Is Microsoft playing copycat by acquiring Skype?

Posted on May 15, 2011
Filed Under Voip   1 Comment

Can Skype be to Microsoft what Grandcentral was for Google? And, what is Grandcentral (now Google Voice) to Google?

Something no one has mentioned so far is that Google made a similar transaction by buying Grandcentral before coming out with the Android Mobile OS. I don’t remember what Google paid for Grandcentral, but I think it was somewhere around $50 million. I know it wasn’t anywhere near a Billion, or the $8 Billion that MS paid for Skype. It would seem that Google made out like a bandit if you compare what MS paid for Skype. Granted, Grandcentral was in it’s infancy compared to Skype, and the same can be said for the userbase.

I still don’t see a logical business plan with Google Voice. I use it because it’s a free business number for me, a free click to call App that I use on my website, and I use it for my voicemail as an alternative to Verizon’s voicemail service. It’s not intrusive and so far I don’t see Google trying to push ads my way via the service.

In light of Microsoft’s recent purchase of Skype a question comes to mind about Google’s acquisition of Grandcentral. Why have they never integrated the features of Google talk and Google voice into a Skype like client? All the pieces are there (Instant Messaging, Video, Voip, and Phone Numbers). It makes no sense.

Now that Microsoft has bought Skype it might put some pressure on Google to do something like this. It would definitely make a lot more use of Google Voice, which I am sure operates in the red (free number, free calls, etc.).

I see Microsoft integrating Skype into Email (like Google Talk), into their Mobile OS (like Google Voice), and into their Office products. Hopefully this will push Google to integrate Google talk and Google Voice more tightly into their products as well. I don’t see Google Talk or Google Voice ever competing with Skype as long as they are separate products. It should be easy enough for Google to do.

Heck, if it costs Google another $50 Million, they’ll still have made out like bandits by having a similar product for $7.9 Billion less than what Microsoft paid.

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RE: Five Things That Facebook Should Change

Posted on March 26, 2011
Filed Under Facebook   

This comment is in response to a very good article I read on TechCrunch. Couldn’t reply there.
Five Things Facebook Should Change IMMEDIATELY

Couldn’t agree more on most of the issues you mentioned. I could dig deeper actually. Major issues with groups. They have removed most of the “old” group features such as discussions, photo page, etc. One of the most useful things about groups IMO. It’s almost like they are pushing everyone to use pages because they are Open?? Can’t take candy from a baby Facebook, because there is gonna be some whining involved.

The new photo viewer has an unfinished feel to it. Almost like they threw it out there before it was ready. I personally thought the old photo viewing pages were just fine. However, I do like the ajax part of it and that when you close it you are right where you were and don’t have to navigate back.

Considering that I usually like most of Facebook’s changes (up until the last few months), I decided to opt-in to the new messages. ONE SIZE does not fit all Facebook. Really disappointed with the lack of options, but I am stuck with it. Give your users some options. I don’t want all my chats archived in my message folder. Give me an option to go on or off record like Google Chat/Talk.

Regarding Tabs, I agree wholeheartedly. I don’t won’t the stupid configuration options that MySpace has (never used MySpace btw), but at least give the user some options. It’s common sense. If a user’s profile page is more useful to them THEY WILL USE IT MORE.

It’s like Facebook doesn’t even look at the popularity/analytics of some of these features they have removed.

I think IFrames for Pages is a great idea, but why do you have to choose between FBML and Iframes? Can’t they both co-exist? Iframes is the way of the future no doubt though. Will allow business to sell directly from their FB pages, which before was very difficult, and not many companies at all had managed to keep the whole transaction within Facebook.

My .02.

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Facebook Removes Group Features

Posted on March 14, 2011
Filed Under Facebook   

Recently I decided to create a Facebook group for my family. I have used groups before and knew that most of the same features were available (Photos, Discussions, etc.). Knowing the difference between Pages and Groups, I decided on a group because I wanted to be able to control who became members.

After creating the group I notice that none of the features I was expecting are available. What in the world is Facebook doing? Are we all being pushed to use Pages because they are “open” and, therefore, so is the content? A little privacy is a good thing Facebook. That’s the reason bathrooms have doors. :)

I have never had a problem with changes that Facebook has made up until now. Ok, I sorta hate how the new “Messages” archives everything (messages, chats, etc..) without giving you an option to opt in or out of that feature, but I can live with that I guess. Anyway, I don’t understand how you give everyone something with all these features and then take it away without expecting some seriously pissed off users. I noticed the older groups still have those features, so maybe that’s why this hasn’t become a big deal yet.

