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I, Cringely - The Survival of the Nerdiest with Robert X. Cringely
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The Pulpit
Pulpit Comments
November 18, 2008 -- Not Enough Indians
Status: [CLOSED]

Do a blog or something we need your brain power. Even by subscription to earn a living.
Bill Kunz

William William Kunz | Nov 18, 2008 | 7:14PM

What does this have to with Indians?

Siddu | Nov 18, 2008 | 7:21PM

We'll miss you here Bob, and seek you out wherever you next land (even the Moon).

Keith | Nov 18, 2008 | 7:26PM

Your Yahoo piece highlights a possible dilemma - telling those !@#$ers at MicroLimp to (fill in whatever expletive first comes to your mind) might have been bad for the SHAREHOLDERS but was it necessarily bad for YAHOO itself? Getting into bed with a bear is a serious problem when they roll over, as they inevitably do.

I hope the job-offer heavens open widely for you soon and deluge you with possible openings for your 'loose lips sink ships' commentaries.
Best Regards,

Lewis WILLIAMS | Nov 18, 2008 | 7:27PM

Mr. Cringely,
This is one reader who will sorely miss reading your excellent and thought provoking columns. I hope you return to this writing a column or blog in one form or another so we can all continue to both learn and profit from your keen insight into the world of science and technology.
Frederick Brill
Mt. Prospect, IL

Frederick | Nov 18, 2008 | 7:27PM

Go independent! I will pay $0.50 per column.

Jim Spacebloom | Nov 18, 2008 | 7:30PM

I've been in a cave I guess. Had no idea this gig was up soon. You will be missed. Good luck.

John | Nov 18, 2008 | 7:34PM

Does anybody else want to see Sarah Palin in charge of Yahoo? Let's get a campaign going now!!!

Bruce | Nov 18, 2008 | 7:36PM

A big part of the Yahoo's stock decline was from people who sold the stock hoping to make a profit from the Microsoft deal. I think avoiding this deal is actually a brilliant move by Yahoo.

I use Yahoo services like Flickr, e-mail and financial tools because they work great. I simply do not see how those tools would have improved under Microsoft and that's what matters to me, the customer, is how will the user experience improve.

Yahoo has made a lot of big mistakes, but the company still has money in the bank, smart people, but saddled with two CEOs who were not up to the task. With a better CEO, a clear, focused direction (it's kind of rudderless now), I think Yahoo could remain a strong number two in the internet world.

Oh and Bob, no matter where you go, I'm going to follow. If only to point and laugh.

Wally Glenn | Nov 18, 2008 | 7:59PM

What ever happened to "what's best for our customer". We have seen the customer drop from #1 to what, 6 or 7. Now it's the executive board and the shareholders are number 1 and 2, your pick. I believe that Jerry did what he thought was best for the company and his customers, and yes M$ is evil.

Comcast's thing is they want to charge you to use third party services or use theirs. They keep pushing their VOIP service, which is a bandwidth pig. Pure and simple greed.

Best of luck in what ever you do.

Mike R.
P.S Did you ever get your fax machine working through Vonage?

Mike R | Nov 18, 2008 | 8:07PM


You and I go way back together, into the Accidental Empires era, and we have a twisted history that you don't even know about (there's a long story I should share with you sometime over a few beers; it involves competing TV production companies and battles over video rights, etc.). Suffice to say that I hope I'll still be able to read your thoughts after next year. Please keep us informed about your plans, and update us on the progress of the moon mission.

Terry | Nov 18, 2008 | 8:09PM

Bandwidth caps are always about positioning (reserving) the right to charge for usage. If the ISPs really were worried about the top few percent of banwidth abusers they would simply impose a top 5% rule, punishing those that fall into the top 5% of the gap between the average user, and the peak user.

There is no reason at all to pick an arbitrary number which as you point out, is quite easy to circumvent through careful monitoring and social coordination.

earthling | Nov 18, 2008 | 8:09PM

Thanks Bob, very much, for all the advice over the years. Awesome stuff.

Best of luck with it all.


Mark | Nov 18, 2008 | 8:14PM

Do you know what they call people who study Sarah Palin? -- Palintologists. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

I can think of several things Yahoo could do to enhance their business and grow the company. I don't think the company is a lost cause. What they need is a good leader who is a good out-of-the-box thinker.

Perhaps another of Yahoo's leadership and Jerry Yang's problems is they haven't listened to a suggestion or good idea for years. I'd bet they don't even listen to their own internal ideas. They've been entrenched for years.

John | Nov 18, 2008 | 8:20PM

Microsoft is moving solely on momentum right now. They would all but disappear if not for the tens of billions of dollars they can throw at anything to keep themselves shambling around like a B-movie zombie for many years.

I hardly think not allowing yourself to be bought out by them is a bad move.

p.s. I've been reading you since the days of InfoWorld (how's Pammy?)... I'm sure your voice will find another outlet. You've got too much interesting stuff to say. Hey, even a column by Bob Cringely where he gets something wrong is still more insightful than almost anything by almost any other columnist.

