My take on the big themes of 2004 …
1. The rise (again) of Apple. The tag line for the iMac Launch said it all. “From the people that brought you the iPod”. Seeing the queue at the launch of the Apple London store showed how when you only have a few points market share and people “love your stuff” the only way is up. See the AAPL chart below.
I sold at $23.
2. The leveling off of Microsoft. I’m a fan of MS and have been treated very well over many years but I can’t help but notice that the size of their ship (no make that size of the fleet) makes it really difficult for them to avoid the laws of physics. Some of the big issues that come from running a shop that does everything are now coming home to roost. Exchange roadmap in chaos, SQL 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 delayed again. Passport dropped, Key people moving on etc. MS will still be huge of course but their big challenge is how to convince business it needs Longhorn enough to take the upgrade pain.
3. Telco’s wake up on Wifi. No one’s making money but they didn’t want the little guys to get ahead. Cheap model now screwed and we’re at Telco pricing for hotspots (Â£6 per hour). 3G over GSM is having techical issues so a bit of investment money looking towards WiMax.
4. Services industry consolidates. Acquistions a plenty. Some individuals made a lot of money this year. So 2005 will see the talent fragment back out into small firms (armed with a bit of cash).
5. New Zealand, New Thinking. Networking of the past few years is paying off as NZ companies start working together to get offshore wins. UK is the new beachhead of choice.
6. Market heading up. The 2nd half of 2004 saw IT spend really take off. 2005 may be huge. The companies that made it through the past 2-3 hard years well placed to boom this coming year.
7. Regionally thinking. People returning back from overseas are looking outside Auckland and Wellington. There’s a bit of action to be had, cafe’s coming up to speed and regional broadband.MS drops passport
…and on News.com:
I think this demonstrates the industry pushed back on one particular player having too much of the stack.Access 2.0
I should know better but I ended up writing a small MS Works application for a non techie to do invoicing. It was taking them up to a day a month, every month, when it could be simply automated.
Problem is that changing filters on Works DB and doing Word 2000 mail merges is pretty complicated and they’d get lost.
They have Windows 98 and its not worth upgrading to new hardware but I managed to find Access 2.0 is still available on the MS Subscriber Downloads site. Perfect for those quick apps on 4 year old machines.Alpine + iPod
Alpine have a component that lets their head units drive an iPod.The Real Underground
Part way down this page is an excellent flash animation that shows the difference between the stylised London Tube Map and the real geographic picture.
I find the real one more useful and simple enough to use.Micro-ISV
Another great ’start your own software company’ article.
I’ve always like the idea of remora
A remora is a fish that attaches itself to the side of a larger creature like a whale or a shark. The remora doesn’t actually do any work to find food. It relies on the bigger fish to handle the real marketing challenges and cleans up the opportunities left over. The remora reminds us that micro-ISVs can do very well with an add-on product.
I’ve always tried to stay technical. The dream is still playing local (over looking the beach) and selling global.Summer Read
First up is Bill Bryson - a Short History of Nearly Everything.
In the first few pages, this gem …
Consider the fact that for 3.8 billion years, a period of time older than the Earth’s mountains and rivers and oceans, every one of your forebears on both sides has been attractive enough to find a mate, healthy enough to reproduce, and sufficiently blessed by fate and circumstances to live long enough to do so. Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life’s quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result - eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly - in you.Food for the iPod
I took my battery dead 20GB iPod in and threatened Magnum Mac with “if you don’t fix my dead battery I’m going to buy me a new iPod”.
So now I own a new, full price, 40GB with the new wheel.
I hate not being in a position to bargin.
Anyway Tim gave me a link to some good iPod food.
Annoucement due soon on Flash based iPods. If Apple is involved this should be price/capacity break through.2MB at the beach
Snuck away for an early start to Christmas. Lots of work to do over the break. Airnet have just installed a 2MB radio link.
Better than home!Vodafone drops data prices
Wondering when this would happen
Vodafone has cut the prices of its mobile data plans, hoping to attract business customers.
However, it is still charging more than Telecom for a service that is only one-tenth the speed.
Customers on some plans will see prices fall by more than 50 per cent. A Mobilise 120 subscriber will pay $65 a month, excluding GST, for 120MB (megabytes) of traffic, down from $150 a month.
However, a similar Telecom plan, Mobile Broadband 100, offers 100MB of traffic for $52.44, excluding GST, a month. Extra traffic is charged at 60c/MB, compared with Vodafoneâ€™s $1/MB.
Casual users of the two networks are also better off with Telecom. Vodafone charges $10 a month, plus GST, per megabyte, against Telecomâ€™s $8 a month.
Vodafone has come under intense pressure since the launch of Telecomâ€™s T3G network in several main centres, offering speeds of about 500Kbps (kilobits per second). Vodafoneâ€™s network runs at 30 to 50Kbps, or up 120Kbps with data compression.
However, Vodafone is building a third-generation (3G) network to go live next year.
Vodafoneâ€™s service isnâ€™t without advantages. Subscribers can access compatible networks in 26 countries while Telecomâ€™s network allows roaming in only a handful.Symantec deal done
Yes that’s billions folks.Logitech Headset
Having just lost/damaged/feedtothedog my 4th bluetooth headset (its getting pricey) I ended up with a new Logitech model.
So far I’m impressed. In comes in a naff charging case, but has huge talk time (my Sony HBH-65 didn’t last a full day), picks up calls immediately and seems more reliable.
It’s bigger than I’d like but for working with a Pocket PC Phone it’s the best I’ve used.
Mauricio gives me buyers remorse:
Google offers a new feature, and tries to guess what your searching for….
XML-over-http is the way
Another gem from Ed is this thread
SOAP is to XML what EJB is to Java. A heavy handed, over applied behemoth. SOAP is usurping the “web service” definition. SOAP is supposed to make systems interoperable, but in *every* deployment, or contemplated deployment I have seen, where interoperability was crucial, SOAP had the effect of reducing interoperability.
For me that’s like calling the Emperor’s New Clothes - Great perspective. That’s got me thinking.
Update: Nic agrees and commentsHow they do that
Ed just flicked me an excellent article on how they make Google work.
Worth a read.No excuse not to blog
MSN are just beta’ing their free blogging tools.What’s the time
We’re operating in several time zones and I have to keep checking. Googling for a proggie that shows multiple desktop clocks I found http://www.timezonesforpcs.com.
Developed in C++. It’s slick.
While I love ASP.Net I’m really noticing that .Net winforms apps are quite klunky. When you see something in C++ you can immediately tell the difference.Thinking in ink
Also Wellington based Orange Guava got a mention.
Awesome!XSLT, my old friend
I had to quickly knock out a website today which could be updated easily. The data is very structured and heirachical. I needed other people to be able to easily update the content without tools and felt that it wasn’t really worth creating a database.
An XML file was the obvious solution, and I started using ASP.Net to render the XML into some pages. The structure was quite nested and deep so it soon got complicated and I thought maybe I should use an XSLT Stylesheet to transform the data.
Under ASP.Net its really easy. Create an XML Control
<asp:Xml runat=”server” id=”xmlTransform”></asp:Xml>
And then set the XML and XSLT File (in this case in code)
.DocumentSource = “Resources/Source.xml”
.TransformSource = “Transform.xslt”
I had to do a bit of googling to reacquaint myself with the XSLT commands but only took a few minutes to get back up to speed (its been a few years).
XSLT allows you to easily reach in and grab the bits of XML data you need. Changes to the XML data or XSLT formatting does not require a recompile.