Rob Enderle wrote an intriguing editorial for Digital Trends entitled "You can't call 'time out' in Silicon Valley," which examines the current battle between Apple, Google and Microsoft over the future of computing. In it, he draws some interesting parallels from the history of warfare, and notes that Microsoft and Google have made some of the classic blunders that have caused great armies to fail dramatically.
In response to Jean-Louis Glassee's article "The OS Doesn't Matter..." I wrote quite simply:
the future of the browser wars is he who integrates with the OS best. This phrase came from my article lambasting Microsoft's use of HTML for their IE9 jump lists, which caused quite a stir. In the wave of ever increasing web browser capability, the operating system is going to matter to web users more than it ever has before.
I read David's post worrying about the end of the free internet and I had to respond, as I strongly disagree that free and advertising-supported content is the future. If anything, it is advertising-supported content that is destined to be a niche strategy, because of new internet technology that enables entirely new models and empowers consumers to have exactly what they want. Advertising will not support much content creation, so I suggest what will.
Last month, I described how the computer industry encourages planned obsolescence in order to sell more product. This business model exacerbates the problem of computer disposal because it artificially shortens computer lifespans. This increases production and, ultimately, the numbers requiring disposal. One result is that e-waste -- electronics waste -- is one now one of our most pressing environmental challenges. Updated
Holier-than-thou, an adjective, meaning "marked by an air of superior piety or morality". Everybody has moments in their life where they get into a "holier-than-thou" attitude, and I think Steve Jobs' open letter regarding Adobe, and Flash in particular, really fits the bill. There are three specific points I want to address to illustrate just how holier-than-thou, hypocritical, and misleading this letter really is.
Car analogies are quite popular on internet discussion forums, and ours is no exception. The problem with these analogies, however, is that they are usually quite flimsy, and a recent popular one is no exception. A number of people are now arguing that computer makers' move towards closed platforms (Apple, Sony, and so on) is akin to people no longer being able to service cars on their own. This analogy, which looks sound on a superficial level, breaks down when you spend more than five minutes contemplating it.
A few years ago I wrote on OSNews several articles (1,2) about workstations. After three years I had to stop, because there were no workstations left on the market, they became legacy and were not sold any more. Now with the rise of mobile devices with touchscreen and wireless network connectivity virtually everywhere, the question becomes valid, what will happen with the desktop computers, are they still needed, or will they follow the workstations on their way to computer museums?
Recently, a story about people mistaking a news story for the Facebook login page has received considerable media attention. It's currently being seen by many as justification for the recent trend in locking people out of their computers for their own protection - but anyone with even basic mathematical skills and a calculator should come to the conclusion that this story has been blown way out of proportion.
The fact that the iPhone is a locked-down device, and that you don't really own it so much as rent it from Apple is well-known by now. The supposed reason for this lock-down is to ensure the device's stability and security - in fact, this has already become conventional wisdom. However, where is the proof that supports this statement? Is there any real-world evidence that suggests this model is better?
Now that everything is moving to the
cloud internet, you might think that data loss is a thing of the past. Sadly, as the past few months have taught us, this actually isn't true; we first had the Microsoft/Danger disaster, and now we have Palm and Sprint facing a class-action lawsuit over data loss for webOS phones. All this raises the question: how safe is it to store your precious data on the internet, and do you really trust the internet?
Hands up if you use Firefox. Have used it? Know about it? Heard of it? 'Sites up and down the World Wide Web today will be celebrating five years of Firefox. When I sat down to write this I worried about having to list the history of its features and landmark events and the news of the past five years. Other sites will be comprehensively doing that, there is nothing I can add to that list that Google can't surmise. Instead I will be telling you what Google does not know, my story of Firefox and what Firefox has meant to all of us.
Most of us here like gadgets. Things with displays, LEDs, or stuff that otherwise lights up in the dark and makes cool noises. There is this one gadget I had been waiting for to come out in The Netherlands for quite a while now, but at some point a limit was reached, and today I decided to do a complete 180 and buy a competing product.
A couple of years ago, a professor at my university had a very interesting thought exchange with the class I was in. We were a small group, and I knew most of them, they were my friends. Anyway, we had a talk about language purism - not an unimportant subject if you study English in The Netherlands.
I think I'd like to start an internet movement. Due to Apple's recent actions regarding the Google Voice app, I intend to criticize Apple every day at OSNews for 1984 days, or until they perform a very subtle and simple act of contrition. I'd like to enlist the help of every tech journalist, blogger, twitterer, Facebook denizen, and person who ever talks to another person. I'm that girl in the running shorts with the hammer, people! I'm throwing the hammer at the big creepy guy on the screen! We don't have to be slaves anymore! Read on for the full manifesto.
Every few years we geeks have our own kind of popcorn show to watch: tech companies showing teeth to one another. This time around, it's Palm vs Apple. In all seriousness though, how ethical is the battle around iTunes?
So, Microsoft submits 20000 lines of code to the Linux kernel, all licensed under the GPL. Microsoft, who considers Linux a great threat, and once called the GPL a "cancer". Opinions on this one are flying all around us, but what does Linus Torvalds, Linux' benevolent dictator, think about all this?
Last week, Apple again repeated its claim that the iPhone and iPod Touch are capable of filling the netbook niche. They also claimed that netbooks can barely be called personal computers. Both of these statements are complete and utter nonsense, but instead of writing down some high-level definition of what a netbook is, I decided to simply write down all the things I do with my netbook that the iPhone/iPod Touch cannot do to make the difference between the two that much more tangible.
Does Windows 7 contain more DRM than Windows Vista? Does Windows 7 limit you from running cracked applications, and will it open the firewall specifically for applications that want to check if they're cracked or not? Does it limit the audio recording capabilities? According to a skimp and badly written post on Slashdot, it does. The Slashdot crowd tore the front page item apart - and rightfully so.
Late last week we ran a story on how the Google Chrome team had decided to use Gtk+ as the graphical toolkit for the Linux version of the Chrome web browser. It was a story that caused some serious debate on a variety of aspects, but in this short editorial, I want to focus on one aspect that came forward: the longing for consistency. Several people in the thread stated they were happy with Google's choice for purely selfish reasons: they use only Gtk+ applications on their GNOME desktops. Several people chimed in to say that Qt integrates nicely in a Gtk+ environment. While that may be true from a graphical point of view, that really isn't my problem with mixing toolkits. The issue goes a lot deeper than that.
With Windows 7 having made its grand debut, and with KDE4's vision making leaps and bounds forward with every release, we have two major software projects that have decided to implement some fairly drastic interface changes. Such changes are bound to receive some harsh criticisms - but the funny thing is, these criticisms usually come from people you least expect it from.