Cadillac E-Flex Coming?

Dramatic environmental statement? I’m pretty sure that the 556hp Cadzilla qualifies as a dramatic statement, probably an environmental one as well. It’s been a bad couple of weeks for GM but to give credit where credit is due, they really did one hell of a job revitalizing the Cadillac brand. The CTS-V is a car that can take on an M5, RS6, and E63 and come out on top, and with a price tag at least $40k less than comparable cars from Germany. I’d buy one.

Since about four GM brands are on the chopping block, and we’ve heard rumors of such in the past, Ill go out on a line and predict the car will be a Cadillac. Indeed previous reports have stated the next E-Flex car would be a Cadillac, and vice-chairman Bob Lutz has gone on record stating “there’s going to have to be some kind of dramatic environmental statement from Cadillac.”

[From Rumor: New E-Flex Cadillac to Debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January | GM-VOLT : Chevy Volt Electric Car Site]

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Ubikwiti – DIY Business Processes

Ubikwiti is, despite a really unfortunate name, a very cool service. In a sentence, this is what I’ve always wanted to do with business mashups, combine off the shelf componentry at the business user level to achieve highly personalized business process models that still accommodated the need for master data and workflow integrity.

This is a huge challenge for any company because this is not how business users are accustomed to interacting with business applications. It’s also not clear that an significant number of business users want to do this but IT definitely wants more control over business apps in a manner that is abstracted from writing code, so maybe IT is really the front door in to business users.

The company is correct to assert that big enterprise apps don’t scale down well and large vendors have economic issues that obstruct a shift to pay-as-you-go pricing. The a la carte selection of business processes is something traditional enterprise companies will never do on their own but considering the waste that is in modern ERP systems from seats and functionality bought but not implemented, this is a good move aligned with the best interests of customers. Having said that, it’s also clear that there is a big functional gap between the top and bottom of the market so comparison to traditional enterprise software isn’t appropriate all the time.

Ubikwiti pricing is not pure a la carte though, it’s all you can eat for $4.95 a month per user. This is roughly half of the price point for Quickbooks Online but I am not in a position to evaluate the functional footprint relative to QB Online so I’ll reserve any judgement on their pricing model, but suffice to say, it does make it easy to get on to the system.

This is an intriguing service, I will be watching to see how they progress.


Acceptable Errors at the PTO

What’s more disturbing, that the Patent and Trademark Office had to go to court to defend firing someone for incompetence or that a patent examiner could be wrong 1 out of 4 times and still be “acceptable”?

Annals of civil service protection: the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has ruled in favor of the Patent and Trademark Office, which dismissed Asokkumar Pal after it “reviewed 16 randomly selected cases from Pal’s file to determine whether he was properly reviewing examiner decisions. They found he was not making the correct decisions – that he erred more than 35% of the time. (A 25% error rate would have been acceptable).”

[From Federal Circuit: Patent Office can fire examiner with 35% error rate]

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