It would seem H-F-D is on the verge of being screwed again. Surprise! It's for the same reason they've been screwed several times before: A steadfast refusal to innovate and market to broader demographics.
Some of the pundits are trying to liken this to the overall concept of: Younger people don't like motorcycles. Uh, guys? Search youtube for "motovlogger" or "supermoto". Then go take a look at the sales numbers for the Japanese and European bike makers. While I'm pretty far removed from a millennial, I do play one on TV, and let me tell you: There is no shortage of them willing to shell out ten grand for a fast, reliable and visually interesting motorcycle.
The key parts of that equation are: fast, reliable and visually interesting. These are words that H-F-D has been tone deaf to for decades.
Let us review the various market trends the company has entirely missed out on:
- Sport Bikes
- Adventure Bikes
- Muscle Bikes
- Retro Cafe Racers
- Cheap/Silly Microbikes
... and I'm probably missing a few. Sport bikes became a thing on the early 1980s fer chrissakes. That was fourty years ago for those keeping score at home. Every other market segment listed has been a thing for at least a decade, if not two or three. Yet Harley apparently thinks that like color TV and the internet, those things will never catch on. Aside from the fact that other manufacturers move tens of thousands of units every year.
Nope. Don't want to offend the 65 year old graybeard who bought a Road King from us two decades ago.
Now, to be fair, Harley has occasionally at least taken a passing stab at modernization. While Buell was roundly panned by everyone who took sport bikes seriously, they did at least make an attempt at the sport bike market. A half-assed, entirely stupid attempt, but an attempt none the less. The V-Rod was the first cruiser I'd actually sort of maybe want to own, at least if it didn't cost over 20 grand, and if Ducati hadn't come out with the massively superior in every way Diavel a few years later.
But generally speaking, Harley is utterly tone deaf to the youth, or hell, even the enthusiast market. I would love to own an American made motorcycle. I really would. But in order to get me into a showroom, you're going to need to at least be roughly close to on par with Ducati, KTM and the Japanese Four, guys. And you very much are not.
Yes, it would require a significant capital investment on the part of H-F-D to, say, develop a sport bike and a streetfighter. They would need to build two modern engines, and modern chassis to go with them. The rest-- suspension, brakes, etc, etc are all available off the shelf. Everyone else uses Ohlins, WP and Brembo for a reason, guys: They work. But there needs to be some hot sauce, and there needs to be some value, which are two things H-F-D seems to not only not understand, but be violently opposed to.
When I was a kid, they made shit like this:
As a result, I mocked them relentlessly. They made cars for old men. Slow, ugly, boring boxes that a young man wouldn't be caught dead in.
Today, they make this:
Do I want one? You bet your ass I want one.
It really isn't rocket surgery, guys. Build an interesting, quick, fun streetfighter and sell it for ~$8-10k. I'll buy one.
posted by Mr. Lion | 07/18/17 @ 09:50 | comments (1)
Back in the early days of this whole Blogging thing, not long after 9/11, Kim was one of the first bloggers I had regular and much enjoyed banterings with, along with Rob, Mike and of course James.
While I'm loath to read what Kim has gone through during his absence, I'm very glad to see him writing once more.
posted by Mr. Lion | 03/26/17 @ 18:29 | comments (0)
All I really have to say about Trump's Inaugural Address is: It's about fucking time. We haven't heard that since Reagan, and as such, I don't suppose it should surprise anyone with half a clue that it is, indeed, morning in America again.
Also, fuck you, ex-President Zero. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out. By which I mean let it do exactly that.
posted by Mr. Lion | 01/20/17 @ 11:46 | comments (0)
In a nutshell...
I think this sums up Election 2016 pretty well.
posted by Mr. Lion | 11/09/16 @ 08:17 | comments (0)
I've never really had faith in any particular deity, though what I do tend to have a lot of, is faith in the average American. While they will abide a lot and resent little, there is a limit to the tolerance of stupidity of this great country. We crossed it 'round about 2012, and, it turns out that those wise men who designed the Republic we enjoy, really were some pretty smart SOBs. Because it still works. No amount of fraud, corruption, foreign money, or media propaganda can derail the American people when they finally say: Enough.
