14 May 2013

BlackBerry BBM coming to Apple's iOS, Google Android this summer

BlackBerry BBM coming to Apple's iOS, Google Android this summer:

The irony is this tact was advocated by the founders before they were pushed out of their co-CEO role.

BlackBerry STARTED as a messaging platform without a phone - that came later, just like Apple's iPod -> iPhone evolution.

I always thought it was a sensible strategy by the ex-CEOs - they wanted to go "back to the basics" - a la Apple 1997.  Well it looks like that's happening anyways.

The phone part was always secondary in both equations.  It's just that RIMM lost the plot (which of course Apple is now in danger of - we shall see what happens this Fall).

I am sure they are sharing a wry smile this morning.

27 March 2013

Ouch, Google! Again

A few months ago, Google sent out an email about "trying Google Apps for Business free for a month!  $15% discount! Etc."

I bit.  Then I saw it was the discount was actually for more than one user (some price threshold but I forget what it is).  "Fine" I said and upgraded anyways.  "I can always downgrade after the month."

From: apps-noreply@google.com The Google Apps Team 
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2013 21:37:13 -0400 
Subject: Google Apps trial update 
Hello from Google,

We hope you're enjoying your trial of Google Apps for Business. Here's some  
important information about your trial.

As you may know, we no longer accept new sign-ups for the basic (free)  
version of Google Apps. This means that once your trial of Google Apps for  
Business ends, you can no longer revert back to the free version.

We're glad you're trying out Google Apps for Business and hope you enjoy  
all the benefits including 24/7 support, unlimited users, mobile device  
management and more.

The Google Apps Team


(c) 2013  Google Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043

You have received this mandatory email service announcement to update you  
about important changes to your Google Apps product or account.

Can you say "ooops"?  I thought you could.

Guess we can forget ever freeloading on Google's dime ever again.

Anyone know of a good independent email service which allows me to do my own domain?  I'll pay, of course...

Edit: Looks like I will go with Rackspace in this case.  In addition I will get Exchange Activesync back so I'll get push support on my iPhone again.

Google's doing a real "Apple" here... guess they want they're own walled garden.  Fine then, I don't have to be inside of it.

Irony of posting this on Blogger noted.  Looks like it's a Wordpress migration next!

13 March 2013

Requiem for RSS

I think I knew it in my gut.  Even in the last week I started to feel like it was time to get off of it, to move on.  Guess my instincts were right again...

Google Reader is to be axed on July 1st of this year.  This is arguably the highest profile of the casualties of the Google culls which have been happening on a regular basis for the past year or so.

If it sounds like I'm uncertain about the timing of these prior axings, it's because it "didn't happen to me".  Like a guy in a dangerous neighborhood who didn't have any issues, I kept on thinking bad things happen to other people: iGoogle users!  Bookmarks users!  Del.icio.us users (sorry, that's Yahoo!)--but not Reader!  Anything but Reader!  But now that I'm face down in an alley I realize that sometimes the odds are on.

So what can we derive from this fact?

  1. Google+ is truly the future.  For Google that is.

    Yes, that is the reason they're doing it.  G+ is obviously the intended direction.  They've said so for a year now--I think we were all ignorant of the "how" here, however.  Well, at least this explains why Reader's been so wonky as of late!

  2. "Power users" are unimportant when they are a segmented minority of consumers.

    That there is "collateral damage" like us is not important.  In a sense we are "free-loaders".  They can't monetize it, they can't channel it, they don't need it.

    I am of the opinion that this will backfire at some point.  We who use Reader tend to be from the "old-school" and have likely been on the web for quite some time.  If we start defecting from their other products we will have shown that Google is no less of an embrace-and-extend-and-smother entity than all the other megacorps which have tried to control the flow of information on the Internet (like good ol' MS — anyone remember .NET Passport?  Isn't that an awful lot like those Facebook logins that are now everywhere?).

  3.  RSS was never intended to be utilized commercially.

    Not many ad impressions for their business in the "full" RSS feeds.  Better we bookmark the sites and go to them directly to ensure we don't get what is essentially a screen-scraped approach.

    I imagine now that the abortive Atom experiment was an early end-run against this technique on Google's part which went stillborn as there wasn't much of a way to get people to move to a standard which was immaterially different to the average RSS consumer.

