Tuesday, July 29, 2008
By Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer
Manufacturing.Net - July 29, 2008
TOKYO (AP) -- Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. will begin test production of next-generation displays for TVs next year with plans for commercial output as early as 2011, Japan's top business newspaper reported Tuesday.
Competition is heating up among the world's electronics makers, including Japanese rival Sony Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea, in OLED, or organic light-emitting diode, displays.
Matsushita has already said OLED technology is in the works at its planned display plant in Japan -- the company's second here -- which will mainly make liquid crystal displays already common in flat-panel TVs.
The Osaka-based maker of Panasonic brand products has invested 300 billion yen ($2.8 billion) in the plant set to be running by 2010. The Nikkei daily reported test lines will begin early next year with mass production of 40-inch panels likely by 2011.
Matsushita spokesman Akira Kadota confirmed the company was working on OLED development at the plant, but said details weren't decided.
OLED technology uses materials that emit light on their own and don't require a back light.
OLED displays are thinner, use less energy than current technology, and have high video display quality.
Sony has had an 11-inch OLED TV on sale since December 2007. Samsung showed a 31-inch OLED TV at a consumer electronics show earlier this year in Las Vegas.
Earlier this month, the Japanese government said it will support Sony, Sharp Corp., Matsushita and other domestic companies in joint development of OLED displays, with the plan to develop a 40-inch OLED display sometime after 2015.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
Who can argue with the current trend of smaller carbon footprints, green packaging, and energy efficiency?
What a colossal waste of time, effort, and money. “Going Green” is the last thing we should be doing right now.
Something bizarre is going on we’re culturally loathing to admit- a trend driven by guilt, despair, depression, and paranoia. It’s a lemming like rush to the acceptance of mediocrity.
Mediocrity as a virtue?
It’s almost as if the Borg were attacking and we’ve decided to capitulate rather than fight. I don’t believe for a moment that resistance is futile against this mistakenly woeful Green Revolution.
Yet right now we’re stuck in the middle of a conundrum; an unhappy intersection of marketing prowess, Me Generation greed, economic leverage from oversea competitors, and an unhelpful dose of our own stupidity. We must compete our way out of it, not dig our holes even deeper.
I saw my first green audio product the other day. Yeech. Instead of touting its technical merits the press release rambled on about how the packaging was 43% smaller and could more easily recycled. A boring little spit of a product was in the box, but who cares if its carbon footprint is smaller? Are we now playing to the crowd or to the customer?
And why in the world should Americans cut down on packaging? Exporting trash is America’s single largest export! It’s bigger than corn or coal right now- look it up.
In the old days it was the biggest house, fastest car, loudest sound system, or the most sparkling jewel. These days it’s degenerated into something far more sinister. Remember the two buses on the Sex Pistols disc going to Nowhere and Boredom? That’s where the Green crowd wants to take us- and on mass transportation no less.
With apologies to the Renaissance Faire crowd, your world is boring and is not the solution to this malaise. As fascinating as it is to see unshaven Luddites prance about in the dirt with pointed shoes whilst strumming a lyre, let’s just say it’s a fork in the road I’m glad you went down and not me. Yet you have the microphone right now, as they say. And I mean to take it away from you.
The First Lord of Green Boredom in my book is Al Gore, a man who practices something entirely different than what he preaches. His message of apocalyptic environmentalism may have delivered him a Nobel Prize, but if I may I’d like to whisper an opposing message into your ear as well,
“Our industry does not sell boring very well. Never has, and never will. We sell excitement, movement, and energy. We sell new and different- spectacular events if it all comes together properly. I doubt the Rolled Stones would have quite the attraction of the Rolling Stones, for instance….”
Do Toyota hybrids sell well in Abu Dhabi? Hell no. Ferraris do. I suppose that’s why they’re building Ferrariland there instead of here. Can you imagine the conniption fits our Greenies would convulse in had they even proposed putting a Ferrariland in Southern California? The best we can hope for a Prius based ride in Legoland.
The Toyota Prius is sold in over 40 countries, yet over sixty percent of their sales have been in the U.S. Ever wonder why? Is it high fuel costs here compared to Europe? Stylish design? High performance (30 HP less than Toyota’s own Yaris)? Low maintenance or insurance costs?
No, it’s because we’re supposed to feel better driving a boring car that’s acceptable to the Green crowd, even if we’re not quite sure where those 600,000 nickel metal hydride batteries are going to get dumped. Perhaps they should try Yucca Mountain- it’s not be used for anything right now anyway. Suffice to say the same crowd that predicts Armageddon from cow flatulence yet gives the battery disposal issues a complete pass.
