Linux: Red Hat with CentOS – Good Tactical Move?

A recent announcement that Red Hat and CentOS have ”Joined Forces” is interesting, and should lead to an improved development/release cycle for both..

Red Hat:
http://www.redhat.com/about/news/press-archive/2014/1/red-hat-and-centos-join-forces

CentOS:
http://lists.centos.org/pipermail/centos-announce/2014-January/020100.html

fedora_redhat_centos_graphicPotentially, this would certainly result in CentOS versions being released earlier, after the corresponding Red Hat Enterprise release date..    It may be that the release of both versions will be simultaneous, or – for business/marketing reasons – Red Hat Enterprise will come out first, followed by CentOS..

This may be as much a ‘support revenue’ play as anything else, as it should make it far less painful for existing CentOS users to migrate to commercially supported Red Hat Enterprise when they need to..   It may well – of course – make it easier for migration in the opposite direction, but that may not be so well publicised..

The development teams are deliberately being kept separate, but some of the CentOS developers will now be Red Hat employees..    This will enable the – challenging – legal aspects of CentOS development (trademark item removal, etc.) to be much less problematic..
One important aspect – CentOS QA testing – is now planned to be more open, as a result, and the merger also gives CentOS itself an added air of respectability and long-term stability..

This is potentially a very promising development, and will enable the two organisations to provide a more united front against any ‘commercially supported’ release of Canonical’s Ubuntu..

Robert Gadsdon.   January 8, 2014.

Android: Hudl, and an Exercise in Customer Satisfaction?

I ordered a Tesco Hudl online as soon as they were available, and got mine delivered 24 hours later – which was faster than expected.
It is an excellent device – especially at that price point – but mine turned out to be one with a defective display (grey areas were heavily red-pixellated)..

I returned the device to the local Tesco store for replacement, as per the instructions, but was told that they had none in stock, and the replacement had to be re-ordered, and delivery would probably take at least two weeks!    As the staff seemed to be unable to provide any alternative, I accepted this and then wrote to Tesco’s ‘customer service’, asking if they could expedite the delivery, as this was a replacement for a faulty unit, and not a ‘new order’..

Their response was depressingly familiar…   The apology was not for the delay, but for the (imagined, and somewhat patronising) ”not explained clearly by staff”, thereby completely missing the point of my request!    Needless to say, there was no offer to actually do anything about the delay.

Maybe I am expecting too much – especially for the UK – but I have dealt with many consumer ‘tech’ companies over the years, and many would have had a small number of units set aside for these return/replacement situations..     In the end, it was a business decision, to prioritize new deliveries over ‘existing customer satisfaction’..    After all, Tesco is primarily a FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) company, and mainly sells groceries!

So..  I will just have to be patient…

Robert Gadsdon.   October 10, 2013.

Facebook’s ”Home” – Embrace and Extend?

So, the usual rumours about Facebook making its own (smart)phone turn out to be somewhat premature…

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/04/05/facebook-home-apple-google/

After all, why go to all the trouble of making your own phone, when you can just ‘hijack’ an existing one?

This reminds me of the interminable attempts by various online organisations to ‘take over’ your browser, by tempting you with dashboards and self-installing home pages..

The big question is – who is this aimed at?       Are there really that many people who use their phone primarily for Facebook?     There is a real danger that Zuckerberg is believing all the hype about ‘everything going mobile’, when in fact the tiny screen on you phone is actually pretty bad for a lot of this stuff..     It might have made more sense to aim for tablets…

I think this is a sign that Facebook is running out of steam, and there seems little real ‘innovation’ here….    In fact, this whole exercise might end up being more annoying than liberating, for many potential ‘customers’…      Don’t forget – for Facebook, the ‘Customer’ is not you, the user…   You are simply the sometimes-unwitting provider of valuable (personal) data, which can then be repackaged and sold on, at a profit..

Apple might not be too worried by all this.   After all, they already ‘own’ their user base..    Google might be more concerned, at a potential loss of the Android / Google Play control point that they have carefully nurtured..