  4.  Good luck trying to share from your Personal Walled Garden.

    I removed myself from Facebook completely in May of last year.  It was because I was tired of the affront of being in a Walled Garden of sorts–one which Google themselves decried.  I did at the time think it was a bit of sour grapes from them (gee, walled garden are bad for our search engine==walled gardens bad!) but this move has made it clear that Walled Gardens are okay as long as they're fully open to Google to use for their own purposes.  Just like Facebook and its own.

    So if you can't beat 'em?  Join 'em!  All aboard the G+ train.  How long until the "Classic" Google homepage is replaced with Google+?  Might also explain why iGoogle died.

    The irony for me is I posted 90% of the things I liked onto G+ *from* Reader!  But second-hand ad impressions are less valuable than direct ones.

  5.  So much for "do no evil".

    I won't pretend to be na├»ve here—when megacorps talk about doin' no evil it's time to run in the other direction.  That being said, for a long time since Google's original Home Run of using it's search index to sell ads it seemed to bumble about like an absent-minded engineer—the result being the mishmash of products which cluttered its cupboard.  But that of course was simply the wastefulness of the person whom worries not about competition.  That all changed six years ago when Facebook went "global" and Apple introduced the iPhone.  The one-two return was Android and Google+.  It's as if the absent-minded engineer was suddenly confronted with a younger and ambitious version of himself—suddenly focus returned along with the veteran's penchant to dispose of distractions for an ultimately baser goal of success.

  6.  Embrace and Extend and Extinguish

    I doubt this was a patent strategy but it is definitely a danger with companies which have a virtual monopoly in one arena — they can easily monetize an assault in another related arena and squelch any competition simply through subsidizing their free or loss-making business with the profits of the main one.  Think MS and Windows and Office vs. XBox.  Or Google and Search vs. Reader.

    There used to be a healthy ecosystem of varied RSS readers out there — both client apps and web apps.  But especially over the last few years they have all dried up and become adjuncts to Google Reader one way or the other.  Admittedly this was always a danger as Google explicitly failed to document their APIs but the fact was that this ecosystem came into existence and now it is to be squelched.

Surely nothing in life is "free" and this proves it.  But try competing with free and see how far that takes you in life.

Are you listening Flipboard?  Hope it was worth it to become a G+ client!  Better get acquired quick!


So the wound is fresh — I've only just gotten up from the ground and started gently inspecting it fresh.  But what a whack, and what a wake-up call.

Web 2.0, RIP.  2003-2013.

Edit: Looks like we have an alternative from an app I used a while back on iOS (but discarded at some point).  http://feedly.com is offering a transition to a clone of Google Reader built on App Engine.

FWIW all of the potential RSS aggregators out there seem to be getting slammed!  Looks like I am one of many rats scrambling to get off this sinking ship!!!

27 February 2013

The Three Kinds of Project Manager

1. Process PMs - Rigidly adhere to the mechanics of a methodology. Inflexible and dogmatic. Useful in organizations which are also rule-bound, but usually in less high-level roles. Often found guiding PMOs.

2. Political PMs - Process is religion to this sort and they are fervent agnostics. They see process as a means to an end, not the ends in itself. Useful in high-pressure and "dynamic" environments.

3. Pseudo PMs - Probably best seen as another name for what is also called a "Project Coordinator". Usually junior or simply not temperamentally suited to be one of the first two types. Useful to follow standard workflows but prone to sloppiness which is not calculated or tactical. Best on projects of low priority or in environments which are very "static".

Which "P" are YOU?

07 September 2011

English Football and Current Top Flight Tenancy (2011-12)

The below chart is something I picked up off the Arsenal mailing list some 12 years ago and have kept up-to-date in anorak-ish fashion ever since.

 Side                   Promoted
 Everton                1953-54
 Arsenal                1913-14
 Liverpool              1961-62
 Manchester Utd         1974-75
 Tottenham              1977-78
 Aston Villa            1987-88
 Chelsea                1988-89 
 Blackburn Rovers       2000-01
 Bolton Wanderers       2000-01
 Fulham                 2000-01
 Manchester City        2001-02
 Wigan                  2004-05
 Sunderland             2006-07
 Stoke City             2007-08
 Wolverhampton          2008-09
 Newcastle Utd          2009-10
 West Bromwich          2009-10
 Queens Park Rangers    2010-11
 Norwich City           2010-11
 Swansea City           2010-11

It's worth noting that the five "oldest" sides are also the traditional "Big Five"...

13 October 2010

Spectator Sport

The sidelined player
rues the call
which took him from the game

He watches others
score to win
and knows nothing but shame

The cause is moot
the deed is done
and explanation's lame

What hurts is neither
knee nor joint
but losing hope of fame