Saturday, January 26, 2013

Investors don't count Apple out just yet

Apple (AAPL) stock has taken a beating recently, despite record profits and over 500 million people owning iOS (iPod, iPad, iPhone, iPad Mini devices) many investors think that Apple has reached its peak in sales and will only go downhill.

Now before you decide to dance the Charleston on Apple's grave, they aren't dead yet. The Apple Doomsday Clock hasn't been set in over a decade because Apple made a great recovery from the 1990's when the Apple Doomsday Clock would get as close to midnight as it possibly could and many where waiting for it to finally hit midnight and then Apple goes bankrupt and becomes another statistic. It won't happen in these modern times because Apple has too good of a hold on the current market.

Yes the iPhone 5 had quality control problems, but consumers didn't seem to mind the imperfections or maybe didn't notice them. Yes Apple Maps and iOS 6 had quality control problems so bad, that Apple had to fire a lot of people. Again consumers didn't seem to mind or maybe didn't notice them (It looked like Salvador Dali's painting of melted watches only it was street features for Apple Maps) and most iOS 6 problems were for older devices not the newer ones, which seems to have forced a lot of people to upgrade just to avoid them. (My iPod Touch 5th Generation has nothing but App Crashes with iOS 6.0.1 and no update in sight to fix it, it worked great with iOS 5 though.)

I mean look at Microsoft, almost everything they release is as buggy or poor quality like Apple released last year. Microsoft is having problems selling Windows 8, so they blame the PC makers while PC shops charge $125 to downgrade those Windows 8 PC systems to Windows 7. Look at Oracle and all of the bugs the recent Java had. Poor quality control is an industry standard apparently since the 1990's when "Good Enough" replaced "Total Quality Management" and "Zero Defects" and "Continual Quality Control" and terms like "Six Sigma" were forgotten and considered only used by 'Geeks' and 'Nerds'.

In fact products still sell in record numbers even with poor quality control, consumers hope that there will be a future software update that will address the quality control problems. Sometimes there is, but it introduces other quality control problems.

Apple is now Post-Jobs, Steve Jobs was one of the best people to have one of the best quality control programs on the planet. People had called Steve Jobs a 'jerk' but it was only because he rejected poor quality products and software and sent it back telling them to 'do it right this time' until it passed his quality control tests and was ready for release. Somehow Apple has lost that process, but it doesn't matter as people still buy their products and services in record numbers.

True the iPad Mini has cut into sales of the iPad, but that is only to be expected. Apple needed a smaller tablet device to compete with all of those cheap Android tablets out there. So Apple is saving itself from losing marketshare to Android by selling the iPad Mini, also the iPad Mini allows Apple to sell a cheaper device and reach a newer market. It hasn't yet kicked in, but in the future it will reach newer markets as the cost of making iPad Mini devices goes down in a price war with Android.

Sure Macintosh sales are down, this is the Post-PC era. When Steve Jobs introduced the iPad, it was to be a PC-Killer. Since the Macintosh is basically a PC running an Intel chip these days and using PC technology, it stands to reason Macintosh sales are down while people buy iPad and iPad Mini devices instead. The PC has not evolved into the Post-PC era yet, and PC makers are feeling the crunch as the mobile market and tablet market cuts into their sales. There is one use for a Macintosh that an iPad cannot do yet, and that is develop iOS apps using XCode to submit them to the Apple App Store. So the Macintosh is still needed to develop iOS apps and using XCode to submit them to the App Store.

The Apple TV has not caught on yet, Apple is reinventing it into another DVR like the TiVO. What Apple should be doing with the Apple TV is not just making it a DVR, but also making it a video game console as well. Make game controllers, keyboards, mice available for it along with a camera that can sense motion changes and release a SDK for developers to develop video games for it. Have it compete with the Microsoft XBox and Sony Playstation series video game consoles. Get some major video game companies to port their existing video games to it. Put in a decent video adapter with 3D graphics in it, because it is not an iPad it is more of a set top device that can use AC power so you don't have to limit the power requirements of the components. Provide a feature to pay a monthly fee like $8/month to watch movies and TV shows in a streaming format to compete with Netflix and Hulu and tap into the iTunes library for media to stream.

