Category Archives: Community

Will Operating Systems Ever Truly Be Optimized?

Patron Tony Yoon asked:

Do you think that operating systems will never be truly optimized? As hardware specs increase, so does the demand from the software. It always seems like a balancing act that has no end.

Yes, it’s a balancing act – and that will never end.

Operating systems will always be one release away from success or failure.

And so it goes.

But hardware is born the way it will die. Software is a living creature of sorts (albeit, not a creature that is always soft and furry).

I don’t want to claim that software is more important than hardware, but its role is crucial for the perceived success of any hardware it runs on. One could be the difference between a lackluster experience or a stellar one with the very same device.

If there’s a demand on software, it’s not just to operate in lockstep with the hardware – it’s to provide the best possible experience for the configuration at hand. The more the software can assume about the hardware, the better that overarching experience is likely to be.

A “good” software update can render a poor experience with hardware into a great one.

This is one of the reasons I find that focusing on hardware specs alone tells part of the story. Who among us has ever owned something that (on paper) looked to be amazing, but (in hand) was mind-numbingly frustrating. What happened? Were we suckered in by marketing? Perhaps. Was it more likely that the software wasn’t given a fair amount of attention? I’d wager so.

Newer hardware can afford software more opportunity to unlock different experiences – but if the focus is simply on features, it only underscores a lack of respect for the would-be user.

If (as some might blindly argue) features were the most important part of this puzzle, then both UI and UX would be wholly irrelevant in the marketplace.

That said, every single OS known to the galaxy could always be “better.”

I Stopped Crowdfunding Tech for Obvious Reasons

I’ve been saying it for a while, so it’s good to see someone else with tech chops step forward and say the same thing in 140 characters:

https://twitter.com/tconrad/status/612335612335489024

I largely stopped backing tech-related crowdfunding projects not because I think they’re bad ideas, but because I’ve been burned too many times by half-assed implementations.

There are stories from other hardware and software crowdfunding project supporters who would’ve been better off holding onto their pledges, too.

Obviously, I support the idea of crowdfunding content producers, but that’s typically where support begins and ends for me.

Every day (this is not an exaggeration), I am pitched to help spread the word about amazing tech projects currently being crowdfunded.

I usually wait to get excited until I have something ready to try, thank you.

Which Tech Player is Playing Catchup?

Tony Yoon, from last week’s AMA thread:

Have you noticed that a lot of the stuff they talked about at WWDC was eerily similar to what Google announced at I/O – and that multi-functioning iPads are what the Microsoft Surface has been doing? Is Apple playing catch up?

This is how I see the question:

Have you noticed that [Company X] is now doing a lot of what [Company Y] is doing? And now they’re copying what [Company Z] has.

There is no winner in a race that never ends.

Is it “bad” to copy an excellent feature to potentially make another consumer-oriented experience better? Is the feature implemented in a similar, viable fashion – or is the feature implemented better than the original? Does competition increase or decrease? Who loses in these scenarios?

I can tell you who absolutely wins: consumers.

Even if your platform(s) of choice are the ones that are seemingly getting copied from, give the industry another year or two and you’ll find that your platform(s) of choice will likely modify themselves to be more competitive by taking what’s perceived as a value from an alliterative platform.

And, again, all consumers win.

Your product gets better – either directly or indirectly – because of competition. And, as much as religious zealots dislike the notion of rooting for the “enemy,” without a viable alternative, innovation will stall.

So, who is playing catch up in tech?

Everybody. All the time.

And you need it to be that way.

What is (and What Isn’t) a PC?

My first personal computer (PC):

  • Forgot its previous state when you turned it off
  • Could use cassette tapes for backup
  • Supported 16 colors
  • Came with 64 kilobytes of memory
  • Did not come with built-in applications
  • Was unable to be moved around with convenience
  • Never connected to the Internet

My current smartphone:

  • Remembers where you left off
  • Is set up to use the Internet for auto backup
  • Supports 100% sRGB Color Gamut, full 24-bit color
  • Has a gigabyte of memory
  • Comes with several useful, default applications
  • Happens to be with me wherever I am
  • Remains connected to the Internet

Which one of these is more of a personal computer (PC)?

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