Lower house priceshttp://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43222187/ are actually a good thing. It's only when they reach long-term trend lines that they become a bargain. We're 20% from that point. Much further to go.
Anyone remember Data General? Wang? Silicon Graphics? Sun? They rise quickly to great heights, until they appear to be enormous institutions, then they fall as fast as they rose.
It's modern corporate evolution, one reason why you need to build a career on your own brand, never expect an employer to maintain one for you.
Nokia is now going down that same road. When phones were based on Real Time Operating Systems, Nokia was king of the hill. No one made as much from so-called “feature phones,” because Nokia had all the carriers locked-up, it owned the OS, and costs were outsourced, under control.
Yesterday, in a short blog post called "spring cleaning," Google announced it is deprecating (slowly killing) its Google Translate API.
APIs product manager Adam Feldman seems to have deliberately buried the lead, listing the Translate API among a collection of others. But linking to the API's page shows the software will be shut on December 1.
The Google Translate API page offers this cryptic explanation. "Due to the substantial economic burden caused by extensive abuse, the number of requests you may make per day will be limited and the API will be shut off completely on December 1, 2011."
How do you "abuse" a translation tool, and how does that cause any "economic burden," let alone a "substantial" one?
Think of this as Volume 15, Number 23 of A-Clue.com, the online newsletter I've written since 1997. Enjoy.
I spent some time yesterday looking at an American medical success story.
One of my oldest friends needed cataract surgery. Unlike me, however, he's a veteran, so he could get it done.
I drove him there and back, which is required when the patient is getting anesthesia. What I found was a crowded, bureaucratic, but efficient hospital where the workers always treat patients and families with civility. There was no luxury. There was a line for everything, even though we had an appointment. All the workers were on salaries dictated by a government schedule. But the veterans knew they had a good deal, and everyone from doctors down to clerks was polite and cheerful – even to me.
My former ZDNet colleague, Mary Jo Foley, has an interview with a former Microsoft employee, featuring the headline “Can an open-source backer thrive inside Microsoft? This one says no.”
But the piece makes clear, even if the headline doesn't, that the problems of Hamilton Verissimo had little or nothing to do with open source. As Nick Eaton of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer rightly inferred after reading the interview, they are endemic to the company's corporate culture.
I've been following Microsoft for almost 30 years myself, and it's clear that culture changed in 1995 when the company, having achieved near-monopoly status with its Windows operating system and Office suite, decided to “embrace and extend” this monopoly into the Internet through its Explorer browser.
The Department of Defense report on open source is called Lessons Learned but here it is in a nutshell:
Shared infrastructure makes everyone better.
Shared infrastructure is not inconsistent with the contracting mindset.
Shared infrastructure delivers both security and savings.
The report, taken in its entirety, is a very big deal, because Defense contracting is such a huge business, and because it's where closed source has taken such a dogged stand.
And that second conclusion, that open source and contracting can mix, may be the most important.
Even though it may use an open source process for developing, say, security software, doesn't mean that Secretary of Defense Gates is going over the Github for a .tar ball. He's going to continue using the same contracting process as before, choosing among competitive vendors.
But those vendors will have all shared in the fruits of an open source process, they will all be starting from the same shared store, meaning contractors will continue to have choices no matter how complex the stuff gets.
With the completion of its Novell acquisition, Attachmate has sent SUSE Linux back to its obscure German roots.
Attachmate installed a veteran executive with experience in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Nils Brauckmann (right), at SUSE, and sent the whole group back to Nuremberg, where it was formerly based.
Brauckmann told a reporter he would focus on what “customers” want and avoid things that were merely “interesting,” which is one reason why Mono, the Linux implementation of .Net, was jettisoned.
UPDATE: Apple has responded to the issue below with a letter, which offers no legal protection to app developers.
The U.S. Patent and copyright regimes have evolved to benefit corporations.
That was not their original intent (it was meant to benefit small inventors like this guy), but that's discussion for another time.
For now let's focus on reality. Patents and copyrights are meant to benefit big companies. They're treated as property rights, especially in fast-moving industries. Big outfits like Apple, Google and Microsoft raise high the patent walls, buying rights to inventions they didn't create and then asserting them against their ecosystems, in order to maintain control.
Apple has done this with special ruthlessness, but now a patent troll called Lodsys (and sorry guys but you're a troll) has hoisted it on its own petard.
Lodsys bought an incredibly broad patent, number 10,732,102 for those scoring at home claiming to cover all purchases within applications, when the upgrade process is part of the app.
The “invention” was created by a man named Dan Abelow (above), in 1988, so the actual invention has nothing to do with mobile phones, apps, or anything in the current day. He sold his rights to Nathan Myrhvold's Intellectual Ventures in 2004
Lodsys got its “rights” from Intellectual Ventures. So this is not a case of small inventor getting his just desserts, even second hand. This is a law firm shaking down an industry for its own profit.
Think of this as Volume 15, Number 22 of A-Clue.com, the online newsletter I've written since 1997. Enjoy.
My mom came to visit recently. Blogging is light as a result.
She's 87 now, we all love her and are proud of her relative independence. She uses a walker, but she can get around, and does. She took a red-eye in from the coast. But, best-case scenario, the world's oldest folks are going around age 114, and mom's frailty makes her unlikely to be a champion in the sport of Extreme Aging.
When most folks see this sort of scene in their lives they think about the past, but I'm not most folks. I think about the future.
More particularly, the future I won't see.
Today's crisis of shifting from burning stuff to harvesting the abundance all around us sets us up for the next crisis, which for lack of a better word I'll call the crisis of terraforming.
Consider. The explosion of air temperature we're seeing right now is a second hint (the ozone crisis was the first) concerning a very large question. Now that we can terraform the Earth, what kind of Earth will it be?