ConceptJunkie | Nov 18, 2008 | 8:24PM

Who really cares about a 250 GB rate cap when Frontier is implementing a 5 GB cap? Even if you don't download movies, how many automatic software updates do you need to push you over the rate cap? Why aren't you writing anything about this boneheaded plan that really screws the customers?

w | Nov 18, 2008 | 8:43PM

The comcast cap is kind of a good thing - for years now, we've been screaming about the whole unlimited service until you use it mess. We want a bright line, and 250G for a cap is one half of it. The other half is a simple way to see how much BW you've used in the billing period. If I knew when the period boundary was, I could write it myself (most routers track bits on and out via snmp), but Comcast should provide this themselves.

I think Bob might be right about not raising the cap, but that sort of thing really should be dealt with via regulation - comcast generally has a cable monopoly wherever it is, so it is subject to local government, and it should fall to them to make sure comcast plays fair (god help us all).

chris | Nov 18, 2008 | 8:59PM

"Frankly, I have no idea, but as a guy with kids ages six, four, and two, I can assure you I'm not retiring. Guys like me don't retire, we just get lots of life insurance and work until we die."

So when are you planning to die? :D

How would we go without your occasional gems and some time cannon fodder for roughlydrafted?

Norton | Nov 18, 2008 | 9:24PM

Bob, I thank you for many years in engaging stories and ideas. Your columns rarely failed to delight and inspire me.

I will always cherish the time that I sent you a comment about DSL deployment and the economics of switched voice circuits, and a few weeks later you gave us a well researched and well thought out column on that very subject. This may have been a coincidence. I hope you don't mind if I hold to the hope that something I wrote inspired you.

tokind | Nov 18, 2008 | 9:44PM

Where ever you land, please keep up the good work. I will miss the prognostication, predictions, guesses, and perhaps a lie here or there.

James | Nov 18, 2008 | 9:51PM

Hi Bob, been following your comments for many years, and appreciate your comments greatly.

With the Comcast limits of 250Gb, the only comparison I can make is to the rest of the world. I believe the USA is one of the VERY few places where there is unlimited downloads. In Australia, where I live, a 50Gb plan is huge, and very expensive. Well over $100 per month. Most people are on 500Mb to 5Gb plans, which still cost $30-$60 per month. Most of Europe also have similar plans. It makes me wonder what the future is for Software as a Service and Cloud Computing. With the sort of bandwidth limits that are in force in most places around the globe, there is no way these can thrive anywhere but the USA. I don't know if anyoe involved in the design of these projects has consulted anyone from outside the USA, but I guess not.

Good luck in finding your new position. I look forward to following you to your new Pulpit (or soapbox)

George Hoath | Nov 18, 2008 | 9:54PM

A bandwidth cap of 250GB doesn't bother me. What bothers me is Comcast's unreliability. They stopped saying "always on" some time ago, because they go down quite frequently. One of these days someone is going to pick up the phone to dial 911 and not get through, and Comcast's liability is going to be huge. Then they will learn why phone companies believe in redundancy and high availability.

Rick | Nov 18, 2008 | 10:03PM

250 Gig!!!
here in Alberta I have Telus dsl @ 30 bucks a month. The cap is 6 Gig!!!!

pcj | Nov 18, 2008 | 10:12PM

Well mate, (as we say in Australia) I insist on a weekly coloumn! Where else will I get my heads-up on the wonderful world of whatever you want to call it....good luck and take the shares next time they're offered!

Tom Hain | Nov 18, 2008 | 10:19PM

Are you going off to cover the Apple market? You could become iCringley...

@Siddu - the reference is an American cultural isomorphism: "Too many chiefs, not enough indians". Amerinds, not natives of Indian subcontinent.

Nefarious Wheel | Nov 18, 2008 | 10:20PM

Sure... I miss one column, and Bob decides to leave!

Best of luck to you, and I'll try to periodically Google you to see where you are.


Brian F. | Nov 18, 2008 | 10:21PM

Bob--do you at least get to take your name with you this time?

Rick | Nov 18, 2008 | 10:23PM

NO> my voice of sanity in the land of hype is leaving?

You will be very sorely missed, and while I understand it must be very tiring to continually unravel the doublespeak in the tech industry there were those of us that truly appreciated the effort, time and energy you expended.

Best of luck and I'll miss you.


Shaynes | Nov 18, 2008 | 10:49PM

Whatever you end up doing, please keep the blog coming. Your voice must be heard

jack | Nov 18, 2008 | 10:50PM

Sure hope you are able to keep putting out the thoughtful ideas on potential insidious plans and corporate conspiracies. Good Luck in latching onto a great opportunity. Love to hear where you'll be in your last email...

fiddlepaddle | Nov 19, 2008 | 12:30AM

Please please PLEASE don't leave us for long, Bob. The I, Cringely podcast is one of the highlights of my week. I can't just read Dvorak's column.

I remember when I was in grade 10 computer class we watched your Triumph of the Nerds documentaries. It inspired me to presue a career in IT, always jubilant about being the nerd I am.

If at all possible could you setup a mailing list or RSS feed to announce your return. because I think none of us want to miss a single letter by Robert X. Cringely.

andrew | Nov 19, 2008 | 12:46AM

1.)If the Barack administration won't hire you, perhaps you can get vetted by the Yahoo! board and serve as as their new CTO. Hey, it's a paycheck.
2.)Am I the only punter here who is happy Carl Icahn got screwed on the deal?
3.)What do you do if are Yahoo! now? Hire a Steve Jobs protege - I hear Tony Fadell has got some free time.

