Friday, July 31, 2009

Blatant Honesty - Not So Bad, After All

Visual Voicemail from T-Mobile, upon invocation, directs me to Nice try for the application that is supposed to be seamless - and that is right after the call to T-Mobile to make sure that no changes to my account are necessary (some concerns expressed here) and no further actions are necessary.


UDPATE: Version 1.0.5 clearly states: You do not have access to Visual Voicemail. Please upgrade your account. Upgrade? To what? I thought I had all the bells and whistles already?

Calling T-Mobile, again.

UPDATE 2: Rep said something about "legacy G1 plan", then sent me to G1 department that replaced my existing plan with "G1 data plan with visual voicemail" (explicitly stating that there is no price change, just the "new plan code for internal systems"). Promised activation time of about 2 hours, but SMS confirmation came in less than 5 minutes, and it works now.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Quote Of The Day: Wealth

The wealth is a tool of freedom. But the pursuit of wealth is the way to slavery.

-- Frank Herbert, God Emperor of Dune

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Quote Of The Day: Positioning

Never put another man in a corner where the only way out is over you.

-- here

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Quote Of The Day: Learning

...when you think you know something, that is the most perfect barrier against learning

-- Frank Herbert, God Emperor of Dune

Friday, July 10, 2009

Quote Of The Day: Attention Span

- Who wrote this code?
- When did he write it?
- What did he think then?
- Me
- Last week
- I have no idea

-- Royal Pingdom

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Chrome OS: But Will It Blend?

Google has introduced Chrome OS. That's all nice and good, but will it address one particular itch - will it play games?

Sure it it'll be useful even without that, but gaming is something that keeps alive Windows installations in countless homes of geeks that otherwise don't care about running Windows. Provide gaming APIs - put a possibly last nail into the Windows coffin.

Something tells me, though, that this is not going to happen, at least this time.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Android Market Trend: Greed

There was abundance of good Android applications on Android Market from the very beginning, when it was free. Then, paid applications showed up, and "Pro" and "Donate" apps started appearing.

Then, developers realized that the fact that there's been 250k downloads for the free app doesn't necessarily mean that there will be at least 10k downloads for the paid app, you're lucky if you get 10 - sometimes it's the user's greed, sometimes it's just the fact that the app is good enough as free, but doesn't withstand any criticism as paid, and paying for it is mostly a honor of recognition thing.

Then, the developers got greedy and started silently removing features from free applications and offering them only with paid versions thereof. Take into account the fact that you can't downgrade the application on Android (and I suspect that you can't even hold upgrading, Market does it for you automatically if you keep ignoring the notification long enough).

My prediction is that it's going to backfire, this way or that.

Yes, I know that it sucks that people are willing to take your work for free, but don't want to pay (I am a software engineer as well, remember?).

However, whereas more expensive objects' acquisition is decided upon the price and the merits, the price here is so low, it's immaterial in comparison with impression. And if you're pulling features out of your free stuff - not only you're not allowing new Android Market users to see the benefits of it, you're also creating the impression of racket. You're betraying my trust into you, and taking away what you already gave me.

You are not irreplaceable. Even if I was considering making a donation worth a few minutes of my time (longer to process the transaction than to earn it), I'm not considering it anymore. There will be others that will fill the gap created by you, and they will do it better than you and possibly cheaper than you, for they'll learn on your mistakes.

Play nice, will ya?

Screw The Hybrids

With bitter aftertaste, read a note about how Toyota is using patents to slow the growth of hybrid vehicles. Cursed the system for a bit, and then suddenly thought that I can confidently say "screw the hybrids" and not have the green people aim for my throat.

How come, you say? You, with your eight cylinder 4.4L gas guzzler (overstatement, but all right for the scope), how can you have your conscience clear?


Instead of engaging into dubious arguments about hybrid battery environmental impact, I just don't drive it, that's all. I have made a conscious decision and gone telecommuting, and now the monster is sitting quietly under the tent six days out of seven.

So I can enjoy my car while attracting the envy, hate and spite of "environmental activists", and at the same time be way more green than they claim to be, driving their always shiny hybrids around (shiny... Do you know how much water and chemicals get dumped to waste during a routine car wash?).

But that's the way it always works, right? There are those who actually do the work, and there are the vocal ones that get the credit for doing it...

Friday, July 3, 2009

Stop Fidgeting

One of mortal sins of Open Source (and probably to almost the same extent) developers is fidgeting. Your app is just fine, and the rest of the world is happy with it, except for a few small glitches. But you, the author, you're smarter than all of them, and you know how bad your application really is, and you're not happy with it, and you keep fidgeting.

And fidgeting.
And fidgeting.

Until you destroy your user base.

Previous prominent example was Amarok, which was almost perfect as of version 1.4. But no, they wanted to make it better, and made drastic changes in 2.0, which rendered it next to unusable.

Today's example is the Missed Call Android application, by The Pixels. During its early development, the user interface was changed literally a dozen times, if not more, then UI changes stopped, and application started getting mature - stability and predictability improved, UI has become polished without unnecessary changes. Good, I though, and bought it. Apparently, no good deed goes unpunished, for shortly thereafter the author has allowed several bugs to slip into the new version (in particular, very annoying one - when the missed call LED notification will stay on forever no matter what you do, short of disabling that particular service altogether - and even then some).

But today the reality has exceeded the worst expectations. Another UI redesign - and I honestly liked the old one better. That was the last straw that made me sit down and write this message. Apparently, I'm not the only one - read harsh comments on entries above, and see the application ratings go down.

So I'm thinking - what if we all get together and ask the author nicely to stop fidgeting and make it work, will [s]he listen?

Oh, and you, yes, you, the developer reading this: stop fidgeting and ask your users what they really want.