Posts for Tag: crime

Can't see the trees for the forest...

Sprint fires employees who chased Apple thief...

Before anyone says anything, I know the saying is "Can't see the forest for the trees." My point is that sometimes corporations care too much about a policy to see the exceptions that might arise. Sure the rule is in place so that employees aren't put at risk by confronting criminals but these guys were on break, it happened off Sprint store property, and I'm sure they made a judgment call that the shoplifter was not going to hurt them. Somehow, I feel a lawyer was involved...

Theft, journalism and professionalism

There's been a lot of chatter re: the iPhone leak and the raiding of certain "journalist's" homes. I won't rehash here so feel free to read up on the current situation.

I feel bad for Jason Chen and his wife for having their door kicked in. But I most definitely don't think it's unjustified. What should he have expected when he paid $5K for a stolen phone? I guess what pisses me off the most is how some people can't seem to understand that freedom of the press and crimes committed by journalists are two separate things. He's not getting his door kicked in because he leaked the next iPhone but because he PURCHASED STOLEN PROPERTY. If he had found the iPhone himself or if the person who found it gave it to Gizmodo to do their story, I'd have no issue. The fact that Gizmodo was willing to break the law to get the scoop on a story pretty much moves them out of legitimate journalism to tabloid fare for me. Michael Arrington writes a pretty reasonable post of how he would handle the situation - one I agree with in terms of the bounds of responsible, professional journalism. Unfortunately, the way the world works there is always an incentive to push and break the boundaries of the law in the name of "journalism". We as readers are just as responsible. How many outraged people did NOT go to Gizmodo to see the leaked iPhone photos/video?

In the end, I hope Jason Chen doesn't go to jail or face any type of punishment. He was only doing what the bosses at Gawker expected and asked of him. As for the guy who sold them the phone.........

Where my East Bay tech entrepreneurs be at?

I may be biased because I live here but I don't know why more tech entrepreneurs don't view Oakland as a viable place to build their start-ups. It's centrally located, close to public transportation, and real estate (both commercial and residential) is less expensive than the usual start-up hotspots of San Francisco or Silicon Valley. Not to mention the fact that a lot of folks who work at tech start-ups live in the East Bay and have long commutes. I've done the East Bay to SF/SV commute before and it used to take me 45-90 minutes one way each day to get to work. Compare that to my current 10-15 minute ROUNDTRIP commute and it's a no brainer. What could you do with an extra 2-3 hours every day? Over the course of a work year (about 250 days), that's almost a full month you've wasted on the road.

Granted, Oakland has its fair share of issues. The one that usually comes up is that Oakland is perceived to be a crime-ridden city. Sure, there's crime here but like any large city there are areas where crime is high and others where it is not. I don't propose you bring your tech start-up and plop it down on Seminary and International just like I wouldn't make the Tenderloin or Hunters Point my company HQ. My first company was in what's now known as the Uptown area of Oakland, home to such little known start-ups like Pandora. We currently reside in the Jack London Square area which recently brought in Sungevity, a solar start-up.

Getting to the point of this post, I'm trying to cobble together some tech start-ups who are looking for office space in the Jack London Square area. The building we're in is newly renovated and very well maintained. We occupy a small suite but are getting to the point where we are considering more space. Conveniently, there is a larger suite across the hall that's been decked to the halls with all the latest goodies (professional cubes, CAT 6 cabling, etc). Only catch is that it's huge and much larger than we can take at this time. My grand idea is to have an informal tech cluster sharing this space. A few start-ups working in close proximity to each other, sharing ideas, mingling, etc. Plus we would offer the flexibility that a standard lease would not have - month to month, taking more space, taking less space. So if anyone out there is interested, drop me a line. Even if you're not interested, drop me a line anyway. I'm always glad to meet new entrepreneurs and share ideas.

Laptop comparisons

So I was accused the other day of being a Mac snob which is odd given that I only started using them a couple of years ago (not counting my Apple IIe days). The first Mac I bought at that time was a Macbook Air. I had been using a 15.4" Dell Inspiron which was pretty heavy and also on its last legs so I thought it was a good opportunity to try a super-light computer. Also, I had been using the iPhone for about 6 months and wanted to see how pairing a Mac with an iPhone would be. The experience was good so my next machine was an aluminum Macbook (the one that was stolen). During that time, I wouldn't have been against going back to PC laptops but there weren't any compelling reason to do so. When I switched from the Inspiron to the Air, it was because I wanted the lighest laptop available at the time. Is there a PC laptop that could make me want to switch back? I guess I did my version of the Laptop Hunters commercial...

I had pretty strict requirements for my laptop. 13" to 14", about $1200, light, and must have good battery life. On the Apple side, the 13" Macbook Pro was the standard by which I would compare all the PC laptops. Here's the rundown on what I found:

Dell M2400
14.1" WXGA+ LED
2.53ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
160GB 7200RPM Hard Drive
DVD burner
3-4 hour battery
Backlit keyboard
$1,464 after $328 instant savings

HP Envy 13
13.1" HD LED
2.13ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
250GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
DVD burner
~6-7 hour battery

Sony Vaio SR590
13.3" LED
2.20ghz Intel core 2 Duo
250GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
DVD Burner
5.5 hour battery

It actually looks like the Sony Vaio SR590 is pretty decent. Still not enough to make me want to switch back to a PC laptop but I think it's a good laptop for the money.

I don't blame Microsoft. I blame the hardware manufacturers.

Ever since my unfortunate incident, I’ve been working on a Lenovo R60e spare laptop we have in the office.  It’s a huge adjustment to make going from an Macbook to a plastic feeling laptop.  But it’s a hardware adjustment and not a software one.  For the record, I actually really like Windows XP Professional.  It’s stable, easy to use, and very effective for most work related tasks.  Office 2007 has its issues but it’s no biggie.  I actually prefer Office 2003 but maybe that’s because I’m just more used to it.  Vista and Windows 7, however are garbage but I’ve already discussed that before.

Though this is an older laptop (probably circa 2006), I haven’t really seen a huge leap in usability/comfort/innovation from PC laptop manufacturers.  Either they build really expensive machines with a bunch of useless features (Sony VAIOs or Lenovos for instance) or they err on the side of cost effectiveness and build cheap laptops that make CFO’s happy but are lackluster from a usability standpoint (Dell, HP, etc).  Yes, I can buy a Dell Vostro for under $500 but it’s heavy, bulky, and feels cheap.  The really sad part is that in about 6 months, the value of that machine is basically halved by a combination of its cheapness and the fact that Dell builds its computers to be relaced within 2 years.  When I bought my Macbook Air in early 2008 for about $1600 (got a sweet deal).  I sold it over a year and a half later for about $1200.  It held 75% of its value 18 months after I bought it!  When was the last time you could say that about any computer technology?

With rumblings of an update to the Macbook Pro line coming soon, I’ll hold off on getting another Macbook until then.  I’ll probably just pick up the version just before the latest one and save a few bucks.