Archive for August, 2014|Monthly archive page

Android Fragmentation

Android Fragmentation – Business Insider.

There’s a reason why Peter Kelly of UX Productivity, which makes UX Write,* chose to develop the app for iOS and not toss it into Android’s chaotic sea. Another reason is that any enterprise confronted with so many different kinds of “Android” will surely feel more than a little anxious at having to ensure that the employees who bring their own devices are using the same or compatible software and have the same sort of security provisions in place. None of this costly anxiety obtains with iOS. In fact, despite the notorious–even infamous–closed nature of Apple’s OS, the platform ends up being in practice more not less open than Android–for developers, as well as users–however much it can Google its way to the Linux cradle. Having a predictable and stable environment helps all developers, regardless of their IP philosophy, and helps users in choosing what will keep its value even into the next year.

(Note: UX Write today does iOS. It’s native. But because it uses HTML-5 and JavaScript, it’s not limited to OS boundaries–nor to what we normally think of as a “productivity” app.)


Nadella’s challenge: Saving Microsoft | ZDNet

Nadella’s challenge: Saving Microsoft | ZDNet.

So, here’s how I see it coming out. Microsoft will continue to be a giant company, but it will prove unable to dominate the mobile and cloud markets the way it has the desktop market. Without that domination, Microsoft will stagnate and start to fall behind the other technology giants.”

I agree. Only I think its stagnation has been going on longer than suggested, and I’m basing my argument on the difficulty it’s seemingly had in attracting and retaining effectual talent. I don’t doubt that the company appeals to many around the world who have other choices. But are those then hired and, better yet, listened to? Do they write to their friends and express the intense excitement they feel working for a company that’s doing interesting and even adventurous work and making them feel important doing it? (Is there anything that MSFT has done recently that would catch the eye of a brilliant developer who wants to make a difference and feel good about doing it? Any new or novel technology that is not just a copy, an emulation, a Disney-fication of something a little wilder–“disruptive”– but so much more original?)

Sure, enterprises, public sector and private, will continue to buy Microsoft. And SJV-N is right about Azure and Excel, and these will continue to earn MSFT money. But no one complained or complained that Blackberry’s network was terrible or that its email system failed. They critiqued it and first consumers then, massively, enterprises, stopped buying its products because the company demonstrated an inability to be relevant, even to understand what being relevant meant. Yes, I’m echoing the student complaint of the 60s. But they were approaching education–probably not for the first time–as consumers demanding products that mattered to them.

I don’t think MSFT can do what I did with OpenOffice, if only because the brand is so deeply etched into modernity’s consciousness and its size is so vast, much larger than empires: Which was to take a dull office suite a tool for office worker oppression and turn it into a tool for all workers’ freedom.

Windows 8 market share stalls, XP at record low • The Register

Windows 8 market share stalls, XP at record low • The Register.

Basic message is that Win 8.x has failed in the marketplace and people are turning from XP to Win 7. Why? I suggest it reflects the lack of any compelling reason to buy a Windows 8.x box—absent, that is, compulsion from education or work. For a consumer wanting a computer to use Facebook or other social media or to watch or read works online? OS X or the cheapest and most familiar form of Windows. And increasingly: tablets.

It gets worse for MSFT. Apple’s strategic entry into corporations via iPads modulo IBM but also, and much more importantly, via the sheer popularity and liquid integration into established environments ruptures MSFT’s storied claim of the corporation commons as its own.

I don’t expect to see MSFT collapse into itself any time soon. It’s not a credit agency surfing on consumer credibility. And it’s not like Sun or any of the other premillennial stars of the tech world; indeed, the sheer size, the very momentum of the company makes any comparison difficult. It may also prove the case that Azure lifts the rest of the company into the relevancy it’s losing on the desktop. But if I want interesting controversy, excitement, and genius, I don’t look to MSFT but elsewhere, and I think I’m not alone in this dis-regard.

