Thursday, December 31, 2009

If You Read Swedish: Send Me An Email, And I'll Send You A Book!

I have published six books over the past 18 months, one in English and the rest in Swedish. The books are available both as traditional books printed on paper and as ebooks that you can read on your computer or Kindle, maybe even on your iPhone. If you send me an email (you find my email address in the upper right corner of this blog), I'll tell you how to get a free copy of the 150+ page book "Smakprov."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

No, It Wasn't Reagan's Policy That Cracked the Soviet Union

A new book challenges the widespread belief that it was Reagan's policy that made the Soviet Union crack. I haven't read it yet, but here is what the publisher -- Yale University Press -- says:

Former U.S. ambassador to the USSR Jack F. Matlock refutes the enduring idea that the United States forced the collapse of the Soviet Union by applying military and economic pressure—with wide-ranging implications for U.S. foreign policy. Matlock argues that Gorbachev, not Reagan, undermined Communist Party rule in the Soviet Union and that the Cold War ended in a negotiated settlement that benefited both sides. He posits that the end of the Cold War diminished rather than enhanced American power; with the removal of the Soviet threat, allies were less willing to accept American protection and leadership that seemed increasingly to ignore their interests.

Matlock shows how, during the Clinton and particularly the Bush-Cheney administrations, the belief that the United States had defeated the Soviet Union led to a conviction that it did not need allies, international organizations, or diplomacy, but could dominate and change the world by using its military power unilaterally. The result is a weakened America that has compromised its ability to lead. Matlock makes a passionate plea for the United States under Obama to reenvision its foreign policy and gives examples of how the new administration can reorient the U.S. approach to critical issues, taking advantage of lessons we should have learned from our experience in ending the Cold War.
Sounds very interesting! I've been arguing this point for many years in private conversations, so it's nice to hear it from somebody who was there when it happened...

Hans Sandberg

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Remember Senator Palpatine, the Evil Senator From Star Wars?

Senator Palpatine was the pale-faced senator of the Galactic Empire that rose to become the Emperor through treachery and falshood? Well fiction seems to have become reality thanks to senator Joe Lieberman.

Here is what Wikipedia says about the senator.
"Although Palpatine is a well-respected statesman, underneath his affable public persona lurks his true identity: Darth Sidious, a Dark Lord of the Sith. As the Dark Lord, he initiates and manipulates the Clone Wars to destroy the Jedi and usher in the oppressive Galactic Empire.”

The Palpatine character has according to Wikipedia “become a symbol of evil and sinister deception in popular culture. Palpatine was ranked #3 greatest villain by Wizard magazine on its ‘100 Greatest Villains of All Time’ list.”

I wonder where senator Joe Lieberman will end up on the list of the "100 Greatest Traitors of All Time?"

Hans Sandberg

Monday, December 7, 2009

Remember the Rebirth Of Gizmondo..... Well, You May Just As Well Forget About It

In a way, it's been kind of obvious, but the Swedish expat entrepreneur Carl Freer has refused to give up on his dream of re-launching the Gizmondo handheld gaming device. That is, until now.... 

Without using those exact words, Carl Freer admits in a recent email exchange that Gizmondo is de facto dead. This followed a prodding from my side, suggesting that it was time for closure on the Gizmondo story, "because I can't see how it would be possible to revive it now that we have iPhone and Android phones. If the Gizmondo (which I called Gizmondo 2) as you described it is dead, lets bury it!” To which he wrote back, saying “the re-launch plan for Gizmondo was always about a cutting edge platform available so anyone could build their own games. Why would that change? The opportunity for launching a consumer electronic device that facilitates game play has never been more applicable. Gizmondo can exist in many different forms. One could even be an app located on the phone that plays games accessed from the web. Nothing in the practical strategy (or our enthusiasm for the brand) has changed.” Except that Gizmondo as a hand-held device is dead, even if it one day should come back in a “different form.”

“Made me think," I wrote back, and continued."Hardware is expensive to produce, and requires physical channels for distribution.  On top of that you have to convince consumers to carry around another piece of hardware, which is okay for twelve-year olds, but not for 15-105 year-olds. If Gizmondo becomes a software platform for gaming, it would sit on top of Android and Windows Mobile I guess. But what would it add if the nVidea chip were out of the picture? What's the benefit of writing games for the Gizmondo layer rather than writing them directly for Android-phones or the iPhone?”

All that remains of the Gizmondo dream is than a game publisher with games that are rather old by now, and never made it in the market to begin with. Of course there is a slight chance that we will see mobile games, which include augmented reality from GetFugu, but I doubt that it’s enough to bring back even the shadow of Gizmondo.

End of story?
Hans Sandberg

Read more about Carl Freer and Gizmondo:

Yes Dear, There Will Be a Gizmondo, Just Not This Year... And It Will Be Different  (Dec 19, 2008)

On Gizmondo's Promised Revival, Rusty Car Batteries & the Medieval Treatment (Nov 2, 2008)

Gizmondo 2 Is Here - Sales Start In November/December  (Sep 10, 2008) 

Gizmondo Liquidators Wishes Carl Freer Good Speed (May 14, 2008)

Carl Freer: Gizmondo Arrives Late 2008  (Feb 18, 2008)

Why he left Xero Mobile and started Blowfish Works  (February 17, 2008)

Carl Freer Promises To Resurrect Gizmondo  (Feb 18, 2008)

Hubble Telescope Images