It’s all about options Facebook. As hard as you try, not everyone fits into the same “mold”. Give us the options back regardless of whether we use them or not.

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Open Challenge to Fast Food Chains

Posted on March 6, 2011
Filed Under Food   

I have eaten at three different fast food chains (Sonic, Burger King, and McDonalds) this week and every time the order was wrong. I don’t know why, but that is one of the most frustrating things in the world for me. Maybe it’s because I am hungry, or maybe it’s the inconvenience of having to go back through line and wait all over again for something that should have been done right the first time, or even worse not noticing until after you have driven off and are already back at home or work.

In all three instances that happened to me this week my ticket was correct but the person that put it in the bag just messed it up. I understand the occasional mishap, especially when you are working minimum wage employees, but honestly that is NOT the consumers problem.

What I propose is that these Fast Food Chains offer the consumer a money back guarantee if their order is not right. Do something to show you value our business and are going to offer us a guarantee that it’s right.

Maybe just maybe we’ll see one of these fast food chains step up to the plate.

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Got a New Android Phone

Posted on March 3, 2010
Filed Under Phone Stuff   

I have been wanting an Android phone for a while now. About 2 weeks ago I decided to “try out” the HTC Eris by Verizon.

I have never had another smart phone so I don’t really have anything to compare it to. However, so far I am really impressed. It’s pretty snappy, and with the ever growing Android Market the Apps available make the phone just that much better.

I have only downloaded about five Apps and I use them pretty much everyday (Facebook, GMail, Twitter, Google Voice, etc…). There are a ton of Apps already, but there’s so much cheesy stuff in their marketplace right now. Maybe I have a wrong perception of Apps, but I see all the IPhone commercials, and I want some Apps like that. Maybe they are out there and I am just missing them.

Anyway, the Eris is a quality phone with plenty of features for most users. I am not overly impressed with battery life. You better keep a charger handy because this phone is not gonna get you through the day on an overnight charge. For that reason I will probably turn it back in before my 30 day test period is up and get a Nexus One.

HTC Eris Charger, Case and Screen ProtectorIt’s worth mentioning that I got a smoking deal through Amazon on a Home & Car Charger, Case, and Screen Protector for $4.99!

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I am a Republican, but…

Posted on January 30, 2010
Filed Under Politics   

I hardly ever go Political on this blog, and for the most part I will try to keep from promoting one side or the other in this post, other than to say I like Obama. That’s right. I am a Republican and I like the man and am glad he is the leader of our Country.

I know that won’t be popular with most of my Republican brethren, but then again I don’t really care. I am a Republican mainly because they side with my Religious beliefs, Environmental issues, and Capitalistic ideas. That may not be your American dream, but it is mine.

President Obama doesn’t “check every box” in my list of requirements of the ideal President. Sorry if this offends you, but I wish he wouldn’t side with the gay rights community. Don’t get me wrong, I believe every human being should be treated equally and with respect, but from my standpoint that is more of a moral issue than it is about equality. I don’t like his ideas about abortion either. I think the legalization of abortion is the biggest travesty that our Nation has ever perpetrated.

With those strong differences it would seem that I could not stand the man, and if you think the respect I have for him has come lightly you are wrong. Idealistically I wish he was everything that I wanted him to be. Unfortunately we don’t live in that world. I love and respect my wife, my children, my parents, my family, and myself despite shortcomings and beliefs, and I would dare to say that most other people feel the same about the people in their lives. So, why do we put these idealistic goggles on when we look at our Political leaders?

I loathe the attitude that someone is different from us and therefore we, and our group, are obviously superior and the other side and their leader must be evil incarnate. I loathe the blind, ignorant criticism that both sides spit out. Have we regressed into a Country that labels everyone and every group without actually listening to what they have to say?

I am not saying we should not question each others ideas, and even have the right to disagree with those ideas, but we have to be careful about what we say, and how we treat each other in light of those disagreements.

So why do I like Obama? He’s the first President other than maybe Reagan that I actually have confidence in. The man is wicked smart, and I believe he means what he says. I believe he genuinely cares about the American people and their plight. I believe if most Americans would take those idealistic goggles off and listen to him that they would be inspired, and that they would have hope. I believe they would see an imperfect man simply striving to make our Country better.
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