Apple has to innovate itself out of the problems it faces. That means improving quality control of software and devices, that means getting rid of contracting companies that use child labor, that means building some of the devices in the USA, that means inventing new devices and features for existing devices and finding new uses for existing devices and software.

Now keep in mind Apple is mostly a consumer and entertainment company and the 'business' use of their devices is mostly for 'creative content' like picture editing, video editing, desktop publishing, web page design, etc. Apple does not have the market the Windows PC has for Finances, Accounting, Business Management, Administration, Healthcare, Point of Sales, or even running the Backoffice of a business yet. These are areas they could develop for and move into, but haven't done so yet.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Why Apple and Microsoft should fear Ubuntu!

Let's face it, Linux has been growing since 1991 and Ubuntu is one of the more popular distributions. Ubuntu is based in Debian Linux and some failed Linux systems like Lindows/Linspire gave Ubuntu a lot of source code to help it become more user friendly. You have a whole community of open source developers contributing to Ubuntu and a ton of free and open source software that each one costs less than a bottle of water. Sure there are commercial apps to buy for Ubuntu as well.

Some feel like Apple has hit their peak in the iOS market, 500 million iOS devices sold (how many are upgrades though from older iOS devices?), and Apple had some quality control problems with their iPhone 5, Apple Maps, and iOS 6. Apple has tied the operating system to the iPhone, iPad, iPod, Macintosh forcing hardware sales of Apple branded mobile devices and Macintosh computers. Apple had placed all their eggs in one basket outsourcing to the Chinese Foconn and just now noticed how vulnerable that makes them and decided to start up a USA based factory. Apple's stock has taken a tumble despite showing profits, investors don't think Apple can grow any bigger and has hit their peak. But then investors have been proven wrong before.

Microsoft is going balls to the wall with Windows 8 and its evil twin Windows RT and that 'Surface' tablet PC with the detachable keyboard. Meanwhile PC shops and PC support sites are offering the $125 downgrade to Windows 7 to users because of how much Windows 8 sucks. Microsoft removed the Start Menu that users loved, and replaced it with the 'Start Screen' called the Modern GUI because Microsoft got sued over the Metro name, and Windows 8 GUI doesn't sound so catchy. People are confused over Windows RT for ARM based systems, it comes with a pre-installed MS-Office but won't run Legacy Intel X86/X64 Apps and it looks exactly like Windows 8. But Microsoft doesn't care they keep marketing Windows 8/RT as the net big thing and have bet most of their money on promoting it.

Why should they fear Ubuntu? Well if they upset customers too much Ubuntu can easily be installed on Windows 8 PCs and Mac OS X Macintosh systems for free. Ubuntu is being ported to smartphones and tablets and those free and open source community developers are designing a much better and user friendly GUI interface for it, plus any Linux or Ubuntu app can easily be ported to the mobile Ubuntu and there is more Ubuntu apps than iOS and Windows RT  and Windows 8 Phone apps. Ubuntu stands to grow really fast once it has mobile devices running it, not only that some bold FOSS developers might port Ubuntu to those iOS, Windows RT, Windows 8 Phone devices to allow users to 'switch' to Ubuntu and keep their current devices. What will Apple do if their iOS devices are ported to Ubuntu and they can no longer receive payments to the App Store or iTunes store? The same with Microsoft. See the problem here for Apple and Microsoft? If they don't please their customers, they might jump ship and change operating systems to Ubuntu that would be a better experience for them. Did I mention that both Microsoft and Apple make their operating systems run slower on older devices to force the buying of their latest devices for a faster experience? Did I mention that Ubuntu has a lower overhead memory footprint, and a monolithic kernel that loads and unloads modules from system memory to save memory and make the OS faster?