So, while the tears and pants-shitting hysteria of the left at present are awfully delicious, especially after nearly a decade of utter calamity and malaise, there are more important things that have come of the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States.
First, and perhaps most importantly, the Clinton machine is done. The most corrupt, downright evil machine in the history of US politics, bested only by the likes of Boss Tweed, is over. There is no walking back the exposure of what goes on behind the velvet curtains. And while it's somewhat troubling that 59-odd million Americans, alive or otherwise, voted for a corrupt, habitual liar whose incompetence resulted in the death of many Americans-- the simple truth is that the lies, the cash, the deals, are all out in the public eye and will be for decades to come. Which brings me to my next point.
The mainstream media are finished. For decades, many have assumed that various media outlets were nothing but Democrat party collaborators and had not been journalists for generations. Most, however, still largely gave them the benefit of the doubt. They believed, perhaps with a grain of salt here and there, what was said. They believed polls. They believed debates were fair and honest. Most everyone now knows, thanks in major part to WikiLeaks and the exposure of the Clinton Machine, that this is not the case. They lie, they cheat, they do whatever they can to forward their globalist, leftist agenda, and actively hate the average American. The feeling, I believe they will find, is quite mutual, and it will be quite interesting to watch the slow and happy death of a number of major media outlets in the coming years.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the GOP is finished, and so is the credibility of so many of the Establishment hacks in media and elsewhere who were supposedly on our side. Those who mocked, chided and insulted Trump for over a year. Those who pedaled doom and gloom about how it was impossible to win the Presidency without being in the club, or without being a bible thumper, or whatever the excuse has been for the last six months that I haven't been listening to them. Trump could never win, they told us. We told them they were full of it, and this morning, the rather stark lack of "I was wrong" among these folk tells us all we needed to know about them.
Turns out, yard signs do matter. Rally crowds matter. Experience in business and leadership matter. Because we just won Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
For the last few months, my key indicator of what was going to happen here actually was yard signs. I live right smack in the middle of liberal utopia. In 2012, I saw a fair number of Romney signs, and thought that indicated good things in general. This year, I saw a massive number more Trump signs-- and the key thing that really gave me hope, is just how many hand made Trump signs I saw. For the first time ever, I also saw constant Hillary attack ads, in this same region, and also for the first time ever, well made and executed ads for Trump. When you live in a foregone conclusion, this is not insignificant, it turns out.
So, here we are. President Trump. Decades of solid Supreme Court decisions. Sane business regulation and tax. The de-weponization of the Federal Government. It turns out, Gen. Patton was right: Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser.
I think I'll go grow the economy a little.
posted by Mr. Lion | 11/09/16 @ 07:43 | comments (0)
iPhone 7: First Impressions
Turns out I picked a few weeks ago to shatter my iPhone 6, so while I was in no particular rush to upgrade, that event moved it up the priority list. As did Jet Black, which is the finish I've wanted on Apple devices since they started putting black on anything.
So, things I like:
- Jet Black was worth the wait. The finish is very nice. If you geek out over interesting finishes on metal as I do, you'll probably love it as well.
- The not a button home button. The taptic feedback works exceptionally well, and the TouchID sensor works much better than it did on earlier hardware.
- The speakers are massively improved. Doesn't matter much to me for music, as I rarely play any natively on the phone, but for UI events it just makes for a better experience.
- The camera is massively improved. Back when I got my first iPhone, I never thought I'd care much about the camera on it. It has since become my primary method of taking photos, and live photos are kind of neat.
- It's fast. Real fast. The 6 never really left me wanting for more performance at any given time, but every so often I'd run into a tiny bit of lag here and there. Gone on the 7.
I also quite like that it's much closer to waterproof than it used to be. While I've never taken an iPhone for a swim, I've come close a few times. All in all, from a hardware perspective, the iPhone 7 is a very nice refresh that feels, works and looks much nicer than the 6. I wouldn't call it particularly ground breaking-- if you're on the "S" upgrade path, I'd want for the 7S.
