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Comment: Devaluation of my profession over time (Score 1) 376

by seoras (#47723631) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

Software Engineering is the only profession where your perceived value decreases with age.
If I'd chosen, Medicine (Human,Veterinary), Law, Accountancy, Business, etc the older I'd got the more valuable I'd be.
If I'd chosen any other type of engineering the same would apply.
Who's bridge would you want to cross - the civil engineering grads or the guy who's been doing it 20+ years?
There's a real problem with the non-technical populations perception of the value in software because it's beyond their comprehension.
Why would I hire a middle aged guy to write my App when I can pay a student party money to write me one?
Sure, why not get a law student to handle your divorce or your property purchase too?
Then add on top of that the universal nature of software.
You wouldn't get a guy in China or India, at $1 an hour, to advise or complete your tax returns would you?
However you'd happy pay him that to setup a bespoke website with web apps.

Comment: Dumb paranoia (Score 2) 267

If the state wants to cut off your mobile phone access they don't need to brick your phone they just ask your carrier to turn off your services.
First its raging against the "Walled Garden" App store, now it's "we don't need no anti-theft kill switch".
Well maybe you don't, my techno friend, but you're in the minority.
The majority of smart phone users do want a device that they
a) can safely install non-trojan software from a verified & reviewed source
b) not be mugged for carrying an expensive toy

Comment: Re: Lodsys has been very quiet of late (Score 1) 62

by seoras (#47715277) Attached to: Adam Carolla Settles With Podcasting Patent Troll

> Unless by innovative you mean dumbing down the user interface even more to appeal to the least common denominator. If so, then there's craploads of innovation.

Oh you mean like Tim Berners-Lee did when he simplified human interaction with shared data on the fledgling internet which had, until then, been useable only by CS academics and a few industrial techs?

Give me craps loads more my friend...

Comment: Germans have been using ride sharing for years now (Score 1) 340

by seoras (#47675985) Attached to: Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

I don't get it.
What's legally different with Uber to the ride sharing websites so popular in Germany for at least a decade now?
7 years ago I was dating a German who was from Dresden, she regularly went back home to Berlin & Dresden for visits.
She never used public transport to go visit her parents, only a ride sharing website as it was much cheaper than the train/bus.
We even had a driver drop me off at the airport, after picking up another paying passenger, on their way to Dresden.
One thing I can say about Germans is that they are frugal with money and I'm Scottish which is saying something! ;)

Comment: Lessons from the Fashion Industry (Score 1) 249

by seoras (#47675681) Attached to: Apple's App Store Needs a Radical Revamp; How Would You Go About It?

From a course on business strategy I remember looking at the business model of the European fashion retailer Zara.

One thing that sticks in my mind was that their customers kept coming back to their stores to see "what was new".
Zara are very good at keeping their offering fresh.
They do so through excellent use of technology that gives them insights on what is/isn't selling, combined with JIT etc.

The current App Store lacks only 1 thing and that is freshness.
Ever day I check my App's rankings for particular keywords and I see very little movement.
I imagine its the same for the customers on the App store.

For some search terms there are 1000's of Apps.
Rather than allowing a stagnant top 10 club there should be daily rotation based on user submitted ratings and revenue earned.
With Apple doing more to make users rate apps.
If there's anything that says the user likes an App it's them voting with their wallet.

It pains me to suggest revenue ranking but following Googles example of putting money first in search results is the norm now.
Google's update 18 months ago screwed a lot of businesses who ranked on keyword search for their services.
Immediately after dropping services websites from the search results they bombarded them with AdWord sign up emails, I know I was one of them.
It was shake down pure and simple.

This idea of creating internal Apple reviewers is just plain stupid.
It's asking for corruption by assigning great power to individuals who will also have personal tastes, philosophies and expectations.
It needs to be cold and objective which humans are not.

Comment: Another layer has solidified (Score 2) 145

by seoras (#47661717) Attached to: The Quiet Before the Next IT Revolution

I think would be a better way of looking at what this article is on about.
Back in the late 80's early 90's when I graduated and started my career in the Networking Industry the OSI 7 layer model ( was often referred to. You don't hear it mentioned much these days.
If you applied IT history and economics to it you'll find that each of those layers saw a period of fantastic growth & innovation (a few short years) before becoming IT commodities and having little value left to reap but at the same time becoming stable and allowing growth & innovation in the next layer above.
Cisco, the once darling of Wall Street, benefited from the growth & innovation in layers 3 to 5.
All 7 layers are now stable and "complete", there's no growth value left in them, Cisco as the example struggles when it once printed money.
I'd like to see someone attempt to define layers 8 ->12 with an attempt at extrapolating into the future with layers 13 and above.
On a related topic I've been reading a lot of articles around the hardships of making money as an independent App developer.
It occurs to me, taking this layered view of the economies of IT, that perhaps software itself has seen it's best days behind it.
That in fact to find value as a lone developer, or even as a company, software is just a commodity now which should be free with the money coming from the services you sell on top of, or a few layers above.
How long until machines program themselves after a short interview with their human "client" as to their requirements (layer 13)?

