Smoke Filled Back Rooms

The thing that I find mildly offensive about the HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray deathmatch is that consumer had very little say in the matter. Ultimately this format war has been decided not by what consumers find most appealing from a quality and cost standpoint, but by Wal-Mart, Netflix and big Hollywood studios.

I really don’t know if there are any advantages to one format over the other, but I would much prefer a marketplace driven approach to arbitrating the issue. While I am tempted to suggest that big box retailers are in effect a market, it would be disingenuous to make that argument given the undisputed fact that retailers care not what is best for customers but what they can make the most money from. If Wal-Mart and Netflix are capable of driving the market to one format over another, why would they care what is best from a consumer standpoint?

First, the movie studios moved decisively into the Blu-Ray camp, then giant American retailers like Wal-Mart followed suit.

[From BBC NEWS | | A blog about technology from BBC News | HD-DVD – They think it’s all over]

The Duplicity of Chavez

It’s hard to imagine the mental gymnastics that Venezuelan thug Hugo Chavez must go through before declaring that the U.S. is engaging economic war, all the while benefiting himself from $100 a barrel oil. Even more curious is that despite $100 a barrel oil the country is literally going broke with out of control inflation and empty store shelves, which of course is the reason why any threats from Hugo are paper at best, simply put he needs the yankee dollars in order to survive.

Chavez is quickly earning the title of Mugabe of the western hemisphere. Why is it that socialists always seem to have a soft spot for handmade Italian suits?

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who threatened to cut off oil sales to the U.S. a week ago, said the government won’t do so unless the South American nation is attacked.

[From Latin America]