Uh yeah, it is that serious. Almost any device can be made to run Ubuntu, it has been ported to many different platforms and many different CPU types. Unlike Apple or Microsoft, Ubuntu doesn't have a fascist policy on software applications to their software store that excludes others for 'silly reasons' and so Dotcoms based on sales from their app go bust because Apple rejected them or Microsoft rejected them, but they may find a market on Ubuntu. That means if Apple and Microsoft reject popular apps, and they end up on Ubuntu devices people will start to move away from Microsoft and Apple to the Ubuntu platform.

Steve Wozniak was once quoted as saying "Never trust a computer that you can't throw out of a window." during the 1980's computer wars with Mainframes. Perhaps the new quote in this modern age is "Never trust an operating system or software that you don't have access to 100% of the source code." Ubuntu is all open source, Ubuntu has software that is open source. While Apple supports open source projects and based Mac OS X and iOS on *BSD Unix aka Next it does not give away 100% of their source code, getting the source to Microsoft software, they'll just laugh at you. 

I got tired of Windows 7 Home Premium Edition crashing on my Acer laptop and I reformatted the hard drive with Ubuntu 12.10 and never went back to Windows. I own Windows 8 licenses but discovered it was total crap and went back to Windows 7 on my PC, and then reformatted it to Ubuntu 12.10 and never went back to Windows. I own a Macbook that runs Mac OS X and I got tired of the lockups and slowdowns and crashes so I mothballed it and will only use it if I need access to xcode to develop iOS apps, as there is no other way to do so because of limits Apple placed on the app store. Ubuntu does not limit developers that way, it frees them to use any tool they need to develop for their OS. With Apple and Microsoft you have fascism, with Ubuntu you have freedom. Once the average user figures that out, I know they will look into Ubuntu and maybe other Linux distributions.

Help for Acer with their Gateway and Packard Bell brands

First off do not copy Apple or Microsoft, and do your own thing. Apple will sue you into oblivion, and Microsoft will drag you down the Windows 8/RT black hole with them.

Packard Bell already has a reputation of affordable PC systems, but this is the Post-PC world of tablets, smartphones, video game consoles and other mobile and set top devices.

Consider Android devices for Packard Bell using ARM chips. Make a device called the PackPad that runs Android 4.X and has a 9 inch screen, and make the MiniPackPad that has a 7 inch screen, and the MicroPackPad that has a 4 inch screen. Do not copy any of Apple's GUI and do not make them look like the iPad or iPod. Give them a Packard Bell look and feel from the classic PC series.

For Gateway consider using AROS for the Gateway tablets or Ubuntu. I know you experimented with AROS as AspireOS for some of the Acer brand, and AROS has a brand called AEROS that combines AROS and Linux together that you can license and rebrand as GatewayOS for your Gateway Tablets. Keep the Cow motif with a white design with black splotches for the case design. With GatewayOS based on AEROS you can run Linux, AROS, and with WINE some Windows applications on the tablet. Ubuntu is going to be available for smartphones and if you can port some of the code to GatewayOS you can have a winning mobile OS for mobile devices. You can even make GatewayOS available for other tablets and PC systems as an alternative to Windows 8.

Just because it is the Post-PC world now does not mean the PC is dead. Come up with the UberPC idea that is a PC with mobile device features in it like touch screens, built in batteries for a power source so it can be unplugged, Intel and ARM chips so it can run ARM operating systems in a virtual machine and the ARM chip can help offset the Intel or AMD CPU.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Help for a Post-Jobs Apple

We have a Post-Jobs Apple now, some things are not working out.

Apple Maps was a disaster, and iOS 6 is buggy on older devices. Nothing that cannot be fixed with some debugging and quality control. Steve Jobs was considered a jerk, but it was only because he would reject work and send it back to be redone so that the quality was there before it shipped to the public. Tim Cook ought to do the same thing that Steve Jobs did.

