Archive for January, 2008

The origins of language

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

I was looking for a word today to describe an optimal situation in design, where a proposed idea matches its function exactly. It means part efficiency, part good design, part relevance to the task (even if the client isn’t fully aware of it). I found:

Arete (areth): Appropriate form to or for purpose, with strong overtones of ideal good

When it comes to technology design, it doesn’t get any clearer than that.

Selling software by contract

Monday, January 21st, 2008

If you’ve bought a computer from a major manufacturer recently, you’re familiar with this gig. You bought Windows with the machine, but you don’t get an install disk. Instead, you get a second partition on the disk from which you can re-install Windows if you need to.

The only problem is that if the hard disk fails, and that’s the most common failure at 3-5 years of ownership, you don’t get to reinstall legally.

Microsoft makes a big noise about how many people pirate their software, but from a user-centric point of view, they’re forcing people into piracy. First, they charge corporate rates for their operating systems, which makes no sense as an operating system is required to make the machine do anything. Next, they tie you into these per-machine licenses.

It’s not very productive to encourage people to think of a machine as the way they get their operating system, because next time, they might just buy a different machine. More of them are.

Instead, Microsoft should concentrate on a per-customer basis, where customer is an individual, a family or a business. Get people accounts on the Microsoft site. Buy the operating system and updates are free. Need to add a computer? $25. Need support? Contracts are $50/year.

It’s clean and easy, and it allows Microsoft to sell other products from one Amazon-like interface. It might be too straightforward for the software industry however.

Meta-Social Networking

Monday, January 14th, 2008

A new spin on social networking from a Slashdot user:

I’ve now been meta-social networking on Slashdot for six months, and my meta-friends list runneth over with people who have distinguished themselves with their brains and personalities and knowledge. I’m proud of this list, because when I go through it, I see people who are using their brains to make technology and humanity better. These aren’t the couchbound slackers that make our lives miserable by failing to fix obvious deficiencies. These people represent the kind of people whose company I’d want to seek, the kind of people who bring a sense of hope for humanity.

Here’s that meta-social networking list again. Check ‘em out. I’m proud of them, even if I only know a few of them. ^

An interesting take on an old dilemma of online “avatars” and how well they translate into the real world. I’ve got my shingle out at LinkedIn, FaceBook, Slashdot, MySpace, Amazon and Technorati. Drop me a line sometime!