Kevin Kunreuther | Nov 19, 2008 | 12:59AM

WTF Bob -- your leaving is the unkindest recessionary cut yet. Have they lost their minds? I must have missed the column where you first mentioned The End -- went to look back at earlier November columns and was met by the dreaded [an error occurred while processing this directive] so already they are pulling out your circuit boards. Rage against the night! We need your insights, be they full baked, half, or addled. Leave a trail, we'll follow you. And thanks.

Dan Casali | Nov 19, 2008 | 1:26AM

That Comcast idea is the dumbest thing you've ever written by far.

If I understand you correctly, you counteract Comcast's plan to stop 5% of its customers from using more than 250 GB/month is to have 5% of Comcast's customers use 250 GB/month.

MikeN | Nov 19, 2008 | 1:40AM

If you say that 50% of Comcast traffic is used by high-downloaders, imposing a lower cap and cutting prices across the board by 40%-50% would be fair (with bandwidth supplement payments for high-bw users).

However, what we are witnessing is just another method to squeeze more money for a service some people can no longer live without in places where there is effectively no competition -- a very comfy position to be in for the monopoly provider.

Max | Nov 19, 2008 | 2:36AM

If Jerry really wanted to extract sweet justice for all of Microsoft's past sins he should have should have taken their money over crocodile tears. Microsoft is slowly starting to swirl around the bowl and Balmer is reaching for safety. I'd would have loved to see his expression had he successfully grabbed hold of what he didn't realize was actually a turd that was already swirling much faster.

Joe Sandmeyer | Nov 19, 2008 | 3:11AM

For a European perspective, one Belgian provider's tariffs (cable operator*):

20 EUR: 1 Mbps; 1GB limit**
31 EUR: 6 Mbps; 4GB limit**
43 EUR: 15 Mbps; 20GB limit**
61 EUR: 20 Mbps; 60GB limit**;***

Tariffs in most other European countries are much lower.


* tartiffs of Belgium's incumbent telco are equivalent;
** limit is upload and download combined. price and limit per month
*** also includes free access to the provider's WiFi hotspots.

Bart | Nov 19, 2008 | 3:30AM

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go." - Oscar Wilde

You definitely slot into the former Bob. Thanks.

Dingo | Nov 19, 2008 | 3:44AM

250 GB/month is still 8 GB/day.

With any reasonable codec that is still about 4 movies (DVD quality) per day.

I doubt that many people will watch more than that per day in video, and little else counts.

On the flip side, it could become an issue for high definition streaming as at 720p that would only be a few episodes of a series per day and might be an issue. At 1080p its maybe one good movie a day so maybe a problem there.

Michael | Nov 19, 2008 | 5:00AM

Re: Comcast -- Wow, I'm getting the feeling that this is a real issue out there. I guess I'm fortunate to be able to get my bandwidth from someone who puts ME first, an actual Internet Service Provider, not some cable company or telco.

Gonna miss your rants, Bob -- been with ya since the early Infoworld days.

Cabito | Nov 19, 2008 | 5:01AM

Please remember we are on the I Cringely mailing list.. use it to keep us posted wherever you find yourself..

Akpome | Nov 19, 2008 | 5:35AM

I forgot to mention after wishing you well last week, that it is not only you we will miss, but the occasional lunatics that post in your blogs. Joe Sandemeyer's metaphor this week really cracked me up. I haven't laughed so much for a long time (wiping the tears from my eyes now).

longtimereader | Nov 19, 2008 | 6:23AM

Boy, I will really miss your columns. I can't remember how long I've been reading them, but it's been many years. Best wishes for the future, and let us know where you land.

Richard Luna | Nov 19, 2008 | 7:16AM

Boy, I will really miss your columns. I can't remember how long I've been reading them, but it's been many years. Best wishes for the future, and let us know where you land.

Richard Luna | Nov 19, 2008 | 7:17AM

I have read almost all of your columns and I will miss them.

David Jensen | Nov 19, 2008 | 7:38AM

I have read almost all of your columns and I will miss them.

David Jensen | Nov 19, 2008 | 7:38AM

First Opus, now you.

After 11 years here, and untold years before that on the back page of Infoworld, (yes, some of us still remember) where will we turn to get our weekly fix? Our pithy insight? Our Steve Jobs needling?

Your column will be dearly missed. Please let us know where we can keep up.

And thank you.

Dave | Nov 19, 2008 | 7:42AM

Bob, we'll miss you in Paris, France, too.

Louis | Nov 19, 2008 | 8:46AM

I've been reading this column for ten years. I'll miss you, Bob!

Here's an idea for your new job. Write a weekly Internet column on the tech industry!

Mark | Nov 19, 2008 | 9:06AM

Bob, you're one of the great old souls of the high tech world. I hope we meet again in our next lives. Namaste.

Fake Steve | Nov 19, 2008 | 9:11AM

You could go work for Comcast...maybe set them straight.

trevor | Nov 19, 2008 | 9:19AM

What to do after December 15?

