Editorial Archive

What’s Happening with User Interfaces?

Like many of you, I've been watching the big changes in user interfaces over the past few years, trying to make sense of them all. Is there a common explanation for the controversies surrounding the Windows 8 UI and Unity? Where do GNOME 3, KDE, Cinnamon, and MATE fit in? This article offers one view.

Why I Use Generic Computers and Open Source Software

Do you depend on your computer for your living? If so, I'm sure you've thought long and hard about which hardware and software to use. I'd like to explain why I use generic "white boxes" running open source software. These give me a platform I rely on for 100% availability. They also provide a low-cost solution with excellent security and privacy.

U.S. Voting Technology: Problems Continue

In the United States, state and local authorities are in charge of voting and the country uses more than a half dozen different voting technologies. As a result, the country can't guarantee that it accurately counts national votes in a timely fashion. This article discusses the problem and potential solutions to the U.S. voting dilemma.

Tech Company Futures, pt. 2

My previous article analyzed some tech companies and their prospects: Microsoft, Intel, HP, Dell, Oracle, Apple, and Google. This article discusses IBM, Amazon, Yahoo!, Cisco, and BMC Software. The goal is to spark a useful discussion. What is your opinion of these companies? Do they have viable strategies for the future?

How Much Should an OS Vendor Own?

I was reading today about how Linux Mint developers altered the Banshee music player source code to redirect affiliate revenue from Amazon music orders to them instead of Banshee. They've reportedly made less than $4, which has caused a kerfluffle among those paying attention to that corner of the world. But it raises a larger point that has been swirling around for a couple of decades: an OS vendor has a lot of power to influence, and even monetize their user base. Where should they draw the line?

The Personal Computer Is Dead

The PC is dead. Rising numbers of mobile, lightweight, cloud-centric devices don’t merely represent a change in form factor. Rather, we’re seeing an unprecedented shift of power from end users and software developers on the one hand, to operating system vendors on the other--and even those who keep their PCs are being swept along. This is a little for the better, and much for the worse.

Tech Stocks!

My previous article described how you can use your tech knowledge to profit from the stock market -- if you combine it with financial analysis and careful research. This article analyzes several tech stocks. The goal is to start a useful discussion. What is your opinion of these companies? Even if you don't invest, this matters if you are in employed in IT. You're betting your career on the companies in whose products you specialize! You don't want to pick losers.

How Adobe Flash Lost Its Way

Despite early successes on the Web, the latter years of Flash have been a tale of missed opportunities, writes Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister. 'The bigger picture is that major platform vendors are increasingly encouraging developers to create rich applications not to be delivered via the browser, but as native, platform-based apps. That's long been the case on iOS and other smartphone platforms, and now it's starting to be the norm on Windows. Each step of the way, Adobe is getting left behind,' McAllister writes. 'Perhaps Adobe's biggest problem, however, is that it's something of a relic as developer-oriented vendors go. How many people have access to the Flash runtime is almost a moot point, because Adobe doesn't make any money from the runtime directly; it gives it away for free. Adobe makes its money from selling developer tools. Given the rich supply of free, open source developer tools available today, vendors like that are few and far between. Remember Borland? Or Watcom?'

iCloud’s Real Purpose: Kill Windows

Bob Cringeley makes a bold statement in a blog post responding to Apple's iCloud announcement: "Jobs is going to sacrifice the Macintosh in order to kill Windows." He says, "The incumbent platform today is Windows because it is in Windows machines that nearly all of our data and our ability to use that data have been trapped. But the Apple announcement changes all that. Suddenly the competition isn't about platforms at all, but about data, with that data being crunched on a variety of platforms through the use of cheap downloaded apps."