Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wednesday Job Loss Report

This is something new that I'll be doing every week (well, every Wednesday). I'll give you a rundown of some of the more significant job cuts of the past week from all the big tech companies.

You know, in a effort to make you all feel better that you still have jobs. Unless you're in the tech industry. In that case, hang on to your underpants-

  • Ericsson (of Sony/Ericsson fame) will be dropping 5000+ jobs any day now. Engadget is reporting that they are blaming Sony for not supporting the brand. It's not like Sony has other problems. Nothing like-
  • Sony still has the specter of that threatened 16,000 employee cut hovering over it. Some have already been eliminated from the payroll but how many more will follow?
  • Intel will be closing down one of its plants in the Philippines. This is one to watch. A big chip maker like Intel closing down assembly plants might speak volumes about the industry as a whole if it continues.
  • Sega has sliced thirty from its roster. I have no idea what percentage that is but it is sizable. They haven't had a big hit in a while- even Valkyria Chronicles which was a big release, and critical favorite, wasn't a big seller.

EDIT: This is gonna be the first and last post of losses. Forget the updates- too damn depressing.

Sirius XM to raise monthly rates

Here comes the crap.

I suppose we all should have seen this coming but SXM has just announced a rate increase for it's satellite radio service. Now, it only comes to an extra $1.99 a month, but that's not the point. The point is that it's the only game in town when it comes to satrad and now it can charge whatever the hell it wants.

The merger of these two companies was stated by company chief Mel Karmazin to be "good" for the consumer. How the hell is this good for anybody? I personally canceled my subscriptions (I had five) several months ago and, though I was sorry to do so at the time, I'm very glad I did.

This isn't really the best time to raise rates guys, what with the economic apocalypse and all.

It should be noted that, if you wish to keep the current rates, you can upgrade your account to a three year plan and SXM will grandfather you in- meaning your price will stay at the current amount for the next three years. After the three years are up? Who knows.

Friday, January 16, 2009

It was only a matter of time...

Circuit City has begun liquidation proceedings starting today, Friday the 16th of January. Some rumors (I'm not confirming anything) place the sale date as early as tomorrow, so if you have the day off you might want to get to CC as early as you can.

This is a damn shame, CC is the second largest tech seller in the US and it's a very bad omen that they couldn't pull themselves out of the chapter 11 that they filed last year. 3500 more out of work- when's this going to stop?

Read on MSNBC

Monday, January 12, 2009


IGN has a small article up about the next Xbox generation and when it might be coming to living rooms everywhere.

I was just thinking about the state of the industry the other day and I truly believe, as stated in the piece, that this cycle will be longer than ever before- maybe a lot longer. I think it really all hinges on how long the recession that the country, or should I say world, is mired in will last.

If things hold the way they are or worsen into a depression, I think it would be safe to say that you won't see anything new for a long while. A global product launch, on the scale of something like a new platform, is just too big and way too important to allow it to fail or be held back in any way, especially if people just flat out don't have the cash to invest. I think the big three would most likely just wait out the troubles and plan for when the consumer might actually have that cash to spend.

Sony is saying it will be a ten year cycle for them- which would put the PS4's launch at 2016. Microsoft has given no such timetable, but who knows? With the way things are in the world right now anything's possible.

The bottom line is that you might want to just get comfortable with the idea that your 360, PS3, or Wii will be sitting under your TV for quite some time to come.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


So Apple has participated in it's final Macworld show and the keynote wasn't even given by Steve Jobs. It was given by the gent in the photo, Phil Schiller. Who's Phil Schiller? Why he's Apple's senior VP of worldwide product marketing. Whee.

Overall, the speech didn't have very much of a wow factor. Sure the crowd went nutso from time to time, but these are predominantly Apple fanboys in the room. They'd scream like teenage girls if Apple announced a downgrade in one of it's products. (It's the Retropod!)

What did they announce, well- There's not very much left that's going to have DRM on iTunes. That's pretty cool. There's also going to be a three tiered price structure on the service from now on. 99 cents is still there, but there's also 69 cents- which I predict will be used only for old crap -and a (ready?) 1.29 price point. Which I predict will be forced onto us for anything new or wanted in any way. I'm not very happy about that.

You might be asking if there's anything that wasn't iPod related at the show. And the answer is: not really.

There was an update to the Macbook line, but it wasn't even really worth mentioning. 17" screen, unibody construction, blah, blah, blah...

I was hoping for the Mac tablet or a 32 gig iPhone. Letdown.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Steve Jobs NOT dead

Steve Jobs has released a statement to the press that basically states that he's okay and his cancer, long suspected of having returned, has not come back.

This is fantastic news for Jobs and his family, but also for the legion of Mac fans that have been tearing their hair out over the possible loss of Jobs. He will be retiring at some point folks- but not quite yet as Jobs states that he will, in fat, stay on as CEO of Apple while he goes through some treatment. Though it should be added that he will still not be appearing at MacWorld this week and is quite done with the show. (as is Apple- This is their last appearance as a company at the event)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Industry lay-offs continue

Engadget has a story up about tech audio giant Creative and their recent lay-offs. The MP3 player and computer audio component manufacturer is aparently cutting 2700 personnel from the payroll. These really are tough times but, as the story reads on Engadget, one of the reasons for the firings is - "demand for its music players tumbled."

I'm wondering if this has anything to do with the fact that Apple's iPhone is replacing not only many people's cell phones, but their standard Mp3 players also. I know it 86'd my Zune when I got it. I actually like the Zune better as a media device but it can't compare with the overall functionality of the iPhone.

Apple sold a whopping four million units in the 3G's first two hundred days on sale.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe Musings

MK vs DC is perhaps the most purely enjoyable fighter I've played in years and it's without a doubt the best MK I've played since MK2.

Understand this first - there's no excessive blood or gore or gruesome fatalities- And guess what? It doesn't matter. At all. The story mode in this game is unlike any other in the history of fighting games. (At least that I can recall)

For one thing, it's exceedingly well put together. It's well written and is chock full of fan service for any DC comics fan. It's the little touches, like the great character interactions, that are so very much appreciated. Most of this stuff is almost unheard of in a fighting game. This is a cohesive narrative that is pure comic book goodness. The DC ending alone will make you squeal with nerdy glee.

Technically, the game does have its flaws. Marvel vs Capcom this ain't. The combat, while not bad in any way, doesn't have the overall depth or flow of Capcom fighters. But if you like MK, you already knew that and you probably don't care. The graphics are terrific though, stages are vivid and well detailed and the characters themselves are very well done AND well animated. Some of the DC costumes have slight re-designs. Don't get all fanboy now; it's actually good and they all look really cool.

This is good stuff all around. Even if you're not the biggest fighting fan in the world- if you like classic DC characters, this will make you smile. Lex Luthor alone is worth the price of admission.

Bring on the sequel!