hi all. skip to the bottom if you want to gloss over the boring, self-indulgent blog-prose. I put in a bunch of cool, kick @$# android videos [commercials]. I was inspired because I saw one of them prior to seeing the latest transformers 3d [the "droid charge" ad below]. it really fit in with the movie. it looked like they spent a small fortune on the ad. was it in 3d? I forget. the amazing special effects certainly made me think it was in retrospect.
Ive had this blog 2 yrs and thought I might write about tech and IT [info tech] more, but I havent. not sure exactly why. it might be because this site is very political at times and its brought out that streak in me. there have been so many other things to write about. also for me, tech is very personal. maybe I feel a little exposed writing about it. but, nothing ventured nothing gained.
my soul-crushing job has become slightly less soul-crushing. I celebrated my 6mo anniversary. or rather, it passed without notice. we're finally working on some lighter projects after a 5 month near "death march". the PM [prj manager] is not threatening us midweek every week to work on wknds even though we're a little behind [their arbitrary] schedule. we're working on several 6 week "sprints" which I must say is probably a much better size. but, time flies.
I got a new cube which I like a little more than my last spot because it has a little more privacy. it may or may not be about as quiet. my old spot sometimes everyone would be gone from the room & I could [as the depeche mode lyrics go] enjoy the silence. not so much the new spot.
the really good news on this job is that Im finally working on mobile apps. which reminds me of ancient history. years ago in the late 90s the web was starting to go crazy. its hard to picture this for you newbies but at the time, just working on the web was a pretty exotic position. these positions had not even existed before. a new one was being devised. they originally called it "webmaster" and it was pretty cool to apply & even be accepted for such a position.
it was that scenario where you might have to take a little bit of a pay cut just to work on something cool, but it was ok. it was almost like the movie or game biz at the time in that way. highly innovative, fast paced, using cutting edge technology, where nobody really knew the best ways to do stuff. "best practices" in this area was kind of a misnomer.
what I didnt realize at the time was that the web would become so ubiquitous that you wouldnt really have to leave your own company to work on it. if you stuck around, it would eventually find its way to you. and maybe thats not a bad thing. at the time I was young and impatient & had little loyalty to a company. today I recognize the more the value in a good job, and the economy isnt helping much, so Im far less into the wanderlust in practice, but in my heart it still remains strong.
so Im getting that same feeling now with mobile apps. very similar. its a burgeoning new field but which is soon to become ubuiquitous. all the techniques are somewhat new and fresh and evolving. I wanted to work in this ever since the Iphone which came out almost 3 yrs ago now. and Ive been tracking it a lot versus android. but, sure enough, it came to me without seeking it out after only 3 yrs.
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mobile apps are an incredible inflection point to borrow the words of andy grove. an inflection point is like a tipping point. this is hard for some to grasp but we are in a major, massive IT shift. I get chills as I write this. there have been several IT revolutions in the 20th century and quite a few in my lifetime. if you're an IT geek, these are on pretty breathtaking scale:
- nearly the 1st happened shortly after I was born, the PC era. during this period PCs sucked away a lot of the power of mainframes and led to what in the industry is known as "cannibalization of ones product line" mainly in IBM.
- we also witnessed the PC software revolution mainly with Microsoft and Apple. "killer apps" for word processing and spreadsheets mainly. I recall at least one minirevolution, that of "desktop publishing" mainly with applications from Adobe combined with laser pritners.
- another massive revolution was the Internet [ftp, chat, email being mainly the killer apps] followed shortly by the Web, WWW. invention of the graphical browser. originally this was mostly about electronic publishing. ie static pages.
- open source software. this was around in the early 90s but took off and went supernova with the invention of linux. linux created a mass ecosystem that allowed many other apps to grow and thrive in. at this point it appears to me that open source software is even eclipsing .Net platform which has been around for 10yrs.
- commoditization of hardware. this is happening as we speak with entire massive companies/corporations like IBM and HP getting out of the hardware biz because its too low margin and cutthroat. HP just announced they are abandoning their tablet technology after only a few months of lackluster [maybe an understatement] sales.
- gaming is another IT technology thats going crazy as we speak and outselling hollywood box office a few years ago. it drives a lot of the technology in hardware and software such as high resolution 3d graphics cards, physics simulation etcetera.
- web based software such as Google and Facebook, web 2.0, social networking.
