Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Shouldn't the choice be obvious ...

The sad news from Sderot today is that the Qassams coming from Gaza have claimed another victim.  A man was killed while waiting in his car near Sapir college in Sderot.  He is just the last in a line of people who have been killed or injured by the so called "harmless" rockets from Gaza.

This news comes on top of a recent revealing article in Haaretz that talks about the anti-missile defense system being developed by Israel to counter the Qassam threat.  Israel has chosen to develop a system called "Iron Dome" which targets the incoming missiles with another missile, much like the Patriot or Arrow system.  The article points out that due to economics and a host of other factors, the "Iron Dome" system will be completely ineffective against the Qassams.

This has always seemed obvious to me.  Why counter a $750 dollar Qassam with a $100,000 dollar missile?  Why build a new missile when there are already better options available?

In my mind I always imagined that Israel would employ the Skyguard anti-missile laser.  After all, it had helped develop the Nautilus prototype.  To see just how effective the system can be check out this video.

David at Treppenwitz has also talked about this issue a couple of times.  He suggested a currently operational system called the "Vulcan Phalanx," which is right now protecting American troops in Iraq.

Whatever system is chosen, it seems obvious that there are options, and options that are available now.  I simply can't understand what the Israeli government was thinking, or how they thought no one would notice.  I mean doesn't it seem obvious?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Because My Dad Can Use It ...

I was reading this story over on Engadget about the popularity of different cellphone makers. Coming in way ahead of the pack is Apple with their iPhone followed closely by Blackberry maker RIM. Check out the story and the cool graph.

I was trying to figure out how Apple, who has just released their very first cell phone, was able to storm to first place in customer satisfaction. Of course as an avid Mac user I'm not surprised, but nevertheless it is still quite remarkable that Apple could hit such a big home run with their first phone.

After pondering the question for a bit, I remembered a conversation I had with my dad recently. He was kvelling about his new iPhone and all the fun things he's doing with it. Now my dad is a smart guy, and he's fairly technologically savvy for someone of his generation, but the iPhone has a lot of features that I thought he simply wouldn't use or wouldn't bother with. However, my dad rattled of all the things he was doing with his phone as if they were no big deal.

And that is the reason for Apple's iPhone success. They built a very capable phone, but designed it such a way so that people can actually use it. They built a phone that my dad can use.

On the other hand my job has given me a very fancy Nokia smart phone that probably has a lot of features that the iPhone doesn't. But the thing is so wonky* and difficult to use that I don't use any of the special features and to be honest I can barely make phone calls with it.

Back in July when I was in the states, I went to the Apple store to play with the iPhone. From the moment I picked it up I was able to understand it and make it work. It really is the classic example of the Apple slogan - it just works.

*Not the proper use of the word wonky.