© Robert Gadsdon..   April 6, 2013.

Is Facebook Finally Losing It?

Facebook became popular because users liked the sharing of ‘friends’ information, especially among their family groups, but since those early days, every move the company makes seems more and more to be for the benefit of Facebook itself, and the users are the ones who lose out.     This may not true all of the time, but – and this is most damning – the perception is that it is so…   And in so many cases, perception and reality are the same thing..

Now these missteps are becoming ammunition for competitors, and Google‘s Larry Page has recently slated the company for ‘doing a bad job with its products’:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/9810411/Google-boss-Facebook-doing-a-really-bad-job.html

Now – of course – Google is a competitor to Facebook in many areas, especially with the less-than-stellar Google+, but the point made here is that it really doesn’t matter if Google+ is not a raging success, as it is more of a means-to-an-end for Google, rather than the end -in-itself as with Facebook, which – despite recent ill-thought-out acquisitions – is really still a one-product-company..

Facebook may be famous, but it is rapidly in danger of continuing to be famous – for the wrong reasons.    Their IPO was an amateurish disaster, and Mark Zuckerberg is increasing becoming a liability to the continued success of the company he ‘founded’, and it may be time for him to get someone more experienced to control the company.   The problem is – he won’t do that, because he is – after all – Mark Zuckerberg..

© Robert Gadsdon 2013.

The Death of Privacy.. Schadenfreude* Alert!

And now for some festive comic relief..

Zuckerberg’s sister has been whining about the ‘sharing’ of one of her ‘private’ photos, originally posted on – guess where – Facebook!    She naïvely assumed it was ‘private’, but apparently a Facebook-friend-of-a-friend had access to it, as well…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/9767266/Zuckerberg-private-family-photo-exposed-by-Facebook-sharing.html

Apparently this was such a heinous and unspeakable crime, that it deserved the ultimate condemnation – as ”way uncool”

Many commentators have been quick to point out the irony – and double-standards – on display here, but I just had to laugh..

* Schadenfreude – taking pleasure in the misfortunes of others..

© Robert Gadsdon 2013.

New Year – One to Watch in 2013..

gopro

GoPro – the makers of HD ‘sports’ compact video cameras – have gone from strength to strength in the last year or so.   In 2011 they acquired Cineform – who develop high-end video encoding software:

http://support.cineform.com/entries/20000142-cineform-acquired-by-gopro

And recently, Foxconn – better known as a supplier of Apple’s hardware – took a stake in the company:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20807327

GoPro products have become – almost – a de-facto standard for sports and ‘extreme’ video recording, and a search on YouTube will produce many examples of their technology in operation..     Nice to be able to report on a genuine success story, based on real, tangible, achievements!

There is speculation – unconfirmed – that the company may be releasing shares at some point..  possibly in the next year..

© Robert Gadsdon 2013.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that I am a customer of both Cineform, and GoPro..

New Year – Same old Patent Wars..

The ongoing ‘patent wars’ between Apple and Samsung took another twist, recently, when the dear old EU took another leap away from reality, and decided that it was Samsung who had ‘abused’ its patent position to the detriment of poor little Apple..

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/21/us-eu-samsung-idUSBRE8BK0UJ20121221

The article could have equally been written with the references to ‘Samsung’ and ‘Apple’ transposed, but in this case – for some bizarre reason – it had been decided that Samsung was the ‘villain’, despite recent events showing that it was in fact Apple that had been flagrantly abusing its patent portfolio, combined with some deeply flawed and ‘prejudiced’ jury decisions in the USA..

This one seems destined to run and run, and the US patent system will continue to be able to be ‘gamed’, due to their continuing approval of obviously non-original patents…..   The only winners are the lawyers, and the losers are the consumers, who will be denied real choice in the marketplace..

© Robert Gadsdon 2013.