Things I don't like-- I really can't say anything bad about the hardware. I don't care that the audio jack is gone as I haven't plugged a set of headphones into an iPhone since the original one. No, the only things I dislike have to do with iOS 10.
- My annoyances with the setup process enabling a bunch of crap I hate was not outlier on the iPhone 6-- the process is the same stupidity on the 7. Apple, I do not wish to shove all of my sensitive data into iCloud. I have my own servers for that. Hence, enabling it by default is fucking stupid. Stop it.
- Enabling "Find my Phone" by default also still happens-- If I want it on, I'll turn it on. If you want me to turn it on, provide a method that prevents government agencies from accessing my iCloud information, warrant or otherwise.
- Take your news app and shove it up your blowhole. If I wanted that crap enabled, I would turn it on. When I've been disabling it for over a year at every major iOS update, maybe take a hint.
- The "squirt gun" emoji is infantile, and generally retarded. All you'll make me do with that bullshit is buy another black rifle. Stick to great hardware and software, not bullshit social engineering and the appeasement of idiots.
So, all in all, a few annoyances with iOS 10 notwithstanding, I'm quite happy with it. Especially considering it doesn't explode like.. other phones I could mention.
posted by Mr. Lion | 09/30/16 @ 09:58 | comments (1)
Thanks for the following iOS 10 crimes:
1) Making Notes look like utter dog shit.
2) Completely disregarding my setup selections to not use iCloud for every damn thing.
3) Automatically turning on Find My Phone with no approval from me.
4) Taking the time to slather on what I'm sure is at least a Gigabyte of ruined, stupid, or generally useless emoji and other crap I didn't need or want.
5) Auto-enabling a bunch of crap I've never used and have no desire to, like News.
... with, I'm quite sure, more to come.
posted by Mr. Lion | 09/16/16 @ 14:36 | comments (2)
New things and junk.
Yep, some new things. Specifically, after a decade and a half of CapLion running on a generally horrid collection of perl scripts with hacktastic html code dating back to the heady days of IE6, I made myself take a weekend and rebuild it all from scratch into something reasonably modern and clean. In doing so I also pruned a number of things that I thought were good ideas circa 2001 and added a bunch of behind the scenes features that should keep me sane. Or as close to it as possible.
There’s also some nifty new stuff coming in the near future, and probably even some more content and stuff, so stay tuned!
posted by Mr. Lion | 08/08/16 @ 14:21 | comments (0)
I've been buying Airport Extreme base stations for a good long while. Since they existed, in fact. And a few days ago, when one of my original pizza box units decided it no longer wanted to run for more than 12 hours at a time, I upgraded to yet another of the current models. That would be the sixth one I've bought this year, if you were keeping track-- not because they're unreliable, but because I use them everywhere.
However, this particular unit lived in a somewhat odd networking environment, in where two AEs operate on the same subnet, with different DHCP IP block allocations, due largely to a need for firewalling and routing the two networks they create differently. This was not a problem with the pizza box units, or even the more current missile silo unit-- and in fact, remains something the hardware will happily continue to do.
The entirely annoying discovery I made, however, is that since the 6.x release of Airport Utility, the fucking software no longer allows one to set a "DHCP only" network mode, nor assign arbitrary IP ranges for said DHCPing-- things that are entirely normal and valid on any network.
In order to make the hardware I fucking paid for do what the fuck it has been doing for a decade, I had to not only download Airport Utility 5.6, but a fucking hacked version that would run on El Capitan, because you fuckwits won't normally permit this eeeeevil application to run on said OS.
Now, I realize the desire to idiot-proof the setup of network devices, but doing so need not be mutually exclusive of offering entirely reasonable options and settings to network engineers. In short: Fuck you, Apple. Things are supposed to be easier in your ecosystem, not stupider. Keep this shit up and Cisco will get my money instead.
posted by Mr. Lion | 07/14/16 @ 21:42 | comments (0)
Business for idiots.