I understand that Yahoo is in need of a new CEO...

David W. | Nov 19, 2008 | 9:39AM

Your weekly edutainment will be missed:( Good luck in whatever opportunity comes your way. I think you would make a good VC firm strategist. Maybe in a firm that focuses on applying technology to alternative energy or conservation. Whatever you do, have fun with it. Also, consider carrying on in a blog, subscription email, or other format for your fans.



Dale Sykora | Nov 19, 2008 | 9:41AM


In regards to Cringely's future, I would love to see you host a daily technology/financial show on a business network--much like the old "Digital Jam" from the late CNNfn. Put that NerdTV footage to use. I wish CNBC or Fox Business News would see the gap in coverage. With the change in administration and financial issues, I think we are going to see a lot more emphasis on the technology market as a way to save our economy. Then of course, CTO of the USA is a great position.

Best Regards,


Vincente | Nov 19, 2008 | 10:03AM
The best thing Yang could have done for Yahoo shareholders was to sell the company to Microsoft. He chose, instead, to do what he thought was best for the Yahoo COMPANY, which is weird given that it no longer feels anything like it did back in those glory days. He threw away $20+ billion just to preserve a memory.

The attitude exhibited here is exactly the problem. The CEO should not be just looking out for the shareholders, but also the company itself. And typically what is truly best for the company is really the best thing for the shareholders too - in the long term. Having a short sighted position of "what's best for me _today_" is not good, and ultimately leads to short sighted planning, which just causes problems like the financial problem we have today.

Part of the problem with the financial crisis is that we said "we'll give people credit so they can buy stuff" without regard to whether they really deserved to have that credit. Sure it was good for a time, but eventually the reason they didn't deserve it becomes apparent and the problem becomes massive. Sadly for us though, it is only one of many prongs of the problem. But needless to say, encouraging companies to only look at what is good for the shareholders today is not good.

I don't think I've asked this of you before, but with respect to the Yahoo deals: please stop and think before you write.

And for the shareholders - patience is key. Don't like that, get out of the stock market.

As per Icahn, from what I can tell, he just bought into Yahoo to make money on a Yahoo-Microsoft deal. Anyone (including Icahn) that buys for that reason is not looking out for the company they are buying, and if the company doesn't do what they want then they best sell and walk away. Otherwise, they'll do what Icahn did and hurt the company more.

I hardly blame Yang for Yahoo not selling out. I praise him for it. I do, however, blame Microsoft and Icahn for dredging it through the mud and destroying the stock prices.

And yes, I am a Yahoo Customer. And should a deal with Microsoft have happened (or should it ever), I will at that point take my money elsewhere. I'm sure there are many other Yahoo customers that will do likewise. So a Yahoo-Microsoft deal is not good for the Yahoo the Company regardless.

And, btw, Yang didn't "flubbed an ad sales agreement with Google" - Google dropped it because of possible government antitrust issues plain and simple - of course, those government investigators had a lot of prodding by Microsoft and a couple others to do so. So again, you can thank Microsoft for that too. And no, I'm not trying to blame the world on Microsoft. They - and I believe you even stated this at one point - said they would do so.

TemporalBeing | Nov 19, 2008 | 10:18AM

I used to read your column back at InfoWorld, then you disappeared. I rediscovered you trying to pick up a WiFi signal down in the valley with a Pringles can and have been reading regularly since. I've enjoyed it and will miss my weekly dose.

Good Luck.

philip | Nov 19, 2008 | 11:39AM

Thank you very much for the insite, humour, and throught provoking article. I do remember Info World! You have my email, please let me know when / if you will be publishing again.

Gord Maric | Nov 19, 2008 | 11:40AM

I'm sure you are correct about Comcast cap dream of increasing prices, but there is just one program with their scheme. The FCC recent vote to free public access to the white space. Wireless broadband is on the way and maybe we all can unplug Comcast.

TJGodel | Nov 19, 2008 | 12:21PM

I guess your fancy about microsoft has a perverted agenda behind it and not to mention I love microsoft myself BUT bravery goes down the drain when people like you can't think beyond their blinkers!!!

sumeet | Nov 19, 2008 | 1:13PM

Thank you for all the columns. They have helped me understand so very much more about the web and computer world.

If you have time, please consider maintaining a blog. Also, I hope that archives of the column and NerdTV will stay on the site.

Philip Wall | Nov 19, 2008 | 1:15PM

Yang may still turn out to be right. not merging with a sinking ship may not turn out to be such a bad thing in the long run even though it is very bad for share holders in the short term it may turn out to be much better for people who use and work at Yahoo, we will see

"Get it" seem to be the cliche people in tech use when they don't fully understand what they are trying to convince you of.
Nader gets it right more often than most

Peter Eller | Nov 19, 2008 | 1:28PM

An additional note on Comcast... They recently dropped their upload speeds by a factor of three. Their 8 Mbps/2 Mbps service is now capped 768 kbps upload. Their 6 Mbps/1 Mbps service now has its upload speed capped at 384 kbps. Prices stayed the same (i.e., less service, same price).

