Monthly Archives: March 2009

Thoughts on the Microsoft “Cheap PC” Ad

So there was this Microsoft ad that came out during an NCAA game. It featured a cute girl, Lauren, trying to decide which computer to buy. The voice of the ad (some omniscient being?) told her if she could find the kind she wanted under $1000 he’d buy it for her. The computer she wanted at the Apple Store was too expensive. She chose a Windows PC instead for $700.

A lot of people have claimed the ad is a huge success. It hits Apple in its weak point: price. That may be true, but there’s also this thing called “value.” Apple computers have always been about quality. Software quality, build quality, design. While it’s true that the upfront costs of a Mac are higher than a PC, you get what you pay for. There are tradeoffs associated with buying an HP versus a Macbook. The specs are not the computer.

I would argue that the amortized price of a Mac is probably about the same as a PC (or better). They’re built to last (even if Apple forces you to buy a new one every year or face inferiority). I’ve gone through too many Dell, HP and Toshiba laptops whose hinges explode. You can’t use a laptop after the hinge explodes. I haven’t had a Macbook explode yet (though the plastic did start coming off; it won’t happen on my aluminum Macbook Pro). Dell is trying to get into the premium PC market, which is great. But that sorta negates the price argument. In this economy it’s smart to play the price card, and people pay more attention to upfront costs than maintenance costs.

Also, it’s not the best idea to try and sell your product by having a “real” person shop for PCs when the person turns out to be a professional (SAG) actress. It makes it seem more staged; this definitely is not a Pepsi Challenge. But hey, whatever. I think MS got their point across. Plus I forgive Lauren because she’s way cute! I just hope her back can handle lugging around a 17″ computer.

Personally, I would advertise netbooks since they’re super cheap and Apple doesn’t have an equivalent, yet.

State of the Hung Truong Google Search Query, 3/2009

While it feels as though there’s not many Hung Truongs out there (I’ve never met another one), there actually are. So I’m pretty protective of my Google query position for my name. I haven’t been doing a good job of recording my past performance to measure against future performance, though. So here’s my current standing on the top 10 results on Google for “Hung Truong” (I logged out to get these results).

hung-truong-google-search-20090329

Results 1 and 2 are this blog and my portfolio, respectively. Sweet! 3 is Hung Truong on Facebook, but it’s not me. I wonder how Google arbitrarily picks a Facebook profile of a Hung Truong. Oh well. I don’t need people finding my (private) Facebook profile anyway. 4 is my Twitter profile. 5 is a LinkedIn profile of a Hung Truong that isn’t me either.

6 is a link to a person wiki of some kind called “AboutUs.” It’s basically an auto-generated wiki about my portfolio. I’ll count this as one in my favor. 7 is a news story about the Hung Truong that killed a police officer! Hopefully I don’t have to remind you, but that Hung Truong is not me! 8 is a weird PDF about a Hung Truong who broke some laws by selling herbal medicine. Again, not me! 9 is a CNet page about me, my portfolio and Notecentric, for some reason. 10 is a page about a Dentist named Hung Truong.

So I have the top 2 results for “Hung Truong” and 5/10 results are about me in some way. Not too bad! Hopefully if anyone does happen to mistake me for another Hung Truong, it’ll be for the dentist or the wireless entrepreneur and not the cop killa!

Earth Hour? What Happened to Earth Day?

earth-hour

So I keep hearing about this mythical “Earth Hour” in which we’re supposed to turn our lights off an hour earlier than usual. My first thought was that it was sad that Earth Day was downsized to last just an hour. My second thought was that, while the activity is a nice gesture of wanting to help the environment, it probably does little to actually affect anything in the long term.

I’m no electrical engineer, but the way I understand it, power plants adjust their output according to power usage. So they use less fuel at night and more during the peak hours of the day. Turning your lights off for an hour will probably just make the power plants less effective unless they anticipate or quickly adjust to the lower amounts of power being drawn. It’s sorta like how having a one-day gas boycott doesn’t really do anything.

Earth Hour seems like a sad indicator of how lazy we are as humans. It’s like a band-aid. “If I turn my lights off for an hour, I’m saving the planet!” You could also just switch to a different type of lightbulb and have a much better amortized effect on the environment, or ride a bike instead of driving. Who’s willing to bet that the same people who switch their lights off for an hour also leave their TVs and other standby electronics plugged in when they’re not using them?

Hung Truong: MSI Candidate

This is a random post to see if I can get on top of the Google query for “MSI Candidate.” My friend is currently on top (I won’t link to him, lest I sabotage myself).

Maybe I should put some body text here. Okay. I’m Hung Truong. I’m an MSI Candidate at the University of Michigan’s School of Information. Let’s see if that’s good enough.

The Costs of Internet Fame: SI Visiting Days 2009

So I met some cool prospective students (I call them n00bs) of the school I go to for the annual visiting days. It’s funny to talk to them because they’re pretty much in the same place I was two years ago. It’s nice to answer questions and help them make the hard decision of what the heck to do about grad school. Personally I couldn’t be happier with the way things turned out, so I generally say good stuff, but I guess I could also tell them to leave and never come back if I wanted.

Anyway, it seems as though I’m the only person who ever wrote a blog about applying to grad schools. Because a lot of people who meet me at visiting days tell me they’ve read my blog. This is kind of weird and kind of flattering as it means my page rank for certain queries is high, and also that these people know stuff about me before even meeting me. One guy even knew about my side project, Anime Nano and listened to my podcast! I playfully referred to the people who knew me from the internet as my “stalkers.” Hopefully I won’t ever have real stalkers. The crazy kind. Anyway, it wasn’t weird hanging out with these people or anything. I was actually pretty stoked to meet a “user” of one of my sites in real life! Plus I’ll never actually see these peeps again since I’m graduating before they come here.

And yes, I intentionally titled this blog post to get another entry high in the Google query for “SI Visiting Days,” though it seems that one of my peers is beating me at the moment.