There is a market for cheaper smartphones, and Apple's iPhone cannot meet that $100 smartphone need in foreign markets. Apple will have to redesign a new phone to reach that $100 market. Let us call it the ePhone after Apple's eMac and other educational devices that were cheaper in price. Make the case out of plastic, don't use a retina display, use a slower ARM processor, use less flash storage maybe 4G or 8G with an option for a MicroSD reader to store things on. Apple can make an ePad and ePad Mini based on those designs for people who want a Tablet for under $200 and still want iOS. Start selling them in foreign markets to compete with Android devices and cheaper smartphones and tablets.

Not everyone can afford a Macintosh, but many want to develop for iOS and the Macintosh. This has lead to the 'Hackintosh' movement of cracking Mac OS X to run on PC hardware and cut into Apple's Mac sales. The solution to this is simple, Apple makes a 'Rent-A-Mac' program where they create virtual machines that run different versions of Mac OS X and OS X Server software that people can rent for $X/month to connect into with a remote control software Apple develops for Windows and Linux systems, that uses the Apple ID and Password to log into and manage virtual machines. I'd imagine $5/month for a 512M RAM Mac OS X 10.6 or 10.7 system with XCode and a dynamic IP in a virtual machine and $8/month for a Mac OS X 10.8 system with 1G RAM and XCode with a dynamic IP. Apple can rent Mac OS X Servers with a static IP for more money that can host web sites, etc. Apple should do this before some other company finds a way to create Mac OS X virtual machines for rent.

Make an add-on for Mac OS X to run iOS apps for testing, and allow it to work like an iPad but using a mouse on a Macintosh. Have it emulate different ARM processors.

Innovate the 'iAuto' device. A device that replaces the stereo system in an automobile and has a Siri voice activated system to play songs, read email (text to speech), play videos, and the like. It has a built in Mefi device to provide Wifi access for iPads, iPhones, and uses a Data Cell Phone carrier contract when bought to cut down on the price of the device. It uses the Apple App Store to download apps and can sync with other iOS devices to play videos or songs with Airplay. The iAuto can be installed by a automotive dealer, and Apple can make deals with the automotive industry to pre-install them in some automobiles by request. It also has an AM/FM radio built in, and some models have the Satellite Sirius/XM receiver option. Apple designs the iRadio app to use Radio Streams over the Internet using the cellular data plan to stream them live. There is a small touch screen to use to navigate and display a GPS using Apple Maps or any Maps or GPS program.

Bring back Apple Sherlock as a web search engine, and make it an app for iOS. Have it filter results with Web 2.0 tags and have users add tags to each web site that is submitted. Have a way for users to flag spam so it can be filtered out as well. Make Sherlock a web site integrated with other Apple web sites so it can search for Apple products or for Apps and even give reviews by the users on them.

Facebook Ho-hum, here is what you should really be doing.

Great a search engine that can search my friend's feeds and pictures. Really nice there, Google Plus already had that with their social network as did Linkedin and others. This is going to earn more revenue for Facebook, how?

Ho-hum, not really exciting.

If you want to earn more revenue for Facebook consider this:

Put in an eBook store with your own Facebook eBook reader for multi-platforms so people can self-publish ebooks and sell them in your store. Even download them in PDF, ePub, and Mobi formats for PDF readers, Nook, iBooks, and Kindle. Cross publish them to Kindle, Nook, Apple iBooks, etc as well. Join the ePublishing revolution.

Put in an App Store for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and other platforms and develop your own SDK to help people develop apps that Facebook can sell to earn more revenue. Document your Facebook API so developers can hook into Facebook features. Call it Facebook Apps or something.

Offer Cloud services of storage, virtual machines, web servers, database servers, email, and of course backups available for a monthly or yearly fee. You can offer free limited services and then charge for adding more storage and more bandwidth to the services. Build tools to help with content and media creation.

Facebook Phone? Nope, just develop for the Android, iOS, and Windows 8/RT devices to better integrate with Facebook via a series of applications. If you develop your own phone, some other company is going to out innovate or undercut you. Just develop for the more popular platforms and make deals with smartphone makers to offer discounts in exchange for sponsorship.

