Sunday, October 21, 2007

The 'great developers' 10 year life span


Reading Niel Robertson's blog today, I got this great nugget:

Vishal basically said, “We don’t measure it [Java adoption] and we don’t care. We are not putting all of our eggs in the Java basket, that’s just what we’re offering for the time being.” And then the most interesting part, “Languages tend to have 10 year timelines - and then they are always outmoded by a new language. So in 10 years we won’t be talking about Java, we’ll be supporting something else.” If you step back and think about it, on the eve of asking a majority of the SAP customer base to embrace Java with open arms, saying in 10 years SAP won’t care (author’s choice of words) about Java anymore is a pretty interesting and ballsy statement. Again, these are paraphrases meant to capture the spirit of his answer (do not take them as verbatim quotes) - please keep reading for a bit more insight into what I think Vishal meant and why this is an important discussion.
Ever notice how your developers, especially the one's that match up with this 10 year observation (which I believe is dead on), are great from the time they graduate (or pick up the hot new language) until 10 or so years later? Say, early 30's, then the creativity and output drop off?

It's true. I used to think it was due to things like family, kids, burnout, etc. and that's all part of it. But not all of it.

I've been observing the 10 year cycle for awhile as well (we're on this curve now with Ruby on Rails about 2 or so years in), and I've noticed that the guys who are still writing code and kicking ass at it into their late 30's, their 40's and beyond, are the one's that are willing to pick up and learn that new language (or languages).

Sadly, most do not.

This is due, I would bet, to how our brains are wired. Learning a new language when you're young is relatively easy, but trying to learn a new spoken language at 50, no so much. It's just too damn hard for most people once they've mastered English, Chinese, French, etc.

Some can do it, but most can't (or won't). "English is just fine fer me, thank you; besides, it's the language of business, everyone else should learn it anyway!"

Sound like your C, Java or ASP/.NET expert?

yea....

I love that rare developer who loves languages, loves learning them (well) and can use different languages in different situations; or better yet, can integrate multiple languages in ways that single language developers just can't do. They are, after all, just tools.

It's a little like trying to build, say, a workbench out of 2x4's. Imagine doing it with just a hammer (just one language). Not so easy. Throw in a saw, tape measure, planer, sander and a few other tools, and you can do alot with a pile of 2x4's.

Those multiple language guys are hard to find though.

The other guy is the one that can drop a dying language like, C, and pick up the 'new' 10 year language.

THESE are the guys that go on being great developers into their 40's, 50's and beyond.

And, these guys are as hard to find as the multiple language guys. And in many ways more valuable because they have many years of experience that they can draw on to build better mousetraps.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Comcast Is Indeed Editing Your Internet Connection

Well, it's verified. Comcast screws around with your internet connection and makes editorial decisions on what you can and can't do with it.

For me, that's a pretty good reason to drop Comcast internet service and find alternative's. For me, it's Qwest (the one phone company that also happens to have told the government to shove it when asked to perform illegal wiretaps, BTW).

From the Associated Press:

Comcast's technology kicks in, though not consistently, when one BitTorrent user attempts to share a complete file with another user. Each PC gets a message invisible to the user that looks like it comes from the other computer, telling it to stop communicating. But neither message originated from the other computer — it comes from Comcast. If it were a telephone conversation, it would be like the operator breaking into the conversation, telling each talker in the voice of the other: "Sorry, I have to hang up. Good bye."

If my telephone provider told me I was using my unlimited phone service too much, making too many calls to too many people and cut me off because of it (even as they advertised unlimited calls) that's grounds to dump them. Hell, it's grounds for a class action lawsuit if you think about it.

I'm buying internet access from these guys. That means plain old any way I want it to use any program I want to use access. It doesn't mean filtered access. Or access to some things but not other things. As long as I'm not trying to use more of the advertised bandwidth that I'm paying for, I would appreciate you keeping your grubby paws off my bits, thank you very much.

What burns me here is I'm not really much of a P2P user. I don't use bittorrent to find movies and music. I do use Miro to find legal content (and it does use a P2P approach) but that's content that's submitted by the content owners. Is Comcast breaking my connections here to?

I suspect yes. And this is a very legimate, very useful and very well liked (by me) service.

Enough of this crap. Comcast is banned from my house.

Qwest for internet access and Dish Network for TV is the way to go in my book. I may not love Qwest, but I'm reasonably sure they aren't filtering my bits and giving me less than the advertised service I bought based on the services I might use. And Dish give's me more channels with higher quality for less money.

Why didn't I do this sooner?

