Free services devaluation: what’s next ?

I agree with the observation Free services devaluation: what’s next? that there needs to be (and will be) great evolution of the social networking business model away from what created FaceBook, MySpace and similar sites.

I disagree, though, with the use of Second Life as an example of a social networking site which does not work because of the model, or because of incongruity between corporate presence and user alienation by corporate presence. The problem with Second Life if the implementation – it is crap.

More stupidity – Soviet Microsoft: Stockholm Syndrome Among Unswitchable Windows User?

 

Soviet Microsoft: Stockholm Syndrome Among Unswitchable Windows Users

This crap is getting ridiculous. First Microsoft is the Soviet Union, and now anyone who does not agree with the “Microsoft is an evil empire” crowd and switch to inferior desktop environments such as Linux, or closed, over-priced systems like Mac (both of which I like in the right context, and both of which I have developed software on) is obviously mentally impaired and suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.

People, get a freaking life. This is bloody software, nothing more. If you like it, buy it and use it. If you don’t like it, DON’T. Either way, stop playing amateur psychologist, political analyst, or whatever else you are playing, and please, please, please STFU. 

Vista is a failure? Mac is a success?

This post was prompted by a post I saw on the WordPress “TagSurfer” about the current market share between various operating systems and OS versions. I cannot find that post again, so I looked up the stats at http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=10, and the numbers looked much the same as I recall from the post.

What jumps out at me from the stats is this: Vista is at 9.19% (after about a year in the wild), and Mac is at 6.81%. And yet, Vista is widely perceived as a failure, and Mac is perceived to be on a roll. How much of a roll can Mac be on if they still do not have the market penetration of a new OS that everyone supposedly hates?

What these numbers say to me is that marketers, fan boys, and other obsessives can spin the numbers to say whatever they want you to buy!

Leopard will open the Mac OS X floodgates (and embarass Microsoft)?

Leopard will open the Mac OS X floodgates (and embarass Microsoft) – nice thought, but not very realistic. The fact is, Apple will continue to eat away a Microsoft’s dominance, especially in certain segments of the market (primarily those who would not be running Windows anyway), but will not become the dominant desktop OS (and hence, will not destroy Microsoft) unless Apple stops being a radically proprietary, closed environment, and lets users buy the OS and run it on whatever hardware they want. Same battle Apple lost in the 80s – seems they never learn.This assumes, of course, that Apple wants to be an OS vendor – maybe they are not stupid, they just do not want to compete in that market.

Fred’s Laws – How not to write software

This begins a series of posts on Fred’s Laws – basically a set of anti-rules on how not to develop software.

Over the past twenty-odd years, I have seen a lot of software projects crash and burn. Many have been doomed from the start, while many others died slow, painful deaths after hopeful beginnings. Some have finished, and the systems are in production, without ever having realized that the project was a failure. Others should have failed, but managed to struggle through due to the heroic efforts of one or more dedicated (and usually really smart) people.

I have also seen more than a few “failed” projects that were technical successes. We built really cool software. We were on time, on budget, and had good quality. They failed in some other aspect – usually they were business failures for one reason or another.

The environments in which these projects have died have been varied as well. Some tried to make it with no process at all. Some had lots and lots and lots (and lots and lots) of process. I have not seen a great deal of correlation between process and success (well, except that the process I pick for my projects is always successful 😉 ).

When I look back on these catastrophic projects, usually I can see where things went wrong. In fact, most of the time I could see where they were going wrong while it was happening, like watching a car crash in slow motion, but was frequently powerless to avoid the impact. More often than not (in fact, I would be willing to say always), the root cause was something completely avoidable (from a technical or project perspective). Never was it because we chose Windows over Linux (or vice versa), nor because of the programming language we chose, nor because what we set out to do was technically impossible.

As I have written Fred’s Laws (well, written them in my head, none of them are actually written yet!) it occurs to me that they all seem to be straight from the department of the bloody obvious. No rocket science here. If they are this obvious, why even write them down. Well, the reason is that, despite how really obvious all of this is, I watch projects not do them all the time. Most of the time, in fact.

So, stay tuned. I am going to try to post one law per day (or so) until I run out of ideas.

BTW, as a little footnote, I have been involved in a few successful projects along the way. It just always seems to be the ones that failed (and failed spectacularly) that stick out in my memory.

DesktopLinux.com takes a swipe at Vista to promote Linux

Looking at DesktopLinux.com takes a swipe at Vista to promote Linux, and the referenced article, I wholeheartedly agree with Loren on this, though I do not seem to have the willpower to resist commenting on this stuff. I have said it before, and I will say it again – the Linux community has to shut up about Vista, and about Microsoft in general. It hurts them, more than helping them. The kind of drivel in the DesktopLinux.com post just makes Linux evangelists sound like babbling morons. It really hurts any chance Linux has of being taken seriously.

It is also interesting to see the Linux community so excited by how much progress they are making on the desktop – as reflected by the number of diggs a statistic like Linux bypasses Windows 98 in use. Wow – Linux is outperforming a no-longer-supported OS. And they are up to 1.34%. And Windows XP only has 83%! Even the much hated Windows Vista has more than twice the desktop presence of Linux.

Face it folks, at the moment, Linux is nothing but a novelty on the desktop. In the real world, it is meaningless. Hopefully, in the future, it will become a real contender. But please, until it does, stop pretending.