They even gave the first 85,000 hybrid owners access to the car pool lane in California without any passengers. How that helped unclog the freeways I’m not quite sure. It seems the OPEC boys found a much more efficient technique in my opinion.
The only way out of this mess is with bigger and better technology, not going backwards and accepting lower performance as we pine for the good old days. Our best and brightest engineers should be racing ahead to build the latest and greatest, not wasting their time bragging about the various merits of cardboard packaging and telling us to make do with less performance. They should be building nuclear and fusion reactors, high capacity energy storage, more efficient transportation, and better communication systems.
We got it. Digital consoles, integrated wild tracks, DSP processing, switched power supplies, and line arrays have been very good to this industry. So what’s next, and when do we get it? I want our manufacturers to rigorously go through the entire system concept from start to finish and make the whole thing much better! That is what we need to prosper in the long term. The dreamers, technologists, engineers, and builders that will shape our new reality must be given their chance.
Try an experiment for me. Go up to your head salesperson and tell them you want them to only sell systems that don’t perform well but they are made from eco-friendly low carbon footprint materials. The audience won’t hear anything, but who really cares anyway? I have a pretty good idea where your salesperson’s footprint will be planted on you after that request. It does sound kind of stupid when it hits home, doesn’t it? It’s not different for any other industry.
Going Green may be a very quick way to make your accounting go red and your future black. Paraphrasing Churchill, this may not be the beginning of the end of the Green Revolution. But perhaps it is the end of the beginning. I hope we’re at a point where the platitudes and positioning end and meaningful innovation begins.
Thank goodness for that. Now flip this chlorinated and Kraft pulped (a fascinating industrial process dependent on gas turbine engines, by the way) page on to the next article.
Monday, July 21, 2008
My feeling is the iPod Touch will be the platform of choice for some; essentially an iPhone without the phone. A pity you have to use headphones, the small speaker deletion a major omission.
Urbanspoon may be the most interesting application currently available. Essentially it mimics a slot machine, where you lock down your city, type of food, and price you want to pay and spin the wheels. We tried a new local Chinese delivery on Saturday using it and were very pleased indeed.
The French language tool was appallingly weak, the Bloomberg financial one very good, and the NY Times one much better than an internet read of the paper.
One can't help but think every manufacturer is currently busy at work writing code for their hardware this week... Essentially we have a couple of hundred dollar wireless touchpanel.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
So the MPAA's answer to our prayers is a streaming only feed with military encryption requiring a 4 MB download link.
The model where artists get paid year after year for performing a single work is long over. No portability and no local storage. And we all thought the Hillary Rosen era was dumb!
No shocking news here. The MPAA has given their total support to the new digital copy protection software, DreamStream. According to the software’s founder, Michael Jay Solomon, DreamStream yields “military grade capabilities.” Also, he boasts that the “unpublished encryption has never been compromised by hackers or digital pirates.” Well, we all know that is the invitation for computer enthusiasts around the world to begin the decryption efforts. Let the next copy protection battle begin.
However, on a brighter note, DreamStream may be exactly what is needed to bring the downfall of digital downloading as the next media format of choice. The software works by only allowing purchased files to be securely streamed online, with no part of the information being stored on the user’s computer. Well, what good is that? Didn’t we go through this when music downloads first started? Consumers wanted the ability to take them with them on their laptop and eventually on the iPod or other portable digital music player.
If the files are not stored on the hard drive then the user has to rely on a constant, high-speed Internet connection to view what they just paid for. Current streamed media already has issues with buffering, which causes undesired starting and stopping of the video, and slow server speeds depending on how many users are connected. If digital online streaming becomes the next media format, ISP bandwidths will not be able to handle the increased volume and users will experience extremely slow connections and unreliable playback. Give yourself a little more guarantee for proper playback and high quality performance and invest in renting or purchasing the optical disc – true media.
The Motion Picture Association of America has approved the use of DreamStream's secure online file streaming system as a solution to curb digital piracy. The existing systems are broken. "We are very excited to have the MPAA stand behind our technology," said Ulf Diebel, chief development officer for DreamStream. "
The MPAA understands the need to be proactive - rather than reactive -- in addressing the chokehold that piracy has on the motion picture industry. Their recommendation is not something that Hollywood will take lightly."
On June 27, 2008, Krishnan Rajagopalan, the MPAA's vice president of digital media technologies, announced the MPAA's intent to recommend DreamStream's file streaming technology to the major motion picture studios.
The MPAA reports that the major motion picture studios lose more than $6 billion every year because of piracy alone."DreamStream has developed a very unique technology that is extremely important in our industry, because of copyright infringement," said Michael Jay Solomon, founder of Solomon Entertainment Enterprises. "It will allow the content providers to recoup the billions of dollars that they are loosing right now."
