Vendor Lock-in is Universally bad...

Even when that vendor is Apple. I have always believed that Apple is an important player in the computing echosystem and that a heathy Apple is a good thing. Apple tends to make good stuff, but they are still #1 on my list of tech companies most adept at shooting themselves in the foot. One day I'll publish that list... This article titled :Editorial: Having Bitten the Forbidden Fruit, it Bit Me Back. Six Times. povides another first person account of lock-in badness.

Great Quote: [...] that Benjamin Franklin might have written were he in my shoes - “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little wireless connectivity and neat-o eye candy deserves neither liberty nor other yummy goodness.”


Worms are good for you -- Bill Gates

As you or your client/employer is being attacked by the latest worm, know that your suffering is for the greater good. Bill Gates himself warns that systems that don't get crippled by these worms are bad for you in this ZDNet.UK article

"Noting the large number of major virus epidemics during the past two years, Gates said that in some ways "hackers are good for maturation" of the platform, because they have forced the company to develop new inspection techniques for the code."

Too bad they don't fix the problems before they are discovered in the field.

"A high volume system like [Windows] that has been thoroughly tested will be by far the most secure," Gates told the audience at the Developing Software for the future Microsoft Platform conference at London's Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre.

Anyone ever hear about the disaster in Vietnam called the M16? They fixed those problems post deployment too. After thousands of men died because their guns jammed in a fight.

If you care, one M16 story can be found here


Great News!

Laszlo - Laszlo Systems Ships Laszlo Presentation Server 2.0

The even better news is that I'll have a couple of days to play with it. Watch this space, I'll be blogging on the new component set while I work on a side project of mine... More to come!


microsoft chaps my ass again

Fun fun fun



Lots of news from the head Shrub in the last few days. I havn't sat down and blogged on it because it is still digesting.

We have entered into an illegal occupation of another soverign nation. No matter how you feel about Saddam, nothing changes what we have done. Never mind the fact that nothing we do in Iraq directly confronts Al Quaeda. Where are the WMD again?

The war on terror has made 0 progress since the taliban was disassembled. We still don't have Osama Bin Laden.

We choose to go to the moon because it will serve as a great distraction from concrete issues during an election campaign.

Oh yeah, and Mars too, let's go there.

Fuck, let's get a shuttle off the ground...

So now we are going to abandon Hubble by 2010. That sounds monumentally stupid on a number of levels. If you don't believe in the scientific value of Hubble, repurpose the fucker. Use hubble to look at and for asteroids that will kill the planet.

Bush wants to increase domestic security spending. I wanna know where he's gonna get that cash...

The economy is coming back for a few sectors and only for businesses. Let us not forget how many people are still out of work. I'm still interested in the numbers of people that have given up on finding work...

Bush also appointed a supreme court justice while the cogress was on vacation. Another dirty play...

That's enough for now... I'll rant more later. Maybe even add some links :)


Laughing my little ass off...

Tee hee hee :) I enjoyed this.


Bush in 30 Seconds

Bush in 30 Seconds I just *had* to link this here. Maybe I'll comment more on it later...


The cost of laziness

Or why single browser support is bad for your business...

I listen to a lot of talk radio during my commute. This morning Ronn Owens on KGO and he related an interesting story that I'd like to share with you. Ronn is going to CES today and the only flight Vegas he can get on leaves today at 1:20. Ronn is flying on United who have this feature called "EasyCheck-in Online". The idea is simple, print your boarding pass from home within 24 hours of the flight.

So Ronn tries this last night, logs in and get all the way to the final print stage and when clicking on the "print" nothing happens. Another click or two yields the same non-result. So unrelented, he backs completely out of the system and attempts the procedure again. This time the system tell him that it can't print because he's already checked in. Whoops!

Now Ronn is stuck, he calls United and explains the situation. The operator he spoke to says that she takes 10 calls a day like this:

"Does your browser block pop-ups?"
"It pops up a window, you need to turn off pop-up blocking to use this"
"Well it should tell me that"
"I know... Are you using Internet Explorer?"
"Well it only works on Internet Explorer"
"Well it should tell me that"
"I know..."

Now I looked at the UAL site an buried at the bottom is a small link to Compatible Browsers. It's not obvious that Safari (Ronn's likely browser -- he's a mac head) would not be supported nor is there any mention at all of pop-ups.

Here's where my point becomes clear. If a single operator gets this type of call 10 times a day, multiplied by the number of operators gives you a rough estimate of how many of your paying customers you are pissing off per day. I hear that the rough cost of a single tech support call is in the neighborhood of $20 per call.

How much would it cost UAL to have paid a web programmer to do the work right in the first place? Seems like they could add little nuggets like "Disable pop-ups" for about a buck. I have spent many hours working on complex forms and dynamic layouts to ensure that they work in all the browsers I have access to, and many more testing those pages because I don't have a call center dedicated to telling my client's cusomers to use another browser. You either pay a little up front to do it right or you pay a lot down the road.

UAL can contact me if they'd like to stop bleeding from support calls, lost business, long hold times or any of the other rippling affects of their shitty support for anything not-IE.

I'm not holding my breath though.