Friday, September 09, 2011

Is it an iPad? Is it a Food Tray for Düsseldorf Judges? No, It is an American Specialties Framed Mirror with Rounded Corners for Correctional Institutions

The absurdity of the Düsseldorf judges in Germany granting a permanent injunction against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany because of some alleged exclusive design by Apple on a framed rectangle with rounded corners is best understood by looking at the basic Apple iPad as a design obviously stolen from all kinds of previous "prior art designs" involving rectangles with rounded corners. Apple is the thief, not vice-versa.

We will be examining some of these "rectangular" designs  in coming postings.

Here is an American Specialties Inc. "One Piece Framed [Stainless Steel] Mirror with Round Corners" from as used in correctional institutions and psychiatric facilities.

As a mirror, it too is used to frame "images", just like the iPad. The basic design is virtually identical:


American Specialties mirror image from McKinney Parker
iPad "mirror image" adapted from the Wikipedia

Note how the frame viz. bezel thickness and the round bottom screw
have been copied by Apple
and that the relative (though not actual) dimensions
are as good as identical.
We have resized the photos to have identical height for comparison.

Did Apple designers "invent" the iPad while located in correctional or psychiatric institutions, either as guests or visitors? This alternative should be checked in view of the unmistakable similarity of general design.

That judges in Düsseldorf are not familiar with this "design" mirror is remarkable. Law, which includes many aspects of correctional facilities and psychiatry, is their purported field. How can they be so ignorant of the facts?

The iPad could just as well serve as a correctional facility mirror when not plugged in, definitely, because of the mirror-like surface. The iPad is virtually identical to the American Specialties correctional mirror in basic design. Indeed, when a profile photo is framed in an iPad, what else is an iPad other than a photograph-reproducing digital mirror?

Apple is copying things that others invented long before they put their products on the market. This design is not an Apple invention. Mirrors have a long history stretching clear back into Pharaonic Egypt. That's the next posting.

Choice, Consent and Consensus: Yahoo! Fires CEO: Investor Third Point Buys Yahoo! Stock

We do not own shares of Yahoo but we agree with Daniel Loeb of investment firm Third Point, who is cited by the AP in Activist buys up stake in Yahoo, slams board, that the Yahoo board headed by Roy Bostock made a "serious misjudgment" in initially hiring the just fired Yahoo! CEO Bartz.

It would seem essential for the United States to learn, not only in its political voting, but also in hiring corporate managers, company executives, and board members, that being a pretty face or a homecoming queen of a college does not necessarily qualify anyone to run a major corporation successfully.

Beauty may help to keep up appearances, but it is no substitute for the essential need of management ability in corporate upper echelons.

There is a place for beautiful people in the dream factory of Hollywood or in the fashion or advertising world. Indeed, the Yahoo! board chairman made his career in advertising, so his hire of homecoming queen Bartz is not surprising, but a good argument can be made that a pretty face should not be used as a criteria for positions of corporate responsibility.

The Germans have a joke about a company considering the hire of a secretary, where three women apply. The first is the world champion in steno. The second is the world champion at the computer keyboard. The third looks like Dolly Parton. The third is hired for her "social competence".

We do not question the intentions of the rich, the famous or the beautiful, or those who regard themselves as such. Their intentions surely are benevolent in many cases, but there are simply too many advertising and homecoming queen types (models (Palin, etc.), wrestlers, gynecologists, cheerleaders, actors, etc.) in top positions, where their main talent appears in many cases to be pulling the strings of the puppets (that's you, John Q. Citizens) and filling their own pockets with booty, whatever it may be, while they can. Full speed ahead, but watch out for motion sickness.

That deception only works for so long and then the "camouflaging cosmetics" hit the fan.

REALITY sets in. Welcome, Great Recession. A nation or a company run by less than the best will not prosper long-term. Is it possible that the Yahoo! management situation is more the rule in America than the exception?

At some point, if the USA is to pick itself up by its bootstraps, and if totally antiquated outfits like Yahoo! are to survive, America is going to have to try to get competent people into top corporate and management positions, not just those with pretty faces, big bank accounts, marketing or advertising flair, or personal or family connections.

When the cosmetics hit the fan, companies and the nation need real field marshals -- and that is a different breed, not overly impressed by superficial banalities or surface trivialities.

Running a corporation successfully is a bit different than prepping for a beauty contest or pushing toilet paper. "Squeezing Charmin(g)" was Yahoo! Chairman Bostock's talent claim to fame in his pre-Yahoo! days in an ad that assumed that the average TV consumer was an idiot -- so our view. The ad campaign was extraordinarily successful, by the way. _ _ _ _ sells.

However, for successful management, you have to be a competent "doer" and "decider", not just an "image impresser" (German "Blender"). People trained in "cosmetics" and in making a good "impression" belong in show business or politics, but keep them out of decision-making management.