Solomon, a veteran of the entertainment industry, co-founded Telepictures Corp., and is the former president of both Lorimar Telepictures Corp. and Warner Bros. Television International.Laura Tunberg, MGM's former vice president of intellectual property enforcement, first introduced the MPAA to DreamStream's system in March of 2008. Since that time, the MPAA has reviewed the technology and found it to be a viable means for securing digital content, Solomon said."
We are very excited about our breakthrough technology. For the first time, digital content can be distributed without fear of piracy. By making it possible for studios and other copyright holders to secure their content, we can make it impossible for movies to be digitally pirated," said Diebel. "DreamStream can restore property rights to their owners and restore the commercial success of music and video recordings with a solution that benefits both producers and consumers."
In recent years, online media distribution systems, such as Apple's iTunes, have continually fallen prey to digital piracy. DreamStream claims to have the solution to this dilemma."The existing systems are broken," said Diebel. "If studios and artists want to confront the problem of piracy they must embrace a comprehensive restructuring of their distribution methods."
The MPAA was attracted to DreamStream's system because it differs from existing products and services in several ways. Most noteworthy, DreamStream's system operates via online streaming and not file downloads. As such, purchased content cannot be stored on users' hard disks, which eliminates the possibility of copying or redistributing the digital files.
Because the content does not have to be downloaded, DreamStream's technology is able to transmit media files at such higher qualities than are currently being offered by DreamStream's competitors. With only a 4 Mbps Internet connection, DreamStream's system is able to provide consumers with HD quality content.
Unique to DreamStream's technology is the instant availability of the digital content offered. While most media systems require download or processing delays, DreamStream's system is able to offer its users instant access to digital content.
DreamStream's technology also features encryption that greatly exceeds current standards. While existing online media distribution systems are typically secured using only 128 bit encryptions, DreamStream touts a full 20-round, 2048 bit encryption, which is the strongest in the industry. To date, DreamStream is the only company to offer the protection of military grade encryption in the online delivery of streaming media.DreamStream's unpublished encryption has never been compromised by hackers or digital pirates."
To win the war on piracy, the studios need DreamStream's military grade capabilities," said Diebel.
DreamStream's file streaming system is one of the many uses for the company's encryption technologies. DreamStream's encryption can be imbedded into any online or computer-based system. DreamStream is currently developing a secured, low-cost, high-definition disc-based system to rival Sony's Blu-ray technology.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
TOKYO (AP) -- A Japanese labor bureau has ruled that one of Toyota Motor Corp.'s top car engineers died from working too many hours, the latest decision against overwork in Japan, where stoic acceptance of extended overtime has long been the norm.
"In the two months up to his death, he averaged more than 80 hours of overtime per month, the criteria for overwork," an officer at the Aichi Labor Bureau, who asked to remain anonymous because she is not an official spokeswoman, said Wednesday.
The man who died was aged 45 and had been under severe pressure as the lead engineer in developing a hybrid version of Toyota's blockbuster Camry line, said Mikio Mizuno, the lawyer representing his wife. His identity is being withheld at the request of his family, who continue to live in Toyota City where the company is based.
He regularly worked nights and weekends, was frequently sent abroad and was grappling with shipping a model for the influential North American International Auto Show in Detroit when he died of ischemic heart disease in January 2006. His daughter found his body at their home the day before he was to leave for the United States.
The ruling was handed down June 30 and will allow his family to collect benefits from his work insurance, Mizuno said.
In a statement, Toyota offered its condolences and said it would work to improve monitoring of the health of its workers.
It is the most recent in a string of decisions against long working hours in Japan, which is struggling to cut down on deaths from overworking, known as "karoshi." Such deaths have steadily increased since the Health Ministry first recognized the phenomenon in 1987.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
This was the month that the toy car manufacturer (Mattel) is worth more than the car manufacturer (GM).
I can't help but think the oil producers will soon figure out that destroying their customers financially isn't a smart long term business practice, that houses will go down 50% and stabilize, and that the US needs to be back in the business of building things once again.
I think minting a few less MBAs and lawyers would be a great start. Minds that bright should be creating wealth, not trying to redistribute it while creating nothing.
In the short term we must produce our own energy once again in an environmentally friendly fashion, stop selling off our assets on the cheap, and realize that it's time to buy stuff made by Americans again.
Equally, "free trade" must also mean fair trade. We have a $367 billion trade deficit this year to date already, and that has got to stop. That's about $23,000 per second. The low dollar has made many of our still surviving services competitive again and hopefully these fields will prosper.
In short, it's time to get back to work, stop the financial shenanigans, and stop dealing with partners that are not looking out for our interests as well.
Go buy an American car. The job you save may be your own.