The Longhorn crisis

Well, I am personally tired of debating why to choose Macs over PCs. In every respect there are just two types of computer users: those who once lost their data and those who will loose their data. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Mac or a PC where your data was on…

But if you have been thinking about Microsoft vs. Apple vs. Linux/UNIX have a look at this article called »Windows officially broken«. It describes internal struggle of Microsoft to lay out the technical basis of their next OS release (once called Longhorn, now called Vista). If the article is correct, then Microsoft needed to completely depart from the culture that made them big once: total pragmatism vs. thoughtful engineering. Yes, get that: this article quotes several sources telling that Microsoft had been running on a flawed design for their OS for 20 years now. Longhorn started to break out in complexity and become impossible to handle.

Old-school computer science called for methodical coding practices to ensure that the large computers used by banks, governments and scientists wouldn’t break. But as personal computers took off in the 1980s, companies like Microsoft didn’t have time for that. PC users wanted cool and useful features quickly. They tolerated — or didn’t notice — the bugs riddling the software. Problems could always be patched over. With each patch and enhancement, it became harder to strap new features onto the software since new code could affect everything else in unpredictable ways.

In other words: Microsoft’s way of doing their core business is outdated and flawed. The Windows OS project got out of hand and needed to be started over. While doing this, Microsoft looses time to competitors like Google (for web applications) or Apple (for their OS) that have been adopting stricter development routines and step-by-step approaches earlier.

ArsElectronica presentation as audio

ArsElectronica 2005 (1st-6th September) titled »Hybrid — living in paradox« has published most presentations as audio. There is a link »Webcasts« in the navigation, but it doesn’t contain any content yet.

ArsElectronica has now a history since 1979. I’ve been to it in 1995 and it was quite an inspiring festival. I really think it is great they offer all their festivals in their archive (and even webcasts since last year’s festival).

Innovation in Organizations

Interview with Dr. Bettina von Stamm: »If you view design as outcome you are likely to have a different perspective on design than if you view design as a process and set of skills. With the former the contribution of design and designers is almost exclusively limited to tangible products. If you take the latter perspective, the role and possible contribution of design and designers shift considerably; it opens up the possibility to applying their process and skills to many other aspects of an organization.«

The future of broadcasting

Doug Kaye (host and producer of IT Conversations) suggests that downloading radio programs from the net is superior to the old radio frequency broadcasting:

This started for me when I blogged about Doc’s suggestion that we all call our local public radio stations and request they carry the new show. It took me no time at all to realize how little sense that made. There’s no doubt that if KQED-FM were to broadcast the show at all, it would be at some obscure time of day when I wasn’t likely to listen. No, that’s not even correct. There’s no time of day that would be good for me. I don’t plan my days around a radio or TV schedule because, quite frankly, I don’t need to. I have an iPod and I can listen to what I want, where I want and when I want. And given that there’s already more good programming than I have time for, anyone who doesn’t make it easy for me by providing an RSS feed with enclosures simply won’t make the cut. Even in my car, unless it’s just a trip to the grocery store, I no longer tune in a broadcast station.

While I do agree with the general assumption that channel subscription can be a better solution for special interest programs I think general interest radio has some advantages that will not go away soon:

  • it can be recieved with extremely low tech equipment
  • the progam shedule for regular listeners structures the day like a clock
  • the predefined time slices require editors to focus their material
  • it will help to introduce topics to people they probably would not subscribe to

Doug Kaye maybe is a special interest guy – so his view may not be representative for a mass audience. I am simply sceptical about the superiority of subscription for main stream media. If there are cheap and easy to use devices available I do think these could replace FM radio technically – but their success will be limited if these can’t mimic the old form of distribution: live streaming radio. We know that new media always resembled the old ones.

BTW: There is also a NY Times article about people getting their program (even TV) from the Web.

Apple and Intel

This is another major bombshell after the aquisition of Macromedia through Adobe: rumors say Apple is going to announce Intel chips in Apple computers tomorrow.

Another interesting articles:

Intel, Apple coupling could woo Hollywood

Apple to Intel: Some advantage, lots of risk


So it’s true. I wasn’t surprised about the fact that Apple had been secretely maintaining a port of OS X to Intel. In fact: NeXTSTEP ran on Intel back in 1994. And NeXTSTEP was the origin for Rhapsody (the origin of OS X). I cleary remember to have seen a screenshot from an unused splash screen of a Rhapsody Developer CD saying »Rhapsody for Intel«.

Unexpected for me though was the move by Apple to add podcast subscription support to iTunes. This will change the game a little bit. Podcasts will be introduced to mainstream. I still think it will not have much impact in the blogsphere, but it will pave the way for daily audio content for sure.

Flickr blog

I am not getting tired of Flickr. If you love photos you got to read the flickr blog from time to time. It contains wonderful posts to astonishing photos or services based on Flickr content. There are so many stories captured in Flickr sets and the way users can comment, annotate and group is really a big plus. And there are very handy tools available to make uploading images a snap. Even though I haven’t been uploading many images yet I was willing to support Flickr by buying a Pro account today. Let’s see if that will increase my motivation to take more pictures and upload them there…