July 29, 2008



Bit of interesting reading from Gliving of all places. Terrafugia has a hybrid which is having its first full scale model produced in Woburn, Massachusetts. It looks good, but I think that Terrafugia needs to really study the market they are attempting to enter. There are good products (Automobile, Airplane) and there are good products in concept (The flying car). Some well loved products are just not meant to be crossbrids, especially when their respective industries are undergoing such massive change, that will undoubtedly change the way we look at their products.

I do not see an immediate future of consumers that drive out of their garage, on to the highway, and up into the sky. The worlds infrastructure is not designed for it and neither are we. I am however interested to watch as our daily land based transportation system gets leaner and greener, while travel at 17,000 feet gets cheaper. A near future of hybrids (50pmg) and Honda Jets ($4m and lower) is just the sort of future I intend to have.

Terrafugia's well touted “flip of the switch” wing gadgetry, brings back fond memories of Roger Moore's “flip of the switch” Lotus/submarine. I'm sure they can make space next to the Lotus in the warehouse of useless crossbrids, ill throw in my old Flowbee (Vacuum/Clipper) for good measure.


I would rarely classify myself as the irritating one on any flight, but working on my laptop and communicator, with 2 glasses of water (filled about 7 times on the red eye flight), and elbows sharply pointed out, I might see why some would find me difficult to be with. I was enjoying a blast from China past, with Chinese opera blaring on microphone speakers only slightly less irritating then the constant jabbering and cholera induced hacking by sexually frustrated middle aged ladies. There were sunflower seeds littering the aisles and tiny curious heads peering at my angry typing, through the setbacks.

In the China I started my business in, this would classify as a “relaxing flight.” you cannot imagine how filthy and uncomfortable they used to be. With globalization and modernization, these sort of experiences are slowly fading away. Pity. They brought a raw, poetic beauty that can only be fully appreciated from a foreign point of view.

I was rudely jolted from this cheerful reverie when my seat mate, while crossing over during turbulence, abruptly landed square on me, pausing briefly like an overeager Mexican stripper and catching me quite by surprise. So much for my water and communicator. So much for her dignity. As our eyes met and she gave an awkward but warm, over the shoulder smile, my mind reached back several hours to the cross eyed check in agent that put me in between a bathroom frequenting Shanghainese and a comatose Yunan government official.

The eyes, the steely, mismatched eyes. I felt ever so slightly ashamed to continue to stare at this China Southern manager, noticing the small details that might elude one less frustrated. A small and crease lined mouth (no doubt from years of spitting), His aggravated posture and translucent skin, a mutant cross between Gollum and your common Napoleonic stance. And the non symmetrical eyes that gazed in different directions, piercing and confusing as I couldn't figure how he could work a computer??

I refused to acknowledge his argument in broken English, because I knew it insulted years of classroom drills and quite frankly because It pleased me to see this troglodyte get even more incensed. Of course, my insistence in answering in broken Chinese probably did not help the situation much. It was a battle I lost before I even started and I took home the grand prize of 20 kilos for overweight luggage-- or roughly the full price of an economy class ticket.

I have little doubt that the onslaught of these new “fees” are due to the staggering rise in oil prices, I just wish there was a more graceful way for airline companies to handle their spreading costs. My Italian friend says it best when he angrily haggles with the airline personnel: “look at me!!,” 6ft, toned and in a nice suit, “you see, I weigh little but my seat mates are fat and heavy. They have bags that are 1 kilo under limit, but weight 10 kilos more as a person! It is fair, you should not charge me overweight!” When you are tired, in need of a shower, and waiting in line... that sort of philosophy makes a whole lot of sense.

Things are not going to get any easier for airline companies or frequent fliers. The last decade of battling between low cost and premium carriers has slimmed margins across the industry. Oil prices may level but will most likely remain in the vicinity of their current levels and the American economy is in a recession and with it the rest of the world. We will be seeing a good number of mergers, buyouts and bankruptcy's in the coming year or two. I'll bet my value-diminished frequent flyer miles on it!


I spent a perfectly good Sunday in the office, not an ideal day, but since a friend of mine was so kind as to leave a frozen 10 year old bottle of Laphroig, it passed by quickly. We are starting the migration from Mac's to Linux's new Ubuntu operating system which to my pleasant surprise has been quite amazing. This system runs practically virus free, comes with all the necessary applications to run a business, and best of all, runs so lean that I've been able to pull some late 90's hardware off the antiquities shelf for a new lease on life. These days I'm not the only one that seems to think highly of Linux. Dell has announced that it would install Ubuntu on more of its desktops, Canonical (Linux distributor) seems to be deftly maneuvering around IP infringement lawsuits, and all of the cheap Taiwanese/Korean computers that started this Linux craze are still, 1 year later, flying off the shelves. In general I think the public has just gotten sick of constantly paying for more advanced software and hardware that does not work right. Even as a die hard mac user, I am finding the quality shortcomings of the new apple machinery hard to ignore,and with the all aluminum notebooks due out soon (you can't build them like you used to and yet your experimenting with new materials??), I feel secure in my decision to switch over to Ubuntu. Bill Gates has built his fortune off licenses and Steve Jobs started the model, lets see how these guys react to Linus Torvalds and his creation!

July 22, 2008

Blogging Break

I have been on a bit of a blogging break, not intentionally I can assure you. There are times when life just has you wound up to the point where you just cannot get the creative juices flowing. Its all coming back, writing a new post...as I post!