Greg | Nov 19, 2008 | 1:32PM

I've been reading your columns since... As a non-tech person I have really enjoyed your insights into the IT world. You will be missed.

Glennf | Nov 19, 2008 | 1:43PM

Thank you Bob for your years of columns. I found you by accident back in the 90's and have been a faithful but quiet fan. I am sure there are many more of us out there.

I would feel greatly amiss to not take this opportunity to thank you for your insight and ideas - wild and crazy though some may be - that made me think!!!

There is no one else out there like you. I will miss you. A suggestion.....Publish your columns in a book adding a comment to each telling of the historical framework for each article and how it has stood up to time.

Eric | Nov 19, 2008 | 1:43PM

I am depressed. I can't believe your ending this great column, I look forward to it.

Best of luck!

Jim | Nov 19, 2008 | 2:45PM

Don't come back to Wayne County, it's getting grim in the rust belt! I'm sure you will surface somewhere. Could you get with the former TechTV (Digg, Rev3, TWiT) guys and find a home?

Don Clifton | Nov 19, 2008 | 3:11PM

Bob, I'm another one who will surely miss you. And it's interesting to see that the usual naysayers have been sheepishly absent in the last 2 weeks.

I was thinking of suggesting some sort of tip jar for you, but even if each commenter had thrown in $1 each, you would still have only got $100 a week. And you can't bring up 3 kids on that. "Will Blog for Food" probably does not do it... On the other hand, can you monetise your blog at $0.10 a view? Does that make $200?

Let's hope Channel 4 can find you some more screen time for IT related programs. No planes this time though!

Adam D | Nov 19, 2008 | 4:03PM

I'm surprised you don't see the Comcast cap for the monopolistic anti-trust violation that it is.

Here are things that count against the cap:

1. VOIP apps like Skype and Vonage
2. iTunes and Netflix movie purchases/rentals
3. Hulu and Youtube and other (legal) ways to get TV

Here are things that DON'T count against the cap:

1. Comcast's VOIP product
2. Comcast's video on demand product
3. Comcast's DVR

Forget bandwidth - this is about Comcast leveraging its monopoly in one area (broadband access) to create an unfair advantage and crush competition in other domains - most notably HD video.

Anyway - I'll surely be missing this column.

Eric | Nov 19, 2008 | 4:39PM

Best wishes on your new adventures, 'though I will miss this column. It has been the most thoughtful source of news and analysis of the tech industry I've come across.

Jerry Wang did sort of an inverse function of what Steve Case did with the AOL-Time Warner deal, where he took his overvalued ISP/gateway and gave his stockholders controlling interest in a media company with serious and sustainable assets. A d*m fool deal for Time Warner, but just plain brilliant for AOL. I couldn't believe the Time Warner folks agreed to the deal. Wang turned down a probably reasonable deal, then the market tanked, making a better deal unlikely in the foreseeable future.

John L. | Nov 19, 2008 | 8:19PM

"Jerry Yang, like Nader, still doesn't get it."

What doesn't Nader get? In the 60s he wrote that GM was an evil, poorly managed company. 40 years later everyone realizes that. Or that capitalism is broken? He's been saying that for decades too.

Cringely, what is it that YOU get. Not even the obvious, far as I can tell. Disappear into your "ether", will you please.

mkkby | Nov 19, 2008 | 9:02PM

Hey Bob,

Great to hear that your starting out on yourself. I have lots of ideas on how the world is going to change in the next 50 years and I want to build new types of orgainzations based on the powerlaws and longtail.

do ping me if ur interested.


Praveen | Nov 19, 2008 | 9:56PM

"Moon shot in tow" HAHA!!!

Bob you are good at pointing out the failures of EVERYONE. You failed royally at your "moon shot" and blew off everyone involved in the project without even a goodbye. Why don't you leave here with one shred of dignity and admit YOU FAILED. C'mon guy...

Steve Yakoban | Nov 19, 2008 | 10:36PM

Bob – Sorry to hear you leaving. I have been reading your column longer than I want to remember. I have always thoroughly enjoyed it. Good luck with the future and stay in touch.



PS. If you think Comcast is bad, try dealing with Telkom in South Africa or what we like to call Hellkom

Grant | Nov 20, 2008 | 2:23AM

First you, now RealDanLyons aka Fake Steve Jobs quit blogging. Who's next, Pamela Jones?

Kevin Kunreuther | Nov 20, 2008 | 2:55AM

Why can I use Skype on the App Store on my iPod Touch? I just turned it into a free phone! Is Apple trying to punish AT&T for some reason? Why buy an iPhone when you can get a $229 iTouch and a $29.99 Apple headset & mic that plugs in?

Kevin Kunreuther | Nov 20, 2008 | 7:50AM

Kevin Kunreuther wrote:
"Why can I use Skype on the App Store on my iPod Touch? I just turned it into a free phone! Is Apple trying to punish AT&T for some reason? Why buy an iPhone when you can get a $229 iTouch and a $29.99 Apple headset & mic that plugs in?"

Ya, just try walking around with it, or try using it when you have a flat in the middle of nowhere, far, far away from any open wireless hotspot...

