The Verizon iPhone, Microsoft, Intel, and Google Kick Off 2011

What with the holidays, hellish trade shows, and hellacious hangovers, the reader mail has been piling up in my Cringeville inbox, so I thought I might clear it out and start fresh for the new year. You guys had a lot to say on a wide range of topics, including new iPhones and old tech marriages.

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In my recent post "Verizon iPhone: Stop me if you've heard this one before," I asked whether users would prefer a dumb phone that just makes calls to a smart one that does everything but. R. P., a senior engineer at a major defense contractor, responded thusly:

I am so thrilled by your column which recognizes that for many of us the prime function of the cell phone is talking! With the proliferation of smartphones and broadband apps geared for kids, the number of dropped calls has increased dramatically. Furthermore, is there any reason why I shouldn't be able to hear what callers are telling me on my cell phone as well as I can on a landline?

Hey guys, don't forget the fundamentals. We're not all socially challenged geeks who would rather text than talk.

True that, or as my Twitter-obsessed readers might say:

RT @ifw_cringely: Hey guys dnt 4get fundmentls. we R not all socially chllnged #geeks who'd rather txt thn tlk #texting http://bit.ly/bJRDCY

(I got a lot of interesting responses to that particular column and will post more of them at a later date, so stay tuned.)

Cringe reader (and amateur copy editor) MZ had this to say about my post on "The 10 dumbest tech moves of 2010":

I enjoyed your piece on the 10 worst tech moments, but wanted to let you know in your No. 5 entry that the word should be "judgment," not "judgement." It's a very common mistake which I'm sure you'd want to fix.

Actually, while "judgment" is the preferred spelling, both are acceptable. It's (ahem) a judgement call. And speaking of grammar, it should be "that I'm sure you'd want to fix," unless you're speaking British English, which InfoWorld doesn't.

Regular correspondent G.W. managed to stomach my geeky bastardization of Dr. Seuss's "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas," but notes a minor discrepancy:

You apologized to Theodore Geisel, but what about a footnote for Smokey Robinson and the Miracles? "Sadder than sad" comes from their song "The Tears of a Clown."

In the words of the immortal Smokey, I second that emotion (even if you don't feel like giving me a lifetime of devotion).

Responding to my post asking whether the Microsoft-Intel marriage was finally kaput, Cringe fan and longtime software developer J.S. writes:

I moved away from Wintel when I was conned by the "Vista Capable/Ready" laptop scam. I discovered a whole new world out there. I cannot say that moving to the Linux platform was easy. Shaking off Intel wasn't so hard. AMD had always been my first choice.

You just get the feeling that Microsoft is circling the drain in slow motion. Maybe if Ballmer goes, they might find a new direction. But I cannot see Mr. Ego leave anytime soon.

Meanwhile, reader A.Z. reaches cranks up the Wayback Machine to correct a misstatement I made about Nvidia announcing the first non-Intel-architecture chip to run Windows:

Am I the only one to remember Windows NT 3.x, available (if not widely used) on PowerPC, MIPS, and DEC Alpha CPUs (as well as i386)? I remember reading speculation that NT on non-Intel workstations might become widely used as graphics and publishing workstations, running Windows versions of Photoshop, PageMaker, etc.

I should also point out that Windows CE has run on ARM devices for many years (though "run" might not be the most accurate verb in that instance). I guess that makes me wrong twice.

Another error: In "2010: The year Google fell to earth," I mistakenly stated that Google's attempts to purchase flight search engine vendor ITA software are "opposed by everyone in the online travel biz who isn't Google." Apparently that's not true; among Google's allies in that fight are Orbitz and Priceline. (Thanks to reader A.C. for catching that one.)

Finally, disgruntled reader S.K. has this to say in response to my "12 tech predictions for 2011": "You will self-combust and relieve all readers of your inane thoughts!"

I think that one may actually come true.

Got kudos, complaints, or corrections? Lay em on me, I can take it. Post yours below or via email: cringe@infoworld.com.

This article, "The Verizon iPhone, Microsoft, Intel, and Google kick off 2011" was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Track the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringeley's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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