Recent events in the business world have inspired me to write a primer for those who are, or who may be thinking about going into business for themselves. This is fairly specific to the tech industry, but the same general concepts apply to virtually everything that isn't a government run monopoly. In the vein of George Washington's Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior: Mr. Lion's Rules of Remaining in Business.
1) If you, like most, are relying on hiring or contracting in talent to build your Next Big Thing, perhaps the most important thing you can do is to be forthright and honest with any of said hapless souls you may be attempting to hire or contract. That, in general, means:
1a) If you do not have the money to pay said talent to build your Next Big Thing, you should tell them upfront. Rather than, say, three to five months after the fact. This will prevent said talent from working up the white hot rage of a thousand suns and directing it towards you.
1b) If you have not been in business before, or have only had misfortune and "learning experiences" in past, you should probably seek the advise and expertise of said talent rather than dictate to them how they ought build something that they have decades of experience doing, and that which you have none. This will prevent said talent from setting your house on fire and plotting intricate machinations involving you, a microwave, and several hundred rolls of aluminum foil.
1c) When you are attempting to recruit, hire, or otherwise interest prospective talent in your Next Big Thing, you should probably not get people who have the IQ of a diced carrot to tech them out. Namely as when the talent in question knows more than the bumbling fool you hired to make them look bad, the net result is that you look like a blithering moron to everyone but yourself. Namely as you are vapid idiot.
1d) As with 1(b), if you lack any and all technical competency in a given discipline, you should avoid telling talent you are trying to hire what methods and apparatus they should use based solely on your collection of search-engine provided buzzwords that have absolutely nothing to do with the project at hand. This will keep said talent from drawing Deadpool-like caricatures of themselves hacking your head off with a sawzall on the white board.
1e) The correct method of dealing with an inability to raise funds to build your Next Big Thing is to inform the talent you are attempting to hire of this, and provide meaningful and frequent updates on the matter. It is not to take a European vacation or buy a new sports car. Namely as said talent are generally not idiots, to the extent they know about your Instagram account, and this behavior will typically result in the general bile and hatred they foist in your general direction being turned up to eleven.
In summary then, when dealing with talent, it is wise to do as your mother and/or grade school teacher and/or parole officer taught you and treat others as you would like to be treated yourself. It is spectacularly effective in reducing the number of burning effigies created in your honor.
2) Communication is one of those things that few do well, and even fewer do perfectly. That said, one should make a passing stab at the concept, because making people chase you for information, assets, documentation or what have you serves only to illustrate that you are, in fact, a massive idiot and your dog’s sweater is more important than your business efforts. This tends to be the wrong message to send to people you are trying to entice to sacrifice long hours on your behalf.
3) Integrity is not just a word on a (de)motivational poster. Doing what you say you will do is a very good idea. At least trying to do what you say you will do is the bare minimum. Having absolutely no intention of doing what you say you will do, because you have figured out that burning bridges is a downright effective way of getting free work out of the highly talented, is right out. Assuming you’d like to avoid a rather unexpected brake warning light in your car while barreling down the freeway at 80 mph.
4) Priorities. These are important things. For example, when you are starting a business, it is more important to return phone calls, speak with talent and logistics people, and in a nutshell “run your damn business” than it is to attend birthday parties and/or go shopping for shoes. That of course assumes you would like to be seen as an upstanding member of the business community, and not the bumbling fucktard everyone who works for you is constantly making fun of on Slack. Which would be one of those tools you know nothing about, incidentally.
In a nutshell, the secret to success in business is to generally act like John Wayne in an old western. Treat people well. Have some class and style. Do what you say you will do. And do not treat people like discarded watermelon rinds. Otherwise, said people will not only take their toys and go home, but they will likely sue you, or at the very least tell everyone else who works in the relatively small community of people you desperately need to build your idiotic collection of suck and fail just how much of a mindless constellation of stupid you are, while stabbing pencils into a crudely drawn likeness of your face.
Thus ends another fine public service announcement, brought to you by one of the guys who builds things you need.
posted by Mr. Lion | 07/01/16 @ 23:39 | comments (0)
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