Facebook and Instagram – Welcome to the New ‘Information’ Age..?

instagram-logoI have always held the opinion that you should have no expectation of ‘privacy’ or ‘ownership’ for anything posted to Facebook, and now this has spread to encompass Instagram, who were recently ‘acquired’ by Facebook, for what – in many peoples opinion – was a ludicrously large sum of money..     Now there has been a – justified – storm over some new terms published by Instagram, which gave them complete rights over your images, if you posted them on their site..

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57559710-38/instagram-says-it-now-has-the-right-to-sell-your-photos/

Instragram appear to have rowed back from their original content-grabbing terms and conditions, but these – like Facebook’s – can always be unilaterally changed again..

Their current Ts & Cs include the following:

By displaying or publishing (“posting”) any Content on or through the Instagram Services, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, worldwide, limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate such Content, including without limitation distributing part or all of the Site in any media formats through any media channels, except Content not shared publicly (“private”) will not be distributed outside the Instagram Services.

and – of course:

We reserve the right to alter these Terms of Use at any time……..

It should be remembered that these companies may money from ‘providing’ very detailed information on their users to their real customers – large corporations – to whom this precise, targeted, data is marketing gold dust..     I am stunned at the sheer volume of highly detailed personal information that users post to Facebook, and I can only assume that the majority are blissfully unaware of how this data is really used..

Welcome to the new information age – yours!

© Robert Gadsdon 2012, 2013.     Instagram logo (TM) Instagram..

The Internet is Safe! – Until the Next Time..

un_stopSo – predictably – the UK and US refused to endorse the less-then-subtle attempt by a UN body to ‘regulate’ the flow of information across the ‘net..

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet/9743911/UN-internet-talks-collapse-as-Britain-and-US-refuse-to-sign-treaty.html

Once these two nations made their position clear, the usual group of ‘Western’ nations followed suite, including Canada, New Zealand, and – of course – Sweden…

Despite the best (worst?) efforts of freedom-loving nation states such as China, Russia, and Iran, this was never going to pass, and one is left wondering why everyone wasted their valuable time to get together for such a futile exercise in posturing..

Oh, I nearly forgot, this is the UN we are talking about..   That all makes perfect sense, now..

So – what happens next?    I expect that the aforementioned freedom-loving nation states will continue to attempt to strangle the flow of information, while it escapes from their clutches, over and over again..     The original Internet was specifically designed – after all – to be resilient, and keep going despite ‘blockages’…     The real danger now may be the spread of carefully-crafted and sophisticated ‘black-ops’ style disinformation by rogue nations – and their sympathisers – to confuse and distract their gullible audiences..     The National Socialists and Soviet Socialists perfected these arts decades ago, and now there is a far more potent vehicle for the dissemination of false and malicious credibility..

© Robert Gadsdon, 2012

When Cash-Cows Collide… MS and Apple Spat over Office on iOS

ms_apple_cows-dec2012

These days, both Microsoft and Apple derive a significant portion of their revenue from what are – effectively – ‘cash cows’, with relatively small investment costs giving large – and continuing – returns..

Now, the companies are fighting over two of these..   MS Office from Microsoft, and the App Store from Apple..

http://allthingsd.com/20121211/microsoft-pressing-apple-to-take-a-smaller-cut-on-sales-inside-office-for-ios/

Basically, both think that their respective product / service is sufficiently desirable – even essential – that they do not need to ‘negotiate’ over pricing and commissions – for Apple takes an eye-watering 30% from all App Store ‘commercial’ products sold, and MS Office has been ‘easy money’ for Microsoft, for years, now…..The background to all this hissy-fit posturing, is that Microsoft is trying to establish its own version of the App Store, with Windows 8 and RT, and would dearly love to extend this into Apple’s territory..

My opinion?      I expect that after a certain amount of posturing, the two will come to an ‘accommodation’ in time..   That is, until either of them decides they can afford to upset the other, again..

© Robert Gadsdon, 2012

Apple Logo (TM) Apple, Inc.     M/S ‘Square’ (TM) Microsoft, Inc.    Cows picture © Robert Gadsdon, 2012!