Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why Reboots Don't Always Work

Problem is these days in comic books, TV shows, movies and of course computers and software is that rebooting them or rather remaking or starting over from scratch does not always work.

Let me explain this, DC Comics had rebooted their comic book series into all new #1 issues and changed the way the characters look and act and do things. DC had failing sales and decided to start all over again to appeal to the younger reader and new demographics. Problem is people weren't buying comic books because the price kept going up, and digital comic books cost the same as print so there was no savings. If DC had lowered prices on digital comic books they would sell more and make the difference up in volume sales. Instead they rebooted their universe and alienated the older reader in favor of younger ones. The same was done before for the Green Lantern movie and it bombed. Marvel stuck to their guns and kept their comics the same, the Marvel movies well different Hollywood studios hold the contracts for those so they vary. X-Men tried to stay true to the comic books but Wolverine: Origins and X-Men: First Class kind of rebooted or rewrote things and they didn't do so well. Spider-Man's comic books got rebooted with "Brand New Day" to make Peter Parker single and the marriage to Mary-Jane Watson never happened. But Marvel forgot Ultimate Spider-Man was a younger Peter Parker marketed towards a younger market, so they killed him off later on when comic book sales were low. There is a Marvel Now series where the comic books will be rebooted. Good luck Disney/Marvel I hope it isn't another "New Universe" or "M2" flop, but more like a Marvel 2099 or Earth-X success.

Anyway Microsoft rebooted Microsoft Office with 2007 using a ribbon interface that confused users, and then later with Office 2010 got rid of upgrade pricing and limited options. Windows 8 is a rewrite of the Windows GUI as the start menu is now replaced with a start screen and apps have to be rewritten for the start screen. People are still clinging to Windows XP and Office 2002/2003 because that was before Microsoft started to mess with how the GUI worked in Office and Windows, and before Microsoft changed the API calls to break legacy Windows software to force people to buy all new copies of certain software.

Ubuntu well that Unity GUI isn't doing so well, and people want GNOME or KDE back.

I learned a long time ago when developing software to keep the UI and GUI the same, and just make the new version work better, run faster, reduce errors, and reduce crashing by managing memory and resources better. I would rewrite a program but keep the UI/GUI the same to reduce the learning curve of the new version and also to save on training costs and avoid confusion. Those software developers/programmers who changed the UI/GUI ended up with nothing but complaints, errors, crashes, confusion, and a lot of angry users and managers trying to figure out how things got so messed up.

By the way how did that "Total Recall" reboot work? Not so good I heard. Sometimes you have to stay true to the original book for a successful movie, the same for software and technology.

Sometimes the original is better than the remake/reboot or improvements. In DC's case they kept the Batman and Green Lantern books almost the same but rebooted everything else, why? Because the Batman and Green Lantern books sold. The Marvel Avengers Movie stayed true to the comic books but put everyone in modern times and it was a hit. Sometimes you just have to go back to the original when the reboot/rewrite doesn't work like The Hulk movies that failed, in The Avengers it was a different Hulk more like the comic book version or TV series. Had the used the Hulk from the two failed movie remakes it would have been a flop.

Look sometimes the reboot/rewrites work like the Star Trek reboot or the Battlestar Galactica reboot, but not in all cases. Windows ME and Windows Vista flopped because they broke compatibility with legacy apps and made the OS unstable and buggy, but Windows 2000 and Windows 7 fixed that by trying to fix the compatibility issues and bugs so it is more stable. Windows XP and Windows 7 are more popular choices because they are truer to the original Windows that worked great and had the original UI/GUI. Will Microsoft ever learn that lesson, or will they keep repeating mistakes and force the unpopular Windows and Office UI/GUIs on the masses?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Applecalypse Now!

Jury awards Apple $1.05B and finds Samsung guilty of infringing on their patents.

But wait there is more!

Apple is filing lawsuits against all other mobile makers including Microsoft. I mean maybe you remember the Windows XP Tablet in 2002 and Apple copying it for the iPad in 2010? Maybe you remember 1996 Windows CE devices and mobile smart phones before the iPhone? Maybe you remember a company called Palm that had the Palm Pilot and later PalmOS smart phones. Maybe you remember Rim and Blackberry smart phones? Maybe you can remember all kinds of smart phone makers before Apple got into the smart phone and smart tablet market as a Johnny Appleseed Come Lately? Why Innovate when you can Litigate? Why make your devices better than the competition when you can simply sue them into bankruptcy?

Don't get me wrong I own several Apple based devices, but these lawsuits are getting to be too much. There is a lot of prior art that the iOS devices stole, and Apple made their devices popular with a cult following, and then became the most profitable company by offshoring the manufacturing to Foxconn in China and then charging a premium price for their devices.

But what company is going to survive the Applecalypse? Steve Jobs strikes back from the grave with the 'thermonuclear option'

Apple even copied a bunch of Android features for iOS 5:

Apple is starting to sue competitors before they start to sue them. What happened to the Classic Apple of out innovate your competition and make a better product and service than they have, instead of just suing them over patents.

I hear Apple will be getting into set top boxes soon, the TiVO area with their own DVR, want to bet they will make their own DVR and then sue TiVO and others over it?

I also heard that Apple wants to make the smart TV market, a TV set with apps built into it, will they sue others who have had this for the past five years or so?

Apple made record profits by switching to mobile devices and making an App Store to sell apps on it. Something other companies had before Apple had it.

If Apple made teapots, they'd take an ordinary teapot worth $15 and stick the Apple logo on it and sell it for $350 and then sue all other teapot makers for stealing their design, and the public would buy millions of Apple Teapots.