Facebook Ads for websites, something to compete with Google AdSense. Who by the way just rejected my AdSense application. It seems they reject a lot of applications. A prime market for Facebook or anyone else to tap into.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Beware of Startup Sharks

I've worked in the computer industry for over 25 years. I've started up two small businesses with cofounders, I've worked for FORTUNE 500 companies, I've worked as a contractor, I've done a lot of things. I learned over 37 programming languages and can learn almost any programming language. I've trained and tutored people and mentored them as well. Consider me retired, but I still receive job, contract, and business opportunities even if I took down every copy of my resume from the web and changed my phone number and email address.

I've been writing ideas and designs for projects on paper notebooks since 1995 using a method I developed myself when I couldn't find a better one. One might think why don't I at least do one of those projects and then make a business on it? If a person asks me that question, I know they are inexperienced with the way the business cycle works, and finding a market.

Sure some anonymous guy at Hacker News is offering MVPs $8000 yo develop for 2 months their project and then he will take 50% of their stock and market it for them. Uh, what's wrong with this picture? Seems like a good deal, you get paid $25/hr to develop your MVP and then take on a cofounder who owns 50% of your company?

What is the problem? So many let me list then here.

First you don't know who this person is, he is an anonymous contributor to a news web site, could be anyone. Did you run a thorough background check on him? Did you check for criminal history, credit history, educational degrees, immigration status, bank accounts, medical history? First off I don't want to say anything negative about this guy, but I just don't generally trust an anonymous person. Before you do business with anyone, check them out to see who they are.

Second what are the legal issues? Is he going to sign an NDA (Non-Discloser Agreement), or a No-Compete Contract, or even any contract at all? You'd better consult a lawyer to have some papers drawn up and have him sign them before you release anything to him. Also what if your MVP might infringe on an existing patent or copyright, how will you both deal with it? Will he just cash in his shares at the first sign of a lawsuit or even C&D (cease and desist) letter? Are you going to patent and trademark and copyright the company's IP so competitors cannot steal it? How is going to draw up the business plan, the incorporation papers, and issue stock?

Third who keeps track of the accounting? How do you know the books are not cooked and everything is fair? Consult with an accountant and have a CPA audit your books.

Fourth you don't create a market after making a product. You do research and development and analysis for your market and you find out who you are selling solutions that people in a certain market need and then cater your MVP to them. This guy wants you to do it completely backwards. That makes as much sense as building a house and then making the blueprint after it is built. Work on your blueprint first, and build the house that people need by designing the blueprint to serve those needs. Find a need, fill it, serve it. Find a problem, solve it.

Fifth marketing, is it really that hard that you have to give away 50% of your stock to do it? You mean to tell me you don't know how Google Adwords works, or how to give a speech at user groups that have an interest in your MVP, or how to create social networking pages for your MVP, or how to make a web page and use SEO to bump it up to the top of Google? You really don't know how to set the pricing strategy, product, promotion, placement, process, and people? You don't even know how to use Vistaprint for cheap Business Cards that you pass out to people in real life and meet them at conventions, business meetings, or just bump into them at sporting events or whatever? You don't know how to contact web sites that do reviews of MVPs and can help promote it? You don't even know how to submit your blog or web site about your MVP to Hacker News?

Sixth copycats, you will always have other organizations copying you as soon as your MVP hits Google and is searchable. Is this guy going to help you out innovate them? Is he going to design your business plan on how to deal with copycats and improve your MVP so copycats can't steal customers? Plan on copycats. Why did the Apple iPhone do so well? It was not the first smart phone, that was the IBM Simon from 1994. The Qualcom PalmOS based smartphone, the RIM Blackberry smartphone, and the Microsoft Windows CE smartphone were all out before Apple. Apple saw the weaknesses in every smartphone and used total quality management to make a better quality smartphone. Google did the same with Android. Now they are suing each other, despite tons of prior art. But Linux based smartphones are coming out now. Apple iOS 6 is buggy on older iOS devices but not new ones, and Apple Maps was a failure. If the Linux and Ubuntu smartphones can develop a higher quality product, then they have the edge. Always improve the quality of your MVP and add in new features that people want. Don't let the copycats do it first. The Japanese have a method called Kaizen, continual improvement process. It gave them the edge in the 1980's and 1990's because better quality products means less support costs and less of an overhead cost.