It is a lot like coaching, which some can, and most can not. A guy like Nick Saban would probably get Yahoo! on track in no time. What does it take to win? He would find out, fast. He need know nothing about social media or computers.

Winning as a coach is the result of the competence of a certain state of mind that is also well-suited for leadership in general, and by leadership here we mean "field marshaling" and not "social influencing" via one's "image".

Moreover, winning is not the result of "wishful thinking". It is the result of knowing what it takes to win, also in the corporate world, and doing it.

When companies hire top executives, there should also be some attention paid to an executive's educational and personal background, style and bearing, especially in view of the appalling expletive-laced language of the departing CEO, which is simply a shameful blemish on America in general.

Any idiot can spout foul language.
Speaking intelligently is much rarer a gift.

One is tempted to ask:
These are your top people?
What does the bottom look like?

Yahoo's principal problem is that the company has long ago forgotten that the customer is king and that their many users in sum ultimately make or break the company. Corporate expletive-proficient execs are surely a cheap dime a dozen whereas users remain the decisive, essential commercial force. If THEY leave, Yahoo! is nothing.

We definitely agree with Loeb that the people on the Yahoo! board who supported Bartz and who opposed the Microsoft buy offer some years ago should be urged to leave the company and try to find another station in life where their talents are better placed. Currently, Yahoo! appears to be a leaderless company floundering in the Silicon Valley Sea.

If Yahoo merely brings in new fungible manager faces -- and there thousands of those -- who merely push the papers around somewhat differently than their predecessors and who first assure THEMSELVES of proper emoluments, little progress forward will occur. Most prospective execs today have a ME first, and YOU second approach, with YOU being their company. Sorry to say.

Our motto would be:
FIRST the performance, THEN the paycheck, not the other way around. And no CEO should be paid more than 10 times the lowest salary in his or firm for the same hourly output. That would equalize salaries and improve things, fast. There would be MANY salary increases at the lower levels, you can be sure.

If I were the new CEO at Yahoo!, I would go into each company department and ask ALL department members in a secret vote to recommend a department head from their department membership -- either the incumbent or some other person in that department they held to be more competent or for whom they had more professional respect.

I would tell them that the person receiving the most votes in each department would become the head of that department, immediately, and that the production of each department would be reviewed after a fixed period of time.

For any department whose performance did not improve substantially within that fixed period, as judged by previously set criteria, ALL persons in that department would be fired at the end of that fixed period, 100%, no questions asked, and the department disbanded, to be replaced by a new one.

Just like coaching in college sports, why stick with a losing staff?
Win ... or go.

Company employees would then be less likely to vote for pretty faces but would be more motivated to vote their own pocketbooks and to select competent people who may not have been homecoming queens or cheerleaders or popular beauties.

Germany has a Chancellor like that:

Angela Merkel, a physicist by profession, and she is doing a terrific job, and looking better all the time. Success makes beautiful. That is the right order of virtues. Angie is not very popular because she is making a lot of right, difficult, and hence unpopular decisions, but most people know that, and know it is necessary. You have to bite the bullet. She is doing her job. The German economy is booming.

Angie's predecessor enjoyed his Chancellorship being a media image personality, while at the same time the German economy suffered, badly. Merkel has reversed that, not by doing what is popular, but by doing what has to be done to get the right result.

That is why a physicist in this case makes a better leader than a physician or a gynecologist. A physicist has to use the right equation and the result of that equation depends on how you fill in the variables in the equation. If you want a given result, then you MUST plug in the variables that the equation demands, which may not be what you WANT.

You can not plug variables that you want into a given equation and demand a wishfully pre-determined "other" result than what the equation itself actually DEMANDS as a result.

is not the same as
d is not equal to a

You can't reduce taxes and finance a powerful country. b+d is not equal to c
For that, you need money.
You can INCREASE taxes and finance a powerful country. a+b is equal to c
Many politicians in America still do not seem to understand this.
They have no comprehension of equations.

A physician, like a political gynecologist in America, on the other hand, thinks you can "prescribe" the right political or economic result, which is a folly of great proportions, because neither politics nor economics work by means of diagnosis and prescription, otherwise we would long ago have figured out the right treatment therapy.

In any case, by returning Yahoo! employment structure to the people, you would see some competence-based changes for the better, with more attention being paid to Yahoo! users and potential users, and better understanding surfacing that the customer is king, not the employee, and most certainly not the vastly overpaid corporate executives.

Moreover, in this way, there would be no "force" imposed from the outside, but rather a consent and a consensus exercised democratically from within, in the person of the work force itself -- and by that we mean everyone who is actually WORKING -- who would make essential decisions about the future by their own choice. And CHOICE is not only at the foundation of capitalism, it is also at the foundation of democracy.

Choice, consent and consensus.
rather than: "me, me, me, me."
Yahoo! and America, think again.

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