Comment: Shambles that once was Skype (Score 1) 267

by seoras (#47620855) Attached to: Skype Blocks Customers Using OS-X 10.5.x and Earlier

I live in NZ and call my parent's landline in the UK with Skype (only because they're too deaf to hear their iPad ringing with FaceTime!).
Last weekend I called and got my mother. 10 seconds into the call it drops.
I get logged out of Skype with a pop up telling me it won't let me back in until I've manually downloaded the latest software, installed and rebooted my Mac.
Totally shit customer service and experience which has the all the stink & hallmarks of that abusive IT "has been" monopoly that sits in it's Seattle Kremlin.
Why the reboot? It's a fecking MAC!
Why let me place the call to family only to then rudely kick me off and enforce a software upgrade, why not warn me before hand?
The sooner MS is gone the better for humanity and technology.

Comment: App Store bugs = Apple's lack of interest & fo (Score 1) 258

by seoras (#47571767) Attached to: Is the App Store Broken?

The USA App store appears to be the only one which is bug free and maintained.
Take for example the UK App store where I used to rank #1 on a keyword pair.
Great but there are only 2 other Apps with that keyword combo in the UK.

Then I recently changed my keywords and to my utter disbelief I've dropped off the search results for that keyword combo in the UK.
In the USA I'm #1 out of 37 for that keyword combo. Same for New Zealand, only 2 App's listed, but not mine, for that combo.
This would indicate that Apple just doesn't give a sh*t right now, they've no focus on the App store short of keeping the USA one running smoothly.
Otherwise I'm happy, I'm ranking really well on all the other keywords and combo's and I've seen an 10x increase in installs this month.

A fair system would rotate the top 10-15 App's dependant on a combination of factors like the average session length, un-install rate, feedback rating, total app revenue, etc
Don't let's get start on the broken rating system either....

I hope they don't do a Google and start favouring those who make them the most money.
The whole Google search is commercially "broken" with it's focus on delivering search results weighted in the interests of Google's "share holders".
Website's which Google's software deems as "able to pay to display" got chopped off the top keywords a while back.
A website of mine suffered that fate and in the same month Google bombarded me with emails about getting started on AdWords.
That move didn't favour the users of Google search, it favoured Google's bottom line.
If Apple's philosophy of "doing the right thing" still holds post-Jobs then they will (hopefully) come up with an algorithm which favours the best Apps being presented to the users in search results.

Comment: Forget keyboards. Voice is the future of input... (Score 1) 544

by seoras (#47555791) Attached to: Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

...which will be superseded by thought input.

Has anyone noticed just how -good- voice to text dictation has gotten?
I pointed this out to some freelancers who work through an App & Eco system I created.
They provide written content and typing it in is slow, regardless of the keyboard they use.
One of them tried it and discovered, to their delight, that they can now to the same work in 1/2 the time by using the voice dictation on their iPhone.

Tactile keyboards on phones is yesterday so much so that by using one you'll look like a steam punk without the brass.

The keyboard is on it's way out and I believe that even voice will be short lived as thought input will, at some point in the next decade, make an appearance.

Comment: Irrational consumerism (Score 1) 365

One of the most intriguing areas of marketing is irrational consumerism.
It flies in the face of economics and common sense.

I've tried, several times in different businesses, giving products & services away for free to cultivate a customer base.
People love free stuff and value it right?
Actually, no.
What I've learned from doing this is that people only value things that you make them pay for.
If you drop the price of something, or make it free, the consumer perceives the value of what you gave them as low or valueless.
You discover this later when you turn off the freebies, or raise the price.
Charge a premium for your product, or service, and your consumer will, in most cases, believe it's worth it and treat it with reverence.

Apple's been clever at never dropping the perception of value in what they make, thus maintaining the value of their brand.
You'd think those well educated, experienced, business types at Microsoft would know better.
They really need to address the already dreadful consumer perception of the MS brand value and this is doing the opposite.

Comment: Russia in Vogue once more (Score 1) 346

by seoras (#47198701) Attached to: Did Russia Trick Snowden Into Going To Moscow?

I grew up in the cold war believing that the "bad guys" were all communists and the Russians were baddest of the bad.

After the Berlin Wall collapsed and East/West made up a new enemy was announced and Islam and the Taliban became the new fashion in Western media's world evil.

Now we see negotiations with the Taliban, prisoners exchanged, troop withdrawals, etc.
Look who's the bad guy again.
Just today I was reading an interesting BBC article on medieval armed combat (trying to get away from the usual media junk food politics).
Yet even in that article the journalist managed to turn it into negative piece on Russia.

Every successful person has had failures but repeated failure is no guarantee of eventual success.