About a month ago, I attended the API Strategy and Practice conference in San Francisco. Overall, a pretty good conference and, as always, much of the value was in connecting with people between and after sessions.
One panel discussion was concluded with the question ‘what is the future of the internet?’. The responses seemed to fall into two categories 1) code/APIs everywhere and/or 2) intelligent consumption and composition of the available APIs.
I wanted to point out that the first category of thought reflected the view of a (now defunct) little technology outfit just down the highway who voiced the credo of ‘the network is the computer’. They had a great spec/implementation for a technology called JINI that very much reflected the philosophy of ‘be a node and not a hub’ – inherently scalable and cluster-able running practically anywhere.
The second group reminded me of the great AI gold rush in the mid-90s, when ‘intelligent agents‘ were going to manage all our personal data and book travel and plan meetings based on all of the metadata that we surround ourselves with. Companies were funded and failed trying to deliver on this vision (General Magic anyone?). Perhaps it was an idea before it’s time and enough has changed and opened up that it might work this time. We shall see.
Not even sure where to start with this psycho-babble rant I just read.
To me, the whole thing reads like an insecure individual trying to justify their warped world view by blaming it on everyone else. Sure, I know that there are bad things that happen to women at tech conferences (and elsewhere) and that is stupid and inexcusable. But, to use that as justification for the view that *all* men are rapist/gropers/whatever is also stupid and inexcusable. The simple fact is that if you are looking to be offended, you will find offense in everything and everybody around you. Especially, if you play both sides of a situation: if someone engages with you, it is for strictly sexual purposes and if they don’t then they are *obviously* denigrating you because you are a female. There is no good way out of that spiral other than recognizing that the premise is setup for self fulfilling distrust.
Being guilty of whatever darkness is in another person’s head is just raw prejudice with a unhealthy dose of over-generalization/labeling. Sure, lets play the game (fill in the blanks): All ______ are lazy. All _____ are cheap. All _____ are bad drivers. And all men at tech events are misogynistic predators. Right.
I have some recent evidence on this front. I was at a tech conference in San Francisco last month and had some fantastic conversations with some of the female attendees there (and the male ones as well). Topics ranged from privacy, genetic testing, pregnancy(!), hypermedia, security concerns for services, agile practices, gardening, coding standards and whisky. No one was groped or molested or talked down to. Oddly enough, at the drinks reception on the last night, I did have a woman approach me several times and try to invite herself back to my room (which I gently but firmly declined). Do I think all women at tech events are horn-dogs because of that? No, not for one minute.
For an excellent exploration of learning to be offended, see this article at NPR. The referenced article is coming at this topic from race rather than gender, but I think it resonates with many of the points I made.
I am a little wary of the vague but hype-intensive discussions around the Internet of Things (IoT). I am particularly leery when I ask a pundit in the area ‘what *specifically* is IoT going to have the biggest impact on?’ The answer tends to meander along the path of ‘it will change everything’ and ‘there isn’t anything you can’t do with it’. Right. Sort of reminds me of the 90s-era hyperbolic proclamations about Object Oriented databases and how they were going to change everything. As one wag rightly summarized that hype: ‘Object oriented databases are a billion dollar market with no customers’.
SCADA, RFID, SNMP, RPC, etc – didn’t all of these come with the same set of snares and delusions that seems to surround the IoT piper? I fear the only thing that is different this time around is that IoT is paired with the equally rabid running mate ‘Big Data’ that is desperately trying to find a problem to solve and in so doing might encourage the accumulation of whatever data from IoT that it can take on.
You can count on the Guardian Tech Weekly podcast to reliably slag off anything Google and shower sycophantic praise on anything Apple. This week’s podcast is no exception:
Numbers show that Android is the most popular tablet format in the world. Guardian Tech’s take ‘well most of those sales are in Asia so they don’t really matter’. Yeah, right, a market that represents roughly 2/3rds of the worlds population doesn’t mean anything. Got it.
Next up, the Google Chromecast gets written off (sight unseen) because, well, it isn’t Apple TV. Heaven forbid that someone actually innovate rather than follow (which seems to be the Apple mode of late). Apple will likely come out with something in this form factor and it will be proclaimed by GTW as the most innovative thing ever.
And recently, Apple’s attempted injunction against Samsung selling the Galaxy line of smartphones is a righteous protection of their (sic) innovations. However, Samsung’s injunction against Apple for patent violation is a gross overstep/abuse of patten laws.
Do you guys get better swag from Apple than Google? Certainly objectivity is lacking.
Had yet another bad experience with Apple last week that has got me shaking my head in disbelief.
My wife re-booted her iMac after installing some updates. I should say she tried to re-boot because it wouldn’t restart fully, just went to a blue screen then eventually just restarts itself. She schedules an appointment with one of the ‘geniuses’ at the Apple store in Kenwood and shows up at the appointed time.
The kid behind the counter looks up the model number of the Mac and proclaims “I can’t help you, this system is too old!” My wife, after recovering from stunned disbelief asks “what are you talking about, the system isn’t that old”. No, he insists, if the system is older than 5 years, they won’t touch it. That is right, Apple refuses to service their own products. Won’t even run a diagnostic on it to determine what the problem is. Nothing. His advice is to buy a new Mac (naturally) or take it to MicroCenter to see if they will work on it. Tremendous customer service.
“Besides”, he goes on to tell her, “that disk drive is so old it probably won’t format – formatting is really stressful to the disk drives”. Wow, now there is some epic ignorance straight from an Apple ‘Genius’.
This weekend, I booted the Mac off an installation CD, attempted to run Disk Utility on it but DU barfed because of ‘invalid node structure’. Fortunately, the system gets backed up with Crashplan so all of the critical files were safe. Reformatted the drive (twice, because it is so stressful to the drives). Clean bill of health and Snow Leopard is installing as I type this.
Makes me think back to when I had PC hardware that ran without issue for over a decade and was always able to get parts and service for them. And now this load of BS from Apple.
So the next time you are thinking about buying one of those overpriced Apple products because they have such wonderful customer service and fantastic build quality, think again. If you hang on to the device for more than 5 years Apple has nothing more for you than an extended middle finger.
I think I am in favor of pro-active laws against wearing/using something like Google Glass while driving. It is a form of distracted driving and aligns with the current laws regarding texting and driving.
I finally had a chance this weekend to take a look at what Amazon’s much touted ‘AutoRip’ offering is all about. Turns out, not a lot. Of the several thousand CDs I have bought from them in the last 7-8 years, a little over four hundred of them are available via AutoRip – sort of. When I drill into the details some of the ‘CD’s that are available are really just one or two tracks from the CD, not the entire CD. How they managed this, I don’t know. And these aren’t compilation CDs where there might be understandable variations in licensing based on artist, label etc. Nope, these are single artist CDs.
So when Amazon claims that they are offering you CDs that you have purchased online – what they mean is some of the tracks from some of your CDs sometimes. Not all of them, not most of them, some of them. Is renaming it Amazon AutoGip too real?