Sips from the Firehose

Sep 15

Google Android Store: the Mobile Goldrush is Coming…

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It's going to be interesting to see if the upcoming mobile phone platform/application war & shakeout will be a repeat of the Apple vs. IBM, or Mac OS vs. Windows wars of the early 80s and early 90s … ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny and all that, you know…

Apple has done a tremendous job breaking ground in this area, popularizing the technology with great hardware that works … well mostly worksthey have put tons of effort into conceptualizing and designing the interface, and Google android storecreating the paradigm that people actually want to use.
…and now that they've done the heavy lifting, along comes the more open-source competitor, flinging open the doors of innovation and competition to take the tidy Apple walled garden and turn it into, well, pretty much what the landscape of PC-based applications has looked like for the past 28 years or so.  A loud, rude, complicated, chaotic landscape where everything is much cheaper, does kewl new things that businesses/people need to have in their lives, and that you have to be half-systems engineer yourself to keep all your various hardware & software all playing nicely together.

To stretch the "walled garden" metaphor a little, the IBM-PC space, rather than a tidy garden, more resembles a giant sandbox full of toddlers on meth. Only they're NFL lineman-size. With power tools.
If the past is to be our guide, the Android and Blueprint somewhat open-source projects are going to start off behind Apple, biting off what Apple does.  And the developers will be relentless.  And the hardware manufacturers will churn out warehouses full of cheap, buggy handsets to run all this on.

And they will gradually erode Apple's lead in the smartphone/app space.

Anyway, here's some interesting quotes from MSNBC:

While Android is an operating system, it is
also an open-source system similar to Linux, upon which it is based.
That’s creating a lot of excitement and interest in the kind of
programs that will be available for users, including one that can track
family members’ whereabouts in an emergency to another that offers a
short cooking video, followed by information on nearby grocery stores
that carry the ingredients needed for the recipe.

its inception, Android has been tweaked and built upon freely by
developers, device designers and wireless carriers who have had
complete access to Android’s Software Developer Kit. Basically, Android
is whatever users and developers want it to be.

in contrast to Apple’s approach with the iPhone. Nine months ago, Apple
created a Software Developer Kit offering application makers the same
interface and tools Apple uses to develop iPhone software.

But Apple has closely regulated and monitored every program that is being offered through the company’s online App Store.

will “create a new, attractive environment to foster innovation and
make it easier to bring new ideas to market, ultimately ensuring
consumers a richer, more personalized mobile experience,”

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Jun 28

For All the Frustrated, Passive-Aggressive IT Dweebs Out There…

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…the makers of this YouTube hit video (it just got Fark‘d and Arrington‘d) are now your patron saints.

This little NSFW gem will bring a rueful (vindictive?) smile to anyone who’s had to deal with dim-bulb non-techies who can’t articulate what’s wrong, what they want, and least of all, understand what the solutions that they are demanding will actually do.

Great moment where the vid starts getting really brilliant comes about 1/3 of the way through – Salesguy: “Now I can’t get to the home page!”

Web Dude: “What the –!?? But you said the website was down? You mean you could see the home page?”

I particularly liked the little touches in this video – as Web Dude gets more and more frustrated and annoyed, he starts taking it out on the characters in Halo, shooting them repeatedly in the crotch and attaching grenades to their faces.

I’ve never done IT fulltime myself, but I’ve usually been one of the “go-to” guys in the office when IT isn’t available. Thus, I’ve spent my share of time ostentatiously rolling my eyes and sighing. I did like, however, how both sides took their shots – the sales dweebs are demanding, ignorant and try to evade responsibility for the chaos they cause. The IT dweebs are more interested in playing Halo than actually dealing with anything, and snort dismissively in that way that makes users retreat and get defensive.

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Jun 19

Obama Reaches Out on LinkedIn

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Yet another quick hit – just checked to see how many more answers I’m getting from the LinkedIn question I posted earlier this week, and noticed that the Obama campaign today posted a question on what the best ideas are to “keep America competitive in the years ahead.”

What ideas do you have to keep America competitive in the years ahead?

In a recent speech, I proposed a new competiveness agenda centered
around education and energy, innovation and infrastructure, fair trade
and reform.

You can watch it, and read the full-text, here:

What ideas do you have to keep America competitive in the years ahead?

Smart. Very smart. These people “get it.” They are using Web 2.0 in a very inclusive, forward-thinking way; the mere fact that they’re posing such a question in a professional forum means that they are reaching out to business professionals in an unprecedented way.

Again, I’m going to have to get back to this in a later post, but it’s tying into what I call the “Help Line Mollification Effect.” You know – how you dial customer support, mashing the buttons on your phone with excessive force, blood pressure up around nuclear reactor containment sphere levels … and you yowl at the poor schlub on the other end … until he helps you out and gently leads you through the answer … and by the end of the call, after the problem is resolved, you feel like a total ass, and want to send him something from his Amazon wishlist. Or is that just me?

Look folks, a lot of the anger simmering under the surface of our society is because everyone feels that no one is listening. The fact that Obama & his people are actually reaching out to people – well, hell. That’s disarming. It breaks down the resistance – that whole “Obama is a dangerous socialist who’s going to destroy the country with his hippie/commie ways” meme that’s been festering on the internets. It kinda says, “Hey, if you’ve got a great idea on how to fix things, let’s hear it.”

Who knows? Maybe the answer is that all of us are indeed smarter than any of us, and that out of this question will arise some fantastic new strategy that will restore the U.S. to greatness.

Or a buncha Digg kids will all get together, rig the question-answering, and we’ll wind up with an army of giant killer robots that all look like Lara Croft.

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May 16

Crashed the Mac

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OK, someone up in Computer Heaven HATES me.

I managed to completely crash the Mac. as in, "The little pinwheel just spins on the screen, and none of the buttons, clicks to key-combos does the least little thing."

Happened when I tried to close out of Firefox. The whole system just hung.  Had to do a "Hard Quit" of holding down the power button until the machine went dead.  And now that I’ve been trying to work with Premiere Pro to import footage from the NAS, the Mac has gotten downright cranky.

I did, however, manage to install 4 extra Gigs of RAM from Crucial – for those of you shambling around wearing Apple t-shirts and mumbling "braiiiinnnssss …. brrrraaaaiiinnnssss " – a much better option than buying memory from the gottverdammt total rip-off Apple stores. 

Not that all that extra mem seems to have pepped the system up much.  (sigh)

I guess this is a case of the "grass = greener over in the Mac pasture."  FAIL.

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