Sam | Nov 20, 2008 | 7:56AM

Comcast Cap:

Remember when Comcast first took over AT&T? Your download speed option was about 3Mbps. In the past few years, the lowest speed available has been raised and they also have the burst service. They have a history of increasing bandwidth, and I would think they will continue the same policy to useage caps, increasing them as time goes on and their network capacity increases.

EricG | Nov 20, 2008 | 8:27AM

I think you're wrong on bandwidth pricing. Give everybody 300 gigs per month, then charge for anything over that. Watch the amount of spam and other mal uses of the internet drop, and fast, as it starts to cost the abusers.

larry | Nov 20, 2008 | 10:46AM

I would challenge your "5%, then 10%, then 20, then 40": you are assuming the propotion of users of a given bandwith doubles every year, or that bandwith usage doubles, or that bandwth costs are halfed? I'm just wondering, because none are presumably the same.

+1 for the "very" at the end.

Bertil Hatt | Nov 20, 2008 | 10:52AM

Bob - I have been reading for years and will truly miss the column.

With Comcast it looks like they see the shift from broadcast TV to IP TV and want to be positioned to charge for it.

Tim W | Nov 20, 2008 | 1:43PM

Bob, I've really enjoyed your columns, sorry to hear they'll be coming to an end soon. Best of luck.

And mkkby, I think Bob's referring to Nader's presidential bids, he's hardly the first to suggest that they've become an exercise in futility.

Russ Born | Nov 20, 2008 | 4:24PM

Rogers in Toronto Canada has had a cap in place for months now. 25$ is the max they will charge for breaking the cap, but they account for all your usage.

So my bill for internet is 462.00 minus 437.00 discount to make 25$. On a slow month. For something that used to be unlimited.

Something tells me that one day I will actually get a bill for 400$+

Quinn | Nov 20, 2008 | 6:02PM

Bob - say it ain't so! The economic downturn is bad enough, but no Cringely - that's really depressing...

Best of luck to you and the family - I will truly miss your column.

Angus MacB | Nov 20, 2008 | 6:19PM

I thought about writing or calling PBS and plead with them to make you an offer. I figured it would be a waste of time. If they valued you more, we wouldn't be having this discussion. I then called my local PBS station and expressed my disappointment.

Regarding Comcast. My cable (Charter) phone uses a different DOCSIS channel than my internet connection. While they are using voip technology, it is on an entirely separate and isolated network. I'd bet cable's Video on Demand works in a similar way. To look at it differently, a typical CATV system can support about 120 channels, each 6 Mhz wide. The amount of bandwidth they put into your home is amazing and they can partition it for THEIR services. The problem is non-cable phone and video services must use your INTERNET connection and that is a constrained resource by your cable company.

Yahoo could be saved. I've found them to be one of the most resistant companies to outside input. (Apple is worse) The best companies have great listening skills. They listen to their employees. They listen to the customers. Yahoo has very poor listening skills. You also have to listen to your shareholders. Jerry didn't listen to anyone.

We have a local loss here. Our beloved brewer is now a division of Inbev. Their leaders did not listen to the shareholders. They did not pay attention to shareholder value. We're now looking at huge layoff's locally in a matter of weeks. Inbev believes in shareholder value. Soon if Yahoo doesn't get a good leader and learn to listen, they will be facing huge layoff's too.

Bob, please do not disappear from your readers. We need you, even when you are wrong. Thanks to government incompetence my savings have been trashed and I may get to work until I am 70. We need your insight to get there.

John | Nov 20, 2008 | 6:20PM

Would be nice to have some of the evil dirty Microsoft Money ( not the program ...the federal reserve notes ). And should anyone be surprised Cuban bilked Yahoo. The guy drips scam juice. Yahoo could not see this? They need to hire me because I can!

Finally....Let's figure out a way to harness the underemployed technology workers in brazil! .... I want to live there!.

Freemon Sandlewould | Nov 20, 2008 | 7:15PM

Re: the 250Gb Comcast cap: In Australia we pay more than you for pathetic plans. Mine is only 30Gb. There are some larger plans, but nothing like 250Gb and even for those you only have 5 hours a day when you can use most of your cap. It's a nightmare, but there's an extreme lack of competition in Oz in pretty much everything. Companies here don't try and deliver service. They just lobby the government to stop competitors setting up shop.

Bob always a good idea to line up a new job before leaving an old one, but then you *must* have a plan mustn't you? ;)

> 1) Microsoft is evil. Yang came of age in the Netscape era and saw Microsoft break the law to destroy that company and try to control the Internet.

Now that's funny, given how Yang and Yahoo were always hand in gland with the Chinese Communist Party handing over private e-mail and helping lock up dissidents. Yang should be indicted for high treason and his US citizenship revoked. Sorry, but they don't come much lower than Yang. Microsoft as unethical as their business practices may have undermined competitors, ripped off start ups and flaunted commercial law but AFAIK have never sent a dissident to prison.

Dave | Nov 20, 2008 | 8:57PM

As someone who hates Microsoft, I hope it now goes ahead and buys Yahoo. I say that because Miscrosoft will get few real benefits, and a pile of problems it will take at least half a decade to work through.