Everyone should.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

ClickCaster Inc. Gives Back to Colorado's Entrepreneurial Community


ClickCaster Inc. has donated 1% of it's equity to EFCO, the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado. This is a very worthy organization and we are proud to be a part of it.

PRESS RELASE

ClickCaster Inc. Gives Back to Colorado's Entrepreneurial Community

ClickCaster Inc., a provider of worldclass IPTV & Media Middleware Platforms announces it's support in EFCO, the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado.

[ClickPress, Tue Oct 09 2007] The company has pledged to donate one percent of it's overall equity to EFCO, a program targeted at angel and VC backed companies based in Colorado. The organization is focused on creating an endowment that let's young companies, through the gift of their equity, give back to the communities we live and work in.

"We learned about EFCO several months ago and decided on the spot to participate as soon as it made sense" says ClicKCasters CEO, Scott Converse. "Being part of the local community and giving back to the different institutions, organizations and entities that make Colorado such a great place to start a company is something every young company should consider doing".

ClickCaster is joining a growing group of Colorado based early stage companies in helping to build a permanent endowment to provide community grants for arts, civic involvement, education, the environment, and health and human services. Upon a liquidity event, the cash or stock that has been given by participating companies will be distributed to the appropriate Community Foundations.

About ClickCaster Inc.
ClickCaster Inc. was incorporated in Sept. of 2006. ClickCaster's technology has matured into a premier media middleware platforms with the ability to handle virtually any media type available today. With an emphasis on IPTV, ClickCaster and it's partners provide server and client device products and services to meet the most demanding needs of our customers. ClickCaster was founded by Scott Converse. He brings his expertise from companies such as Apple Computer, Paramount Pictures, Motorola and MCI to create the best media delivery platform products in our targeted markets available today.

About Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado:
Four companies - Tendril, Rally Software, Collective Intellect and Me.dium - are the founding grantors for the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado. The founding trustees are Brad Feld (Foundry Group), Kyle Lefkoff (Boulder Ventures), Tim Connor (Sequel Venture Partners), Ryan Martens (Rally Software), Bill Roberts (Hogan & Hartson), and Michael Platt (Cooley Godward Kronish). In addition, the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado has formed an alliance with the Entrepreneurs Foundation, an organization formed in 1988 with affiliates in Silicon Valley, Austin, Southern California, New England, Dallas, Portland, Atlanta, Hawaii and Israel.

If you get a chance, and want to learn more about EFCO, click here.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Top 100 Alternate Search Engines


I tend to take this kind of thing with a grain of salt, but hey, I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Seems my company's product ClickCaster (www.clickcaster.com) is listed in the top 100 search engines by the site www.altsearchengines.com.

According to their about section:
The unique approach of AltSearchEngines is to expand coverage of search engines to include the hundreds of alternative / niche search engines. While the editorial attitude will not be “anti-Google”, it will certainly be “pro-alternative search engines” - a showcase of cutting edge innovation. Our goal for AltSearchEngines is to make it the definitive destination for everything related to alternative search engines - over 1,000 of them!
I wonder if they even know about semi-clandestine www.castlister.com. Maybe they do and that's why they say it's still in beta (which CastLister is and ClickCaster isn't).

Check out the list here alongside the other 99 (or so).

UPDATE: Apparently, I misread that one. From the author of AltSearchEngines (Charles Knight):

"Greeting! I am the author of the Top 100 Alternative Search Engines list on AltSearchEngines.

You are actually thinking of the Top 100 video search engines Guest column by Mark Robertson."

Apparently, this was originally on the REEL SEO blog and I happened to find it on AltSearchEngines. To see REEL SEOs blog, click here.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Game & Software "Studios" and Technology Giants

Bungie, the makers of Halo, and 'owned' by Microsoft, have taken controlling interest of their company back from Microsoft.

So what you might ask? Well, considering this one game, in it's three iterations, is somewhere around a billion plus business all by it's lonesome, it IS a big deal.

This is very similar to Pixar doing all the Merlin work for Disney.

I'm wondering if we're seeing the beginning of a new relationship model for software companies that, in some ways, reflect the Hollywood system.

The independent studios (software companies making cool products) sell a single, specific property to a particular software company. Instead of being bought by Microsoft, you sell a specific product to Microsoft for an amount similar or maybe a little less what they'd buy you for, but you stay independent as a company/entity.

Microsoft still gets it's 2 year's out of you (you sign up to support and grow the product just as company founders bought by Microsoft are usually required to enter into a 12-24 month employment contract to work for Microsoft as part of the deal terms), but in this scenario you're not a Microsoft employee.

You get the benefit of money and/or stock for your product but keep your independence and freedom to innovate outside of the stifling environment most BigCo's (including most technology companies) operate in.