- did I miss any? whew. and the one Im finally getting to, the reason for this essay, is a brand new revolution in cell phones. this is a completely different computing platform that is absolutely the platform of the future and already eclipsing PC capability. this is hard for an oldtimer like me to conceive, but there will be an entire new generation of ppl who see PCs as *adjuncts* to their cell phones.
but, the cell phone platform offers an entirely new paradigm for security that so far, is superior. its the idea of delivering apps as web-based, mainly. the web browser has a much better model for security. also, google introduced an incredible innovation recently called Native Client or NaCl for short.
this technology is defn something to watch. it was just integrated into their new chrome browser. I expect to see this go very far. it allows fast apps running on browsers with desktop-like app capability and having approximately the same safety/security as web pages. I expect it to be, in line with the above innovations, nothing less than revolutionary.
so, no more steve jobs. hard to believe. the end of an amazing era. one of the rare CEOs truly worthy of the hype and legendary status associated with him. I highly recommend the cool geek movie "pirates of silicon valley" a sort of early Social Network-like movie that covers the legendary rivalry between Gates and Jobs the way Social Network covers Zuckerberg vs the Winklevii twins [haha].
the movies also show the dark side of the PC industry. jobs/Gates are near slavedrivers in the corporations they run. they're cutthroat about keeping as many chips to themselves as they can. they remind me of that old saying of Type A personalities-- "its not enough that I win, everyone else must lose."
but, in the 3rd quarter of 2011, google phones are now heavily outselling Iphones. there's been another inflection point. android is absolutely unstoppable at this point. people wonder why. its not totally obvious. it has to do with "parallelization" in the capitalistic/market realm.
you have several extremely large hardware companies all feverishly attempting to outdo each other bringing the absolutely coolest hardware to market as fast as possible. this competition is similar to Adam Smiths "invisible hand" in the IT industry and it is an intense, darwinian, unstoppable force that has now been unleashed, and the cat cant be put back in the bag. this happened the same in the PC era, [IBM clones vs apple machines] and its clearly happening again now. deja vu all over again. yes, I predicted this years ago....
the android vs iphone ads are hilarious. they're on the level of capitalistic excitement and competitive intensity of the legendary PC era when Microsoft ended up eating the lunch of IBM based on young geek coders combined with, pizza, caffeine, and all-nighters. we who were alive will never, ever forget jobs 1984 ad airing at the superbowl. an astonishing artistic performance. jobs is theatrical, he has groupie-inspiring flair! recent android vs iphone ads totally remind me of the 1984 ad, and arguably they are outdoing it. its a rare moment in IT history we're right in the midst of. pay close attention. and.... enjoy it!
as for the title of this post, code kicks @$#. well it should be mostly explanatory at this pt but the basic idea is that it is actually software where all the action is. massive companies like IBM, microsoft discovered this years ago, and billions of dollars are riding on this new reality in corporations like facebook and google. as bill clintons campaign might say, its the code, stupid.
and, I just read some great articles in the NYT [links below] that say CS [computer science] enrollments are up for the 1st time in years. this is way cool and welcome news. yes at times it was a kind of Frigid IT Winter ever since 911 as far as the IT & developer business [the deadly triple whammy of a dotcom crash, indian outsourcing, corporate pullback due to 911 shock], but it seems to be back on the upswing. wow! I could certainly use some good news every once a decade or so. =)
as they say about colorado weather, "if you dont like it, just wait a little while and it will change". a decade is a long time to wait, but as you get older, time flies by faster, and yeah it does seem just like yesterday at times that I was slaving away at 2 different dotcom sweatshops, thinking it was possible I could get rich some day. the good old days.
to you IT newcomers/newbies/wannabes, I say, its a big universe and plenty of room for everyone. but, like all industries, you just cant guarantee that it will be the same right now after 4 years of school. but, life is like that. recessions are like a drought where all the animals crowd at the watering hole and the alligators might even eat a baby hippo or two-- before dying themselves of water deprivation. Ive lived thru 3 stinging recessions now, and they of course tend to strongly stick out in memory, strangely coinciding with the major turning pts of my life in my early 20s [graduation], 30s [start family], and 40s [middle age...].
anyway, hope you enjoy the videos. try em out! they're short 30 second commercials mostly. and they really do communicate some of the buzz, intensity, and excitement of the new technology. google is a young, vibrant company and it shows. its got its whole future ahead of it. and actually one of its major rivalries over the next few years will not be so much with apple [although that will be strong!] but with facebook over social networking!
oh yeah and I remind you, I respond to most comments & enjoy getting conversations goin in the comments, the longer the better, so post away if you feel the slightest urge.
Hollywood Spurs Surge in Computer Science Majors - NYTimes.com
Computer Science's 'Sputnik Moment'? - Room for Debate - NYTimes.com
Marc Andreessen on Why Software Is Eating the World - WSJ.com
In Robotics, Human-Style Perception and Motion Are Elusive - NYTimes.com
White House Picks New Information Chief - NYTimes.com
beta620 | Experimental Projects From The New York Times
Steve Jobs: From the love child he denied to the temper that terrified his staff, the dark side of the iPod god | Mail Online
How Apple Revolutionized Our World - The Daily Beast
Steve Jobs: American Genius - The Daily Beast
BBC News - When algorithms control the world