To take the most important area, search, what makes anyone think that a company that has completely blown it in this area will do any better if it gets a chance to mismanage another search operation that has been doing somewhat better? And if you were one of Yahoo's top search people, would you stay on if bought out by a company worse than you at search, or run off to Google?

eduardo | Nov 20, 2008 | 9:21PM

Bob, sorry Mr Cringely, whatever job you end up doing good luck and...can I come and work for you?

David | Nov 20, 2008 | 9:26PM

Hey, there's always a job for you in Porn, Bob!
(On the technology side, you know....)

Eric J. White | Nov 21, 2008 | 1:44AM

Well Bob if the Australian experience is anything to go by you could be right about the comcast cap. As Telstra has a monoploy on the copper wire based ADSL2+ network price gouging is the order of the day I currently pay $90AUS for 20gig peak (12.00noon to 2.00AM) and 40gig offpeak (2.00am to 12.00noon) if I exceed the cap my download speeds are shaped to 56K, and the best ADSL speed I get is 3meg anyway.

John Edwards | Nov 21, 2008 | 3:43AM

Bob, It's been a blast. Been with you since the net got really going in '96. Saw all your flicks. Good luck with whereever you land. You'll need it with those three younguns'

Cliff Barber | Nov 21, 2008 | 9:28AM

John only touched on the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bad broadband service here in Australia.
Caps, shaping, price gouging, connection dropouts and speeds never getting anywhere near the speed possible (even on "good" copper less than 2 KLM from the exchange) are the order of the day. You need to pray that you never have a "problem" with your connection because no one will fix it. I ended up having to buy a new DSL modem that was designed to cope with bad lines because my ISP and Telstra refused to fix the fault. Yet I only live 700 metres from the exchange.

Seems like comcast has been taking a few lessons on how not to do broadband.

stephen | Nov 21, 2008 | 6:37PM

Bob, the paradox of our massively mass culture is that there are very, very, few programs that warrant serious attention and consideration.

On learning that you will stop writing your column for PBS, I really did feel a loss of sorts; - something I haven't felt since The Sopranos went off the air.

I followed The Sopranos for the simple reason that I am interested in the dynamics of power in business and society.

I read your column for pretty much the same reason.

Your insight will be missed.

I wish you all the best in whatever you settle on as your next "big thing".

Saul | Nov 21, 2008 | 7:01PM

Bob, I have read your column for several years now. I will really miss your insite. Good luck with what ever you get into.

Brent | Nov 21, 2008 | 7:47PM

Lets complain abit more about Australia Broadband. I recently moved only 100km (60 miles) from the centre of the largest Metro area in the country, Sydney, and ADSL2+ isn't even available. Of course I knew this before moving but I'm stuck with standard ADSL at 1.5MB/s max with the only reasonably price deal being 36GB cap/month.
In reality it's a bargain compared to the rorting going on with the Telsa owned public telephone system. Basic line rental prices have skyrocketed so much in recent years the billing cycle has been changed from 1/4ly to monthly because "more customers have trouble paying a 3 monthly telephone bill" Who do you complain to when the government still owns half the company.

Paul | Nov 21, 2008 | 9:58PM

Bob, have you checked out the Brian Livingston/Windows Secrets newsletter business model? He asks for a unspecified yearly contribution and seems to be wildly successful in pulling in both money and editorial content. I'm good for at least $20 and would go higher if it included a certificate of authenticity for the Cringely mug I found at the Belle Glade Goodwill.

Fred Brockman | Nov 22, 2008 | 12:26AM

Come on. That's just the kind of story Cringley would pick apart. Seriously, that's all we get? You're quitting your job because it's the first time you have an opportunity to actually quit a job? For someone who sees beyond what's said through carefully crafted press releases, you should know that your loyal readers expect more than that. Maybe through these responses you're soliciting your replacement at PBS to see who comes up with the best alternative theory.

Chris Bernard | Nov 22, 2008 | 9:43AM

Bob. that's it! I'm quitting. No whys or wherefores. This smacks of Conan-Doyle's the Dog That Didn't Bark.

Ken Klenk | Nov 22, 2008 | 11:37AM

Hey Bob
Do not try to sell me that "I'm quitting" thing.
Just admit that you got fired again and you're pulling now that old stunt " You can't fire me - I'm quitting".
Anyway we will miss you here Bob.
I need now to delete pbs rss feed.
Good luck

wwwpirate | Nov 22, 2008 | 5:03PM

Hey Bob
Do not try to sell me that "I'm quitting" thing.
Just admit that you got fired again and you're pulling now that old stunt " You can't fire me - I'm quitting".
Any way we will miss you here Bob.
I need now to delete pbs rss feed.
Good luck

wwwpirate | Nov 22, 2008 | 5:05PM

Sigh.....Americans! The master complainers of the world. You bitch about a 250Gb cap. I have a 20Gb cap and I make do with it. Why? BECAUSE I DON'T FRICKIN LIVE ON THE INTERNET, THAT'S WHY!! Get a life for Heaven's sake.

Daniel Marois | Nov 22, 2008 | 10:38PM

Bob, been reading your articles for years. Best of luck and I'll be watching for the next job that will fire you.