Seventh Human Resources, your company will grow how will you manage employees, who will run HR? Better study up on employment laws and business laws and consult a lawyer on what you can and cannot do with an employee. Is your cofounder going to do this for you, or just the marketing? Sure your business will grow, but when you need the right people and need to manage people without legal headaches, is he qualified?

Eight every business has risks. Has he told you the risks? For example say you are in a car accident and cannot finish your MVP by two months, what happens? What if your primary job requires you to work extra hours and you cannot finish that MVP? What if you are a consultant and you have to put off clients for that MVP, and it does not work out and you lose clients? What if your manager at your first job finds out your are 'Moonlighting' and decides to fire you?

Ninth user documentation, is he going to write it or are you? What about help menus, FAQs, tutorials and the API needed by developers to be fully documented so they can hook into your MVP? Will there be Youtube videos and podcasts?

Tenth graphics and illustrations, will he design them for you? Are you good with photo editing software like Photoshop etc? Do you use GIMP instead? Who is going to make Powerpoint slides to explain this to people? Will there be whitepapers?

Eleventh tech support and help desk, will he help with this or stick you with this task? Face it the Internet is full of people who can't figure out simple stuff. Sure you wrote an easy to use UI/UX, so easy a chimpanzee can use it.  But people are still going to struggle with it. People are still going to want their hands held. People are still going to request features be added to the MVP, that are already there but only because they don't know how to use them. You will get angry and upset people as well, how do you handle them?

Twelfth what happens when nothing works right, everything fails, and then he puts the blame 100% on you, and sues you for all the money you got? Worst case scenario I'm sure. What if you have a Dotbomb on your hands? Worse yet he issues more stock and buys it up and puts himself in control and then fires you even if the business does well. There has to be an exit strategy in the business plan for you. Either sell your stock to him, he sells his stock to you, you sell the company stock to a bigger company, and you outline in the contract what happens if the business fails, what happens so it isn't a surprise.

Who knows maybe this guy isn't a shark and knows how to deal with these twelve problems or even more I haven't thought of? After all he seems to be going after younger, more inexperienced developers who don't know these sort of things. I advise anyone considering such an offer to do research into these issues before taking such an offer. Before you go diving into an ocean, check for sharks first.

TL;DR First thing you should do is research your target market, fill a need, develop your MVP first, retain a lawyer and accountant, and then get VC money when you have something to show for it.

Edit: Wow, over 4000 page views in just a few hours time. Thank you Hacker News and Google GPlus, and for all the Tweets on Twitter that made Beware the Startup Sharks trending for a while.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Adobe scores major 'Own Goal'!

Adobe was advertising on Life Hacker and other web sites that Adobe Creative Suite CS2 and individual apps like Photoshop CS2 were now free and the activation feature was removed.

Many Mac and Windows users rejoiced, free Photoshop CS2, yes! Just sign in with an Adobe ID and then register for the software and get assigned a serial key and then install the software with the serial key. There was much rejoicing on the Internet and Adobe's servers even went down and the web page at Adobe for the free software was 'temporary available' but forums where posting direct links to Adobe to download the files and serial keys (it turns out any valid key would work, for anyone, since the activation feature got removed that checked for duplicate keys) and so people kept downloading free versions of old CS2 software.

But wait Adobe now says it isn't so, you are supposed to have a license for the CS2 software before you download and install it. That it is only free for existing CS2 users because the old version requires activation and Adobe couldn't afford to run the activation servers anymore, so they released the old CS2 software without the activation part. Not what their original message said, not what people had Tweeted or posted on social networking sites, not what news sites reported. Adobe goofed on the press releases apparently and now has to wait for management to issue an announcement on the subject.

