Windows entirely, and Google users will increasingly find that their file storage and applications are on the Web -- and can be run from any operating system.

This is the future, and not even Microsoft can stop it.

Netscape suffered from poor timing -- .e.g, Web usage and bandwidth were not what they are now. Think of bandwidth as a the river in which Microsoft's aging fortifications get swept away.