Lareman | Nov 22, 2008 | 11:58PM

Shocked! You have been my favorite columnist since your early days as Cringe at InfoWorld. You must get another weekly column! Let us all know where it will appear. Unbeknownst to me at the time, you sat behind me at a Mexican restaurant in Aspen one night when you were in town to film Bill Joy, et al, for a PBS Special, and afterwards corrected a few of my factual errors, as I expatiated on the history of microcomputing for my GrassRootsTV show guests of the evening. Best of luck!

Richard Sherman | Nov 23, 2008 | 6:08AM

Shocked! You have been my favorite columnist since your early days as Cringe at InfoWorld. You must get another weekly column! Let us all know where it will appear. Unbeknownst to me at the time, you sat behind me at a Mexican restaurant in Aspen one night when you were in town to film Bill Joy, et al, for a PBS Special, and afterwards corrected a few of my factual errors, as I expatiated on the history of microcomputing for my GrassRootsTV show guests of the evening. Best of luck!

Richard Sherman | Nov 23, 2008 | 6:09AM

Cringely, how can you forget about the 1 billion Yahoo users which Yang saved from the grasp of Microsoft?

Does anyone think the internet, and especially the 1 billion Yahoo users would have been better off had they sold the company to Microsoft?

Screw the shareholders. Yang is a hero for not subjecting 2/3 of the internet to the grubby paws of Ballmer. The only losers are the short term investors in Yahoo.

(Ok, i am one of those investors. pretty pissed off, but i can still see how what he did was a good thing for the world)

Andrew | Nov 23, 2008 | 6:58AM


I've been reading your stuff for ages, and hey, it's great. But I gotta tell you, I heartily disagree with your call for civil disobedience. Have a read of and see one person's view of the economics of broadband in the US.

Your proposal for ensuring that Comcast keeps the unlimited cap combined with the economics of broadband provisioning, would surely make it almost impossible for anyone except the extremely large or deep pocketed to make any money selling wholesale capacity.


Francis Liu | Nov 23, 2008 | 7:00AM


You are one of the few "must reads" on the internet, I truly hope you will continue to share your ideas and vision with us. I'll second the idea to go independent - I would also happily pay to subscribe.

Steve Goldenberg | Nov 23, 2008 | 1:31PM

I hope you land somewhere where you can revert to the infoworld style of 87-95 :-)

Wherever that is I look forward to reading it.

Stewart | Nov 23, 2008 | 2:58PM

I've never left a comment before, but I agree with Steve Goldberg, I would pay to read your material if you published it independently online. Thanks for many years of great columns!

Steve | Nov 23, 2008 | 3:58PM

I've never left a comment before, but I agree with Steve Goldberg, I would pay to read your material if you published it independently online. Thanks for many years of great columns!

Steve | Nov 23, 2008 | 3:59PM

Always enjoy reading your sermons, Bob, even when I disagree - which isn't really all that often. (Way better than that Dvorak moron anyway.)

Best of luck to you!

Steve McKisic | Nov 24, 2008 | 12:20AM

Will wholly miss your tongue out-of-cheek comments and absolutely honest Nerdy views. Having to pay to read your stuff, well, what fun is that? Will I have to start paying to read Dilbert too?

What's next? Your free access on the net will be sorely missed.

Jan Clairmont,KMGO

Jan Clairmont | Nov 24, 2008 | 10:50AM

Good luck with your future endeavors, Bob. I've been a reader for more than 8 years, and I'm really going to miss your columns.

Charlie | Nov 24, 2008 | 11:58AM

Little did Jerry know that the real way to screw MicroSoft was to sell them--rather than refuse to sell them--the company.

Just as MS paid $400 million for Hotmail and $425 million for WebTV, they were going to overpay for Yahoo. Jerry, who saw Yahoo get screwed on the fiasco, should have realized that many of these big companies have no idea what they're buying. In many cases, they just want to keep a company from being purchased by a competitor.

Gabriel | Nov 24, 2008 | 12:59PM

I still think Obama should tag you.

Mike Williamson | Nov 24, 2008 | 8:50PM

I don't get why anyone would pay cash for Yahoo. What is it? News, but we can get the news from elsewhere. An Web email thing. That's it. Not like they're even relevant anymore. When I want to find something, I go to Google.

Dave | Nov 25, 2008 | 9:18PM


Where do we send money to get access to NerdTV Season 2? :-) Your interviews and industry insight (and alliteration?) are that enjoyable. Please, please give us a hint about when Season 2 will surface.

Derek | Nov 26, 2008 | 8:00PM

Don't forget that the same factor that blocked the Google deal would also have blocked the MS deal, had they really tried. That factor is the DOJ and it is waking up from a long slumber and starting to enforce anti-trust law. That can only be good for consumers, if not for Yahoo, MS, or Google.

Even if another laizzes-faire economic dufus had been elected, these deals would still have been blocked by the EU.

The real issue is not finding a buyer for Yahoo, it is still the second best positioned company to take advantage of new Internet-based tech. No, the real issue is why Yahoo can't execute (or innovate). That this issue exists at all is due to Semel and his lack of tech knowledge. Internally Yahoo is a mess, and nobody is responsible. This is a forked company that can only be rescued by a major, and I mean major, shakeup of internal management, from the top.

Roger | Nov 26, 2008 | 9:09PM