Let's face it the software is so old, 2005 old, so old that the Macintosh version only runs on PowerMacs and won't run on Mac OS X 10.7 or higher (Mac OS X 10.4 to 10.6 for Intel Macs had an option of a Rosetta emulator to run PowerMac software on Intel Macs, but Apple removed it with Mac OS X 10.7 and up) and it was told that the Windows version only ran on old Windows versions like ME and XP and 2000. (Not true people reported it working with Windows Vista/7 even in 64 bit mode and some in Windows 8) Linux users found that it works with WINE as well.

I won't post links to places to download it or that has serial keys. I want to report on this and let Adobe sort it out.

Photoshop CS2 doesn't have the features or power of Photoshop CS6, nor does it have Cloud support or support multicore processors or advanced graphic cards. Adobe doesn't support it anymore nor do they sell a license for it either.

This could have been a big marketing promotion for Adobe, use the old version for free and if you like it consider buying the latest version. Photoshop is one of the most pirated software applications out there, and this free CS2 version puts a damper on CS2 piracy. Why pirate CS2 when you can download a free version from Adobe? One that doesn't use a crack that is malware infected, one that doesn't take weeks to download, one that is fully functional and up to date (pirated versions didn't update for some reason and are old and outdated) one that you can register with Adobe and create an Adobe ID for future purchases.

Look a lot of video game companies have given out free versions of their old video games and it has lead to sales of their newer video games. For example Skyrim's sales keep going up and they offer free versions of older video games based on their series with Daggerfall and Arena. Steam offers a free to play version of Team Fortress 2, and then once the user creates a Steam ID to play it for free, they get offered other video game software, which they buy and Steam also has sales on video games every once in a while.

If you want to attract more customers to your business, you need to give something away for free. That is advice I learned from SCORE and retired business people giving me free advice for my small business. Adobe can take advantage of this and give away free copies of at least Photoshop CS2, and then offer Adobe ID users who download it a discount on Photoshop CS6 or the Creative Suite CS6, and then they will earn more revenue for more sales.

I mean people often go for free and open source alternatives to Adobe Photoshop like The Gimp, Paint.Net, even use MS-Paint but if Adobe offers a free Photoshop they will win goodwill, and that is something that cannot be bought, it has to be earned.

My son just told me something about this today, "Adobe is off to a good start in 2013 with this free CS2 giveaway" sure they may lose millions in sales right now, and that is a write-off, but later on when CS2 owners want to upgrade to CS6 it will be more revenue than they lost, and they will make it up with record sales. Just the thing Adobe needs because they are struggling anyway as the industry tries to get rid of the Flash standard with the HTML5 standard.

An 'Own Goal' is a term in Soccer (USA) or Football (Europe) in which a player on the team kicks the ball to their own goalie and it passes the goalie and scores a point for the other team by going into their own goal. In other words a big mistake. But Adobe can turn this around to their benefit if they wanted to do so.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Windows 8 is a dud, here is why Linux is better

First of all I am migrating my systems to Ubuntu Linux, I am eating the dog food I am talking about. I've used Linux off and on since 1995, and Linux has been out since 1991 when Linus Torvalds first released it to the public. I just converted my Acer Laptop from Windows 7 Home Premium to Ubuntu Linux 12.10 AMD 64 bit version. My PC, a custom built ATX system will dual-boot Windows 7 and Ubuntu just in case I need Windows for some application but I am not going to Windows 8.

I am learning the built in C/C++ compiler GCC for Linux using NANO for the command line, and GEdit for the GUI GNOME editor. They both highlight my code and show me the structure. No more Visual Studio, as I switch to Mono.

Apple claims there are and estimated 66 million Macintosh users, 27 million of them running Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. According to the Linux Counter there are an estimated 63 million Linux users in the world. According to Netcraft over 200 million Web Servers run Linux with Apache, and Microsoft Windows Server with IIS only runs 97 million web servers. Windows 8 sales are slow, reaching 4 million users so far, which is slower than the rate of Windows Vista or Windows ME when they came out.

What is the deal with Windows 8? Microsoft changed the way that the GUI worked removing the start menu and adding a start screen which they got sued over the name Metro, called it Windows 8 GUI, and now call it the Modern GUI. With the Windows 8 Surface Tablets Microsoft wants to take a bite out of Apple, and the cheaper Windows RT tablet based on ARM instead of Intel processors won't even run Legacy Windows apps, but it is a twin for Windows 8 that has people confused. The Microsoft Surface is to the Apple iPad, what the Microsoft Zune was to the Apple iPod. The Windows 8/RT Surface Tablet is the New Coke of Microsoft Windows, and people are asking for the Classic Windows GUI back already.

Yes corporations are finding problems with users learning the new Windows 8 Modern GUI, it has a high learning curve and in many ways it is confusing. Rolling out a Windows 8 upgrade has many hidden costs, training costs are through the roof and converting custom applications to the Modern GUI is time consuming and very costly as well. The Modern GUI is really designed for touch screens and mice and trackballs and trackpads don't work with it too well. So to be upgraded to Windows 8, the corporate PC has to have the monitor upgraded to a touchscreen for best results as well.

From the corporate rumblings they are giving Microsoft 1 to 2 years before they consider a migration to Linux and free and open source alternatives to Microsoft software and products. Linux can have any GUI you want, just install a new GUI and then choose it when you log on. There is Unity with Canonical's Ubuntu or you could replace it with GNOME or KDE. If you want a more Classical Windows look try MATE, if you want a Mac OS X look and feel with a dock try Cario Dock, you can use more GUI enhancers and even custom skins to make Linux look like whatever you want it to look like.

Need to run legacy Windows apps? Consider QEMU for running and old version of Windows in a virtual machine. Another free virtual machine is Sun/Oracle's VirtualBox. Of course VMWARE has Linux client and servers as well.WINEHQ is an environment to convert Windows libraries and API calls to Linux, it is not an emulator but attempts to run Windows code on Linux. WINE is not 100% Windows compatible but can run a lot of the older software under certain conditions.

Why Linux over Windows? It has better security than Windows will ever hope of having. Linux has a lower overhead than Windows and it runs faster. The Linux kernel can load modules in and out of memory as needed to save memory and CPU cycles for modules not accessed frequently automatically while Windows loads a ton bloat of services, memory resident programs, toolbar apps, updaters and has such poor management that it can cause system crashes and blue screens of death.

Why Linux over Mac OS X? Well in order to run Mac OS X you need an Apple branded computer, a Macintosh, and those are always expensive. You can run Mac OS X on Non-Apple branded computers, PC Hardware as a Hackintosh, but you are breaking the terms with Apple and the software laws which is risky. Linux is free to download and install and use, and like Mac OS X it too is based on Unix standards. Linux will run on almost any PC as long as it has driver support for all of the hardware, which happens to be more driver support than Mac OS X itself and also more driver support than Windows 8 or Windows 7. In fact your old PC computers can be given new life by installing Linux on them. Recently Linux dropped Intel 386 support, but it still supports Intel 486 and up PC computer processors and AMD chips and has been ported to many different processor types as well. You still need a Mac to write iOS apps for the App Store and you need XCode to submit apps to Apple's app store along with a $100 fee for a developer's license. Linux is not that picky.

Android phones and tablets are based on Linux technology and Linux mobile devices have been out since before Apple got into mobile devices as PDAs, cell phones, tablets, and other embedded devices. A lot of the patents, copyrights, trademarks, and IP that many companies claim to hold where developed by the Linux open source community first and dating back as far as 1991 with the original Linux, that was designed to be portable to different platforms. Linux pre-dates Mac OS X, Windows 95, the 32 bit OS/2 2.0, and many others.

I don't see a "mass exodus" to Linux any time in the future, but I do see home and corporate users migrating to Linux because they are tired of Microsoft's tricks and failures, and don't wish to pay Apple's high prices, and look for something more reliable and lower costing for them.

By all means a majority of the market develops software for Windows, and after that develops it for Mac OS X, but ignoring Linux at this time and phase would be foolish. You have to consider it at least a third system to consider using and developing on.