Open Source Bridge: The conference for open source citizens / June 24-27, 2014 / Portland, OR

Open Source Bridge: The conference for open source citizens / June 24-27, 2014 / Portland, OR.

I regret I was unable to participate. However, the idea of having a conference exploring “open source citizenship” (defining what that means is part of the exploration) sounds interesting–enough to consider organizing one in Toronto.

“An Open Audit of an Open Certification Authority”

An Open Audit.

The author, Ian Grigg is Independent Auditor for CAcert. This long work is worth going over. The abstract: 

How does a lightweight community Certification Authority (“CA”) engage in the heavyweight world of PKI and secure browsing?

With the introduction of PKI — Public Key Infrastructure — as a framework that brought together cryptography, contract law, and institutional views from postal and telecommunications ministries, the Internet security framework rapidly became too complex for individuals and small groups to deal with, and the Audit stepped into the gulf to provide a kinder face, in the form of a simple opinion or judgement call. Classically, the audit process oversights a CA for its suitability for reliance in the root lists of popular software distributions.

Yet, a community of Internet enthusiasts does not match the classical target customer of an audit: little money, loose structures, no deadlines, self-directed tasking, uncertain customer list, all inspired by an original goal of as many free certificates as you can use. Internet communities can make up for an apparent lack of professionalism with enthusiasm, numbers, loyalty and innovative thinking, but does that help or hinder a formal, criteria-directed audit process?

This talk tracks the systems audit of CAcert, an open-membership CA, as a case study in auditing versus the open Internet, community versus professionalism, quality versus enthusiasm. It will walk through the background of “what, why, wherefore an audit,” look at how CAcert found itself at this point, and then walk through some big ticket items: risks/liabilities/obligations; assurance and what’s in a name; disputes and reliance; privacy and data protection; the mission of a CA; open governance; and systems and security.

Can CAcert deliver on its goal of free certs? The audit is into its 3rd year as of this writing; and remains incomplete. Some parts are going well, and other parts are not; by the end of the year 2008, we should be able to check all of the important areas, or rethink the process completely. Hence, finally, the talk will close with progress and status, and recommendations for the future.

Improving performance on (2012) | Twitter Blogs

Improving performance on | Twitter Blogs.

Follows from Brehm’s article on isomorphic JavaScript, in which he discussed how modern JavaScript WebApps work. Twitter’s architectural change (taken back in 2012) was a relevant example because Twitter radically altered the fundamental logic of its operations and removing obstacles to “First Tweet.” It’s a fascinating account not only of the smart use of user data but also of architecture in the service of company goals. One would think that’d be standard but …. many companies don’t seem to know their goals, especially on the Web, and thus cannot really fix matters.

I actually don’t know what Twitter does now to render pages fast on desktops as well as on mobiles.

Spike Brehm (Airbnb) on Isomorphic JavaScript

There’s a reason this seemingly abstruse talk has proliferated across the Web. It’s a superb explication of a complex subject whose actual importance to us as consumers *and* producers was never quite so evident before.

The future of web apps is — ready? — isomorphic JavaScript | VentureBeat | Dev | by Spike Brehm.

FOSS Patents: Refresher Q&A on Oracle v. Google after appellate ruling: this copyright case is NOT about $1 billion

FOSS Patents: Refresher Q&A on Oracle v. Google after appellate ruling: this copyright case is NOT about $1 billion.

I was curious about Florian’s interpretation of the important ruling and also had my own questions about the likely effects the ruling in favor of Oracle would have on, for instance, Android. This Q&A is doubly useful.

(A larger question pertains to the legitimacy of copyright as applied to computer programs. Arguably, as with any thing or practice deemed property, there is always danger to guard against. “Danger” here being, for instance, a tendency to monopoly, enabled by the identity of property to code. Putting a time limit on ownership would presumably-ha!– halt monopoly’s emergence.)

%d bloggers like this: