Analyst believes Leopard will ‘integrate Windows interoperability’

Since Steve Jobs announced the switch to Intel nearly two years ago, it’s been continually rumored that Macs would gain the ability to run Windows applications natively within OS X. And with Jobs set to reveal Leopard’s “secret features” at June’s Worldwide Developers Conference, the idea has taken hold of at least one long-time Mac analyst.

In a client note, PiperJaffray analyst Gene Munster wrote of the WWDC that the firm is “expecting a full-feature demonstration of Leopard, including a demo of how Leopard will integrate Windows interoperability.”

And if it doesn’t happen, I’ll just have to add it to the list of Biggest Apple Rumors (that never came true) along with the whole ‘iPhone delayed to October’/Engadget fiasco.

Analyst Sees 9.5M IPod Sales in 3Q

I Hate Transperency

I hate transparency. Only recently, though. I used to love it.
And Mac OS X is littered with it. It’s everywhere – in the Dock, in Terminal, in Dashboard, etc.
At one point, you could see about 5 layers of transparency at once on my screen, like this:
An example of multiple layers of transparency on my desktop.
Yup, pretty ridiculous.
But recently, I’ve decided that I hate transparency.
Sure it’s pretty, but I realized that transperency is the difference between easy-to-read and hard-to-read; the difference between strain on my eyes and beautiful text. So I turned off transparency in every place I could, and I encourage you to do it to.
Here’s some places to start:

  • In Terminal, go to Terminal –> Window Settings –> Color, and drag the Transparency slider all the way to the left.
  • In Adium, go to Adium –> Preferences –> Appearance, and drag the Opacity slider all the way to the right (to 100%).
  • In NewsFire, go to NewsFire –> Preferences –> Interaction, and uncheck Window behavior: Fade main window when inactive.

Since I’ve done that, I’m much happier using my Mac, and my eyes are happier too.
In addition to encouraging you to remove transparency from your Mac in every place you can, I also encourage Apple to remove it from many places. Not all, for example, I don’t think that Dashboard should have a transparent background, but in places like menus for example, which are slightly transparent, and it’s difficult for users to remove this transparency.
So, what’s your view on transparency?

Level 3 Shocker

Level 3 is cutting 12% of it workforce, a move it expects to save the company $60-to-$70 million a year. Why the cuts? Despite the promise of VoIP, CEO Jim Crowe says that the end demand from the customers of its wholesale customers is taking a little longer to materialize. Why am I not surprised? Two reasons. First, the VoIP hype has gotten ahead of the market realities. Remember there were only a million VoIP customers at the end of 2004. The market grows exponentially, lets say to 10 million by end of 2005, and each customer pays say $20 a month, or $240 a year, it will be a $2.4 billion a year market. Level 3’s cut is going to be a percentage of that. Second reason is that when you are a wholesale provider, then you are always at the mercy of your resellers. So that’s something Level 3 cannot do anything about. Last point – I have often said VoIP is a deflationary force – it will gain popularity but it will be tough to grow the revenues. Everyone will face the same problem going forward – its not rocket science, its simple logic. The bandwidth prices, while not declining as rapidly as say a year ago are still declining, and there is too much capacity. Having said that, Level 3 is making the right moves – managing itself and waiting for the end demand to come.

Bobby, you got a problem?

Foundry Networks just lost its CTO, Karl Triebes to F5 Networks. What gives? Silicon Valley insiders say that it might be something to do with mercurial ways of founder-CEO Bobby Johnson. Triebes isn’t the only one leaving Foundry. NDCF reports that Jim Brear, Foundry’s VP of Western U.S. sales, has said sayonara to the company. Brear joined the company in April from Force 10 Networks. Some say that Juniper Networks, which has secretly desired a switch maker was considering Foundry, but balked because they did not want to deal with BJ, who is a bit of a maverick!

IPod, the UpSide of OutSourcing?

Outsourcing has become such a hot button topic, that sometimes we often overlook the upside. While not a supporter of the trend, I did find one example where outsourcing/offshoring did come in handy. And that example is the most beloved toy of the 21st century, the IPod. The elegant digital music player which has become a must have accessory is as global a product as you can find. It was crafted and designed in United States, its innards were done somewhere in India, and it is made in the Far East.

bq. Realizing that the MP3 market was still in its infancy, Apple developed a layered design chain tuned for an early-stage market to create the iPod. Even more unusual for Apple, it relied on a platform and reference design created by a third party, PortalPlayer, of Santa Clara, Calif. Founded in 1999, PortalPlayer has a stellar cast of Silicon Valley executives and investors, including renowned venture capitalist Gordon Campbell.

The mp3 encoder and controller chip that power the device come from Santa Clara, California-based company called PortalPlayer. (Thanks to a gag order, Portal Player it seems cannot talk about it.) (Other components include a Wolfson Microelectronics Ltd. stereo digital-to-analog converter, a flash memory chip from Sharp Electronics Corp., a Texas Instruments 1394 firewire interface controller, and a power management and battery charging IC from Linear Technologies Inc, a Toshiba hard drive and a Sony planar lithium battery. How do I know this? Well this article says so!) PortalPlayer integrated a lot of the silicon stuff and delivered a system on a chip solution that powers most IPods today.

IpodPortalPlayer has a massive operation in India – about 100 engineers who work on firmware and other embedded systems. “”We serve a rapidly growing consumer electronics segment which can often have unpredictable and cyclical demand. By moving to the ODC model, we will give our customers access to a highly skilled development team that is capable of scaling up or down as demand shifts, and yet will allow us to maintain the lowest possible overhead cost,” Portal Player CEO said in a press release. It was one of the reasons, the company has been able to deliever a lot of different variations of its chipset to the MP3 player market, including many variations of IPod. The team in India worked helped accelerate the chipset development, a key reason why Apple was able to market IPod so quickly. Rapid improvements by the two development teams based in India and SIlicon Valley have been reason why the IPod is in its third generation.

bq. PortalPlayer’s platforms include system-on-chip (SoC) technology optimized for portable music devices. The first was based on dual ARM7TDMI® microprocessor cores to provide twice the performance of alternative devices. The SoC was also designed to directly support virtually all flash media and rotating media including CD-R/W and hard drives. It included on-chip SRAM and cache, an LCD controller and an LCD bridge interface. (Portal Player)

And as bob your head to the beat of Kylie Minogue blasting on the lil white devil, think about this: not always, but sometimes offshoring does offer an upside!