Microsoft gets your source code for that particular product, the customer base for that specific product and a significant part of your mindshare working on things for them for the next couple of years.

One year, it's Microsoft, another, Apple, another, Google, then maybe an interesting Oracle or Cisco side deal for that code that supports a smaller product they're interested in exploring. You expand your staff to handle the various relationships.

I wonder if smaller companies can learn a little from this Bungie deal and, maybe, take some pointers from the entertainment worlds loosely coupled studio system as a way of doing business in the future.

Seems, at least to my aging brain, like a better fit for startup founders than the current 'go public, get bought or go away' model we live with today.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

RIAA Wins It's First Lawsuit and Alienates All It's Customers


Well, here you have it:
The recording industry won a key fight Thursday against illegal music downloading when a federal jury found a Minnesota woman shared copyrighted music online and levied $222,000 in damages against her.
See the full story here.

First, I've gotta wonder what the jury in Minnesota was thinking here. Most folks from Minnesota that I know are pretty level headed. Or... could it be... they're sending us an oh so subtle message?

Subtle you ask? Why, yes! I think they did this intentionally to send the message to every music fan out there: Don't you go supporting these RIAA folks, the letter of the law, which my not be a good law, but is a law, says this poor girl owes them about... oh... $222,000.

Now, ya all go out and tell all your friends about this. First tell em this law is dumb and has plenty of letters to follow, but no spirit, no spirit at all, and they should make sure their lawmakers know that. Then, make darn sure they know that supporting any artist who publishing through any label that's a member of the RIAA is, deep down inside, a self centered narcissist who's music isn't to be supported by fans cause they signed away their creative souls (not to mention all their rights for anything their creative souls might think up), for a few dollars, to groups of kinda slimy people that just can't understand that they're destroying their own business, and their artists, by trying to hang onto an old dated and irrelevant business model and ignoring the realities of the digital world. Did ya all get that?

Good.

We're going home now to have some Lefsa.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Linux Wins over Vista


I've got a lot of boxes (PC's) scattered around my life. Most run Windows XP, a couple are Mac OSX machines and exactly one runs Vista and as of a couple weeks ago now, my personal laptop, runs Ubuntu Linux.

I'm running the Vista and Linux boxes next to each other and now that I've turned off my CableTV and no longer find a need for MediaCenter software, it's a no brainer win for Linux (although there are Media Center like programs for Linux as well, I still don't need it).

There are hundreds of blog posts up about the whys of this so I'm not going to repeat it all yet again. Here's one, and another and another (you get the idea).

Even Bob, My IT director, a guy I've known for years as a Windows bigot (and I mean, B I G O T- I can't count the number of times I had to referee a flame war in email between him and one of our linux guys), also just made the change. All his servers, desktops and laptops are running Linux. I think he has one Windows machine still running to play games on, but that's it.

His reasoning? Vista. He considers it incredible resource hog requiring huge amounts of memory and processing power (with no advantage to the user) and a form of DRM infection (among many other 'really serious issues').

When hard core lifelong Windows guys who make their living off of knowing the weirdness of Windows switch to Linux, you know something's up.

Me? I just want a machine that runs my Firefox browser. I live about 95% of the time on the web. The only times I work locally anymore are on presentations and particularly large spreadsheets (OpenOffice!) and multi-track recording (Audacity!)- and yes, both are free and both run great on Linux. Everything else is a website and GoogleDocs.

The vast majority of people using computers today don't care alot about getting deep into technology. They want to create and edit documents, presentations and spreadsheets. They also want to do email and manage contacts and calendars. And, they want to access the internet via some browser that supports the functions websites support through Flash and Java (any browser will do, really- unless is Safari on an iPhone... but I digress).

That's about it. I would bet that list above covers at least 80%, and maybe even 90% of the people using computers today.

Ubuntu Linux, finally, meets and exceeds those needs. And it does it in a way that's as easy to install and use as Windows XP and easier to use day to day than Vista.

Oh.. it'll run quite nicely on a 3 year old laptop to boot.

I wonder if Microsoft (and Apple, for that matter) really understand what's going on out there with this shift to web based services and free easy to use and fully compatible Opensource software vs. standard shink wrap software. I know both (particularly Microsoft) are trying, but that legacy boat anchor around their necks makes looking up and seeing that mondo wave come at you really, really hard.

I now have a free and very viable alternative to Windows and OSX. It's not quite ready for my Mom to use, but damn it's close.

I give it 12 months, tops.

We Can't Let Thousands of Local Newspapers Disappear ... Yang

I haven't really followed this guys campaign, but, I love the message he's got here. This is less than 5 minutes and it's deep...