Friday, July 14, 2006

"Why Didn't He Have the Answer?"

You just lost three million dollars.
"The customer calls up and needs an answer. Your man didn't have the answer."
"Why didn't he have the answer?"
The Greatest Asset: Showing now.
I have seen this web ad at least a hundred times. Microsoft is trying to drive traffic to a site about business software using a short video as an incentive. The preview clips are interesting. So - silly me - I've tried to view it. Here's the site. Tagline: "your people + the right software = business success".

Has anybody successfully seen the video?

I have tried a half-dozen times on a variety of computers, both PC/IE and Mac/FireFox. It requires the Windows Media plugin (there's no alternative realvideo or quicktime link), the movie is streamed, and their streaming server is seriously overloaded. The result is that one typically gets to watch the first third of the movie in jumpy fits and starts before the server finally disconnects for good and posts some sort of connection error or until the viewer loses patience with the tiny trickle of frames coming in, gives up, and leaves the site.

If this is an example of how my business would work better if I partnered with Microsoft, I think I'll pass.

UPDATE: I finally managed to see the whole thing; it's a nice application of the Ghost-of-Christmas-Past idea. Pity it took two hours to download a small 8-minute video over broadband. Somebody at Microsoft needs to get a decent Quicktime server or use a few cheap Linux machines to distribute their load better.

The Green Lantern Theory of Geopolitics

Matthew Yglesias suggests a Green Lantern Theory of Geopolitics:
Suffice it to say that I think all this makes an okay premise for a comic book. But a lot of people seem to think that American military might is like one of these power rings. They seem to think that, roughly speaking, we can accomplish absolutely anything in the world through the application of sufficient military force. The only thing limiting us is a lack of willpower.

What’s more, this theory can’t be empirically demonstrated to be wrong. Things that you or I might take as demonstrating the limited utility of military power to accomplish certain kinds of things are, instead, taken as evidence of lack of will. Thus we see that problems in Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t reasons to avoid new military ventures, but reasons why we must embark upon them.

ht: Jim Henley